Cuomo Expresses Lingering Resentment Over Amazon Failure

Mar 22, 2019

File: Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking in Saranac Lake
Credit Pat Bradley/WAMC

With an April 1 budget deadline, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says talks are proceeding in “good faith” with the legislature. But the Democrat says many differences still remain. The governor indicated that lingering resentments over the failed Amazon deal might be coloring the discussions.

Cuomo, giving a budget update to reporters Friday, says the legislature wants to spend too much without providing enough revenues, which he calls “mathematically impossible.” He says he still wants a permanent property tax cap, an end to cash bail and other criminal justice reforms, and a ban on plastic bags in the budget.

The governor continued to blame Senate Democrats for Amazon’s February 14 decision to pull out of a major project in Queens. The Senate nominated an Amazon opponent to a key oversight board, known as the Public Authorities Control Board, or PACB.

“I believe the tactic on Amazon violated the law,” said Cuomo. “And I believe it was a form of government corruption. And I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Cuomo later walked back those comments, saying the law was not violated and corruption did not occur because the appointment of the opponent, Deputy Senate Leader Mike Gianaris, was never finalized.

The governor’s senior advisor, Rich Azzopardi, also weighed in saying in a statement “To be clear, the Governor wasn't accusing the Senate Democrats of corruption. He was making a point about how the process works and the statutory role of the PACB,” Azzopardi said. “We are working with the Senate Democratic Conference toward an on-time budget that works for all New Yorkers.”