Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos today heavily criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for cutting a deal with Democrats and the Working Families Party to try to take over the state Senate, saying Cuomo is ceding his authority to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the “radical agenda” of New York City Democrats.
In some of Skelos’ harshest comments since Cuomo took office in 2011, Skelos told Gannett’s Albany Bureau that Cuomo caved to the Working Families Party and the left-wing de Blasio last month in order to win the third-party line.
“I understand Republicans supporting Republicans. I understand Democrats supporting Democrats,” Skelos said. “I think what is most surprising to me, and it’s been a three-week journey, is the total capitulation of the governor to the Working Families Party and Bill de Blasio.
“Four years ago, he had the inner strength and character to basically say, ‘It’s my way in terms of economic reform that the state needed or I’m not taking your line.’ This time, it seems they told him this is what you have to do and say or you’re not going to get the line.”
Skelos’ conference is fighting for survival now that the Independent Democratic Conference broke with Republicans and vowed to work with Democrats in the majority in January.
Skelos directed most of his ire at Cuomo, saying Cuomo has given into de Blasio and the Working Families Party.
“The most surprising thing in all of this is the governor’s the total capitulation to the Working Families Party and abdicating his position as the number one Democrat in the state to Bill de Blasio,” Skelos said. “He would become the de facto governor of the state.”
Cuomo has worked to develop a record as a centrist Democrat during his first term by working with Republicans on economic reforms, such as lowering income taxes, installing a property-tax cap and limiting state spending with four on-time budgets.
Skelos said that may all go out the window with Democrats in charge of the Legislature and the executive branch. He predicted Republicans, who mainly represent upstate and Long Island, will win enough seats in November to beat back the threat from Democrats.
“This type of radical agenda that the Democrats in the state are promoting, that’s going to turn off people – whether that’s in upstate New York, the mid-Hudson area or Long Island,” Skelos said.
He added, “I do believe are going to come back with a Republican majority. I think the actions of the Senate Democrats and the Working Families Party and Bill de Blasio have given us the ammunition to take back a strong majority, and then you look again to govern in a bi-partisan way.”