The Committee to Save New York, an unprecedented coalition of business groups that spent about $15 million to promote Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legislative agenda in 2011 and 2012, is disbanding.
“We felt our mission was accomplished. And as we’ve always said, we did not intend to play in electoral politics at all. And given that the next session is 2014, a statewide election year, we felt this was the right time to disband,” Michael McKeon, the spokesman, said. (h/t to Celeste Katz)
The group pumped about $17 million into its coffers to spend ads across the state and beat back attempts by unions and health-care groups to criticize Cuomo’s first budget, which included cuts in education and health-care spending to close a $10 billion budget gap.
McKeon said the group has filed paperwork with the secretary of state to disband and will refund about $2 million the group had left to its donors.
The group, which was widely viewed as an extension of the Cuomo political machine, allowed Cuomo to avoid using his own campaign cash to fight unions and to put pressure on reluctant lawmakers to back his agenda. But the group maintained it was independent from Cuomo’s influence.
Regardless, the strategy worked: Cuomo was able to get the Legislature to support a property-tax cap, pension reform and cuts in spending.
Still, the Committee to Save New York has been criticized for operating in secrecy and for not having to reveal its donors.
It went into dormancy this year as Cuomo faced criticism for pushing a more liberal agenda, which included increasing the minimum wage, increasing aid to schools and retaining higher taxes on the wealthy in late 2011 — even though income taxes dropped slightly from the previous year.