Andrew Cuomo ran for governor in 2010 as a center-left Democrat, vigorously arguing that New Yorkers were overtaxed and the state was overspending.
"Our state government," Cuomo declared, "failed to take the hard but necessary steps to control spending during the years when the economy was strong. Government refused to say 'no' to any powerful special interest group and used financial gimmicks to hide problems or kick them down the road. When the financial bubble burst [in 2008], it became clear that the State had been making promises it couldn’t keep and spending money it didn’t have."
On taxes, Cuomo said, "New Yorkers already bear a heavy tax burden because of government over-spending" and "because New Yorkers . . . cannot afford to pay more taxes than they already do — [I] will freeze taxes [and will] not raise and will veto any increase in the personal or corporate income taxes or sales tax."
As for so-called "millionaires tax" — that kicked in at $250,000 and was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2011 — Cuomo made his position perfectly clear, "I was against it at the time, and I still am. It’s a new tax. It was supposed to sunset. If it doesn’t sunset, it [is] a tax."
Concerning the $52 billion New York was to spend on Medicaid in 2010-2011, Cuomo insisted the state "must find a way to bring its Medicaid costs more in line with that of other states if we are to control overall State spending. New York spends 69 percent more per beneficiary than the national average. New York’s Medicaid program suffers from spiraling costs, inadequate outcomes and widespread inefficiency."
Labor unions? A New York Times Oct. 24, 2010 headline read, "Cuomo Vows Offensive Against Labor Unions."
He told the Times he would lead a campaign “to counter the well-financed labor unions he believes have bullied previous governors and lawmakers into making bad decisions.”
During his two terms in office, Cuomo reneged on the aforementioned promises to placate every crack-pot left-wing group.
When Occupy Wall Street followers taunted Cuomo in 2011 as a prisoner of rich "one percenters," he broke his no new taxes promise. He forced through the legislature the extension of the "millionares tax."
He continues to use fiscal gimmicks, in his words, "to hide problems or kick them down the road."
Cuomo’s 2018-2019 budget, for instance, contains over $600 million in tax and fee hikes and overly optimistic revenue estimates. A number of significant business tax credits have been put off.
Borrowed money will fund $475 million in capital pork barrel project spending.
Since taking office, Cuomo has squandered billions in "one shot" revenues — a measure he claimed he deplored — to balance his budgets. Approximately 50 percent of the settlements received from financial institutions were utilized to fill budget holes, instead of financing much needed infrastructure repairs.
Spending on Medicaid continues to surge and is expected to top $63 billion this year. There have been no major reforms since Cuomo took office.
Only California spends more on Medicaid. Texas and Florida, whose populations total 49 million versus New York's 19.8 million, collectively spend less on Medicaid than the Empire State.
Instead of taking on labor unions, Cuomo has surrendered without a fight.
Buried in this year’s budget is an item the Empire Center described as "designed to trap public employees into paying union dues" in case the U.S. Supreme Court eliminates "the compulsory collection of dues like 'agency fees' from employees who choose not to join unions."
Cuomo boasted this action was just "the first step of the resistance."
Cuomo has done nothing to limit the influence of public employees’ unions. It was reported in April, that government unions spent, by far, the most on Albany lobbying in 2017.
Abandoning his promises helps explain why the 11th annual edition of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s "Rich States, Poor States" report, released in April, ranks New York as the worst in economic outlook and in absolute domestic migration.
New York was judged to have top marginal corporate income tax rate (17.21 percent); the top estate tax; and the next to the highest marginal income tax rate in the nation (12.70 percent).
Gov. Cuomo may get another four years in office by catering to the lunatic fringe in his party. But the cost will be paid for by the state’s over-taxed middle class for years to come.
In Cuomo’s third term, expect the moving van industry to flourish. Movers will make a fortune hauling families to pro-growth states that offer economic opportunities for all, not just for the politically connected.
George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact," and "Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy." He is chairman of Aid to the Church in Need-USA. Mr. Marlin also writes for TheCatholicThing.org and the Long Island Business News. To read more George J. Marlin — Click Here Now.
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