New York Lawmakers Won’t Hold Special Session on Raises and Ride-Hailing Apps


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The State Senate chamber in Albany. Negotiations on a variety of issues failed to advance enough to convene a special legislative session before year’s end.

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Pool photo by Hans Pennink

A much-discussed plan for a special legislative session in Albany to deliberate whether state lawmakers’ pay should be raised and consider a host of other issues is off the table, after an announcement late Friday that negotiations had come up short.

The possibility of such a session had been talked about since last month, as the push for the raise was joined by an effort to allow app-based ride-hailing services like Uber to expand upstate, as well as by measures on ethics, homelessness and bias crimes.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had dangled the prospect of approving a salary increase for lawmakers in exchange for action on what he called “the people’s business.”

But in a statement released around 10:30 p.m. Friday, Senator John J. Flanagan, the majority leader, said that “those talks have not borne fruit.”

Mr. Flanagan, a Republican, continued, “At the end of the day, however, there just isn’t enough in this package to justify convening a special session and bringing 213 legislators back to Albany before the end of the year.”

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, appeared to view the possibility of a raise for legislators as a powerful negotiating tool.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wanted lawmakers to consider more proposals this year.

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Dave Sanders for The New York Times

But many lawmakers expressed displeasure at the governor’s maneuvering, though negotiations continued even as the year-end deadline approached. Lawmakers cannot approve raising their own pay, only the pay for the next Legislature, which will convene in January.

Days ago, lawmakers, who have not gotten a raise since 1999, were still being asked about their availability for the period between the Christmas holiday and New Year’s Eve.

The proposal to let the ride-hailing services expand upstate had drawn the support of Mr. Flanagan and Mr. Cuomo. Carl E. Heastie, a Democrat and the speaker of the State Assembly, had expressed measured support for the plan, which the governor has said would support economic activity upstate.

But the proposal drew criticism from some in the taxi industry as well as from labor groups concerned about the wages paid to Uber drivers and a lack of other benefits.

Uber has staged a holiday-season campaign that included $100 credits offered to college students who posted about the company on social media with the hashtag #NYNeedsUber.

Barring a sudden reversal by Mr. Flanagan and other lawmakers regarding the special session, many of the issues discussed in recent weeks will probably continue to be topics next year, including ride-hailing, which has languished during two previous legislative sessions.

The 2017 session may also be complicated by President-elect Donald J. Trump’s administration, which could endanger billions in federal funds the state receives, as well as by slowing tax collections.

Mr. Cuomo could also face increased pressure to unify his party in the State Senate, where Democrats hold a numeric advantage but Republicans rule thanks to a collection of eight Democrats who work with Mr. Flanagan.

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