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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Levy denies stall, tweaks Cuomo, hits jail issue

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy answers questions from

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy answers questions from reporters about Rick Lazio, during a press conference in Hauppauge Wednesday afternoon. (March 31, 2010) Photo Credit: James Carbone

Steve Levy scrambled in a press teleconference to highlight his status as a “policy wonk” who wants to roll up his sleeves and talk about potential solutions to fiscal problems facing the state. In the course of his discussion, and subsequent q and a session, Levy:

- Said he knows his fiscal emergency proposal is not a constitutional matter but “a state of mind” that comes with his getting a mandate to act as governor and impose spending caps and tax caps and an empowered review panel.
- Tossed out a flurry of percentages, numbers and anecdotes intended to show he has momentum toward a Republican nomination and that rival Rick Lazio’s support is thin.
- Took a shot at AG Andrew Cuomo’s recent presentations on how overtime in final years systematically boost veteran public employees’ pensions: “Some are going around saying let’s re-identify the problem. I’m saying let’s come up with a solution.” He cited cops in Suffolk sometimes making $200,000 and full-salary disability deals.
- Related Cuomo’s status of being an AG with high polling and flush financing as so similar it is “eerie” to that of Eliot Spitzer in 2006, but insisted again that voters are looking for his fiscal skill-set this time in the governor’s race.
- Challenged Cuomo to say, rather than cite a crackdown “on some charity or something like that,” what in his background qualifies him as a tax-cutter. “These other candidates,” Levy said, are reluctant to “chip away” at special interest support.
- Repeated his warning that the pension system is on the verge of imploding and cited some 401k recipients are guaranteed an 8 percent rate of return regardless of the market, assured by the pension system.
- Called for elmination of “mandatory arbitration” in public employee contracting.
- Argued it is irrational to close upstate prisons while requiring localities to build jails as major capital projects.
- Opposed the removal of Empire Zones, attributing development gains to them.
- Called his support for redistricting reform an essential ethics plank.
- Boasted of a tea-party appearance, “We blew the roof off the joint” in Plattsburgh.

File photo by James Carbone

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