ALBANY, N.Y. (PIX11) — State legislators are beginning the awkward and possibly confrontational process of negotiating a nearly $200 billion budget with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This as Cuomo faces multiple investigations for his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic and mounting claims of sexual harassment.
The massive budget is poised to include a tax hike on the wealthiest New Yorkers and will set the tone for much of the COVID-19 recovery across the state. “I think the governor should resign,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “But I also think it’s important that we do our job.”
Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said they will engage with Cuomo when needed to get the budget done on time. However, the Democratic supermajority means that the legislature can potentially control most aspects of the negotiation if members can get on the same page.
The negotiation comes as the Assembly is in the middle of hiring attorneys to lead an impeachment investigation into Cuomo for both sexual harassment and nursing homes.
Cuomo continues to insist he never touched anyone inappropriately nor meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable. He also said his only failure with nursing homes was not correcting misinformation.
A recent Siena College poll, showed 50% of New Yorkers think Cuomo should not resign. Still, a majority of state and federal lawmakers are on record stating that he should step down or step aside, at least during the investigations.
More outspoken members of the legislature say the assembly should be moving on articles of impeachment immediately. “When we are not given information for months after we demanded it, it makes it, so we are blindfolded and handcuffed from actually being able to keep people safe,” said Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.
Niou was one of only a few Democratic lawmakers to vote against granting Cuomo special pandemic powers in the first place. She and friend State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi recently launched a video podcast to explain New York politics. Most of it so far has been breaking down Cuomo’s scandals.