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New York liberals skeptical of Cuomo's fiscal record

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: New York liberals skeptical of Cuomo's fiscal record
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Last week, the state's top Republicans make their nominations at their convention in Rye Brook, New York. Coming up this week, the Democrats do the same.

As New York Democrats meet in Suffolk County this week for their convention, liberals within the party remain skeptical Gov. Andrew Cuomo's fiscal record reflects their own priorities. Though Cuomo remains popular with self-described liberals, some on the left haven't ruled out backing other candidates deemed more progressive, especially when it comes to taxes.

Polls show that voters who call themselves progressive or liberal are absolutely willing to look at other options," said Michael Kink, executive Director of Strong Economy For All.

In the last four years, Cuomo has racked up significant socially liberal victories, ranging from same-sex marriage to gun control. But he's also capped property tax increases, created a new, less generous pension tier and sought to cut business taxes. Now some liberal advocates say Cuomo must push hard for the public financing of political campaigns as a way to shore up support on the left.

"Whether he's willing to do that, whether his political people feel it's where he should go, whether it's where he feels it's where he should go, I think it remains an open question," Kink said.

In recent weeks Cuomo has indeed pushed hard for public financing, indicating to upstate Democrats in April he'd make it a theme of his re-election.

"We're going to say do you want to clean up politics? Do you want to clean up elections? Do you believe we have to get money out of politics? Then why didn't you pass public financing," Cuomo said.

Cuomo allies dismiss any talk that the governor and liberals won't be able to present a united front once the convention is over.

Sure, anybody running for public office will have to do some work in terms of unifying. I predict that we will be able to do that. I predict that we will speak in one message, in one voice," said state Democratic Party Chairman Keith Wright.

Meanwhile, Cuomo also will have to pick a new running mate as Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy said he won't run for another term. Republican candidate Rob Astorino last week picked Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss as his number two, the first African-American to run statewide on the GOP ticket.

Some of the thinking that's going into the picking of the next lieutenant governor is will that person be able to govern just in case.

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