From the Morning Memo:
Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a veteran Democratic lawmaker from Manhattan, slammed the governor during a CapTon interview last night for his “heavy handed” approach to budgeting this year.
Glick noted that Cuomo keeps stuffing more and more significant policy proposals into his spending plan, giving the Legislature what amounts to a “may way to the highway” ultimatum to accept his ideas or risk a government shutdown.
“I don’t think in a democracy that’s a healthy thing,” Glick said. “The governor is very forceful and has added many more policy pieces to the budget, which I think is inappropriate.”
“I believe there’s a role for the Legislature, and a role for dialogue.”
“I don’t think that people elected an emperor; we elected a governor,” the assemblywoman continued. “I think they’re putting too much into the budget from a policy point of a view is a negative thing for democracy.”
First, Cuomo employed this tactic with great fanfare when it comes to education reform, telling lawmakers that if they want additional aid for public schools – $1.1 billion, to be exact – then they will have to accept all of his reform proposals, from additional aid for charter schools to revamping of the teacher evaluation system.
(He called the existing system, the parameters of which he helped negotiate, “baloney”).
Yesterday, Cuomo upped the ante still further, unveiling a five-point ethics reform plan that touches on everything from full disclosure of outside income for lawmakers to new campaign contribution limits, and telling the Legislature he won’t sign off on the 2015-16 budget unless it includes these changes.
Invoking the memory of his recently deceased father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, the current governor said he feels compelled to restore the public’s trust in state government following the Sheldon Silver corruption scandal. And he said he’s willing to risk breaking his streak of on-time state budgets in order to accomplish what he sees as real reform.
Glick noted that while the governor didn’t mention it, state lawmakers are required to forgo their paychecks if the budget is not passed by the April 1 deadline.
That’s the result of the deal the Legislature cut with former Gov. George Pataki in order to get the last pay raise, which bumped lawmakers’ base salaries to $79,500 in January.
The idea was that the pressure of not getting paid would encourage lawmakers to come to the negotiating table and cut an on-time budget deal. But it didn’t really work.
In fact, nothing fully ended Albany’s late budget problem until former Gov. David Paterson (and former state Budget Director Bob Megna) hit upon the hit of putting the governor’s entire budget proposal into an extender bill and forcing the Legislature to choose between accepting the executive spending plan and shutting down the government.
If Cuomo sticks to his promise of holding up this year’s budget in a quest for reform, then lawmakers who are already furious over their lack of a pay raise will be forced to go without their salaries while the governor continues to get paid, Glick said.
“That’s heavy handed,” she said. “Maybe not a shock for some people, but I think it’s inappropriate.”