- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Labor advocates say anything less than $15 is unacceptable as lawmakers seek to negotiate a deal on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call to raise the minimum wage.

Working Families Party State Director Bill Lipton says Friday that Cuomo and lawmakers should hold firm to the Democratic governor’s original proposal to gradually increase the wage from $9 to $15.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle said Thursday that ongoing talks between Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans include the possibility of a smaller increase. Other potential compromises include a longer phase-in or exceptions for small businesses.

While the Assembly supports $15, Senate Republicans say such a sharp increase could hurt the economy.

Hector Figueroa, president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, says supporters “can’t accept anything less than $15.”

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