The Senate's new coalition government is still in its infancy, but Governor Andrew Cuomo told Senate republicans Tuesday that he wants to get his agenda done. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has more.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A major question mark hanging over the new coalition controlling the State Senate is whether it can muster the votes to pass a host of measures Governor Andrew Cuomo would like to see accomplished. Wednesday, Cuomo issued a strong warning to Republican leader Dean Skelos. The message? Don't stand in his way.
Cuomo said, “If Senator Skelos is opposed to the agenda of the people of this state, then I will oppose him and then I will be involved. I'm not going to say who sits in which office and gets which car, not my business. But getting agenda done, it is my business.”
A power sharing agreement between Republicans and five independent Democrats allows the GOP to retain some power in the Senate next year. But the breakaway faction of Democrats, led by Senator Jeff Klein, want to increase the state's minimum wage and reform campaign finance laws and stop and frisk arrests in New York City, all are measures Cuomo says he wants next year.
“They are wrong to oppose campaign finance reform, they are wrong to oppose raising the minimum wage. They are wrong to oppose stop and frisk reform. They are wrong,” Cuomo said
But Republicans are in a difficult place. Many in the GOP remain opposed to those policies and have faced withering criticism from the powerful Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long over entering into the agreement in the first place. Skelos told reporters that he thinks his conference can still work with Cuomo.
Skelos said, “The governor has the right to point out what's priority to him. We have our priorities, but we've shown that we have been able to work together and resolve our differences.”
But so far, the priorities of the Republican conference, which will not hold a numerical majority in the chamber next year, are vague.
“If we cut taxes, especially business taxes to create jobs, I think that's totally appropriate,” Skelos said.
Republicans have worked well with the popular governor on a range of issues from a new pension tier to allowing a vote on same-sex marriage that passed with some GOP support.