- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo will give his state of the state address Wednesday but he has already previewed much of his 2015 agenda, including a minimum wage hike, small business tax cut and a statewide campus sexual consent policy.

Re-elected in November, the Democrat has proposed a new mechanism to provide property tax relief to more than 1.3 million New York taxpayers, establishing a commission to set salaries and limit outside income for state legislators, and restricting the prosecution of juveniles as adults.

Over the past week, he also has advocated awarding three upstate regions $500 million each for economic development and forgiving student loans for New York college graduates who stay to work.

The state minimum wage would rise to $10.50 an hour by the end of next year, with New York City’s rising to $11.50, under the Cuomo administration proposal. The statewide minimum now is $8.75, scheduled to rise to $9 at the end of this year.

The tax cut for small businesses would drop the rate from 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent over a three-year period. When phased-in fully the cut would reduce overall taxes by an estimated $32 million for 42,000 taxpayers.

Intended to help stop campus sexual assaults, proposed legislation would expand the policy for state schools to New York’s private colleges and universities. It would require that a woman give “clear, unambiguous, and voluntary” consent before any sexual activity.

For upstate economic development, seven regions would have until July 1 to submit a proposal for using the $500 million, with three winners to be selected. The regions are the Finger lakes, the Southern Tier, central New York, the Mohawk Valley, the Capitol Region, the mid-Hudson valley and the North Country.

The proposed property tax credit would apply to homeowners whose payments exceed 6 percent of their income and whose annual adjusted household incomes are below $250,000. Taxpayers would get an average credit of about $950. It would be phased in over four years.

The student loan forgiveness would help an estimated 7,100 graduates, covering the first two years of repayments. It would be open to graduates who participate in the federal Pay as You Earn loan repayment program and who now make less than $50,000.

For the 213 state lawmakers, a proposed commission would recommend salary levels, with lower pay to legislators with outside incomes. It would also set a cap on the amount of outside income and set expense reimbursements. Legislators get a base salary, unchanged in 15 years, of $79,500 for what’s considered part-time work.

For juvenile offenders, misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases for 16- and 17-year-olds would go to family court, with serious and violent juvenile crimes handled by new “youth parts” in criminal courts with judges specially trained to deal with adolescents.

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