By Tom Precious
ALBANY – A day after Senate Republicans showed little love for him, Gov. Andrew Cuomo today said he is fine with lawmakers who disagree with his positions.
“I would reject the premise," Cuomo told a reporter in Manhattan today when asked about some weakening – at least for a day on Tuesday – in relations between himself and Senate Republicans. “There is a back and forth, as there should be, on proposals … debated between the Senate and Assembly, Democrat and Republican. That’s the premise of the system and that’s a good thing."
Senate Republicans spent hours on Monday and Tuesday bashing Cuomo’s selection of Jenny Rivera to a spot on the Court of Appeals, saying the former Cuomo staffer has no judicial experience to make her qualified for the highest court. Later, they called his plan to continue a tax surcharge on utilities a “gimmick" that will hurt job creation efforts.
Cuomo said the 2013 session has been “remarkable" for the lack of arguments, and has been “far and away" the least confrontational since he took office in January 2011.
Of course, there have only been nine days with the Legislature in Albany so far this year.
What is remarkable, some sources say, is the state of negotiations already under way involving the 2013 state budget. Some of those participating say the pace of talks is going more quickly than most years because the sides are trying to get a budget in place by the third week of March – well before the March 31 deadline. That’s because no one envisions being here during Passover or the Easter holidays and all sides want to boast of the third straight on-time budget.
Right now, the legislative calendar shows the last session day in March to be on the 21st. It’s an ambitious date to make, but there appears to be little major controversy in this year’s budget plan to separate the sides. That comes with this quick asterisk: making an early February prediction for peace at the end of March between the executive and legislative branches can be perilous.