Assembly Democrats insist they won’t get squeezed like they were in the budget talks, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo was able to link an increase in school aid to education reform measures many lawmakers didn’t want to approve.
But as Cuomo finds ways to force state lawmakers into backing the education tax credit by a variety of linkages and packages, Democratic lawmakers say the dynamic is different.
“I think there’s an important distinction between the budget negotiations and what’s going on now,” said Assemblyman James Skoufis in a Capital Tonight interview.
“We as a Legislature in the budget negotiations were up against a wall,” Skoufis said. “The option that could have taken place was, we pass everything the governor wants or we shut down the government. In this case, we don’t have that option, that sort of false dichotomy where we don’t want to choose either of them.”
“We’re not being forced into a corner to accept things we don’t want unlike the situation that presented itself during the budget negotiations,” he said.
Ever since the heavy hearts caved to Cuomo in the budget negotiations and gave him nearly everything he wanted in his education reform agenda, I remain skeptical when I hear Assembly Dems say they'll hold tough against the governor.
Nonetheless, if they roll now at the end of the legislative session when Cuomo doesn't have the same leverage on them as he did during budget negotiations, they're essentially saying they have no power any longer and the governor gets to impose whatever he wants whenever he wants.
We'll see - never underestimate Democrats to surrender or snatch defeat when victory can be had.