The Senate’s power-sharing coalition would like to remind Gov. Andrew Cuomo: We supported the casino amendment.
In a joint statement issued Friday, the co-leaders of the state Senate touted their support for the amendment, which would allow up to seven private, non-Indian casinos statewide, with the first four slated for the Catskills, the Southern Tier and the Capital Region.
“Since many Senate Democrats voted against this legislation, the Governor only earned a referendum on this key economic program by working with Senate Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference,” Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, and Independent Democratic Leader Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, said in the statement. “Without the leadership of the IDC and Senate Republicans, one the Governor’s biggest economic development programs would have likely been dead on arrival in the Legislature.”
In order for a constitutional amendment to get on the ballot, consecutive sessions of the state Legislature have to vote in favor of it. That happened in 2012 and 2013, the year the IDC partnered with the GOP to keep Senate Democrats out of control. (It doesn’t require the governor’s signature.)
The joint statement also comes as Cuomo and the New York State Democratic Committee have criticized the Senate coalition, with Cuomo indirectly referring to the IDC as “co-conspirators to the Republicans in the Senate” and the state Democrats’ executive director telling Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, to “register Republican.”
Here’s the full statement from Klein and Skelos:
“As the Governor has said time and again, expanding casino gaming is one of his signature economic programs for New York State. The Senate Majority Coalition agrees with the Governor that expanded gaming has the potential to unlock upstate New York’s vast economic potential and to create thousands of good-paying jobs. In Queens alone, 1,500 workers just saw their salaries double. That’s real economic progress for New York’s middle class.
“Since many Senate Democrats voted against this legislation, the Governor only earned a referendum on this key economic program by working with Senate Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference. Without the leadership of the IDC and Senate Republicans, one the Governor’s biggest economic development programs would have likely been dead on arrival in the Legislature. We were pleased to provide the leadership to get this through the Senate, much like we did with the other key pieces of the Governor’s economic agenda, such as the family tax rebate, tax cuts for the middle class and incentives for small businesses.
“It is our hope that passage of this referendum will create jobs, spur economic development, and produce hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue for New York schools—things that every New Yorker can get behind.”