Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver might be aggressively pushing for an increase to New York State’s minimum wage, but Majority Leader Dean Skelos threw a big bucket of cold water on the idea after a press conference on college affordability earlier today.
“Every single small businessperson, that I’ve had the opportunity to meet with and talk to, say they would have to lay off people because of these additional costs,” he said. “To me, the moral imperative is to have as many people working as possible.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver held a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol to pat themselves on the back for reaching a budget agreement on time for the second straight year. On-time budgets have been approved in Albany just seven times in the last 37 years.
“This state government has come a very long way in a very short period of time. At one time, this state government was a joke. They were literally laughing about it on the late night shows, it was a point of ridicule for many, many years,” Governor Cuomo said. “We went from a model of dysfunction to I believe a model of function.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the leaders of the Legislature touted a major agreement for this year’s budget negotiations today, which, according to a statement, “closes a multi-billion dollar deficit with no new taxes, fees or gimmicks” and “limits spending growth to two percent or below for the second year in a row.”
Mr. Cuomo extolled “New York Works” — an iniaitive to invest in infrastructure — for his official quote on the budget.
“The cornerstone of this budget is the New York Works program, a new and smarter strategy for putting New Yorkers back to work by rebuilding our aging infrastructure and helping put our state’s economy back on track, just the way we have put our state government back on track,” he said.
State GOP Convention
The Politicker was a little startled this morning to find no one other than Carl Paladino hanging out in the lobby of the Rochester Convention Center as he made his way in to the New York State Republican Convention.
Mr. Paladino, after all, ran for governor in 2010 bashing the party establishment, including State Chairman Ed Cox.
Still, Mr. Paladino said he was there to cast his vote for Wendy Long, the conservative lawyer vying for a spot on the ballot today. He told us why he’s backing Ms. Long and shared his thoughts on the state of Newt Gingrich, his pick in the Republican presidential primary. Mr. Paladino also let us know he’d like to give Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos a piece of his mind.
The Republican race to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand is heating up, with Wendy Long, a conservative lawyer and Joe Carvin, an investor and Rye lawmaker, criscrossing the state in anticipation of the GOP convention later this month.
The duo have to catch up with Nassau comptroller George Maragos, who has been in the race for the better part of the year.
And this evening Mr. Maragos received a substantial bump in his efforts when he received the endorsement of perhaps the state’s highest ranking Republican official, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
2010 gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino isn’t too happy with Dean Skelos.
A letter Mr. Paladino is circulating called the Senate majority leader and fellow Republican “incompetent or diabolical.”
“Your self-serving and weak demeanor and participation in illusion and theatrics in dealing with the Governor, Sheldon Silver and the establishment cabal in Albany are an affront to the people who worked so hard to elect a Republican senate majority only to be thrown under the bus,” Mr. Paladino wrote in the letter, which was also sent to various leaders of the New York Republican Party, the press, and “Everyone Else.”
Dominican Ambassador Roberto Saladin has thrown his support behind the push to create a new predominantly Latino Congressional district in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. Mr. Saladin sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last Tuesday describing the creation of the district as a “question of utmost importance” for the Dominican Diaspora that would “open the opportunity to elect a Congressman of Dominican origin to the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C.”
Dean Skelos, the Majority Leader of the State Senate, received a glowing profile in the Orthodox Jewish magazine Mishpacha this week, furthering the outreach Republicans are doing to the rapidly growing, but traditionally Democratic, community. Mishpacha, published out of Jerusalem, could have hardly been more positive: Mr. Skelos’ feature photo is him hard at work, captioned, “DEAN of the SENATE.”
The substance of the profile is even more favorable.
“There are no shortcuts when it comes to climbing ladders, whether they are painter’s ladders or political ones,” reads one passage. “Dean Skelos has scaled both types — rung by rung — en route to his present position as New York state senate majority leader. In an exclusive interview in his district office in Rockville Centre, Long Island, Senator Skelos made it clear that he wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
One of the more conspicuous map drawing tools available to majority parties during the once-a-decade redistricting process is placing legislators belonging to the minority party into the same districts. On Inside City Hall last night, Errol Louis asked Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos why so many Democrats suffered this fate. Mr. Skelos interestingly argued that a good government group’s redistricting proposal also drew incumbents together.
“Well, you want to remember, I believe Citizens Union did their plan. They did a so-called ‘non-partisan’ plan,” Mr. Skelos answered. “They had over 20 members of the assembly combined in districts and I think close to 10 in the senate.”
Mr. Skelos may have been referring to the map proposal put forward by a different good government organization, Common Cause New York. But the argument is a little strange, as Common Cause’s maps intentionally ignored incumbents and affected members of both the majority and minority parties, in sharp contrast with Albany’s proposal.
There’s currently some scuffle in Albany over the election date for the state legislature’s primaries. A judge recently set the Congressional and U.S. Senate primaries to June 26th, earlier than the originally scheduled September 11th date, to comply with federal law. Assembly Democrats have introduced a bill to bring the State Senate and Assembly primaries to this June 26th date, but the leader of the Senate Republicans, Dean Skelos told Liz Benjamin last night he really didn’t like the plan, and directly said the Assembly bill was a non-starter.
“The problem we face with a June primary date … is that you’re going to have members of the Assembly, in particular, from New York City, where most of the primaries are, … they’re going be looking for union endorsements [and] they’re going to be campaigning through the budget and end of session,” Mr. Skelos said. “If you want to bring dysfunction back to Albany, that’s what a June primary would do.”