Cuomo preps a pre-budget ad blitz

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ALBANY—Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing a pre-budget ad blitz, his aides have indicated, with television spots planned in support of his plans for public campaign finance, property tax relief and changes to the Common Core.

Cuomo aides confirm these spots, which according to a media buyer have yet to be placed, will be paid for from the governor's campaign committee, which reported $33 million on hand in January.

It is the second time since he took office that Cuomo's campaign has spent money to influence legislation, a practice also used by other governors. In prior years, Cuomo has used the Democratic State Committee and a coalition of business and real estate interests dubbed the Committee to Save New York to give him air cover.

The ads were released late Monday, but news of each campaign leaked earlier in the day to three different news outlets.

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Newsday reported that the Common Core ad features Cuomo saying, “while the state's new Common Core curriculum is heading in the right direction, testing on it is premature … It creates anxiety and it's just unfair. And their [children's] scores should not be counted against them."

The campaign finance ad says one of Cuomo's “main legislative priorities this session is to continue to clean up the corruption in Albany,” according to the Daily News.

On property taxes, Cuomo explains his plan for an effective property tax freeze is premised on “requiring local governments to work together” by sharing services, Gannett reported.

“By getting his message out now, he puts some pressure on legislators to get behind him. I'm not surprised at all,” said E. O'Brien Murray, a Republican strategist. “He's got so much money he's got to start buying time now, or he won't be able to use it. And why not? Any issues in the paper that could attack him, he can inoculate himself against it.”

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a presumed gubernatorial candidate, has signaled his intention to attack Cuomo for the Common Core, a system of curriculum standards that has been adopted by New York and 45 other states, and Assembly Democrats are advancing a bill to postpone testing based on Common Core curricula. Republicans continue to oppose public campaign finance, but have said they might adopt other portions of Cuomo's ethics agenda.

Both Democratic and Republican legislators have resisted Cuomo's tax-freeze plan. Last week, Cuomo began a digital organizing effort designed to boost it.

UPDATE: Here are the ads for property taxes (both upstate and downstate) and Common Core.

-- Jessica Alaimo contributed reporting