"I would prefer we had a different law on our books," said Manhattan Sen. Liz Krueger. "I would prefer we would establish some standard for creating defense funds with specific rules attached and people if they choose can contribute to those. That's the federal model. Campaign funds should be spent on the electoral campaign."
Krueger is one of the co-sponsors of a measure that would restrict the use of campaign funds for spending on criminal defense attorneys. She added that Cuomo's use of his campaign account to hire white-collar criminal lawyer Elkan Abramowitz is a legal avenue for the governor. "The governor does appear to be using some of his money for a lawyer. There's nothing illegal about it. It is the law of N.Y. state that he can do so," Kureger said.
Cuomo's tax message includes a modest cut for the middle class while increasing taxes on the state's tiny, wealthiest 1 percent, [one pundit] said. "It's good politics," he said.
[Perhaps] Cuomo's greatest triumph is forcing a 2 percent cap on the growth in local property taxes. Cuomo promised as a candidate in 2010 to eliminate state-mandated programs on schools and local governments so they could afford the 2 percent cap. Many school and local government officials say too few mandates-- many protected by influential unions in Albany --were touched.
[One pundit] dismissed Cuomo's property tax freeze as a "gimmick," because taxes will still go up and the state subsidy will just mask them for a year or two.
Cuomo made the issue a crescendo in his 2013 State of the State speech--"Because it's her body! It's her choice!" But Senate Republicans, as expected, ultimately blocked the measure.
State records show few New Yorkers seek abortions as late as the ninth month of pregnancy. Of 97,502 abortions in New York in 2012, just 2.6 percent came after the fifth month of pregnancy, according to the state Health Department.
Astorino last week called Cuomo's proposal to protect ninth-month abortions "sick, I think that's ghastly. I would veto that in a second." But he said he wouldn't try to erode current abortion laws. "I'm pro-life. This is a pro-choice state. I get that," Astorino said.
It would be the second phase of a program the state launched this month, Start-Up NY, creating zones, mainly in upstate regions, in which companies can establish themselves while being relieved for a decade of having to pay state taxes.
Cuomo's comments come as Pres. Obama seeks authorization from Congress to strike Syria. Cuomo appeared to endorse Obama's approach of seeking congressional approval, even as Obama himself asserted that he retains the right to order strikes against Syria even without such authorization.
"This is a truly serious, phenomenally serious, topic," Cuomo said. "You're talking about a loss of life. You're talking about possibly putting Americans' lives in harm's way. So the process and the fact that government works and works well is critical here."
The fiscal plan Cuomo released the other day seeks to completely reframe the way we talk about budgets. Cuomo shined a light on New York's dirty fiscal secret: spending in many programs soars each year because of obscure formulas that bear no relationship to economic conditions. Medicaid and education are the chief offenders, with both slated automatically to rise a stunning 13% next year.
There is no way to distinguish Cuomo's [reframing] from the way Social Security works: increases are built into Social Security's formulas, just as with New York's unsustainable Medicaid rates. I'm not talking about the way benefits are hiked each year to keep up with inflation--no problem there. But under current formulas, the starting benefit levels slated to be enjoyed by future retirees are substantially higher than they are now.
The above quotations are from 2014 New York Gubernatorial debates and race coverage.
Click here for other excerpts from 2014 New York Gubernatorial debates and race coverage.
Click here for other excerpts by Andrew Cuomo.
Click here for other excerpts by other Governors.
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