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Cuomo expresses lingering resentment over Amazon failure

Governor Cuomo holds a budget briefing March 22
Governor Cuomo holds a budget briefing March 22

With less than a week to go to the budget deadline, Governor Andrew Cuomo says talks are proceeding in “good faith” with the legislature, but he says many differences still remain. And he indicated that lingering resentments over the failed Amazon deal might be coloring the discussions. 

Cuomo, giving a budget update to reporters,  says the legislature wants to spend too much without providing enough revenues, which he calls “mathematically impossible”. And he says he still wants a permanent property tax cap, an end to cash bail and other criminal justice reforms, and a ban on plastic bags in the budget.

The governor continued to blame Senate Democrats, though for Amazon’s February 14 decision to pull out of a major project in Queens. The  Senate nominated an Amazon opponent to a key oversight board, known as the Public Authorities Control Board, or PACB.

“I believe the tactic on Amazon violated the law,” said Cuomo. “And I believe it was a form of government corruption. And I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Cuomo later walked back those comments, saying  the law was not violated and corruption did not occur because the appointment of the opponent, Deputy Senate Leader Mike Gianaris, was never finalized.

The governor’s senior advisor, Rich Azzopardi also weighed in saying, in a statement “To be clear, the Governor wasn't accusing the Senate Democrats of corruption. He was making a point about how the process works and the statutory role of the PACB,” Azzopardi said. “ We are working with the Senate Democratic  Conference toward an on-time budget that works for all New Yorkers.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.