With State in Crisis, Cuomo Outlines Plan to ‘Win the Covid War’

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Beyond significant aid to backfill the budget, Mr. Cuomo is also hoping that federal officials increase the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rate — New York has long had one of the most costly programs in the nation — and pave the way for infrastructure projects like the extension of the Second Avenue Subway and the Gateway Tunnel project.

At the same time, it remains to be seen how newly emboldened Democrats in the State Legislature will use their veto-proof supermajorities to pursue far-reaching proposals that Mr. Cuomo might be reluctant to embrace, like new taxes on the wealthy, reforms to solitary confinement in prisons or the creation of a single-payer health care system in New York.

Indeed, on Monday, Mr. Cuomo only described increasing the state income tax on the wealthy as a hypothetical scenario, framing it as insufficient to cover the state’s budget gap. Left-wing groups that support a bevy of new taxes on the super-rich disagree with that assertion, saying such taxes could raise billions of dollars quickly.

“Federal relief never was, and is not today, sufficient to meet the needs of people up and down our state,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, the state director of the Working Families Party. It is past time for the governor to stop shifting responsibility onto others and start taking measures that are wholly within his power.”

The supermajorities — won by New York Democrats even as Republicans fared well in other statehouse races across the country — have effectively banished the Republicans to observers in the Capitol and could diminish the power of Mr. Cuomo, who has been the most powerful player in state politics for a decade.

Still, the Senate minority leader, Rob Ortt, an upstate Republican, said he was encouraged by Mr. Cuomo’s promises to focus on pocketbook issues in the days to come. “I’m glad to see the governor is focused on reopening the economy,” he said. “We’ll see what that looks like.”

Mr. Cuomo’s own profile has grown during the coronavirus crisis — and he has repeatedly rebuffed suggestions that he holds higher political aspirations or will join the Biden administration. But his speech had undeniable national overtones, decrying the violence at the Capitol last week and calling on residents to continue to be vigilant about coronavirus safeguards.

“This is a national crisis,” Mr. Cuomo said. “But New York will lead.”

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