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Cuomo: Them's fighting words

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not happy that Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos did not immediately roll over this week and embrace his “litmus test’’ agenda, which includes raising the minimum wage, relaxing marijuana possession laws and having a taxpayer-funded campaign finance system.

“If that’s true, then we’re going to have a problem … and we’re going to have a problem sooner rather than later,’’ Cuomo said on Albany’s WGDJ radio station this morning.

Skelos on Tuesday would not commit to passage of such things as the minimum wage, though he said his GOP colleagues would be happy to discuss the issue. And he raised concerns about spending $200 million in public funds to finance political campaigns at a time when the state is facing another period of red ink, though said senators are open to some changes in the campaign system that he did not detail.

While Cuomo acknowledged he did not read the full transcript of the remarks by Skelos at the Capitol Tuesday, it did not stop him from threatening to go after the GOP leader. “If Senator Skelos is opposed to the agenda of the people of this state then I will oppose him and then I will be involved, Cuomo said.

The governor also lashed out at "journalists with their own opinions" and "self-appointed advocacy groups'' whose sources of funding are uncertain. Albany's biggest such group this past year was the Committee to Save New York, a pro-Cuomo organization that has sought to keep its donor list secret.

UPDATE: Senate Republicans issued a quick reply this morning to Cuomo. The essential message: chill.

"If Senate Republicans have proven anything over the last two years, it's that we can successfully work with Governor Cuomo to pass an agenda that benefits all New Yorkers. The people want Democrats and Republicans to work together to get results, and we're going to keep getting the job done for them in the next legislative session,'' said Scott Reif, a spokesman for the Senate Republicans.

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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.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


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.

tprecious@buffnews.com


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 | jterreri@buffnews.com


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 | jzremski@buffnews.com

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