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Pallotta Op/Ed: Educators Are Heroes And Forces Of Good

The following is an op/ed by Andy Pallotta, the president of the New York State United Teachers.

In an interview Monday on The Capitol Pressroom, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said NYSUT is a “force of evil.”

Really, Senator Flanagan?  Evil?

Sen. Flanagan may not value our members and their work, but I do. In fact, I couldn’t be more proud to represent some of the noblest, most selfless public servants in New York State.

People like Julie Cobb, a lunch monitor in Carthage, who used the Heimlich maneuver to save a sixth-grade student who was choking and turning blue.  Is Julie one of the “forces of evil” that Sen. Flanagan rails against?

Or maybe he meant Jamie Metivier, a reading teacher in South Glens Falls. Jamie created the Kindness Closet in her elementary school. It’s a place where struggling families can go for food to fill up their pantry and donated household items — like bedding, diapers and small appliances – when tough times get to be too much. 

How about Stephanie Castro and her amazing colleagues? Last year, Stephanie, a speech language pathologist, and special education teachers at P.S. 58 in Staten Island, succeeded in helping a sweet little girl named Celeste, who is just six, to speak aloud for the first time — a tear-inducing moment captured on video.  “We witnessed a miracle,” Stephanie said later. “Celeste was beaming.”

Are they “forces of evil?”

I understand that election season is upon us, and desperate politicians sometimes act out. But Sen. Flanagan should know better than to insult more than 600,000 kindergarten teachers, bus drivers, social workers and college professors who, every day, do the most important job on earth: They educate the next generation.

Maybe he thinks he can drive a wedge between educators and their union. Let there be no doubt: Educators are the union, and there is not one iota of space in between us.
   
NYSUT members are forces of good.  They are heroes who should be exalted by our elected leaders.  They should be lifted up and publicly praised for the noble work they do in our classrooms, hospitals and public higher education institutions, working on behalf of our state’s most precious resource: New York’s children.

Sadly, Sen. Flanagan has made his choice.  He chose to lash out at educators because we have the audacity to hold him accountable for his own actions.

In the waning hours of the last legislative session, Flanagan betrayed parents, educators and students.  He turned his back on them, as well as the 55 out of 63 senators who sponsored S.8301 – a bi-partisan bill to fix the state’s broken teacher evaluation system.  Flanagan tried to cash in with a last-minute bill aimed at currying favor with the big-ticket donors who lavish money on the charter industry and the GOP conference.

In refusing to bring S.8301 to the floor, Sen. Flanagan made clear where his allegiances lie, and they are clearly not with parents and the state’s public education community.

Sen. Flanagan will only have himself to blame if voters hold him accountable for not standing up for our schools. 

Indeed, more than 600,000 “forces of good” are now even more energized, angry and ready to vote on November 6.

Flanagan Op/Ed: The Stakes For The Senate

The following is an op/ed by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.

When Republicans win the state Senate in November, our majority will be the most important firewall in history between every taxpayers’ wallet and government coffers.

And voters know it.

It seems some scared Democrats do too.

That’s because the Senate’s Democrat Conference will be composed of members soon to sail to victory in New York City, complete with a new far more leftist, socialist agenda — and one that’s been embraced by its leadership — as the be all, end all for every corner of this state.

That agenda includes Democrat socialist policies like single payer health care, taxpayer funded heroin injection sites, taxpayer funded campaigns, a Sanctuary State for illegal immigrants who commit aggravated felonies, abolishing ICE, and raising taxes to pay for it all.

Homeowners, business owners and every hardworking taxpayer upstate and downstate share in our concern that this is not only the wrong direction for New York State, but one that would create a financial nightmare for us all. Nobody wants to pay a single cent more in taxes, and only a Republican majority will not allow it.

New Yorkers want opportunity, affordability and security — issues that not a single Democrat talks about as they wave goodbye to 200,000 New Yorkers a year seeking opportunity elsewhere

The Senate Republican Majority is the lone voice of those doing everything they can to stay. Governor Cuomo recently blamed our serious outmigration problem on the weather, ignorant of the daily struggle of so many families and businesses across our state. Unfortunately, protecting New Yorkers from dangerous policies coming from New York City politicians is a full time job in Albany.
This year alone, we put the brakes on $1 billion in taxes and fees proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and $20 billion in taxes and fees proposed by the Assembly.

The Republican Senate fought to make the 2% property tax cap permanent, while one-third of the Democrat Conference voted against it; and we put forward legislation to cap state spending, while two-thirds of our colleagues across the aisle voted no. The Senate Republicans wrote the law to create the largest middle-income tax cut in 70 years, putting money back in the pockets of the people who need it most.

That did not stop Governor Cuomo, with Democrats running scared on Long Island, from rolling out a “Contract for Long Island,” which brazenly featured tax policy plagiarized from senate Republicans.

While on Long Island, the Governor and Democrats leave out facts while attempting to whip the public into a frenzy over federal tax changes. While the Governor played politics, the Senate’s Republican Majority took the lead and passed legislation to decouple State and Local taxes (SALT) from federal taxes, forcing the Governor to amend his budget and allowing our residents to continue to take $1.5 billion in deductions.

While the Governor continued to point his finger in every direction but his own, the Senate Republicans went to the heart of the problem and fought to drive down property taxes even further by passing legislation for the state takeover of county Medicaid costs that would result in dollar for dollar property tax reductions. Democrats opposed it.

As the Governor admitted on National Public Radio, that the real problem facing New York as a result of the federal tax code is that it is a “high tax state.” It would be even higher, if not for Senate Republicans. Our constituents are thankful that Republicans are the balance, and the voice of reason who stop Democrats from absconding with their money.

The same day that the Governor stood for a press stunt on Long Island, cribbing Republican tax policy that will never see the light of day in our absence — Democrat candidates from the Hudson Valley and Long Island stood shoulder to shoulder with socialist primary winners in New York City, their supporters and prominent progressives like New York City Speaker Corey Johnson and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

The Democrat Conference vows to enact single payer health care, and so do all the candidates they are running. Medicaid for All would double the state’s budget while taking away Medicare from our seniors. You cannot support a cap on spending and a permanent cap on property taxes, while supporting budget-doubling policies like socialized medicine.

There is no question that access to health care is vital for New Yorkers. That is why, Senate Republicans continue to work to remove waste, fraud and abuse from our system, while making sure insurance premiums and drug prices go down. This has resulted in statewide coverage increasing, going from 10% in 2013 to 4.7% last year. The answer lies in helping 4.7% access health care, not dismantling a functioning system and threatening the stability of jobs in health care.

But the contradictions don’t stop there.

How can we conquer the opioid and heroin epidemic that’s hit our communities hard, while Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and Democrat candidates signal support for taxpayer funded injection sites that would make shooting heroin legal within a facility? Republicans in the Senate support rehabilitation to get New Yorkers the help they need. Meanwhile, one-third of the Democrats in the Senate voted against our common sense legislation to crackdown on dealers who peddle heroin within 1,000 feet of rehab centers.

How can we fight gangs like MS-13, a group responsible for killing Long Island youth, Latino youth, if Democrats support creating a Sanctuary State? To be clear, if an individual commits a serious crime and is in the country illegally, that individual does not deserve sanctuary. Where is the justice for Long Island’s victims?

Democrats who will be joining the Senate in January want to “Abolish ICE.” They have forgotten that ICE is a federal law enforcement agency created post-9/11 to facilitate interagency communication.

Democrats have made clear that they intend to repeat history by slashing school funding to upstate and Long Island schools. When Democrats briefly controlled the Senate, they created Gap Elimination Adjustment, shortchanging upstate schools. Republicans in the state Senate made sure that we restored funding to those schools to end the GEA. Senate Democrats also cut school aid to Long Island by up to 18%, instead sending money to New York City where the concentration of their conference represents. It will be no different with current Democrats. As Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul said during her debate, Long Island schools get too much money because of Republicans.

Rest assured, we will never let school children upstate or on Long Island be shortchanged.

Where do they want tax dollars to go? Democrats talk about taking corporate money out of politics, but never tell voters that they plan to take taxpayer money to replace it. Republicans simply do not believe hard-earned tax dollars should fund anyone’s political ambitions.

The most ambitious of all, of course, is Governor Cuomo, who hasn’t fooled anybody about how much he covets a run for the White House. He wants nothing more than total one party control of every branch of state government, leaving him completely unchecked and with a leftist narrative to run for president.

This, while his closest allies have been felled by corruption. He costs Albany its reputation and taxpayers pay for it.

New Yorkers have unfortunately foot the bill for expenses like $200,000 for Cuomo to hire attorneys to fight with the New York Times in an attempt to cover up emails related to the Buffalo Billions scandal. It costs us federal tax dollars to prosecute people like Joseph Percoco, the Governor’s closest advisor and campaign manager, who will spend six years behind bars for his role in the Buffalo Billions corruption scheme. Let’s not forget Cuomo’s other friends convicted in this shameful bid-rigging scandal: Todd Howe and Alain Kaloyeros.

Last week, Cuomo’s Buffalo operative Steve Pigeon pled guilty to federal bribery charges.

Cuomo is embroiled in a new scandal involving over $400,000 in donations from employees of Crystal Run Health Care and lied to the press about the company’s attorney flagging the contributions.

The corruption in the Cuomo administration seems never ending and we must clean it up. Good government groups hailed the Republican Majority for its passage of a sweeping common sense ethics and transparency reform package, including measures like a database of deals to tackle these issues head on. Self-serving Cuomo blocked these sensible reforms from moving in the Assembly, controlled by Democrats.

No one should trust that anyone other than the Senate Republicans will fight against corruption, and we fully intend to pass these measures again. The Governor’s Democrats have been tainted since they continue to accept his cash to advance his personal ambitions and agenda.

Thankfully, Republican voters value our important role in government. We will stand up to break-the-bank policies that will hurt every single New Yorkers. We will always remember that we represent every inch of this state, not just one city, and we will continue to create opportunity, affordability and security for all. We will be the balance in the face of the Governor and his leftist allies.

Flanagan Op/Ed: ‘Why We’re Going To Win In November’

The following is an op/ed submitted Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan:

Democrats now crow about the result of a recent Senate special election along with the well-deserved retirements of several long-term GOP state Senators, claiming it’s a harbinger for November.

Not so fast.

While the outcome in the 37th Senate District personally disappointed me, it was not unexpected. Democrats enjoyed a two-to-one registration edge and for decades held that seat. They did not flip a seat controlled by Republicans. In short, Democrats did what they were supposed to do.

Yes, a number of senior members of our conference announced recently they would not be running for re-election. We will certainly miss their experience, but their decisions to leave the Senate had already been made earlier this year.

The good news is these districts have all been represented by Republicans for years, if not decades. We expect to field “A” level candidates in each district who will help us maintain our majority and be excellent legislators starting on day one.

We’re very fortunate that our well known incumbents have extraordinary records delivering funding for their districts, helping seniors and conquering constituent cases that some might have seen as unsolvable.

Our senators cut taxes and then cut them again. Thanks to our majority middle-class individuals and families now pay the lowest rate in 70 years.

Every year, our senators send record amounts of education aid to schools.

And importantly, they have tackled the heroin and opioid crisis affecting communities throughout the state head on.

I expect every single one of them to be re-elected.

Meanwhile, there are a number of Democrat seats that present opportunities for pickups, both on Long Island and in Upstate districts once represented by members of the now dissolved Independent Democratic Conference. We have never contested those seats, but now they are very much in play.

And, then there’s Governor Cuomo, whose unbridled ambition for higher office leaves every New York taxpayer in danger.

Facing a spirited challenge himself from actress Cynthia Nixon, he moves further to the left on a daily basis to appease those on the fringe of his Party. Instead of governing responsibly, he now uses his office to advance the core ideals of the far left.

For years, the Governor worked with me in a bipartisan manner to find common ground and move our state forward. But, I no longer recognize the person who occupies this office.

He says he wants one party control of our entire state government, with New York City politicians calling the shots, even though it comes with no accountability and no checks and balances.

Meanwhile, the Governor’s extreme agenda is anathema to the vast majority of hardworking taxpayers and their families.

He wants to raise taxes on people who are already among the highest taxed in the nation to pay for an expensive government run healthcare system — a plan which would also wipe out over 150,000 jobs.

He wants to give free college tuition to people who are in this country illegally while middle-class families scrimp and save, work a second job or go deep into debt trying to help their own kids afford college.

He wants taxpayer-funded political campaigns, allowing politicians to campaign exclusively on the public dime and forcing you, the taxpayer, to cover the cost of their negative TV ads, mailers and robocalls.

Worst of all, the Governor wants to grant convicted criminals the same rights enjoyed by you and me. Shockingly, his Parole Board just let three-time convicted cop killer Herman Bell walk free, and with the stroke of a pen he unilaterally gave convicted rapists and murderers out on parole the right to vote and influence our elections.

In the meantime, our Senate Majority is focused on the things hardworking New Yorkers everywhere discuss around their kitchen tables— affordability, opportunity and security.

We’re the only ones talking about cutting taxes.

We’re the only ones talking about creating jobs.

And, we’re the only ones talking about doing everything humanly possible to keep New Yorkers safe.

That’s why we’re going to win in November.

Winners, Losers And Tossups

From the Morning Memo:

Democrats are declaring victory, both nationally and in New York, after seeing the results of yesterday’s elections, which they cast as a rejection of President Donald Trump’s agenda and a bellwether of what’s to come in the 2018 contests. 

Outside New York, the biggest Democratic victories came in the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, where the party was able to make inroads in traditionally GOP-held suburban areas. 

That same phenomenon played out on a smaller scale here in the Empire State, with the biggest upset seen in Westchester County, where Democratic state Sen. George Latimer ousted two-term GOP incumbent Rob Astorino. 

The win changed the calculus for next’s year’s battle for control of the state Senate and also ended any hope Astorino might have harbored for a re-match against his constituent and political nemesis, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

Cuomo stuck to the Democratic message last night, with a generalized election night statement that cast the results as a rebuke to Trump. 

“Tonight, the people of New York and across the country have spoken,” Cuomo said in the statement, which was released by the state Democratic Party. “And they have resoundingly rejected Trump’s philosophy and the disciples of the extreme conservative gospel.”

“We in New York chose equality, opportunity and community over hate, division and negativity,” the governor continued. “Those values are in New York’s DNA – they won tonight and always will.”

Here are the winners, losers and the tossups from last night’s results. 

Winners

The mayor. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who easily cruised to re-election against his Republican challenger, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis,  making him the first Democrat since Ed Koch to be returned to City Hall for a second term, also cast himself as the progressive answer to Trump in the president’s hometown.  Even before the results were in, de Blasio was pivoting his focus to the national level, with talk that he might establish a federal PAC and speculation that he might harbor White House aspirations. That, of course, would put him even more at odds with his Democratic frenemy, Cuomo. 

-Liz Benjamin

Senate Democrats. In a broad sense, it was a good night for Democrats. They won a key suburban county executive race in Westchester and appear poised to win in Nassau County as well. This, as Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins suggested Tuesday night, portends a blue wave coming next year for marginal Republicans running down ballot — a wave that never materialized for Democrats running under Hillary Clinton in 2016. But likely sooner than that, Democrats will have to defend the Senate seat being vacated by County Executive-elect George Latimer. The district has long been coveted by Republicans who, despite throwing a ton of cash at it in races and drawing the district to fit GOP contenders, haven’t been able to crack it.

-Nick Reisman

Gubernatorial wannabes. Rob Astorino’s loss in Westchester County clarified the GOP nomination for governor next year. Astorino could still run next year. But a key argument of his from 2014 campaign — winning 2-to-1 in the Democratic heavy suburban county — is now hobbled by his being unseated in a race in which President Donald Trump proved to be an albatross. Republicans John DeFrancisco, Harry Wilson and Marc Molinaro now have a somewhat clearer path in the gubernatorial nominating race. Molinaro has already filed paperwork to run for governor or at least appear somewhere on a ticket with Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb. Expect more Republicans to make their intentions known in the coming weeks.

-Nick Reisman

Labor and strange bedfellows. The resounding defeat of Prop. 1, which would have established a constitutional convention, was a big win for organized labor, which was the main driver behind the campaign for a “no” vote. The unions also saw a pre-election win in the push to scale back the pension forfeiture constitutional amendment known as Prop. 2, which was also approved by the voters – albeit by a smaller margin than Prop. 1.  The “strange bedfellows” coalition that temporarily joined forces to defeat the con-con – including the state Conservative Party, NYCLU, Planned Parenthood and gun rights advocates – saw a win yesterday, but don’t expect this short-lived union to continue. It’s a safe bet these groups that briefly managed to put aside their differences for the shared purpose to beating back Prop. 1 will quickly return to being at odds over all manners of policy and political issues. 

-Liz Benjamin

No party. Independents got a big boost in the unexpectedly strong victory of Ben Walsh over Democrat Juanita Perez Williams in the Syracuse mayor’s race. Walsh is only the second independent, unaffiliated with any major political party, to lead Syracuse in its history.  Though Walsh is a GOP scion, he was supported by a number of prominent Democratic elected officials. He says his victory will be a “grand experiment” in non-partisan governing, (whatever that means).  Another individual who benefitted from Walsh’s win: Businessman Martin Babinec, who failed in his own independent bid in NY-22 in 2016, but went on to create the Upstate Jobs Party with an eye toward supporting other like-minded candidates who aren’t hewing to any major party ideology. 

-Liz Benjamin

Democratic turnout. Whether motivated by Trump or fueled by labor union members fretting the constitutional convention, Democratic voters did an unusual thing on Tuesday: They voted. Typically the party does not turnout in odd-numbered years, leaving Republicans to win local-level races, even in areas that have trended against the GOP in recent years and the Democratic presidential candidates tend to do well. This time around, Democrats appear to have turned out heavily in the suburbs for Latimer and Laura Curran. Latimer, in particular, ran a race pushing for the anti-Trump vote hard in Hillary Clinton’s home county. It may have helped Latimer, ironically, that Astorino was given support from a super PAC fueled by Robert Mercer, a billionaire investor and former benefactor of Breitbart News. Democrats were looking to take out their 2016 frustrations and found Astorino and, perhaps, Jack Martins in Nassau County. The question remains whether they will be able to muster the same level of sustained involvement in next year’s midterm elections. And whether Republicans in swing House districts in New York targeted by Democrats — Reps. John Faso, John Katko and Claudia Tenney to name three — will recalibrate in the wake of Tuesday night’s results.

-Nick Reisman

Tossups

Good-government reformers. It was a lonely job to push for the constitutional convention, a duty that fell to Democratic activist Bill Samuels. He had dreamed of a “Peoples Convention” that would back long-sought reforms to the state’s campaign finance laws and put structural changes in place that combat corruption. Rights for women and the LGBT community could be enshrined as well. Citizens Union, undergoing a leadership change in October, had also hope a con con would prove to be a vehicle for reform. It was not to be, as voters rejected the referendum — resoundingly. But there is a silver lining for the good-governments who had hoped for a con con: Voters approved a constitutional amendment that allows for the stripping of pensions for state officials convicted of felonies. The amendment is aimed largely at elected officials and policy-making appointees in order to deter corruption from taking place. Opponents of the convention referendum had argued this method of changing the constitution — an amendment approved by two separately elected sessions of the Legislature and then by voters — is the preferred method of improving the state’s governing document.

-Nick Reisman

State lawmakers. Having state lawmaker on your CV has in recent elections been a hindrance to winning higher office. Special elections for Congress are littered with members of the state Senate and Assembly who tried and failed to win the seats. Albany did not necessarily prove to be a lead balloon for several incumbent lawmakers running for local office on Tuesday night, including Sen. George Latimer, Assemblyman Mickey Kearns and Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin. It was not the case for Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who as expected was not elected mayor of New York City. Still, operatives on Tuesday night agreed Malliotakis still has a bright political future ahead of her.

-Nick Reisman

Losers

Women. Losing the Syracuse mayor’s office was something of a blow for women. Outgoing Mayor Stephanie Miner was the first woman to hold that office. Other the upstate women mayors – Albany’s Kathy Sheehan and Rochester’s Lovely Warren – did easily cruise to re-election, both of them netting a second, four-year term.  Also something of a setback for women, arguably, was the victory of Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin in the Rensselaer County executive race. McLaughlin defeated the party-backed GOP candidate, Chris Meyer, in the September primary, but suffered a number of negative stories in the local media about his verbal abuse of a female legislative aide. McLaughlin apologized for the incident, but his Democratic opponent, Andrea Smyth, tried to make political hay of it, saying the assemblyman’s behavior made him unfit to lead.  Voters appear to have sided with McLaughlin on this one, demonstrating yet again that the personal behavior of a candidate in regards to the treatment of women, is not necessarily a big concern. That’s something of a surprise given the headlines being generated lately in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. But perhaps we haven’t come as far as we thought we had as an electorate after putting a man who bragged about grabbing women by their private parts in the Oval Office. 

-Liz Benjamin

Flanagan: “A Majority Now, An Even More Robust Majority in 2019”

The following is an op/ed submitted by Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.

Political insiders can continue to speculate, but any talk about Democrat reunification in the State Senate is a moot point.

Republicans have 32 members in our conference now and history shows we will grow our majority in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

First, some facts.

No matter how many times the mainline Democrats or their radical allies on the left say Republicans don’t have a numerical majority, it’s just not true.

We have 32 members in our conference who caucus together and work together to improve the lives of the citizens of this state.

That includes 31 Republicans and Senator Felder, a conservative Democrat who ran on the Republican and Conservative lines in his last election and has conferenced with us since he was first elected to the Senate.

While we have a Republican majority now, history tells us that our majority will only grow in the midterms.

Want evidence of that? Look no further than the last two midterm elections, 2010 and 2014.

In 2010, Republicans won four Democrat-held seats, in route to winning back control of the chamber after two disastrous and dysfunctional years of all-Democrat reign.

In 2014, we flipped three seats held by Democrats to retain and expand our majority.

In the last two midterm elections alone, we have defeated seven Democrat incumbents.

Meanwhile, our campaign operation is far superior to that of the mainline Democrats, and we will use it to grow our majority in 2018. Several districts now represented by Democrats are ripe for pick ups.

Democrat infighting, and the machinations being made by Senator Stewart-Cousins and Senator Gianaris about who would be in charge of a hypothetical Democrat Senate, are academic.

Republicans have the majority now and will have an even more robust one come 2019.

Maloney to Join ‘No Labels’

From our DC Reporter Michael Scotto:

A day after Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney made the list of lawmakers who will get extra campaign help from the DCCC, he told us that he’s joining a group that could also boost his re-election chances next year.

Maloney will announce on Thursday that he’s joining “No Labels,” an organization of Democrats and Republicans who claim they want to work across the aisle to solve issues facing the federal government.

“I have no interest in being a Democrat here or just fighting against Republicans here. I want to fix people’s problems, and I think No Labels is an excellent way to come together across party lines and get something done,” said Maloney.

Maloney, meanwhile, joined with 52 other Democrats, including Reps. Dan Maffei and Bill Owens, in supporting the Republican-sponsored bill that would keep government funded past the end of the month. Most Democrats voted against it, charging that it only gives Defense Department programs the power to soften the blow of automatic spending cuts. Maffei and Owens are also on the DCCC’s list of lawmakers in vulnerable districts.

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House Releases Scathing Report On NY Medicaid Program

Our DC Reporter Michael Scotto reports this:

A Congressional Committee released a tough new report today on New York’s Medicaid Program, alleging that “waste, fraud and abuse” are to blame for billions of dollars a year in misspent money.

The report, written by Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, credits Gov. Andrew Cuomo with working to root out Medicaid waste, but criticizes Cuomo’s pick to run the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, the office charged with reducing Medicaid fraud. Citing reports in the Times Union and the New York Times, the report alleges that since James Cox replaced James Sheehan, the office has “become complacent, dysfunctional, and politicized.”

The report also says that New York has failed to work with the feds to reduce costs at state-run centers that treat people with developmental problems. Spending at those development centers could blow a billion dollar hole into Cuomo’s budget. That’s because the Obama Administration is moving to cut reimbursement rates to the state’s development centers, citing New York’s two decade practice of overcharging Medicaid $15 billion.

The Governor’s Office has yet to respond to a request for comment.

House Medicaid Committee Report by