With NYSUT Involved, Libous Promises To Go On Offense
Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous said today Republicans will make an issue out of the state United Teachers union committing at least $750,000 on behalf of Democratic candidates across the state.
Libous pointed to the union’s opposition to aspects of the cap on property tax increases — including the 60 percent override feature — and the Tier Six pension overhaul, which Republicans believe are popular with moderate voters in suburban battleground districts.
The union’s political action committee is reportedly getting involved in three Senate races in Monroe and Westchester counties, along with the Queens Senate race.
“We’re going to let that be known,” Libous told me in a phone interview. ”They attacked us, we didn’t attack them. They came after Hanna. We at no time attacked the teachers union, they attacked us and we have to defend ourselves.”
Libous said Democrats are running the risk of appearing “beholden to particular labor unions that are anti-tax cap. I’m not saying that’s the case for all unions, that’s at least for the teachers, they put the issues in play and you have to put the facts out.”
Senate Republicans, of course, were once beneficiaries of NYSUT’s political backing. Big issues for the conference continue to be education funding, especially on Long Island — Majority Leader Dean Skelos’s home base — and upstate and rural districts.
But the tax cap — a measure championed by Cuomo — along with the pension measure passed in March, have made relations difficult.
Libous insisted that Republicans will be to have a governing relationship with the union once the dust settles.
Republicans today say they are excited about two Siena College polls that show a Republican lead in Monroe County and an opening in Westchester County — a suburban district the GOP has eyed the last two cycles as a chance for a pickup. Libous said in the interview that the surveys — while not showing Assemblyman Sean Hanna at the magic 50 percent mark just yet — are signs that independents and even some Democrats are inching their way.
The chairman of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, the Binghamton lawmaker said he doesn’t expect Cuomo to make a full-blown endorsement of some of their candidates moving forward.
Cuomo last month had offered to endorse Sen. Roy McDonald, a “yes” vote for same-sex marriage, after he lost his GOP primary to Kathy Marchione. McDonald instead decided to suspend his campaign instead of running on the Independence Party line.
Cuomo told reporters that he wasn’t necessarily prepared to do the same thing for Sens. Mark Grisanti and Stephen Saland, who face a crowded general election field.
“The governor has publicly been supportive of those individuals who supported gay marriage,” Libous said. ”We’re running spots in districts where the governor is saying nice things about Grisanti. I suspect he’ll continue to be helpful to Steve Saland. I think he’s sending solid signals of support without overtly doing public support.”
Libous added that he believes the status quo will be maintained with the four-member Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway group of Democratic Sens. Jeff Klein, David Carlucci, Diane Savino and David Valesky who have worked well with the GOP majority.
“The IDC has worked with us in a very cooperative way,” Libous said. “They have been supportive of maybe 90 percent of the Senate Republican initiatives. I see no reason for any of that to change. I think the IDC wants what we want. They want a functioning government that works cooperatively the governor to keep taxes low and bring this state to where it’s supposed to be.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on October 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm, and is filed under Republicans, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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