By Tom Precious
Albany -- He will have more to say with reporters after he meets at the Capitol this afternoon with his agency commissioners, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has penned an op-ed piece that is to appear in the Albany Times Union tomorrow about the new coalition deal between Senate Republicans and five members of the Independent Democratic Conference.
We bring you the op-ed writings of Andrew Cuomo:
"Elections often clarify political situations, but sometimes confuse them. The New York State Senate leadership question is an example of the latter. A “coalition governance” structure combining the Independent Democratic Conference and the Republican Conference has been announced.
The politics of this New York State Senate are especially complicated and have been for years. There are geographical and ideological factions and political philosophies ranging from the far left to the far right and everything in between.
Corruption is no stranger to the Senate, as I well know from the cases I brought as Attorney General. Neither the Republican nor Democratic conferences come to this juncture with clean hands. From 1966 to 2009, the Republican Conference led for 42 years and blocked much progressive legislation, including last year’s efforts to increase the minimum wage, enact campaign finance reform, and end the controversial “stop and frisk” policy. The Democratic Conference was in power for two years and squandered the opportunity, failing to pass any meaningful reform legislation despite repeated promises. The Democratic Conference dysfunction was legendary and the current leadership has failed to come to a cooperative agreement with Mr. Klein’s IDC faction.
So rather than base my support on amorphous and often misleading political labels, shifting coalitions, or internal organizing concepts, I prefer to base my support – or lack thereof – on specific policy positions. As Governor, I have specific programs and progressive initiatives that I believe must be continued or enacted, and I will give or withhold my support based on an individual legislator’s support of those issues.
In general, I believe the State needs to continue the progress of the past two years to maintain the fiscal integrity we’ve established and further the social progress we’ve achieved. Specifically, the “litmus test” for my support starts with support of the following ten issues:
1. The property tax cap that has finally imposed fiscal discipline on local governments and provided relief to taxpayers
2. Campaign finance reform
3. Increasing the minimum wage
4. Reform of New York City’s “stop and frisk” policy
5. Environmental protection and initiatives that address our changing climate
6. The education and Medicaid budget rate formulas that provided fiscal predictability and sustainability
7. The tax cuts that brought taxes on the middle class tax to the lowest rates in 58 years 8. Education reforms – like teacher evaluations – that bring more accountability to our schools and continued improvement to our SUNY system
9. Protecting a woman’s right to choose
10. Limited and highly regulated casinos introduced as economic development generators.
I will also announce a new legislative agenda in my upcoming State of the State.
I do not see my support for individual senators or my opinion of Senate Leadership to be based on a point in time. With margins this close, I expect the leadership situation to be fluid and subject to influence for some time. I can offer the people of the state my opinion at any time over the next two years, when practice has provided clarity. My opinion will be based on how those senators function as a leadership group and perform on the important issues for the people of the state.
In many ways, only time will tell. In the interim, function, order and decorum should be the standard we all follow. Remember, the past two years evidenced higher levels of successful activity than the State Senate had previously produced in years. The State has more matters of more weight pending at this time than any other point in modern political history – we cannot afford to go back to a period of dysfunction."