What to Know
- Cuomo was celebrating progressive laws that go into effect in New York for the New Year
- An increase in the minimum wage and paid family leave take effect in New York for 2018, as does a tax cut for the middle class
- Cuomo condemned a lack of progress on homelessness and Rikers Island reform in New York City, an apparent jab at de Blasio
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday praised changes coming to New York for the New Year, including paid family leave, a tax cut for the middle class and increases in the state’s minimum wage.
Cuomo applauded the legislative accomplishments, which take effect this week, while at the West Side YMCA on West 64th Street.
“There is nothing we cannot do if we focus on it. It’s our apathy that stops us from solving these problems,” Cuomo said.
At one point Cuomo decried a lack of progress on homelessness and reform on Rikers Island in an apparent shot at Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democrat with whom he has feuded repeatedly.
“There is no reason you have homeless people on the street in 2018, there’s no reason, but you choose not to do anything about it,” Cuomo said.
He went on to say: “There’s no reason why you leave young black men locked up on Rikers Island – 75 percent haven’t even been convicted of a darn thing and you’re leaving them locked up.”
Cuomo never mentioned de Blasio by name. The mayor has vowed to curb a surge in homelessness and to shut down Rikers Island.
A spokeswoman for de Blasio told the New York Post: “The mayor’s made dramatic progress in creating a corrections system that’s smaller and safer, and he’s following through on his commitment to close Rikers Island.”
Cuomo has been contrasting his progressive agenda with Trump's agenda, and there is speculation Cuomo may run for president someday. On Sunday, he also proposed measures to fight the crushing burden of student loan debt.
Changes to the minimum wage take effect Sunday. The minimum wages goes up to $13.50 for large companies and up to $13 for small companies. In Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, the minimum wage for all companies rises to $11. For the rest of the state, it rises to $10.40.
And on Monday, New York will join California, New Jersey and Rhode Island in requiring employers to give workers paid leave to bond with a baby, care for a close relative with a serious illness or help loved ones during a family member's military deployment.