“I’d argue Phil Murphy is Andrew Cuomo’s biggest concern over the next six months,” said one NY Democratic consultant. | AP Image As Trump looms, Cuomo and Murphy tiptoe toward a perilous relationship
In their initial press conference together – a media call-cum-tirade against the Trump tax program – Gov. Andrew Cuomo of NY and Gov.-elect Phil Murphy of New Jersey expressed a good chumminess that bordered about hokey.
Cuomo addressed Murphy as “my neighbor.”
Story Continued Below
Murphy delivered a good sermon about the value of “locked arms” in the fight Trumpism.
“Hear, hear, well said,” responded Cuomo. “Congratulations once again.”
“Many thanks, governor,” Murphy said.
Their gestures of open public affection belie a more precarious reality. As Cuomo tacks remaining in preparation for a potential presidential operate in 2020, a Democrat is ascending to workplace in Cuomo’s backyard with none of the baggage Cuomo carries from his seven years as a triangulating Democrat.
A good progressive with Democratic majorities in both chambers of the statehouse, one of Murphy’s initial gambits will be an effort to legalize recreational marijuana, something Cuomo considers a “gateway medication.” Murphy, like Cuomo nemesis and New York City Mayor Costs de Blasio, ran for workplace promising to hike taxes on millionaires. Cuomo routinely dismisses the taxes as an issue that Senate Republicans (whose hang on electricity critics claim he enabled) simply won’t countenance.
If Murphy’s expected, out-of-the-gate liberalism underscores Cuomo’s unique vulnerabilities on the progressive front, it isn’t the only potential pitfall in their formative relationship. Additionally, there is the talk about of the region’s infrastructure and the limited pool of money open to address it.
“They’re gonna kill one another,” said David Wildstein, the admitted mastermind of the George Washington Bridge scandal and a former Christie appointee at the Port Authority.
Indicators arrived early this year, when then-applicant Murphy vowed to “deal with tooth and nail” to have the bi-state Port Authority to fund a fresh bus terminal for New Jersey commuters upon Manhattan’s west area, a project that Cuomo features sought to undermine.
Within an interview with POLITICO in heat of the gubernatorial election, Murphy threatened to stymie Cuomo’s own Port Authority projects should the New York governor not really acquiesce. Cuomo, via his spokeswoman, suggested Murphy was being, well, stupid.
“If Phil Murphy becomes Governor and is briefed about the reality and understands the company, we can have an intelligent conversation,” spokeswoman Dani Lever explained at the time.
Murphy will become governor next month.
“I’d argue Phil Murphy is Andrew Cuomo’s biggest concern over the next six months,” said one NY Democratic consultant. “He will be considered a progressive hero. He will have the ability to remake that talk about in a progressive method that Andrew Cuomo was not able to.”
The infrastructure problem
The backdrop for much of their relationship may very well be the region’s failing transportation infrastructure.
The existing rail tunnel under the Hudson River, on which both states’ economies rely, is fast deteriorating. Initiatives to displace it have begun to falter, with the chance of federal government support for the $13 billion project looking ever more dicey in age Trump.
“The two governors will have to agree on how to proceed about this, and there’s no easy solution,” said Philip Plotch, a political science professor at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City.
They will also need to cope with the toxic stew this is the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, which controls the region’s major airports, the World Trade Center area, PATH and the Hudson River crossings, including the George Washington Bridge.
“There is an inherent tension at the Port because the two states are usually competing above a finite pot,” said Steve Sigmund, a fresh Jersey-based Democratic strategist and former Port Authority executive.
Meanwhile, the Port Authority’s eponymous bus terminal, the nation’s busiest, is over capability and nearing the end of its life time. The station is certainly a hub for North Jersey commuters employed in the city, and for that state’s politicians – Murphy included – replacing it is a top-tier priority. Cuomo could may actually care less.
Murphy needs to force “the New York side to recognize this is a bi-state company,” said New Jersey Senate Majority Innovator Loretta Weinberg, a good Democrat, ardent advocate for a fresh bus terminal in Manhattan, and a recurrent Cuomo critic.
And there are those other, ancillary political distinctions that will probably rear their heads.
NY, which just started starting full-fledged casinos upstate, currently has a moratorium on allowing such properties on New York City. That moratorium leads to five years – probably sooner, if Albany gets antsy. And when that happens, New Jersey will likely try once again to convince voters to allow casinos in North Jersey in a primary threat to New York’s important thing. Murphy has already supported the idea of expanded video gaming in the Garden Condition.
“Neither state wants to see the other have their consumers,” said Jeff Gural, a real estate mogul who wants to open a internet casino at his racetrack on the Meadowlands.
The friend of my enemy
Cuomo, in the meantime, purports to like congestion pricing, even while Murphy opposes it, on the grounds that he doesn’t like New Jersey drivers to pay out twice to access Manhattan’s central business district.
In regards to road pricing and the millionaires’ taxes, Murphy could actually have more in common with de Blasio, a millionaires’ taxes proponent and congestion pricing critic.
De Blasio “is a good complicating issue,” said Democratic political strategist Costs Cunningham, who served as communications director to past Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“You possess a mayor of New York City who is very impacted by the Port Authority but doesn’t possess any role in the Port Authority,” Cunningham said. “So that it can be done that the mayor of NY and the new governor of New Jersey will try to make a relationship.”
They might already have one.
In October 2016 , de Blasio and Murphy appeared at the Port Authority’s board getting together with to testify in favor of raising airport staff wages in New Jersey to $15 an hour, in alignment with those in NY.
“It is one of the principles, the essential principles of our society, equal purchase equal function,” said Murphy, sounding something similar to de Blasio. “The Port Authority has directed a loud message to a large number of staff that runs entirely counter to the simple premise. … I encourage you to reflect after your name – the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey. It does not read NY or New Jersey.”
Murphy recently hired one of de Blasio’s spokesmen to run his office’s communications. The two men, both of whom was raised in the Boston spot, are planned to meet up this week.
Still, governors of NY and New Jersey have already been known to go along.
Gov. Brendan Byrne of New Jersey and Hugh Carey of NY “were great friends,” explained Cunningham, a past Carey aide.
“Even when there were political squabbles, that they had sort of gamed it away in advance,” he said. Both ended up members of a public golf club called the Skeeters.
Past Gov. David Paterson, of NY, says he received along only fine with past Gov. Jon Corzine, of New Jersey.
“It became, in a way, an individual relationship after a while,” Paterson said.
The harmonious relationship between Christie and Cuomo is, arguably, a testament to the value of personality over policy in political relationships.
Christie stood for most stuff that Cuomo stood against, including, most famously, the Donald Trump presidency.
However Christie and Cuomo developed a mutual nonaggression pact that sustained them over the course of their governorships.
As the furor over Bridgegate unfolded, Cuomo declined to pounce on the Christie administration’s purpose in the scandal.
Murphy, however – facing an election against Christie’s lieutenant governor – ran an ad in which he stood before the George Washington Bridge and used it as a prop for just one of his sharpest attacks.
“A bridge shut down over politics. Their most significant triumph was a traffic jam,” Murphy said.
If Cuomo was loathe to criticize Christie, even while he became a punching carrier for various other Democrats, Christie was kind to Cuomo too. After Bridgegate rendered the New Jersey governor a non-entity at the Port Authority, whose electricity his allies got abused, he allowed Cuomo to say dominance there, and utilize the Port to serve his unique political ends.
“With Gov. Cuomo, he did a really excellent task collaborating with Gov. Christie,” Paterson said.
Commentators, in pains to make clear the Christie and Cuomo dynamic, often end up with one explanation.
“I think they possess the same persona,” Plotch said.
No one says that about Murphy and Cuomo.
“Phil really is an adult,” said a single senior Democratic operative and supporter of the governor-elect. “He’s not going to overreact to juvenile, petty comments.”
But may Murphy, an apparently genteel ex – Wall Street banker and the Obama administration’s ex – ambassador to Germany, be friends with Cuomo, a good political knifefighter known for his aggressive temperament, and his inability to countenance dissent?
Paterson thinks so, if only because both governors are “going to be in the same boat in the Hudson.”
“They will end up in mutual peril based after some things that are happening [in Washington],” Paterson said. “I believe, usually in situations like this, you find huge camaraderie.”
Via their spokesmen, both governors asserted a strong desire to interact.
“Gov.-elect Murphy looks forwards to building a strong working relationship with Gov. Cuomo and getting common ground on which they are able to better the lives of residents in both states,” explained Murphy spokesman Daniel Bryan.
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the New York governor, pointed to the states’ many regions of “mutual interest” and said, “we look forward a great working relationship between the two governors.”
“There were some long standing problems – such as ensuring that airport staff get a fair day’s purchase a good day’s work – that we believe can now end up being resolved,” he said. “Likewise, with the disastrous insurance plan decisions appearing out of Washington that are aimed directly at NY, New Jersey and other blue states, it’s now more significant than ever that we stand united and stand mutually.”
Yet some persons have their doubts.
“Phil has this point where he can elegance his way in and out of anything,” said a single Murphy supporter. “And Andrew Cuomo’s not going to be charmed.”