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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Guv's race: How Cuomo dodges query on sun-setting labor deals

It may not have involved little Speedos, but it's kinda more substantial: Newsday's Elizabeth Moore, covering Andrew Cuomo's camapign in Rockland yesterday, found the Democratic front-runner for governor unwilling to say if contracts with public employees should continue past their expiration date if new pacts remain unsettled -- as they do now under state law. 

We can guess at several motives, both political and governmental, for his refusing to go there: All this stuff would be subject to legislative and labor negotiation; Cuomo may not want to hurl a brick at unions at least before he gets into office, and for the duration of the campaign, or longer. At the same time, he wants to have himself perceived as siding with fiscal prudence. Consider, for example, the dance we saw involving the labor-union-backed Working Families Party endorsement which he eventually accepted, and which drew a chorus of cries from his GOP detractors. And that was a matter probably less complicated than the ins and outs of the Taylor Law.

As Moore reports in her story:

Cuomo also would not take a position on the repeal of the so-called Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law, a provision of state law that assures public employee contracts remain in force after they expire, thus guaranteeing teachers and others continued "step" pay increases while contracts are renegotiated and robbing government of crucial leverage at the bargaining table.

Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor, has called for the repeal of the Triborough Amendment, but the attorney general would go no further than refusing to rule it out.

"Everything has to be on the table," he said.

Cuomo also did not take a position on the arbitration provisions of the Taylor Law due to expire next July, which have led to leapfrogging pay increases for Nassau, Suffolk and village police unions and driven average pay over $100,000 for officers.


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