Democratic Assembly members, irritated by what they see as a campaign that misrepresents their positions, said they don’t want to pass the tax credit.
“There were many areas where we could have had a compromise, but it is much more difficult when you have this outside campaign that is so negative,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, the chairwoman of the chamber’s education committee, on Wednesday.
Members believe Mr. Cuomo helped the campaign strategize, she added. “Why the governor would want to encourage these mailings to Democratic Assembly members’ districts is beyond me.”
Bob Bellafiore, a spokesman for the coalition, said: “Sometimes you have to speak sharply to get people to pay attention.” The coalition’s efforts operated independently of the governor, he said.
A Cuomo administration official declined to say if the administration played a role in the ad campaign, but said: “This is the nature of advocacy, groups work to further their own agendas.”
The coalition was founded by the late Peter Flanigan, an investment banker and former Nixon aide. Mr. Bellafiore said it didn’t yet know how much its campaign cost.
There's little reason to doubt Cuomo helped strategize the PR campaign because
A) his spokesperson refused to say whether the administration was involved in it and
B) Cuomo helped secretly strategize the Eva Moskowitz/Success Academies rally in Albany a year ago when she was fighting Mayor de Blasio over co-locations - as the NY Times reported.
Perhaps Cuomo thought the hardball tactics would work, but so far, they seemed to have just pissed Assembly Dems off:
Members made their concerns known to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. Mr. Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, is negotiating an end-of-session agreement with Mr. Cuomo and Sen. John Flanagan, the Long Island Republican who leads the Senate.
“Clearly our members think the campaign was inappropriate, offensive and misleading,” Mr. Heastie’s spokesman said on Wednesday. “Putting the merits of the issue aside, if the goal was to enrich consultants and harden support against it, then bravo.”
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat who was targeted by the campaign against legislators who oppose the tax credit, said the critical ads backfired.
“The vast majority of my constituents said, ‘Hold tight, I’m with you,’ ” she said.
We'll see if that backbone in the Assembly continues.
But for now it is important to note that Assembly Dems believe Cuomo is behind the hardball PR campaign, given his past record with the Moskowitz rally and his spokesperson's refusal to say whether the administration was involved or not it's a good bet they're right, and this further poisons the relationship between the governor and his fellow Democrats.