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State Legislative Leaders Looking For Changes



Gov. Cuomo’s heavily promoted plan to create tax-free zones for start-up companies near college campuses hasn’t won over legislative leaders just yet.

Emerging from an hour-long meeting with Cuomo Monday afternoon, the leaders – especially Senate GOP Dean Skelos and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein – indicated a desire to tinker with the governor’s Tax-Free NY free ny logo.jpgKlein, a Bronx Democrat, wants to see the plan’s focus expand beyond the struggling upstate regions that Cuomo has targeted.

“I think the concept is a terrific concept,” Klein said. “We need to create jobs but I think we have to be mindful of the fact that we have to create jobs in upstate New York but we also have to reduce unemployment in inner city communities as well.”

Klein added: “I would like to see it in the Bronx, certain parts of Westchester.”

Skelos (R-Nassau County) also suggested the plan’s scope needs to be expanded.

“The priority from the beginning has been what can be done to kick start the upstate economy and I think we are focused on that but there are needs on Long Island and the city and all parts of the state,” Skelos said.

Skelos, Klein and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver all said the meeting with Cuomo covered a wide range of issues still pending before the Legislature in the final weeks of the session,  including the Dream Act, casino gambling, and the governor’s 10-point Woman’s Equality Act.

“I said I can’t wait to see it,” Skelos said, regarding the Women’s Equality Act. The governor is expected to unveil the legislation Tuesday.

Skelos said he also discussed possible amendments to the SAFE ACT, which the Legislature adopted in January. The gun control law, among other things, expanded the state’s ban on assault weapons and limited to seven the number or bullets that could be loaded into a magazine.

“I know the Assembly passed one exempting retired police officers and there’s potential that there may be other additions to it,” Skelos said without offering further specifics.

UPDATE - A Cuomo administration source argues the governor’s proposal already includes SUNY campuses on Long Island. Manhattan schools can also participate but only in partnership with a community north of Westchester


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