Governor Cuomo broke out his veto pen earlier this week, axing over a 100 items from the budget he said were pork spending. That move angered some lawmakers who say he's penalizing low income communities. Some Senate Democrats are especially unhappy that their districts will see most of the cuts. Our Zack Fink has the story.
NEW YORK STATE -- For some, member items may be just pork, but for legislators, the grants represent significant money for real people and groups.
Democratic State Senator Tony Avella is one of many lawmakers who saw his member items axed. He's particularly upset that the Governor's vetoes seem to disproportionately target State Senate Democrats.
Avella said, “There's is a difference between governing and bullying. And I think we've crossed that line now."
Democrats in the Senate have clashed with the Governor, perhaps most notably over redistricting. Democrats stormed out of the Senate chamber in anger last month, refusing to vote for the Governor's plan. The back and forth between the minority conference and the Governor has continued ever since, culminating in the Governor's vetoes on Wednesday.
"We all came to a compromise on a balanced budget. That means we agreed: The Senate, Assembly and the Governor. Well why all of the sudden two weeks later do you veto items in the budget you agreed to,” Avella said.
According to Senator Avella, seven of the line items are targeted are in his district. Grants worth about $5,000 each. They include the Bayside Historical Society, an anti-graffiti program and a little league.
Governor Cuomo has vowed not to allow new member items. But the ones he vetoed were previously approved. Legislators had simply shifted them to other causes.
"Now the legislature will say this is money that was previously appropriated to other items that they are reprogramming to new items, so they're not really new. I consider them new," Cuomo said.
"You mean to tell me in a $133 billion budget of the state, the Governor has to veto two $5,000 grants?!? I mean c'mon. Give me a break," Avella said.
A spokesman for Governor Cuomo says the Governor vetoed items from both parties in both houses.