Democrats in the state Legislature agree they want to raise New York's minimum wage.
But where the wage will ultimately land remains up in the air, as lawmakers left the question an open one in their budget resolutions introduced this week.
Both the state Senate and Assembly in separate budget measures support a higher wage than current $15 an hour in the New York City area and $14.20 north of Westchester County as well as linking future increases to the rate of inflation.
The move could give lawmakers flexibility in the upcoming negotiations with Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has backed indexing the wage to inflation. At the same time, the proposals do not explicitly embrace legislation that would raise the wage to $21.25 by 2027.
"We didn't say a specific rate," Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. "But we do know we need to raise the wages of the lowest paid New Yorkers and then begin the indexing. Sowe'll be discussing what that is, but I think it's very, very important."
The last minimum wage hike led to a multi-tiered system based on the state's geography and varying costs of living. New York City and the suburban counties received a fast wage hike to $15, a goal of what had been a progressive push from labor unions and advocates.
But the wage in upstate New York is now subject to changes by a board at the state Department of Labor, which has recommended increases in recent years.
Lawmakers have said they want to end the wage differences based on region.