Wednesday December 5, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference struck a deal Tuesday to take control of the state Senate in an unprecedented power-sharing deal that a leader says will result in raising the minimum wage.

The announcement by Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos and IDC leader Jeffrey Klein dashed the hopes of the traditional Democratic conference from taking the near absolute control of the majority, even though Democrats won more seats than Republicans in the November elections.

It means the GOP and independent Demo crats will share control of moving legislation and even in negotiating a state budget with the Assembly speaker and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The deal will create a third conference for the IDC members under the Senate rules, assuring the five-member IDC of rights and powers.

For New Yorkers, the partnership likely means a new direction for the Senate and for state government. For two years, Republicans used their slim majority to enact a cap on local property tax growth, flat budgets and caps on school aid increases, cuts to several programs and spending on economic development enticements to businesses to grow jobs.

Republicans had blocked Democratic priorities, including those held by the IDC, for public financing of campaigns, raising the minimum wage, restrictions on the stop-and-frisk techniques of New York City police and more gun control.


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