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But first, a word from legislative leaders

ALBANY –- It may be Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s State of the State, but the leaders of the Legislature are using the event this afternoon to lay out their own priorities for the coming session.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, said his conference will press for an increase in the state’s current $7.25 per hour minimum wage rate and a new infusion of cash for community colleges.

Silver called it "absurd" to expect workers to afford the cost of living with a minimum wage salary. An increase in the hike –- to a level he did not specify -– would affect 1.2 million workers in the state. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have higher minimum wage levels.

For his part, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, told a packed convention center near the Capitol that the session should feature a relaxation of state-imposed mandates on localities and no additional tax or fee hikes to balance the upcoming budget.

The two spoke on stage shortly before Cuomo began his speech at 2:15 p.m. today.

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, in introducing Cuomo, repeated many of his previous glowing assessments of the governor over the past year. He then admitted the obvious. "I’m proud to be cheerleader-in-chief," Duffy said.

--Tom Precious

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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