By Marcia Kramer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Despite investigations into allegations of sexual harassment and cooking the books in regard to nursing home deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a signal that he’s still actively engaged in negotiating New York’s budget.

But lawmakers want him to step aside, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday.

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“This is the most important budget in a long time,” said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris. “To have a distracted governor at a time when we need engagement from our negotiating partner, is why so many of us have called for his resignation.”

“We’re at a pivotal moment in this state and what we do now will decide the trajectory,” Cuomo said. “This is not a budget, this is the plan for recovery for the State of New York.”

The governor made those remarks at a “no reporters allowed” event on Long Island, where he couldn’t be questioned or challenged. Cuomo insisted he’s working, including negotiating a deal to legalize marijuana.

“I spent this past weekend on the phone with the assembly majority leader, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, working through it,” Cuomo said.

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This comes as both houses of the legislature sought to increase taxes on the rich and corporations by $7 billion.

Business leaders told CBS2 they’re worried about the increase and that it could drive people and businesses out of New York, especially since President Joe Biden is also talking about raising the federal tax rate.

“The wealthiest have had a banner year. They have done better than they’ve done in quite some time. The fair thing to do is ask those that are doing well to fund the recovery,” Gianaris said.

One thing Gianaris wants the money for is a $2 billion rent relief fund to help both tenants and the owners of commercial businesses.

“How you raise revenue can actually raise revenue or can cost you revenue. If you’re not careful the way you do it, you may actually lose money for the state,” Cuomo said.

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Whether the governor can actually affect the budget process remains to be seen.

Marcia Kramer