How leaders believe new coalition will work
Five independent democrats, 30 Republicans and one Democrat with Republican leanings have decided to form a new coalition. We're now hearing more on why they made this decision and how they envision it will work going forward. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The new reality of a State Senate coalition led by Democrats and Republicans will likely complicated a year that's already shaping up to be a complex one for Governor Andrew Cuomo. At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the governor said he was taking a wait and see attitude on whether the new Senate leadership will work.
Cuomo said, “Obviously I want what the people of the state want which is a government body that operates that is conducts itself professionally. We've seen the alternative and it was terrible. “
In an op/ed sent to The Times Union of Albany, Cuomo laid out a 10 point agenda for the coming legislative session. Among the items: Increasing the state's minimum wage, reforming campaign finance laws and changing New York City's stop and frisk policy. Cuomo also used the piece to bash both Democrats and Republicans for when they led the chamber.
“The politics goes back a long period of time. There are negative characteristics of the last Democratic leadership no doubt. There's also negative characteristics of Republican leadership that, frankly, goes back decades,” Cuomo said.
The governor says he wants to see two things: Whether lawmakers support his agenda and how they act on it before he settles on support.
“I want to wait to get the data, the information, on both of those things,” Cuomo said.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who would become conference chairman under the new power sharing arrangement, said in a radio interview he's confident he can work with Democratic Senator Jeff Klein.
“Jeff and I are working through the process here and what we've committed to is there no issue that we can't resolved in a bipartisan favorable way,” Skelos said.
And for Cuomo, next year's challenges include whether the state will receive a supplemental aid request of more than $40 billion from the federal government and the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the state budget.
Cuomo said, “For next year, the revenues, that's a question mark, that could make a significant difference, the supplemental from the federal government, what do we get if anything and how can we use that?”
The budget deficit was expected to be under one billion for the coming fiscal year, but Cuomo's office is expected to revise that number come January.