Andrew Cuomo’s Outrageous Budget Deal

Dec 2014
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And yet it is never enough. Who will pick up the pieces?


The leaders of the state of New York just voted themselves a huge pay raise. Andrew Cuomo is about to become the highest-paid governor in the country with a $250,0000 salary. His lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, will get a bump to $220,000, meaning she’ll be better compensated than the governor of California, who is stuck at $202,000. Members of the state Senate and Assembly will see raises from $79,500 to $110,000 in January and to $130,000 in 2021. Not bad for a part-time job.

It’s all part of the orgy of spending that Cuomo just approved in the Empire State’s annual budget, which was passed in the wee hours of Sunday morning after the usual bonanza of craziness. The state’s already-extravagant spending just jumped to $175.6 billion in 2019–2020. That’s a “double whopper with extra cheese,” in the words of City Journal contributing editor Bob McManus, a 13 percent increase (in real, inflation-adjusted dollars) from 2010–2011, when the state’s population was less than 1 percent smaller than it is now.

New York state spends more than twice as much per capita as Florida, and that’s excluding the gargantuan additional spending of New York City, which is on track to outspend Florida this year on its own. If you, like nearly half of the state’s residents, live in New York City, your state and municipal governments are spending more than $13,000 a head annually. Even California isn’t so loose with its purse strings.

And amid all of this profligacy, what do we hear, from Albany as well as City Hall? Help, we need more funding. The trains are in trouble and no new infrastructure can be built except at astonishing expense. Hence the nation’s first congestion-pricing scheme, effectively a billion-dollar annual tax set to be implemented in midtown and lower Manhattan. Details aren’t final yet but starting in 2021 cars will be hit with a charge of perhaps $12 to $14 (and trucks with a charge of around $25) for operating anywhere south of 60th Street.

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Cuomo is also pouring an additional billion dollars into the public schools, which are already the most lavishly funded in the nation. Freshman lawmakers who routed Republicans and moderate Democrats last November, creating genuine one-party rule in the state, are so pleased to have defeated better-funded incumbents that they secured up to $100 million in public financing for political campaigns. So New Yorkers get to pay for the campaigns of people seeking those $130,000 part-time jobs, the best-paid state legislative jobs in the nation. The details are not yet finalized, but the state may wind up following the city’s lead in matching small-donor contributions by six to one. Politicians using your dollars to pay for their campaigns: Even by New York standards, the chutzpah is breathtaking.

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New York Budget: Andrew Cuomo’s Outrageous Tax-and-Spend Deal | National Review