capitoldusk

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, it’s getting late early in Albany.

That was the sentiment from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who told reporters in New York City earlier today that he was skeptical “complicated” issues such as Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s ethics and campaign finance reform legislation or Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preferred 421a abatement reforms would be made law.

There are about 10 legislative session days left on the calendar this year, but the session itself does not conclude until June 17.

“Let me make this as a blanket statement: It is late in the day, for anything,” Cuomo said. “You have a number of days left and any complicated issue, anyone who has watched Albany with one eye for a short period of time, you can’t get realistic a complicated issue with the Assembly and the Senate in the midst of everything that’s going on.”

Cuomo even went as far as casting doubt on the passage of his newly introduced bill that would be aimed at protecting workers in nail salons.

Even still, it’s not wholly unusual, even in recent years under Cuomo, for legislation to be introduced and sail through both chambers and even without much public campaigning: The SAFE Act was passed in the weeks following a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, while Cuomo around this time in May introduced his economic development bill that would ultimately become the START-UP NY program.

In both instances, lawmakers approved the legislation, which was sweeping and complex in their scope.

“The Assembly and Senate often take years to pass a bill,” Cuomo said. “We have a much better track record than has happened in the past, but it’s not unusual for a legislative body to discuss these things for many, many months.”

Schneiderman’s legislative omnibus package — closing the LLC, public financing, a full-time Legislature that bans outside pay among them — have been kicking around Albany for years and was recently part of a push from Senate Democrats.

“Anybody who has a complicated proposal and to broach it now — I think it’s going to be very tough,” Cuomo said.

Still, state lawmakers have said privately there is very little desire to do much this session beyond the “have-tos” of extending rent control laws for New York City as well as mayoral control of city schools, both of which are due to expire next month.

De Blasio is pushing changes to the 421a program that would expand affordable housing under the measure, but has run into opposition from labor groups over the prevailing wage (a provision on the wage is included, but for service workers).

Cuomo today indicated he was siding with the labor unions opposed to de Blasio’s plan, though he left his exact position on the issue vague.

“They believe the mayor’s plan hurts the workers and doesn’t pay a fair wage, a prevailing wage and those are very serious accusations,” Cuomo said. “I want to make sure we’re getting the fair return for the tax break and I want to protect the workers.”

Updated: Schneiderman actually addressed the issue of timing in the session, noting that three weeks at the Capitol “is a lifetime.”

“Bills have not yet been written that will come to life, die, come back, die again and come back again,” Schneiderman said. “So, there is plenty of time to do this, we have provided information about the proposals we have made, other states in which they have been used, New York City as a model for some of them. There are very few things in here that were not introduced before by somebody and have been considered. The Legislature and the governor have all the time they need to pass comprehensive reform legislation and put an end to this cycle of prosecution and further erosion of public confidence. All we lack is the political will.”