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Cuomo, Senate leader go tit-for-tat in spat over special session for pay raise

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders aren’t quite in the holiday mood, yet.
Cuomo lashed out at the Senate for creating an atmosphere where the prospects for a special legislative session is now on “life support.’’

After an event in Queens Thursday, Cuomo told reporters that he could cut a deal with Assembly Democrats.

“The Senate has not been cooperative, and that’s what is slowing us up right now,’’ Cuomo said.
Soon after, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan issued his own tit-for-tat response. The Suffolk County Republican said it’s “no secret” Cuomo is trying to trade a plan to hike the salaries of legislators – their first raise since 1999 -- to unrelated issues. He said the Senate isn’t the impediment to a deal.

“The biggest obstacle to doing the people’s business is him,’’ Flanagan said of Cuomo.

The items on the trade table keep growing. While he didn’t mention what had been his signature demands for a special session – stronger ethics, contract procurement and campaign finance laws to address the Capitol’s low standing with New Yorkers following a rash of corruption scandals – Cuomo added a new one Thursday: “taxpayer relief.’’ He did not elaborate. Other items range from okaying a public housing deal to taking up a bill legalizing ride sharing in upstate. No details of any of the plans have been made public by Cuomo or lawmakers.

To get a pay raise effective when a new session of the Legislature begins in January, the sides must OK a deal by December 31. While Cuomo and lawmakers are negotiating a range of items, only one – the pay hike – has an actual deadline. The others could be taken up when lawmakers return for their 2017 session on January 4, without the expense associated from a special session that costs tens of thousands of dollars per day in legislator and staff expenses.

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