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Cuomo: I'm no Scott Walker

ALBANY -– Don’t look for a repeat in Albany of the kinds warfare with public employee unions that have stalled work at Wisconsin’s state Capitol, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo insisted today.

"There are all the differences in the world between what we're proposing here and what he's proposing," Cuomo said today of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Cuomo is facing growing unrest by New York’s public employee unions over his plans to cut the workforce by as many as 9,800 state workers unless unions agree to a number of cost-cutting concessions, including a wage freeze and some sort of pension cost controls.

"Do we have the same basic situation where you have a state that has a deficit? Yes," Cuomo said after an event on Long Island this afternoon.

"But we are handling it two very different ways, both programmatically and stylistically," the New York governor said.

Cuomo stood up for collective bargaining rights -– which the Wisconsin governor wants to restrict as a way to cut state expenses there. Cuomo did note his idea for "recalibration" of matters like salaries and pension costs for government workers to help the state resolve its $10 billion deficit.

But he signaled Albany will not become Madison.

"We’re going out of our way in this state to work together. We have the task forces that we’re talking about where we put everyone at the table," Cuomo said. "We have the private sector at the table. We have labor unions at the table. We have government officials. Local government. My approach has been we’re in a tough place, this is a tough time. Let’s all come together and see how we can work this out together, and everyone will do their piece."

Asked if the idea of collective bargaining is valid, Cuomo said, "Certainly."

"I am a long-term supporter of the labor movement," he added.

Cuomo’s optimistic words come as the sides here are taking a breather –- the Legislature is on vacation until Monday -– before serious budget fights break out in Albany over the next six weeks leading up to the April 1 fiscal year start.

The Democratic governor’s thoughts also come as Republican governors from around the country are siding with the embattled Wisconsin chief executive -– going so far as to start a "Stand with Scott" web page to back his agenda.

-- Tom Precious

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |