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Cuomo Takes Aim at Silver, as Budget Deadline Nears

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From Cuomo's State of the State presentation; paradying the state's bizarre budgeting process.

Post political editor Frederic Dicker, Governor Cuomo’s BFF, turns up the heat on Sheldon Silver, as a budget deadline looms in Albany. Here’s how the press release column begins:

With less than two weeks to go be fore a budget is due, aides to Gov. Cuomo fear a state shutdown could occur because of large spending demands by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, The Post has learned. Administration insiders said they’ve been stunned to find that Silver (D-Manhattan), despite a $10 billion projected deficit, is “more concerned with satisfying the spending demands of this or that bloc in his conference than he is in doing what’s best for the state.”

The New York Times’ editorial board sees things differently, of course:

New York’s most vulnerable citizens — schoolchildren, the elderly, the poor, the sick — will feel a disproportionate amount of the pain… Governor Cuomo has vowed to make the tough decisions and not to be swayed by special-interest pleadings. But he is refusing to impose any new taxes or even continue a current surcharge on New York’s wealthiest and least vulnerable citizens. That makes no fiscal sense. So we have to assume that for Mr. Cuomo, some special interests are more special than others.

In spite of the latest budget bluster, most everyone continues to believe all sides will come together more quickly and more harmoniously than in the recent past.  Josh Benson of Capital New York has an interesting Q&A with Albany Times Union political reporter Jimmy Viekind about the dynamic between the governor, Silver and Senate leader Dean Skelos. Here’s an excerpt:

To his credit, Cuomo put together a budget that meets the times—they’re not good—and was savvy enough to get certain key stakeholders (read: frenemy 1199) to get on board with one of the biggest, harshest, cuts. But with all the crap that’s gone down here at the Capitol, and with the public’s general impression of all of these guys so wretched, I think Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos (Senate GOP leader) are happy to take the carrot of a popular governor hitting the reset button. They can go along with that. So far, Cuomo hasn’t unloaded on them. He’s playing, as the inimitable Joe Bruno once said, “mamby-pamby kissy-face.” But they know Cuomo has a sharp tongue, if you’ll permit the gross visuals that come with carrying this metaphor along. He can go to their districts and put them all through all seven circles of hell. Then add an additional circle in Albany: he can convene a Moreland Act commission that can subpoena them to high heaven. Wouldn’t it be great to ask Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose chamber is opposing caps to medical malpractice payouts for pain & suffering, how much money he makes from the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg? UNDER OATH? It’s fairly terrifying to contemplate. And again Cuomo has been able to express his stick through Fred Dicker columns, and the sources close to the governor that inform them. So he can be all smiles in public, like he’s been the past two days. So this has set up a dynamic in which the other two men in the room realize he’s the hegemon, and that their best bet is to team up with Cuomo to defeat the odd man out in a classic two-on-one, and are rushing to suck up to him.


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