Cuomo Says He’ll Push For Public Financing, But The Votes Aren’t There
Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed he would continue to push for a broader public financing program statewide, but at the same time insisted the votes aren’t available for the measure to pass the state Senate.
Cuomo in a Red Room news conference at the Capitol praised the passage of a fourth on-time budget in a row, which state lawmakers put the finishing touches on about 45 minutes before the midnight deadline Monday evening.
Cuomo’s news conference went with a baseball motif: He called the passage of four budgets in a row a “grand slam” and took pictures with legislative leaders while holding a baseball bat (This is an odd echo of Republican Carl Paladino’s promise to bring a “baseball to Albany” if elected governor; in the end, it was Cuomo who did so).
Nevertheless, Cuomo laid out some measures he had hoped that would been included in the $138 billion spending plan, including the public financing of political campaigns statewide.
“It is not that we have accomplished everything,” Cuomo said. “We have more to do. There’s no doubt about that. There are pieces of legislation that we would have liked to pass.”
The budget agreement only included a pilot program for the state comptroller’s race with a 6-to-1 donor matching system.
Advocates had wanted a broader, statewide program and blamed Cumoo in a series of statements on Monday for failing to push lawmakers to accept a statewide plan.
But despite his insistence he would continue to push for a broader public financing system, Cuomo was just as insistent that the votes didn’t exist for the legislation.
“Public finance as the speaker said is a difficult issue,” Cuomo said. “It’s been discussed for thirty years and there is a difference of opinion on public finance and you have a very strong feeling especially in the Senate that public finance is not the way to go.”
Cuomo has been known to push hard for a variety of contentious and long-sought measures, ranging from the January 2013 gun control law known as the SAFE Act to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Both times, Cuomo invested significant political capital and negotiated personally with individual lawmakers to get the votes on the bills.
The governor, however, says same-sex marriage was a relatively new concept compared to public financing, which has been debated in Albany for a generation.
“Make no mistake,. there is a strong opposition to public finance,” he said. “At the end of the day, I don’t believe the votes are there in both houses to pass public finance.”
In the end, Cuomo says realism has to take hold.
“Marriage equality we had the votes,” Cuomo said. “Safe Act we had the votes. Public finance, we don’t have the votes.”
Senate Republicans remain the principle opponents of a statewide public financing, saying they are uncomfortable with the use of taxpayer money to fund political campaigns.
The deep-pocketed supporters of public financing are considering a variety of options, including an aggressive campaign season strategy, to move the needle on the issue.
“These are legislators who have debated this issue for years and years and it’s much easier said than done, well talk to a senator about public finance, maybe you’ll change their mind,” Cuomo said.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on April 1, 2014 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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