With inflation continuing to strain wallets, New York state lawmakers are trying to find ways of raising pay for a variety of workers, using the state budget as a potential vehicle. 

The proposals could impact a range of professions while at the same time see a broad minimum wage increase that is further linked to inflation in the coming years. 

Democratic state Sen. Samra Brouk says mental health care workers are struggling to make ends meet with a higher cost of living and years of salary changes that have not kept pace. 

"This is an adjustment to make sure a mom can buy eggs and put gas in her car and pay for child care for her kids," Brouk said. 

Brouk is calling for an 8.5% increase in pay for mental health care workers in New York, a provision she wants in the state budget this month. 

"Eight point five percent is really the baseline of what we need for our mental health workforce to just keep up with inflation," she said. 

Higher wages for lower income workers who provide key services is an increasingly common refrain in Albany as lawmakers try to address inflation and its impact on New Yorkers. Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco is supportive of a similar pay raise for workers who provide services to people with developmental disabilities. 

"This is good news — one of the good news things in the budget — so we can keep people working with our vulnerable population and provide them with the services and care that they need," Tedisco said. 

But the bipartisanship stops with a proposed minimum wage increase. Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to link the wage to inflation; Democrats want to increase base pay. Republican Assemblyman Matt Simpson says the broad minimum wage hike proposal hurts businesses. 

The current minimum wage is $15 an hour in New York City and $14.20 north of Westchester County. 

"I think this will just excerbate the high inflation we're already seeing and it will just come down on consumers," he said. 

Simspon believes state lawmakers instead should be focusing on skills training for workers amid a tight labor market. 

"Businesses in my district are already far above the state's minimum wage now. We're still looking for people to fill a lot of open positions in every sector of employment," he said. "We know that people are leaving New York. We know that businesses are looking elsewhere. We know that we're not as competitive as other states in the country and we need to reverse that trend."