Cuomo’s Second Term Blues
From the Morning Memo:
A major facet of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first-term power was his power to persuade, cajole and pressure state lawmakers and elected officials to bend to his will.
This year, the opposite appears to be occurring.
Now entering his second term, the governor appears to have lost high-profile debates in the state budget session to the state’s teachers union on education issues while he’s had difficulty in getting Senate Republicans to agree to disclosure legislation.
Those were once nominal allies of the governor, like mainline Senate Democrats, have little hesitation in criticizing him, either.
“It sounds like what we’re headed towards is a glorified extender which keeps the government running, but takes all the major issues out of it,” said Sen. Mike Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who is the deputy leader in the chamber, in a Capital Tonight interview.
Indeed, budget lines in the sand from Cuomo over ethics, education reform, the DREAM Act and education tax credit melted away in the last several days. Jettisoned from the budget talks, too, were discussions over juvenile justice reform and curtailing sexual assault on college campuses (funding for raising the age of criminal responsibility is still under discussion in the budget talks).
Every budget year is always different, but this does not appear to be shaping up to be the like packages of the first term, which included long-sought reforms in addition to being on time.
Part of that is Cuomo’s skill as a negotiator. Gianaris, in the interview, added a second factor: Cuomo’s mandate.
“There’s always a deference to a governor who is recently elected in his first term,” he said. “There’s a mandate there”
He cited Republican George Pataki who, in his first several years, won major victories on the death penalty and tax cuts, but ran into difficulty legislatively later in his time as governor.
Then, like now, the mandate for Cuomo appears to be waning, which has encouraged lawmakers in both parties to push back.
“As that fades, I think the Legislature is emboldened to speak up and stand up a little more,” Gianaris said. “Now we’re seeing, coming off an election the governor scored 52 percent or so of the people that turned out, I think people are feeling on the legislative side, and we’re talking about the majorities as well, a little emboldened to make that case. That’s a natural phenomenon, I’ve seen it happen with other governors and I think we’re seeing it now.”
Granted, Cuomo has found ways in his first four years to win major victories outside of the budget: Same-sex marriage, gun control, tax reform, a new pension tier and previous ethics victories just to name a few.
Cuomo can still turn his year around in Albany, but he’ll have to do without the powers afforded the governor in the budget-making process.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on March 26, 2015 at 8:42 am, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo, Democrats, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|