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.  

(1) comment

Mike RS
Mike RS

Not surprising: Cuomo’s giving highly paid NY state jobs to the low skilled relatives of his campaign contributors? or giving huge tax breaks to television producers who were major supporters to Cuomo’s reelection campaign (Jimmy Fallon and NBC). What about taking his gal-pal and his kid's friends on state helicopters at tax payer expensive or Cuomo obtaining luxury seats for himself and top aides at the Buffalo Bills’ stadium after cutting them a sweetheart deal at tax payer expense? Not surprised Cuomo has no real interest in combating corruption. Funny for an ex Attorney General, no?
Here's the reality... Under Cuomo NY has experienced the demise of 39,453 NY state businesses last year, Cuomo is raiding $1.75 billion from the reserves of the already over budget State Insurance Fund (SIF). Cuomo can not even hold on to his democratic majority which is in the middle of a corruption scandal with “show-me-the-money culture” and “pay-to-play politics” throughout Albany. Cuomo has disenfranchised the Northern and Western part of New York with his SAFE Act. Cuomo is afraid to make a decision, either way with respect to fracking, gambling or abortions. No matter what your position is, Cuomo is leaving New Yorkers with no resolution to these issues or the ability to move forward. New York has the highest taxes in the nation, is the most indebted state, with 33 percent of income dedicated to borrowing. It is ranked as the least "business-friendly" state in the country and if that were not bad enough NY has the distinction of being the least free state in the union and is called the “Nanny State” with politicians legislating what we eat and drink. Municipal governments from Nassau County to Yonkers to Syracuse are teetering. And during Mr. Cuomo’s time in office, unemployment has risen above the national average. 9% of the state’s 2000 population left for another state between 2000 and 2011 — the highest such figure in the nation, see the study by George Mason's independent libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.