New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been taking heat this week from state politicians, many of whom say the governor’s priorities seem misplaced.
They argue that Cuomo has appeared more concerned about trying to get the motto “E Pluribus Unum” onto the state flag than about closing the state’s $6.1 billion budget gap or addressing a much-criticized bail-reform law.
The bail-reform law has come under fire following a series of highly publicized crimes, including the rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman, a wave of anti-Semitic attacks and a $1 million burglary spree.
State Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican from Staten Island who’s running for a U.S. House seat, tweeted Thursday that Cuomo, “is more concerned about changing the state’s license plate and flag than the botched bail law that’s putting New Yorkers in imminent danger. This is ridiculous.”
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“There are $6.1 billion more important things to be focused on,” Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay agreed, according to The Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester.
Stony Point Councilman Tom Basile, a former member of the George W. Bush administration, former executive director of the New York Republican Party and a Fox News contributor, called Cuomo “unhinged.”
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“Violent offenders are running free,” Basile wrote on Twitter. “City schools graduate less than 1/3 ready for college. High taxes are driving people out — BUT he wants to change the state flag.”
Even Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Democrat from Schenectady, was against the flag-change idea.
“People aren’t interested in changing the flag—they’re interested in PUBLIC SAFETY and keeping more of their HARD EARNED MONEY!” he wrote online.
Cuomo has placed the U.S. motto meaning “out of many, one” at airports, train stations, subway stops and in tunnels, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.
The governor proposed adding the motto to the state’s coat of arms in the middle of the flag – which has changed little since the Revolution – during his State of the State speech last week, according to the newspaper.
“In this term of turmoil, let New York state remind the nation of who we are,” Cuomo said in his Jan. 8 speech, the newspaper reported. “Let’s add ‘E Pluribus Unum’ to the seal of our state and proclaim at this time the simple truth that without unity, we are nothing.”
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The current state flag hasn’t been altered since 1882, according to Rochester’s WROC-TV.