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Cuomo, state senator set chilly tone over administration spending

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo delivers his third inaugural

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo delivers his third inaugural address, on Ellis Island on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday had some frosty comments for legislators who promise to investigate his administration’s spending with an aim to provide more oversight and accountability.

Cuomo noted that every grant or “member item” funding intended for lawmakers’ districts must first be approved by the Cuomo administration.

“I could investigate every one of those,” Cuomo told WAMC public radio in Albany. He then added: “That would be counterproductive and a waste.”

An emerging leader in the Senate’s Democratic majority wasn’t deterred.

“Governor Cuomo’s own agencies, usually the Dormitory Authority, already conduct a rigorous review of all grant applications,” said Sen. James Skoufis, a Hudson Valley Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Investigations Committee. “If he wants to inspect them further, he can have at it. Either way, I look forward to chairing a very active Investigations Committee.”

The Assembly’s Democratic majority wouldn’t step into the fray, saying it is focused on legislation for the session that begins next week.

Several legislators have previously told Newsday they are frustrated by the power Cuomo has amassed in eight years in office and the Legislature may finally strike back this year to assert its powers.

Last week, Cuomo vetoed a bill with overwhelming support in the Legislature that would require more review of some spending by the Cuomo administration.

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