“This has been the worst session ever,” a Long Island Republican senator says. “I can’t wait to get out of here.”
Smith writes that the legislature, still reeling from the arrests of the Assembly and Senate leaders, is looking to do the bare minimum before the legislative session ends on June 17, then scram out of town as fast as they can, but Governor Cuomo may throw rocks at that plan:
Predictions of a calm Albany conclusion, though, are based mostly on the legislature’s desire to get out of town quietly. And they come with one large caveat: Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The governor has already been talking up tougher campus sexual assault rules and an education tax credit program that could help needy families, parochial schools, and wealthy donors. Cuomo has generally been opposed to tax increases. On the items crucial to the city — rent regulation and 421-a — the governor hasn’t really weighed in yet, instead suggesting “the parties work it out among themselves.”
For the past few days Cuomo has been tending to his partner, Sandra Lee, after her breast cancer surgery. But no one expects the low-profile to continue. “The governor loves splashy initiatives,” a Cuomo insider says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he spends Memorial Day weekend coming up with some big package to push in the final three weeks.”
Because after a period of tumultuous, involuntary change in Albany, a passive Andrew Cuomo would be the biggest shift yet.
Smith's prognosis misses one other caveat: Preet Bharara.
Cuomo may like to drive the narrative in Albany, but as we have seen so far this year, that's not actually what's happening any longer.
Bharara arrested Shelly Silver the day after Cuomo's big State of the State/budget address, short-circuiting all the lovely press Cuomo was going to get from the speech and putting a shiv into some of the governor's political momentum going into the budget negotiations.
Cuomo still got some of what he wanted - mostly in his destructive education reforms - but there was a lot that had to be left out of the budget agreement, including rent regulations, the charter cap increase, and mayoral control in NYC.
Then, just as things seemed to be calming down after the Silver arrest, Bharara struck again, first with leaks about a grand jury looking into Dean Skelos and son, then with the arrests of both.
Chris Smith writes
It has been 18 whole days now since anyone in New York State government has been arrested or indicted. Albany’s familiar rhythms have returned: By day, the clutches of lobbyists huddle around tables inside the Dunkin’ Donuts beneath the state capitol; by night, the clusters of older legislators huddle at the bar of the New World Bistro.
But you have to wonder, how much longer does that calm go on?
There are rumors abuzz that Governor Cuomo is next on Bharara's list.
Cuomo may be plotting some big plan to unveil for the last three weeks of the session, as Smith's "Cuomo insider" says, but it's quite possible US Attorney Preet Bharara is doing the same.