Cuomo’s 2015 vetoes, by the numbers
ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed 129 bills in 2015, the highest total of his five years in office.
Much of the legislation he vetoed had similar aims to bills he’s opposed throughout his tenure: He has routinely nixed proposals to classify various officials as peace officers and to allow individuals to retroactively enter into a higher pension tier. He also frequently vetoes bills that would impose mandates on the executive branch, and opposed bills this year to strengthen the state’s Freedom of Information Law and let various local governments impose hotel occupancy taxes.
Additionally, four budget bills were adopted but subjected to line-item vetoes (these are excluded from the numbers below, unless otherwise mentioned).
The 17.97 percent of bills vetoed in their entirety by Cuomo was not only the highest total of his tenure, but the fifth-highest of any governor over the past four decades.
Since 1975, that total has only been exceeded four times — in 2006, when an outgoing Gov. George Pataki vetoed hundreds of bills in an apparent attempt to bolster his conservative credentials in advance of a potential 2008 presidential campaign, and three of the four years when the state was governed by Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, and tensions between the Legislature and executive were especially high.
Cuomo's vetoes had little correlation to the support for a bill in the Legislature. The number of vetoes for legislation that received more than 20 combined no votes in the Senate and Assembly (16.8 percent) was virtually identical to those that passed unanimously (16.0 percent).
Among members of the Legislature, Cuomo sided most frequently (by signing bills they voted yes on and vetoing those they voted against) with Sen. Daniel Squadron, agreeing within him 82.98 percent of the time. He sided with Assemblyman Charles Barron, one of his opponents in the 2010 gubernatorial race, the least often, taking the same position as him on 63.26 percent of bills.
Cuomo's vetoes did not appear to reflect a particular partisan divide. Of the 30 lawmakers he had the same position on legislation as the most often, 14 were Democrats and 16 Republicans. The gaps between legislators were relatively small: Squadron’s leading percentage was less than five points higher than the lawmaker who finished 159th (former assemblyman Sheldon Silver, 78.49 percent).
As in past years, the governor was more likely to veto bills that were sent to his desk toward the end of the year than those he received soon after the end of the legislative session. As of the end of September, he had signed 96.3 of the bills he had acted on; in the year’s final three months, he signed only about two-thirds.