Saying State ‘Under Attack’ By Trump, Lawmakers Get To Work
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York is "under attack like never before" because of the Trump administration's policies, the speaker of the Democrat-controlled Assembly said Monday as state lawmakers got down to work on what is likely to be one of the most contentious legislative sessions in years.
Members of the Senate and Assembly gaveled into session for the first real day of work on their scheduled 58-day legislative session.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, opened the session in his chamber by outlining the majority's agenda.
"Our state is under attack like never before and the radical policies coming from Washington are threatening nearly every aspect of our lives," he said.
Republican lawmakers, however, say Democrats need to focus on problems closer to home, such as the state's high taxes, a declining population and an upstate economy that continues to struggle following decades of stagnation.
"We want to have people moving into New York, not out," said Senate Leader John Flanagan, R-Long Island during his introductory remarks.
Lawmakers convened last week for a largely ceremonial first day of the session that included a state of the state address from Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They hope to pass a new state budget by April 1 and then complete the rest of their business for the year in late June.
Many of Heastie's comments echoed Cuomo's address, which targeted Republican President Donald Trump and his GOP supporters for what the governor called their "assault" on New York with the tax overhaul recently approved by Congress. Cuomo said New York would sue the Trump administration over a provision in the new law which caps a deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000, a change which will mean significantly higher taxes for many residents in high-tax states such as New York.
Cuomo, the 60-year-old son of the late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, is regularly mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2020, though he says he's focused on getting re-elected this November.
Heastie, too, vowed to take action on the state's behalf against federal actions that would adversely impact New Yorkers.
"To just sit back and let Washington pick the pockets of New Yorkers is something that is unacceptable," he said.