Cuomo wants top reforms passed this session
The state budget battle may be over, but the political slog is just beginning for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
He’s turning his attention to key reforms he campaigned on — and is pressing for Albany lawmakers to act immediately.
“He wants to do them this session,” Cuomo spokesman Joshua Vlasto said in an e-mail.
That means the governor has before the end of June to rally Democratic and Republican leaders in his corner, which could prove to be an even more difficult feat than an on-time budget.
Here are the governor’s major priorities and the likelihood it’ll get done by June:
What Cuomo wants: His ethics reform deal worked on with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a fellow Democrat, would require legislators to report various outside income and also be policed by an independent commission.
Will it get done: Strong possibility, observers say, although it remains unclear whether Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos will go along with all of the Assembly’s suggestions.
What Cuomo wants: He’s already met with gay-rights groups and has pledged his support.
Will it get done: Up in the air. The Assembly is again expected to support such a bill. While there are 26 state Senators in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, 32 votes are needed for it to pass, which requires convincing Republicans.
Cuomo won’t want to bring it to a legislative vote if he knows it won’t pass, observers say, and so far, all the votes aren’t there.
What Cuomo wants: In his bill, the governor wants property taxes to be capped at 2 percent annually or at the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. It already passed the Senate in January, but was not included in the state budget.
Will it get done: The Assembly is the hold out, and that’s because Silver has suggested it go hand-in-hand with rent-control laws, which happen to expire in June. But Skelos appears cold to that idea, said Elizabeth Lynam, deputy research director at the nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission. She said there’s still a good chance a bill could happen, but “it’s going to require a lot of other components falling into place.”
What Cuomo wants: He’d like for an independent commission to decide how to redraw the state’s electoral boundaries. Traditionally, Assembly and Senate leaders have decided that.
Will it get done: Good chance. Silver has been supportive of the change, but the Republicans would prefer it be made official in the state constitution. Since redistricting must happen next year, some sort of action is required sooner than later and the public will expect Cuomo and the Legislature to come to an agreement, said Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University.