ALBANY – Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo continued his “recalibrate" Albany theme today, saying there’s really very little to argue about over the upcoming state budget because the state's economic realities are going to cause widespread fiscal pain.
“It’s all math," Cuomo said on an interview with WOR radio in New York City this morning.
The state is facing a projected $9 billion deficit for the fiscal year beginning April 1 –- driven in part by spending demands already set in law, slower tax revenues and higher Medicaid spending because of the down economy and the end to a two-year federal stimulus aid package for the states.
“It’s not a question of ideology. It’s a question of numbers. … Government has to go through a recalibration," Cuomo said. He has not been specific about what that means for things like state agency functions, workforce size or state aid to programs like public schools or Medicaid; that will be known, for certain, when he unveils his first budget at the end of January.
Cuomo, repeating a theme in a television ad his campaign will air tonight, said he alone cannot take on the Legislature and Albany’s special interests. “The people of this state have to stay involved," he said.
With three seats still in play in the state Senate -– and the GOP on the verge of retaking the chamber after two years of being out of power –- Cuomo noted he supported the Democrats staying in control. But Cuomo also clearly realizes the potential for complete dysfunction if the power struggle is not resolved by the time he takes office Jan. 1 and neither side can claim at least 32 votes to elect a Senate leader.
“I want a functioning State Senate. These are very big choices that we have to make, and we need to actually act, so I need a body that performs and a body that can function," Cuomo said.
-- Tom Precious