On The Issues Part 2: Candidates Take Different Approaches To Reform
It's a startling statistic: New York state legislators are more likely to be driven from office by scandal than be defeated at the ballot box. NY1's Josh Robin looks at how the two major candidates for governor would mop up the capitol in his second report on the issues faced by Carl Paladino and Andrew Cuomo.
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A Governor leaves office in a prostitution scandal. A state comptroller pleads guilty to corruption. Lawmakers are convicted of assault and bribery, and plead guilty to fraud.
New Yorkers know how embarrassing it is – and so do the candidates.
"We're gonna shine a light on rodents. And you know what happens when you shine a light on rodents? They tend to run away," Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino told supporters last month. "We're going to very clearly bring to the state government a new day."
"The chronic dysfunction of Albany metastasized into the corruption of Albany," Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo said earlier this year. "And it was a bipartisan affliction."
There's bipartisan agreement on many ways to clean house, including an independent legislative redistricting process; the elimination of state pensions for convicted felons; and mandatory disclosure of outside income.
Both Cuomo and Paladino are calling for an independent commission to redraw legislative lines; both will strip pensions from convicted lawmakers; and both will require lawmakers to divulge outside income.
Other potential fixes include enacting legislative term limits; creating a public system for campaign finance; and appointing a special prosecutor to investigate corruption cases. But one these points, the candidates differ.
Only Paladino wants term limits. Cuomo wants a public campaign finance system, but not Paladino. And although Paladino demands a special corruption prosecutor, Cuomo says it's illegal and "not grounded in reality."
Another way the candidates say they differ is in their degree of credibility and their ability to deliver.
Paladino relishes being an outsider, and mocks Cuomo as "Status-Cuomo."
"Andrew Cuomo thinks that despite a lifetime as an Albany insider, he can now mouth the words of reform and we'll believe him," Paladino told supporters last month.
But the state legislature sometimes has a way of swallowing tough-talking governors whole. Paladino says he won't deal with the current Assembly Speaker, all but dooming any chances of quick success.
Cuomo, the son of a former governor, is schooled in Albany. It may be wishful thinking, but he insists a big win will trigger long-delayed action.
"The question is, what do you do at this moment, and what do you do with the anger, and what do you do with the energy? And how do you fix it, how do you make it better?" Cuomo said last week. "The people of New York don't want someone to commiserate with them. They want someone to reform the system."
Of course, if Paladino wins in an upset, he can claim he a big mandate too.