What Does Cuomo Do Now?
ICYMI, here’s today’s morning memo:
Even before the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy, the coming agenda for Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the new year remained something of a guessing game.
Would he shore up his left flank on issues like gun control, campaign finance reform and education spending?
Or would he continue to be stymied on those goals by a Republican-controlled state Senate and seek a safer path of modest legislative accomplishments?
The storm, and the basket-case unpredictablility that is the Senate’s coming leadership brawl, however, have caused much more uncertainty.
Increasingly, it appears that 2013 and indeed the remainder of Cuomo’s first term in office will be defined by recovering from the storm. A bad situation was made worse this week after an early nor’easter dumped several inches of snow across the area.
The governor announced Thursday that storm’s cost to New York is expected to top $30 billion and add an additional $1 billion to the New York’s deficit for the 2013-14 budget.
Cuomo, who has largely praised the federal response to the storm, used the news to push for more help from Washington.
“If they think any local government or any taxpayer of this state can pay any more for this storm, they are wrong,” the governor said. “I think 100 percent reimbursement is what we deserve, and what I’m going to fight for, and what I’m going to our ask our congressional delegation to ffight for…we pay a lot of taxes nationally, and I want respect for our taxpayers.”
Meanwhile, unrest is growing in New York City and the downstate suburbs over the painfully slow work by the major utilities to get the lights back home in storm-ravaged communities. Gasoline is being rationed now on Long Island and in the boroughs.
In the longer term, Cuomo wants to rebuild the city’s infrastructure to handle these increasingly frequent extreme weather events. How much that will cost and what those infrastructure changes might be remain undetermined.
And while Cuomo has a new reality to deal with in New York City, he must still contend with the unemployment in the upstate region, questions over whether the state will allow hydrofracking in parts of the Southern Tier and how to close that now estimated $2 billion budget gap.
All of this comes as the state Senate’s leadership remains very much in doubt.
Democrats are confident they’ve swiped several seats from Republicans and if Terry Gipson holds on against GOP Sen. Stephen Saland (who Cuomo endorsed), then they have a numerical majority of 32.
Of course, that’s complicated by what Sen. Jeff Klein and his four-member Independent Democratic Confernece will decide to do. And if Cecilia Tkaczyk also fails in the absentee ballot count in the newly created 46th Senate District, then Democrats will also have to make a deal with Simcha Felder, a Democrat who has been woed by Republicans.
Keep in mind the Senate GOP is very, very good about clawing its way back to power in Albany. It’s the last power base in New York state that Republicans control and losing it now could spell permanent minority for the party of Rockefeller and Pataki.
Cuomo at Thursday’s news conference insisted he won’t get involved in the leadership squabble
But his agenda moving forward before he starts to campaign for his own re-election in 2014 — including rebuilding a city and region devastated by a disturbingly strong storm — could hinge on whether the Senate is a stable partner in government.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on November 9, 2012 at 11:43 am, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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