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Tags: newyork | cuomo | budget deficit

American Taxpayers Shouldn't Pay for Cuomo's Budget Deficit

andrew cuomo at a press conference
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty Images)

Tom Basile By Friday, 27 March 2020 08:41 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

On Wednesday, at his now daily coronavirus press conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo threw cold water on the U.S. Senate's plan to provide New York State with more than $3 billion to help the state handle expenses incurred from the ongoing pandemic. The New York governor, who has been getting high marks for his handling of the crisis, said the state's budget deficit is more than $15 billion. He's right. It could be that much.

What Cuomo didn't mention is that he had a massive hole in his budget long before the virus struck the Empire State's economy. At the beginning of the year, the New York State comptroller suggested that the state's budget deficit could be as much as $6 billion. Despite that, Cuomo planned to hike spending again this year by $2 billion.

Since Cuomo has taken office, he's presided over budget processes that has increased spending more than $40 billion. He doesn't mention that in his press conferences either.

Costs for that largess is often passed down to localities and property taxpayers for a range of entitlement programs including Medicaid. This year, New York's Medicaid program, which is larger than Texas' and Florida's combined, had a multi-billion-dollar gap because Cuomo had previously concealed overspending by shifting it to later years. Fiscal gimmickry has finally caught up with him.

It's gotten so bad New York State's proposed $178 billion budget is nearly double that of Florida which now has more people. That astronomical figure doesn't include New York City's $90 billion-plus annual budget, also increased dramatically by Democratic-socialist Mayor Bill de Blasio in recent years.

As the crisis goes on and additional relief bills are considered, Congress shouldn't be fooled by Cuomo's theatrics. American taxpayers shouldn't pay for New York's budget woes that are not directly related to the onset and management of the virus.

New York's high-tax structure, high cost of living, overregulation and government spending addiction have driven out millions of higher-end taxpayers over the last two decades. As people vote with their feet, taking their wealth, income and businesses elsewhere, New York's population increases have been fueled by lower-income residents. Those residents often require more government services.

Overall, when you drive out the wealthy and middle class as New York has done, government receipts plummet.

Last year, Cuomo announced a $2.3 billion drop in income tax revenue, even during a booming economy. One percent of the state's top income earners pay 46 percent of the state's personal income tax revenues, and New York has done nothing to keep them. With many state expenses passed down to homeowners, Cuomo has don't nothing to keep retirees and the middle class.

New York consistently ranks first in combined total tax burden, driven largely by state education and Medicaid spending. The state is consistently ranked one of the worst places to retire in America.

Gov. Cuomo is right to stick his hand out for help since New York's economy will be hit harder than perhaps anywhere else due to the pandemic. He sees the federal government in a giving mood and isn't about to let that opportunity go to waste. To suggest however, that the budget deficit was caused by the pandemic is dishonest at best and an outright lie at worst.

Assistance and support are fine. We have a system of federalism that puts states on the front lines of a crisis like this, with the federal government offering support when necessary.

However, the last thing the American taxpayer should be supporting is a spendthrift government that has encouraged illegal immigration, presided over a bloated Medicaid system rife with fraud and has used taxpayers as piggy bank for liberal special interests.

A week ago, Cuomo's own Medicaid Redesign Team actually recommended a $400 million state aid cut to hospitals.

Additionally, Cuomo has made a practice of using his budget to drive social policy reforms that come with significant fiscal costs. His judicial reform measures from last year are seeing hundreds of criminals freed from custody and hiking costs on municipalities. Last week the governor, who famously said in 2014 that pro-life conservatives had "no place in New York State," reaffirmed that one of his top priorities this year is legalizing marijuana.

Americans would be right to ask, "shouldn't he be finding ways to cut the state's bloated budget?" That would be real leadership, but it's as unlikely as a Republican winning an election in the South Bronx. 

New York's woes are in many ways of its own making, years before Cuomo tenure and the Wuhan virus reared its ugly head. 'Cadillac' public sector union contracts, tax hikes, regulations that stifle businesses and more created a situation where the government is managing decline. Federal taxpayers shouldn't foot that bill.  

Tom Basile has been part of the American political landscape from Presidential campaigns to local politics. He served in the Bush Administration from 2001-2004, as Executive Director of the NYS Republican Party and has held a range of senior-level communications roles in and out of government. His new book Let it Sink In: The Decade of Obama and Trump provides a look back at the 2010s to prepare us to defend freedom in the 2020s. His critically-acclaimed book, Tough Sell: Fighting the Media War in Iraq (Foreword by Amb. John R. Bolton), chronicles his time in Baghdad fighting media bias and driving coverage of the Iraq war. In 2011, he was featured in Time Magazine's Person of the Year spread about political activism around the world. Basile is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and runs a New York-based strategic communications firm. He is a member of the New York Bar and sits on a number of academic and philanthropic advisory boards. Learn more about him at TomBasile.com or follow him on Twitter @Tom_Basile. To read more of his reports, Click Here Now.

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American taxpayers shouldn't pay for New York's budget woes that are not directly related to the onset and management of the virus.
newyork, cuomo, budget deficit
Friday, 27 March 2020 08:41 AM
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