Albany, N.Y. (WKBW) - This is the third year in a row that the New York State budget is expected to be passed on time. Lawmakers held a press conference announcing some of the issues they have agreed upon with the deadline looming.
The first issue they agreed to is increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00. This will happen in steps. Second, lawmakers will renew the tax rates adopted in 2011 for the next three years. They will include a high surcharge for people who make more than one million dollars.
The third item agreed on is the state will send out a $350 rebate check to homeowners with a dependent under 18-years-old. Those households must make more than $40 thousand and less than $300 thousand. The check will be mailed out April 4th of next year.
Lawmakers also agreed to increase the amount of money given to schools by more than $500 million. They hope this will allow programs and employees to stay in place, ultimately helping students.
Governor Andrew Cuomo commented on the process.
"We think it's going to voted on by Saturday and we are on track to do that, certainly."
There are some aspects of the budget that have not been agreed. One is the decriminalization of possessing small amounts of marijuana. Currently, it is a misdemeanor but some lawmakers want to make it a violation.
Another big topic of debate is changes to the gun laws. Elected leaders are considering switching the new limit of seven bullets in magazines, back to 10. Ten is the industry standard. Governor Cuomo said they are considering the change to allow the purchase of 10-bullet magazines but the law would still prohibit anything more than seven round magazines except at shooting ranges and in competitions.