ALBANY, N.Y. -- Calling it the "best budget we've ever crafted," Gov. Andrew Cuomo was flanked by state leaders Thursday night in announcing an agreement on the 2016-17 New York state budget.
As lawmakers planned late-night votes on budget bills, Cuomo had this to say about a final agreement on a $156 billion spending plan:
"It is probably the most expansive budget and state plan that the state has passed in decades," said Cuomo, D-New York.
The agreement includes a phased-in minimum wage increase to $15 for New York City and the suburban counties. North of Westchester, the wage grows to $12.50 by the end of 2022, with future increases linked to an economic analysis. A safety valve stops increases should the economy turn south.
"If the economy turns, we'll have the ability to suspend the minimum wage so we don't hurt a slowing economy," Cuomo said.
Cuomo insists upstate New York will reach $15, but said that compromises in order to satisfy Senate Republicans made the deal possible.
"We believe the increase in the minimum wage can help the upstate economy, but again, it's all about that calibration and this is the smartest, safest way to go about it in my opinion," said Cuomo.
Also in the budget is a 12-week paid family leave program that's paid with a 70 cent deduction from a worker's paycheck. The program starts in 2018.
"This will affect the quality of life of millions of people in this state and it's basic, it's simple. We don't live at work. We live with families and we should have the capacity to be there when the families need you."
The budget includes a $1 billion dollar tax cut for joint filers earning less than $300,000.
Cuomo praised an agreement that he says comes amid a turbulent political time nationally.
"The priorities should be the schools that need the most help in this state. The schools that need the most help are what's called for failing schools."
Lawmakers are set to vote through the evening on budget bills, but do expect to return Friday to take up more votes. This makes the spending plan technically a late one, something that has not occured during Cuomo's tenure.