Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has been an across-the-aisle ally of Governor Andrew Cuomo in recent months, and today, the Long Island Republican continued that support with praise for the governor’s budget proposal.
“I applaud Governor Cuomo for keeping his commitments to reduce spending and to not raise taxes,” Skelos said in a statement. “The state simply cannot continue to put off the spending reductions that are necessary to close the deficit. All levels of government need to understand that they have to do more with less.”
In a scrum with reporters after the budget presentation, Skelos addressed one issue that could strain his relationship with Cuomo–potential cuts to school aid on Long Island, where Skelos leads a powerful bloc of nine Republican senators.
“As long as Long Island is treated fairly, like any other part of the state, I think the people will understand that,” said Skelos, who spoke about cutting the rate of growth, rather than absolute cuts. But Skelos said he had not seen the breakdown yet of what share Long Island might get of education aid, and withheld comment on some other details–like the closure of state prisons–remained
Asked what he thought of the closing pep talk for legislators to fall in line behind the governor, Skelos waxed nostalgic.
“It brought me back to the days of his father, when I was in the Legislature,” he said.
Here’s the full statement:
I applaud Governor Cuomo for keeping his commitments to reduce spending and to not raise taxes. The state simply cannot continue to put off the spending reductions that are necessary to close the deficit. All levels of government need to understand that they have to do more with less.
By making the tough decisions now, we can reform the way government operates and make New York a place where businesses want to stay, grow and create new private sector jobs. While there are still more budget details yet to come related to school aid, Medicaid reforms, government consolidation and changes to our corrections system, I hope everyone involved can work together in an open, public process and get a budget done on time.