Nystateofpolitics Feb 2015
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to have “his” ethics legislation in the state budget or risk a shutdown of state government is setting a negative tone for the upcoming budget talks, Senate Finance Chairman John DeFrancisco said.
The Syracuse Republican in a Capital Tonight interview on Wednesday said the GOP conference is willing to compromise on the ethics issue as Cuomo calls for broader disclosure of outside income and other long-sought reforms.
But Cuomo’s push — which comes following the arrest of former Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges last month — could lead to a late budget, something that hasn’t been seen in Albany since 2010.
“I can’t imagine we’re going to get to the entire package that the governor is proposing,” DeFrancisco said. “But I can see there will be compromise. It’s tough to set the tone for compromise when you say you either do this or we’re going to hold the budget hostage. That’s the type of stuff that used to be done in the past which would be horrible to start again now after we got over the hump and passed on-time budgets regularly.”
Cuomo wants lawmakers to reveal their private law practice clients, close the loophole in the state’s campaign finance law that allows LLCs to give unlimited funds to a candidate and create a system of publicly financed campaigns. The governor is backing a constitutional amendment that would strip lawmakers convicted of corruption of their state pensions.
But DeFrancico questioned Cuomo’s strategy on the ethics issue. After all, Cuomo has frequently touted the four on-time budgets in a row since taking office, though the governor believes getting sweeping reforms done could be worth it to have a late spending plan approved.
“He shutdown the Moreland Commission. Why wasn’t it worth it at that time? Secondly, it’s not worth it,” DeFrancisco said. “You want a government that’s operating efficiently and properly by having on-time budgets. I could find a hundred speeches in the last four years when he talked about the importance of this.”
The lawmakers also suggested Cuomo’s push is a backslide to the old days in Albany when budgets would be held up over a lack of compromise on major issues.
“We’re going to still try to negotiate but I think it sets a tenor in Albany that haven’t seen since he became governor,” he said.
· US Attorney Preet Bharara said that former Sen. Malcolm Smith’s conviction demonstrates that New York is the “show me the money” state.
· Thne TU’s Casey Seiler grapples with whether closing the LLC loophole is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ethics ultimatum to the Legislature. (Answer: It’s hard to tell, but seems like no).
· State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said his review of the ESDC shows the public authority doesn’t “publicly assess whether individual projects would have occurred without its involvement.”
· “Cuomo’s executive budget is chock-a-blockwith raids of dedicated transit funds, questionable transfers, and toll cuts doled out as election-year favors.”
· Cuomo on Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s corruption scandal: “If you can’t trust him, who can you trust?”
· Former Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson’s trial on federal corruption charges, which was previously scheduled to begin this week, has a new start date of June 22.
· The purging of anything containing the words “Speaker Silver” has begun.
· …Even the assemblyman’s own biography has been altered, with no mention of his former leadership role.
· Councilman Carlos Menchaca has reportedly been removed as co-chair of the NYC Council’s Brooklyn delegation, following a vote by his colleagues. More here.
· The Green Party is mad at Sen. Sue Serino for falsely claiming on a piece of constituent mail that she ran on its line last year.
· State agencies in New York paid out $50 million in overtime last year, an 8.2 percent increase, and at least 20 workers each received $100,000 in overtime alone.