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DeFrancisco says Cuomo vetoes bills that are not ‘sexy’

Tom Magnarelli
State Sen. John DeFrancisco meets with supporters of his universal visitability legislation.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) is criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for vetoing bills that DeFrancisco said would help residents in the region. DeFrancisco has been pushing one bill in particular for the past three years.

A universal visitability tax credit would give some reimbursement for residents to retrofit their homes to be more accessible for the elderly and disabled, like adding wheelchair accessible entrances. Tania Anderson, the CEO of Arise, which provides disability services, said local residents are waiting 1-4 years for accessible housing.

“In the meantime, they might be homeless, they might be in a nursing home, they might be couch surfing," Anderson said. "That’s not a good situation. That’s a shameful situation. This bill is a first step to remedying that situation.”

But Cuomo vetoed the bill for a third time saying it needs to be part of budget negotiations. DeFrancisco said Cuomo’s problem with the bill is it is not sexy enough.

“It’s almost as if he does what he wants to do when he wants to do it, and it’s only the projects that have pizzazz as opposed to something, a nitty gritty project like this, which should have been started three years ago to show that it works,” DeFrancisco said. "This is truly wrong. It is bringing people out fighting for something that should be done without a fight. We're going to keep it going on this and many other issues."

The pilot program would be capped at $1 million, which DeFrancisco called chump change.

Meanwhile, Cuomo vetoed another bill that would have made Thruway tolls free for drivers traveling between Syracuse exits. DeFrancisco said again, the bill does not have enough pizzazz or sex appeal for Cuomo.

DeFrancisco is considering a run for governor against Cuomo, who is up for reelection next year.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.