Governor Andrew Cuomo has stepped up his appearances in the five boroughs this week, taking his budget message to Brooklyn Friday after speaking in the Bronx Wednesday. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has been traveling across the state to take his budget priorities directly to the people, taking several tough stands that have angered education advocates and other liberal interest groups. But the governor tried not to directly take a stand against former Mayor Rudy Giuliani for saying that President Barack Obama doesn't actually love America.
"I haven't heard the former mayor's comments on what the context of the statements were," Cuomo said. "Obviously, President Obama loves the country."
Avoiding a national partisan battle over Giuliani, Cuomo instead picked his own fight, talking about the educational reforms he hopes to enact this year, including removing ineffective teachers from the classroom and expanding charter schools.
On Thursday, advocates for public education accused the governor of failing to fund education at the level mandated by the courts.
"We have a responsibility to these kids, and we have to fulfill it," said Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry of Queens. "It's all about making sure that money matters. And money always matters."
"Don't tell me more money's going to make the difference, because we spend more than anyone else. We need reforms," Cuomo said.
Cuomo also responded to actions taken by the board of commisioners at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have called on the bi-state agency to embrace meaningful reforms, which they did at the monthly meeting Thursday.
Part of that reform called for the resignations of the commisioners in order to begin a new chapter, but in a surprise move, the commisioners refused.
"What's the purpose of resigning?" said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan.
Cuomo said as long as they implement the changes he seeks, the commissioners can stay put.
"I think they got the message, and that's really what we were trying to communicate," he said.
The governor also spoke about his planned trip to Cuba. On January 21, Cuomo announced that he would be leading a trade delegation to Cuba within 45 days. The governor said they are now just waiting on the Cuban government and that the trip is more likely to happen sometime in April.