WXXI Local Stories
5:54 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

Cuomo Frowns On Linking Issues

Albany, New York –
Governor Andrew Cuomo invited legislative leaders to the executive mansion for a private lunch Monday, later the governor said he does not approve of an idea, circulating around the Capitol, that would link his property tax cap to reforming New York City's rent regulations.

Cuomo says his private lunch with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is just the start of a series of meetings at the mansion that will eventually include all of the members of the legislature.

"I look forward to working cooperatively," said Cuomo "I'm trying to reach across the aisle, I'm trying to work in both houses."

Cuomo says he does not approve of an idea, first reported in several newspapers over the weekend, that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver might want to link passage of Cuomo's property tax cap to reform of rent regulations in New York City, which sunset in June. The stories brought up images of old fashioned political horse trading and back room dealings.

"These are separate issues and they should be analyzed as separate issues", said Cuomo, saying it was a "mistake" in the past to group issues together during negotiations.

Assembly Speaker Silver denies that he wants to link the two issues.

"It's not a matter of linking it," Silver said. "I don't plan on linking it."

But the Speaker says that the two issues share a common goal, keeping people in their homes.

"Clearly the purpose is the same, that their dwelling place, whether they own it or they rent it, should not exceed enormously, or have sudden spikes in what it costs them to maintain," Silver said.

The Speaker says rules known as vacancy decontrol, which in many cases allows an apartment to be removed from the rent control system when a tenant leaves, should be adjusted for inflation. Currently, the threshold for decontrol occurs when the unit reaches a rental value of $2000 a month, some proposals say the threshold should be increased to $3000 a month.

Republican Senate Leader Skelos, says he agrees with Cuomo that the property tax cap and rent laws reform should not be linked.

The speaker also setup another potential clash with Cuomo, when he did not rule out seeking to renew the state's income tax surcharge on millionaires, if the governor's budget makes deep cuts to services.

Silver says he'll determine after the governor's budget is released, around February 1st, "whether we can afford to provide that tax relief to the wealthy".

Cuomo says he's still against extending the tax on the rich.

"I'm against new taxes. In my opinion that is a new tax," said Cuomo. "Therefore I'm against it."

The governor also says he's not limiting his mansion get togethers to lawmakers. He says he expects to invite union leaders over, as well.