Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn't going to let a series of scandals involving state legislators stand in the way of achieving some of his top legislative goals this year.
During an interview on "The Capitol Pressroom" with Susan Arbetter, Cuomo said while most of the work was done in the 2013-14 state budget, there is still plenty of work to do before the session ends in June.
"What I'm trying mightily to do is not allow the scandal mania... I don't want that to eclipse the session and I don't want it to derail the session because we have a lot of good work to do out there for New Yorkers who just want their government to function," Cuomo said. "We have to be able to do both at the same time. Let's deal with the reform agenda and deal with the 'scandals,' but let's also do what we're supposed to do."
Cuomo said he has several priorities. In addition to the reform agenda, he is hoping to pass his women's equality agenda, reach an agreement on casino gaming and form a restructuring local governments panel.
One part of the reform agenda — public campaign financing — was criticized in an op-ed written by Senate Republican Conference Leader Dean Skelos. Skelos called the proposal a "terrible idea for taxpayers."
Cuomo said while public financing is important, other parts of the proposal are also key.
"Public financing, I believe, is essential," he said. "But the disclosure is also important. Independent enforcement is vitally important. So I think these things are all connected. I also put forth some laws that would increase criminal penalties and create new crimes that a public official has a duty to inform if they believe another public official is being bribed. I see it all as one. I don't think there's one component to the reform agenda. This is a complicated system and we're trying to close down the loopholes all throughout the system."
Cuomo originally called for campaign finance reform in his State of the State address. Good government groups, as members of the Fair Elections for New York campaign, have called for public matching funds for campaigns, tougher disclosure rules and new limits on contributions.
Skelos and other Republican legislators have slammed the proposed use of taxpayer dollars for political campaigns. Business groups have also joined the fray.