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Senator Defrancisco, Other Leaders Disappointed with Cuomo's Third Veto on Visitability Legislation

Olivia Proia

State Senator John DeFrancisco and disability rights leaders are expressing frustration with Governor Cuomo after he declined to sign a bill that would have made it easier for residents with disabilities to make their homes more accessible. It’s the third time Cuomo vetoed Universal Visitability legislation.

DeFrancisco calls the reasons for Cuomo’s veto “ridiculous,” and apologized to those who’ve advocated for the measure over the past three years. 

“Each time in the past when the governor vetoed it, we modified the bill to make it satisfactory for him to sign, and it’s almost like a bait and switch: you modify it, and then he comes up with different reasons. That’s wrong. That’s simply wrong,” claims DeFrancisco.

The bill would provide a one time maximum tax credit of $2,750 for a newly constructed or retrofitted home to create accessible features such as wheelchair accessible entrances. The total credit would be capped at $1 million per year. In his veto message, Cuomo said it should be included in the context of annual budget negotiations. DeFrancisco scoffs at that notion.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that the governor doesn’t announce multimillion dollars for this project, that project – well, quite frankly, a million dollar project that’s this important that could be expanded to better things for a lot more people doesn’t have to wait for the budget,” he says.

Back in September, DeFrancisco and Arise CEO Tania Anderson expressed optimism for the legislation. Anderson says it’s a simple, common-sense way to help those who want to age in place in their homes.

“We have people who are waiting 1 to 4  years for accessible housing in this community – and in the meantime, they might be homeless; they might be in a nursing home, they might be couch surfing – that’s a shameful situation, and this bill is a first step to remedying that situation.”

Anderson and DeFrancisco say they’re not giving up despite the setback.

“It’s bringing people out fighting for something that should be done without a fight, and we’re going to keep it going,”  says DeFrancisco.

”We support this bill, we continue to support this bill, we continue to fight for it,” says a very determined Anderson.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at