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Senate GOP urges Cuomo to focus on jobs, business in State of State

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, left, speaks to

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, left, speaks to members in the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Albany on the first day of the legislative session on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. Credit: AP / Hans Pennink

ALBANY — The State Senate’s Republican majority on Monday urged Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to include a new job-creation plan and reduce environmental and other regulations on business in Cuomo’s agenda for 2017.

Meanwhile, the Senate’s Democratic conference said all of Cuomo’s plans so far for the legislative session easily would have passed had Cuomo worked harder to unite two factions of Democrats to take control of the Senate.

The continued sharp partisanship within the Senate will be one of Cuomo’s biggest hurdles to his 2017 legislative agenda. Cuomo is announcing that agenda in a series of State of the State addresses this week beginning Monday in Manhattan.

“I hope the governor will join us in supporting a real jobs plan that provides new opportunities for workers and eases regulatory burdens so businesses can succeed and grow,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport).

Flanagan said his majority will push to put a 2 percent cap on state spending into law. Under Cuomo, the state has so far held itself to that level, excluding capital spending.

Flanagan also wants to make sure that Cuomo’s already announced proposal for a larger tax credit to help pay for child care and a separate proposal to provide free public college tuition for many in the middle class don’t push spending increases beyond 2 percent.

“The last thing hardworking, middle-class New Yorkers need right now are flashy press releases, lofty pronouncements, or more broken promises,” said Flanagan. “They need real solutions. And, they need our help.”

Meanwhile, the Senate’s mainline Democrats are still fuming over Cuomo’s refusal to step in and unite them with the seven-member Independent Democratic Conference to form a majority. Cuomo has been allied with the Senate Republicans through much of his tenure.

Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said many of the proposals Cuomo has already announced have been among her conference’s bills that have been blocked for years by the Senate Republican majority. Among them is Cuomo’s plan for free tuition assistance at New York public colleges for families and individuals making up to $100,000 annually, beginning this fall.

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