Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he skipped the Somos El Futuro conference in Puerto Rico this past weekend because he needed to be in New York State. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
At the Somos Conference in Puerto Rico, elected officials and others attended workshops and receptions focusing on politics and government. Some even managed to grab some time in the sun, and others found time to chat at the bars.
However, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had been expected, opted not to come. He spoke to reporters about it for the first time at the Veterans Day Parade Monday.
"I was looking forward to going to Puerto Rico. Little warmer this time of year, but I had work here in New York," Cuomo said. "When I'm not governor, then I'll be spending more time in Puerto Rico and everywhere else."
Organizers said that they found out late the governor would not be attending, but the governor's office disputes this.
"Governor Cuomo canceled to come to Puerto Rico as a result of other businesses that has been taking place right now in New York," said Assemblyman Felix Ortiz of Brooklyn.
Cuomo did have a full public schedule Friday, the day he was supposed to arrive at Somos, complete with a tour and inspection of the new New York bridge in Westchester, which is being built to replace the Tappan Zee.
He also responded to allegations of anti-Semitism at an upstate school district, ordering the state police and the human rights division to investigate.
On Saturday, the governor had no public schedule. It simply said he was in the New York City area. On Sunday, he held a press conference on Long Island.
"Right now, the people of the state pay me to work in the state of New York, and I had a lot of work going on this week," Cuomo said.
In a separate development, Cuomo was asked again about incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to tax wealthier New Yorkers in order to fund universal pre-kindergarten. The idea would need approval from Albany.
"We'll work it out," he said. "It is the right service. It is the right reform. It is the right initiative. But all of these issues are complicated."
Cuomo is approaching the upcoming legislative session with the exact opposite approach to a tax hike, telling New Yorkers that they can expect to see a cut.