Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long history with President-elect Joe Biden. Both men come from wings of the Democratic Party that emphasize a form of political moderation, compromise and deal making.
But Cuomo's support for Biden also comes with some wants and needs for New York when the new administration takes over in 2021.
Recall that four years ago, after President Donald Trump won the presidency, Cuomo thought the new president would be good for New York. Trump was, after all, a New Yorker himself.
But the relationship between the two Queens natives bore little fruit and ultimately turned frosty amid the coronavirus pandemic. The incoming Biden administration could be different for Cuomo, now in the middle of his third term.
Here are three things Cuomo is seeking from the federal government:
1. Pass the SALT
Cuomo has railed, repeatedly and ad naseum, against the federal government's $10,000 limit on state and local tax deductions. The provision was included in a tax overhaul package approved in 2017 when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress. Cuomo ever since has lobbied for a repeal on the cap on deduction, which affects high tax states like New York.
The $10,000 limit especially impacts people who live in areas of the state like the downstate suburbs where property taxes are higher than most of the rest of New York and the country.
The possibility of something like this happening remains up in the air, given the uncertainty surrounding control of the U.S. Senate. Biden has pledged to increase taxes on people who earn more than $400,000 and repeal the SALT cap.
2. Gateway Tunnel Funding
Cuomo has tried everything to get President Trump's attention to fund the Gateway tunnel project, connecting New York to New Jersey. He appealed to the perceived sense that Trump is builder. He sent the White House a video on the need to fund the project, appealing to the perceived sense that Trump would rather watch than read something.
Never mind, the project has stalled for now. With Biden in the White House, Cuomo is likely to have an ally on the effort to move the project forward. Biden, after all, is a fan of big infrastructure projects himself. He has knocked LaGuardia Airport for looking like something out of a developing nation. He commended Cuomo for shepherding the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge through to completion, with the new one named in honor of the governor's father.
Biden while vice president even traveled to Albany to meet with Cuomo on the infrastructure push. With the economy struggling to recovery in the wake of the pandemic, infrastructure may be a tie that binds for Cuomo and Biden.
3. COVID-19 Relief.
And this will be the first true test for the new administration: Can it pass a coronavirus stimulus bill that aids cash-strapped states like New York? Cuomo is largely banking on Biden's ability to strike a deal, potentially with Republicans like Mitch McConnell if they maintain the majority. Whether the incentives for Republicans to strike a deal remains to be seen.
Trump was not opposed to another COVID-19 stimulus measure, even one that aided New York. Cuomo believes that with Trump out, Republicans will be more amendable, and see the problems of their own home states necessary to help fix.
But New York faces challenges. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in need of more aid than the infusion it received earlier this year. School districts and local governments will face hard decisions if state aid disappears. And a state budget without federal support could lead to more tax, less spending and more borrowing – a politically toxic brew no one wants to drink.