Governor Andrew Cuomo exchanged barbs with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie over the governor's attempt to stick big policy proposals into the state budget. Zack Fink filed the following report.
ALBANY - On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo attended an event in Rochester, where he couldn't help but mention what's on people's minds at the state Capitol.
"It's my pleasure to be out of Albany and the budget negotiation, which is some kind of cruel water torture that goes on for a prolonged period of time," he said.
On Wednesday morning, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie went on the radio to discuss the budget negotiations. During the interview, he again expressed his displeasure with the governor sticking so many policy proposals into the budget.
"I continue to challenge the media and the public to be concerned about a legislature being threatened into negotiations," Heastie said.
Cuomo fired back.
"I disagree with the speaker," the governor said. "I understand his position is, the Assembly should have more power and more control. We have something called the constitution, and in the constitution, it prescribes the power for the executive."
Cuomo has attached his policy proposals to revenue bills that are normally policy-free. Critics say Cuomo is holding the legislature hostage and abusing his executive power.
"The constitution set out powers," Cuomo said. "If the speaker doesn't like the constitution of the state of New York, he could try to change the constitution."
Both the Senate and Assembly have released details of their one-house budget resolutions, which outline their priorities. The Senate wants to impose a 2 percent property tax cap on the city to bring it in line with the rest of the state.
"The unfortunate reality is, the taxes were raised way back when, during the Bloomberg administration, because of 9/11, and we've never cut that back," said state Senator Martin Golden of Brooklyn. "That was 17.5 percent. That was tremendous."
But the property tax is one of the few the city can manipulate to raise revenue, and Democrats are opposed to imposing the 2 percent cap.
Most of the governor's policy ideas are stuffed into the budget, but now, we are beginning to hear suggestions from legislators that some of those issues, particularly a proposed minimum wage increase and a package of ethics reforms, should be considered separately later in the session.