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She’s with him
In January, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was at La Guardia Community College launching a campaign for his Excelsior Scholarship program with Sen. Bernie Sanders. On Wednesday, he closed that loop by signing the legislation with Hillary Clinton.
Lining up the Democratic Party’s biggest names — who proposed their own debt-free or tuition-free college plans during the election — helped set the stage for Cuomo’s victory lap Wednesday, raising the stakes from a routine bill signing. A video with sweeping shots included Cuomo talking in soaring cadences about the access to opportunity that allowed his father to become governor. When he came on live, he at one point crooned, “We say the dream lives” to the college atrium.
In keeping with his recent appearances, Cuomo lauded New York as a model for the nation. He added that more affordable higher education would make the American workforce competitive “all across this globe.”
And, as he has in the past, rather than mention or criticize President Donald Trump by name, he sketched a liberal vision of New York embracing newcomers: “Come join the family of New York.”
The atrium was mostly filled with union members (many students are on spring break), one of whom shouted “2020” as Cuomo and Clinton waved to the crowd, though it wasn’t clear who the early voter was imploring.
Villages push back
New York State’s new budget includes encouragement for counties and other municipalities to share services — but this cost-cutting legislation isn’t going over well in some parts of Long Island.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal is aimed at having governments buy equipment and supplies jointly, share personnel, and work together when it makes sense to cut taxes. But local officials say the pressure to lower costs has been a fact of life for years here.
One critic, Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri, put together a list of two dozen ways his village works with the Village of Bellport, the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, the Patchogue-Medford School District, the Patchogue Fire Department, the Patchogue Ambulance Company and Brookhaven Memorial Hospital.
When Patchogue was having trouble finding road salt in 2013, Suffolk County supplied it in exchange for the village plowing and mowing county properties within village limits. The arrangement is still in effect.
Pontieri feels as if Cuomo is trying to take credit for economies local governments are already making. “He’s building up this resume of things that sound good and really don’t do much,” Pontieri said.
The mayor’s list was drawn up at the request of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association. With the passage of the state budget, localities will have to present their shared services plans at public hearings. However, local officials did manage to get eliminated Cuomo’s requirement that these plans be put on the ballot as public referendums to make sure they are implemented.
“This is one of a series of shots the governor has taken at villages,” Pontieri said, mentioning the 2 percent tax cap. He prefers to invest in housing, etc., to grow the village’s tax base.
Make Your Point
Ask Cuomo anything
A blizzard and a scheduling conflict postponed prior meetings with the governor, but on Thursday Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is visiting Newsday’s editorial board. His visit comes after Albany agreed on a state budget this week. Click here to submit a question, and we’ll select some to ask him.