On The Docket When The Session Starts In January: Congestion Pricing, Sports Betting And Legalizing Marijuana

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new world order comes to Albany as Democrats take control of the state senate, and for the first time in almost a decade the same party will control all three branches of government.

Despite the victory, pundits warn about being careful what you wish for, reports CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer.

“I think you’re going to see some stark disagreements and you’ll be wondering if we’re back to the idea of divided government,” said Larry Levy of Hofstra University.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo campaigned with Brooklyn senate candidate Andrew Gounardes as part of an all-out – and ultimately successful – effort to win control of the upper House for the Democrats.

Democrats around the state are absolutely salivating are the prospect of pushing all kinds of programs that were non-starters when the Republicans controlled the Senate.

Mayor Bill de Blasio thinks he’ll be able to win passage of a laundry list of his progressive tax-the-rich schemes, from the millionaires tax, to fix the subways, to a mansion tax.

The mayor says it’s “going to allow some really important indicatives to finally be acted on that we’ve been waiting for, for years.”

New taxes may be as tough a sell with a Democratic senate as it as when Republicans called the shots because many of the seats won by Democrats were in the suburbs where “taxes” is a four letter word.

“Many of us including myself have taken oaths, literal oaths, to voters that we will not be taxing them,” said Sen. Todd Kaminsky.

The ever wily governor will find a way to avoid over-taxing New Yorkers.

“Andrew Cuomo’s a great deal maker,” said Levy. “He’s going to look for openings particularly by taking suburban lawmakers and forming coalitions, perhaps with upstaters, to block stuff that perhaps Mayor de Blasio and other progressive Democrats may want to push.”

Five Nassau Democratic senators – three elected just last night – said congestion pricing would be on the agenda to help fix mass transit

“I think congestion pricing is going to be the topic of the session,” said Kaminsky. “We all have to consider it very seriously. Many of us are on record supporting it knowing we have to talk bold steps right now.”

MORE: New York State Lawmakers Hold Hearing On Marijuana Legalization

Kaminsky pointed out that three things that are on the docket when the session starts in January: congestion pricing, sports betting and legalizing marijuana.

The commission eyeing ways to fund mass transit has suggested taxing both marijuana and sports betting in addition to congestion pricing.


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