ALBANY - Gov. Cuomo's speech on Sunday night to the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators was interrupted with chants of "Tax the rich!" led by City Councilman Charles Barron.
Cuomo received a warm welcome as he began to address the group, but within moments Barron (D-Brooklyn) did a Kanye West and stole the spotlight.
"Shame on you," Barron yelled at Cuomo after walking from the back of the Albany Convention Center to the front.
"Stop the cuts," Barron said.
"How are you tonight, Charles?" Cuomo said to Barron after the interruption. "I can't see who it is, but I know who it is."
Barron, a known rabble-rouser, seized the moment, yelling, "Tax the rich!"
Soon the chant caught on with a small but vocal group in the crowd of more than 500.
Cuomo's budget calls for deep cuts to education and health care spending to close the state's $10 billion deficit. He also opposes extension of the state's so-called millionaire's tax, which expires at the end of the year.
Barron and many Democratic legislators want the tax extended to help blunt many of Cuomo's proposed cuts.
Earlier, Barron described Cuomo's budget as Draconian.
"It is cutting us to the bone," Barron told the Daily News. "Tax the rich. Don't come to the table saying the only thing you're going to do is cut."
The Rev. Al Sharpton also criticized Cuomo's budget and urged lawmakers to oppose it.
Cuomo pointed to his 77% approval ratings and said he was confident the state was behind him on his policies to pursue cuts rather than higher taxes on wealthy people.
Let's see how those approval ratings look AFTER the cuts, Little Andy.
When people watch their senior centers closed, daycare programs cut, school budgets slashed to the bone, teachers laid off and class sizes heading toward 40, and parks and libraries closed all the while that the hedge fund and Wall Street criminal class continue to party like it's 1928, I bet those approval numbers don't look so good.
You see, people love to hear about cuts in the abstract, especially when they're aimed at OTHER people.
But when they start to hit home for them (as these Cuomo cuts will), it's a whole different story.