Fred Dicker was having some technical problems on his radio show this morning as he tried to get Andrew Cuomo on the line. On air, he started complaining about the technical team over at Talk 1300, until someone got on the line and told him to cool it.
Eventually, Gov. Cuomo did emerge on the other side of the line, and promptly tried to assure the radio host that he had been patiently waiting all along.
“I wasn’t late Fred, I want you to know,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Even as Gov. Cuomo has shied away from meeting the Albany press, he has always made room for the influential Mr. Dicker. The Times has described their regular conversations as “unusually gentle,” and Mr. Cuomo’s 2010 opponent, Carl Paladino publicly accused Mr. Dicker of carrying Mr. Cuomo’s water.
Today though it seems as if the relationship took a turn for the worse, after The Wall Street Journal report today that said that Mr. Cuomo was considering revising the tax code.
Mr. Cuomo insisted that any revision would just be in order to create private sector jobs, but Mr. Dicker wondered if he would also use it to close the deficit, i.e by raising taxes.
“I don’t do it the way you do it,” Mr. Cuomo responded. “I do it first as an economic plan, coincident with the economic plan you have to do a budget.”
Mr. Dicker groaned and said something approximating, “No, no no. Hold on governor. In the budget, with all due respect, in the budget which is a fiscal statement you have to say where revenues are coming from and I don’t think you can book private sector jobs still to be created as a source of revenue. If you do I think there is going to be a great deal of skepticism from the raters to say the least.”
“And next year I have to present a plan for a balanced budget,” Mr. Cuomo responded.
Mr. Dicker was having none of it, interrupting the governor to say, “And that is about seven weeks away and you have to identify the revenue sources and I am just asking if the new taxes will be one of the sources of revenue–higher taxes.”
Mr. Cuomo demurred.
“You will see my budget in seven weeks.”
“That one you are not answering right now,” Mr. Dicker said, and then tried to hang the governor with his own words.
“No, I understand. But wouldn’t be kidding yourself if you think you can be one of the highest tax states in the nation and have a reputation for being anti-business and still have a rosy economic future. You recognize that quote?”
That quote, of course, comes from none other than Andrew Cuomo.
“I have heard that before. It will come to me in a second,” the governor joked, but Mr. Dicker issued a warning: “If you check the New York Post tomorrow they may run it.”
“Who said that?” responded Mr. Cuomo gamely. “Rupert Murdoch?”
“Well, some of your critics might argue that but you know it was Governor Andrew Cuomo who proclaimed that.”
Losing Mr. Dicker would be a huge blow to Mr. Cuomo. He remains the most influential voice in Albany, and one could argue, helped bring down both of Mr. Cuomo’s predecessors. Plus, getting The Post editorial board in your crosshairs has its own problems–just as City Comptroller John Liu, or former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi or Congressman Charlie Rangel, all three of whom The Post tried to drum out of office.