By Tom Precious
The Cuomo administration took to the airwaves of an Albany radio station today to blast a Democrat from the Buffalo area who is trying to unseat Sen. Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican who has been a policy partner of the governor’s at the Capitol.
The verbal attack on Democrat Mark Amodeo was courtesy of Larry Schwartz, the Secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Schwartz was responding to comments Amodeo made earlier this week in The Buffalo News raising concerns about several signature policy items -– property taxes and controls on future public employee pension costs --successfully pushed by Cuomo the past two years.
Amodeo, the endorsed candidate of Erie County Democrats and winner of a September primary, suggested the Democratic governor’s property tax cap is undemocratic because it requires 60 percent of local voters to override a plan by a municipality or school district to raise taxes more than 2 percent in a year. Amodeo also said Albany has not done enough in recent years to fund school districts so that they can keep a lid on rising property taxes.
Schwartz told an Albany radio station that if Amodeo does not support the tax cap and backs taxes rising higher than 2 percent ,then “that’s just the wrong message, and we don’t want people coming to Albany if that’s the way they think.’’
Cuomo is flirting with endorsing Grisanti, and has said kind words about the freshman Republican, especially since Grisanti backed Cuomo’s effort last year to legalize gay marriage rights. Senate Democrats privately say Cuomo has already all but endorsed Grisanti -– as part of what they say is his plan to keep the GOP in control of the Senate –- especially by approving new Senate district lines this year that made Grisanti’s district much less Democratic than the district he ran to represent in the 2010 elections.
"And if people like Mike (Amodeo) think we should increase taxes above the cap, like I said earlier, forget about going to Albany, you need to stay home. We don’t want people that want to raise property taxes,'' Schwartz said today.