Budget to include marijuana legislation, Minimum wage hike and tax breaks

on Wednesday, 20 March 2013.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver confirmed this morning that an overhaul of the state’s marijuana laws to reduce stop and frisk arrests is part of the ongoing budget negotiations.

Silver stated it wasn’t about marijuana decriminalization, but curtailing stop and frisk arrests, adding that it is likely to be limited to New York City.

Silver, along with Senate Co-Presidents Jeff Klein and Dean Skelos, had another hour-long closed-door meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and it’s reported there was no deal yet on a final budget plan.

Lawmakers are not scheduled to be in Albany after March 21 for two weeks in order to accommodate the Passover and Easter holidays.

Other budget issues include a deal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $9 a hour by the end of 2015, with several phased-in hikes starting in 2014.

The Senate Republican leader said about $700 million in tax breaks and credits have been agreed to, with a possible alteration of the state’s 18a assessment utility surcharge part of that deal.

The Long Island GOP lawmaker also said it was likely the millionaire’s tax would be extended a year early.