Cuomo stresses ability to work with de Blasio on housing and homelessness
The lapse in the tax credit for developers to build affordable housing is the biggest challenge facing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, the governor told reporters today.
Cuomo made the remarks after speaking face-to-face with the mayor before they appeared, separately, at a Martin Luther King Day celebration in Harlem today.
The comments, in which Cuomo also said he believes he can work productively with the mayor, came days after the governor’s State of the State speech and budget presentation that included nearly $1 billion in funding cuts and obligations for the city, which was criticized by the mayor and newspaper editorial pages in the city.
Outside the National Action Network's office on 145th Street, Cuomo told reporters, “Frankly, these cuts, Medicaid and CUNY, are not the biggest items of concern. Biggest item of concern, frankly, is that the affordable housing program that we hope to pass, did not pass. There was an agreement that was supposed to be worked out between the labor unions and an organization called the real estate owners, REBNY, to agree on a wage. They didn’t agree on a wage, which means right now we don’t have an affordable housing program that’s operating in the city of New York. And that is a major concern for the mayor and myself. And that’s been our number one topic of conversation.”
The governor and mayor, who have been feuding openly since last summer, spoke in a back room at NAN. Then, NAN followers and a slew of elected officials marched in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Asked about his conversation with the mayor in that back room, Cuomo said they "were just chatting. Nothing special. And we were talking about doing this march. We mentioned it was a tad cold out.”
The governor said he and de Blasio are “going to have to find a way to do affordable housing because that is a real problem. If you don’t solve affordable housing, it makes everything worse. It makes the homeless problem worse, etc.” He added, “I represent the city. The mayor represents the city. We want to do what’s best for the city. It’s his job, it’s my job. And it’s his legacy, and my legacy. So, we wil do everything that we can to make sure that when we’re done that this city is better and stronger than ever before.”
Cuomo also told reporters that his spat with de Blasio is more of a media-driven perception than anything real.
“I get the drama, and I like it. I understand why you like it. It’s like soap opera comes to politics. And you guys like the drama. I get it,” Cuomo said today. “At the end of the day, we know each other 30 years, we’ve worked together in the federal government. We know each other’s families. There are no two people better equipped to work through tough issues than the mayor and myself. And that’s what you’ll see.”
Last November, a Cuomo spokeswoman said, “Yes, it’s clear that the Mayor can’t manage the homeless crisis and the State does intend to step in with both management expertise and resources.”
When asked today if he thought de Blasio had the management skills to deal with the city’s homelessness problem, Cuomo instead spoke about his own recently announced plan, and his expertise on the issue as a former Housing and Urban Development head in the Clinton administration.
“I laid out a good plan at the State of the State and we’re executing that plan,” Cuomo said. “I think it’s the most comprehensive approach that’s been done. I worked on this first, in my twenties, when I was very very young, a long time ago, for Mayor Dinkins. I then worked on it in the federal government. We came up with a plan with President Clinton. I did this in cities all across the nation. It works. So I feel very comfortable about it. And we’re doing it in partnership.”