Cuomo: Vote ‘Yes’ Next Year On Redistricting Amendment, Or Commit ‘Political Suicide’
During Round I of his radio victory lap following the Legislature’s passage of a redistricting, pension reform, DNA expansion, gambling package late last night/early this morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo heaped praise on lawmakers for again bucking Albany’s dysfunction to approve his top policy agenda items.
“The dysfunctional was the aberration,” Cuomo told the NY Post’s Fred Dicker on Talk 1300. “This is what government should be doing…Government is about action; it’s not a debating society.”
“…I think legislators heard the message, and I think at the end of the day, the legislators did the right thing. At the end of the day there’s a different dynamic, and government is working and the legislators want to keep it working.”
Cuomo rejected any suggestion that he compromised too much to get this deal, or screwed organized labor – particularly when it comes to pension reform. He called that “politics,” adding: “You have to take it all with a grain of salt..sometimes two grains of salt.”
The governor said he’s “very happy” with where the state ended up on pension reform, even though the final deal achieves about $80 billion over the next 30 years – down from the $113 billion estimated in his original proposal. He reiterated his claim that if the Legislature had not acted, there would have been mass layoffs at the local government level and tax increases for New York property owners.
On redistricting, Cuomo admitted that the Senate and Assembly lines are “far from perfect,” and he “did not accomplish what I hoped to accomplish during the campaign,” which was creation of an independent redistricting commission in time for this year’s line-drawing extravaganza. He again insisted that his hands were tied after the Legislature refused to heed his call for reform that would take effect now instead of ten years from now.
Cuomo said he understands former Mayor Ed Koch’s frustration with the Legislature – again, he took no responsibility for the situation – saying: “He feels betrayed. They betrayed him. I get it.”
Cuomo side-stepped the question on Koch’s disappointment with his plan to sign LATFOR’s Senate and Assembly lines, (assuming he’s going to; Dicker didn’t actually ask that question). He said he initially planned to keep his veto pledge, but that option became “less appealing” after he saw the special master’s plan for the House lines, which he deemed more or less the same as the Legislative-drawn congressional maps. (This point is debatable).
Had the legislative lines been punted to the special master, Cuomo reasoned, there would have been no opportunity for redistricting reform via the constitutional amendment and back-up statute passed last night/this morning, and that would have been a “terrible defeat.”
Cuomo predicted that the next elected Legislature will give second passage to the constitutional amendment, effectively rendering the statute moot, because not to do so would be “committing political suicide.” If the Legislature does indeed act as the governor believes it will, the public will be able to vote on the redistricting amendment next fall.
The governor refused to reveal his thinking on where the seven non-Indian casinos approved in the gambling constitutional amendment, saying only that he cares very much about the process that will play out next year.
Cuomo didn’t want to get tied down to predictions about an early budget and easy end to the legislative session, although he did admit what remains to be done is “far and away less controversial” than last year’s budget fight. “There’s still work to do on the budget,” he said. “But I think surely most of the contentious work has been done.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on March 15, 2012 at 11:04 am, and is filed under Albany, Andrew Cuomo, Assembly, Redistricting, State Senate, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|