Cuomo’s Left Flank Problems Nothing New
Though the name of Chris Hayes may be taken in a vain several times on the second floor today, it’s important to think back to where we were in Albany this time last year.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was under increasing pressure from liberals and other progressive, left-leaning groups to keep a surcharge tax on those making $250,000 and higher which was due to expire at the end of the year as the Occupy Wall Street protests popped in nearly every city, including across the street from the Capitol.
In the end, Cuomo engineered an overhaul of the state’s tax code, which kept the tax partially in placer and help fill a budget deficit for the coming fiscal year. Everyone was generally happy with the compromise: Democrats could go home and say they just raised taxes on the rich, while Republicans could claim a broad-based middle-class tax cut.
Now Cuomo faces pressure on a measure he actually supports: raising the state’s minimum wage.
Earlier today, a coalition of anti-hunger advocates gathered at the Capitol for a vigil to raise the minimum wage.
Amid talks at the demonstration was the hope that Cuomo and Senate Republicans would see the light, along with the more earthly desire that he call the Legislature back in December for a special session.
“This is a relatively simple issue: Are you going to raise it or not? Bring the Senate back, you could do it in an extraordinary session,” said Mark Dunlea of the Albany-based Hunger Action Network. “Bring it up, five minutes, up or down, yes no, and frankly if comes up for a vote it wins.”
Michael Kink of the Strong Economy for All Coalition was equally eager for a special session, even if the Senate GOP continues to oppose it.
“The governor has very persuasive powers,” Kink said. “I think the governor can take action, I think he has a lot on his plate right now with hurricane and the recovery.”
That may be, but he’s also got to govern within constraints, 70 percent approval rating or not.
Those constraints continue to be a Senate in leadership limbo an a very devastating natural disaster to recover from.
If we’ve learned anything from Cuomo’s style is that he pushes forward with his agenda when there’s a clear picture he has the votes in a famously recalcitraint Legislature. Cuomo earlier this year declined to push through a minimum wage hike to $8.50, saying it would have been a tougher lift than same-sex marriage was in 2011.
And getting all the work done has given him something of a grab bag of accomplishments for those on the right and left (and brings that charge that he’s not really “for” anything).
He was the driving force behind the legalization of same-sex marriage, but also a new less generous pension tier for incoming public workers. He’s raised taxes on the wealthy, but also put in place a property tax cap.
For December, the governor had floated mulitple trial ballons for the potential special session, which now appears unlikely: a minimum wage hike, marijuana decriminlization, even gun control legislation with all of it bundled up with a legislative pay hike.
And naturally all of the criticism comes as the attention span challenged public turns its attention to 2016. Regardless of whether he intends to run, that’s exactly the lens he doesn’t want us to be looking through.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on November 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm, 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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