Ambitious, misguided, and expensive: Harsh words for Governor Cuomo’s 2020 legislative agenda after State of State address
– By Josh Durso
Many called Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposals in the State of the State address ambitious. One of the core questions that loomed at conclusion was “How realistic is it though if the state is facing a deficit?”
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released a statement after Cuomo’s speech. It lacked specifics on how proposals would be paid for, but was supportive of the approach the Governor was taking.
“Governor Cuomo put forth dozens of proposals to tackle big and small issues,” DiNapoli said in it. “His ambitious proposals hit on some important issues that we can address here in New York, in contrast to the gridlock we are witnessing in Washington.”
He noted that the focus would have to shift to paying for the proposals. “There are tough decisions to be made to balance the budget while addressing the growing costs and cracks in the Medicaid program,” DiNapoli said. “We mustn’t push these challenges off to future years. We need long-term solutions.”
Senator Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats) was critical of the Governor’s plan, and said that the Upstate economy should be a priority. O’Mara said that while Cuomo was right to call for new tax relief for small businesses and to continue a reduction for middle class wage earners first enacted four years ago, his 2020 message was still dominated by spending proposals.
“The loudest alarm after a decade of the Cuomo administration is that New York starts this new decade more than $6 billion in the hole and still with a reputation as one of America’s highest-taxed, most expensive, most debt ridden and over-regulated states — with one of the worst business-friendly environments in the nation to boot,” O’Mara said. “It’s mind boggling that the governor and top Democrats can still keep talking about big spending.”
Meanwhile, the Assembly Minority Conference issued a statement following the Governor’s speech, calling his plan ‘damage control’ after a year of ‘ineffective one-party rule’. “These are not proposals of promise, but rather a misguided mishmash of ideas that fails to confront the real issues we face and the reasons people are leaving New York in droves,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said in the statement. “Taking steps to address opioid addiction, sexual abuse and protecting the health of young New Yorkers are all commendable initiatives. But in general, his legislative agenda presented in the State of the State largely ignores too many core issues hampering our quality of life.”
Minority Leader Barclay took the opportunity to hammer on bail reform measures, which he says went “too far, too fast.”
“This is the greatest threat to public safety I’ve seen during my career in the Assembly,” Barclay added. “Revisiting these misguided reforms must be our Day One priority, and every minute we allow them to continue represents valuable time wasted.”
A theme among Cuomo’s critics involved affordability. “It is a travesty that Gov. Cuomo, who has now been the executive for almost a decade, continues to ignore the affordability crises New Yorkers must endure,” Barclay continued. “New York’s property taxes are among the worst in America, outmigration has severely diminished our tax base and New York continues to lag other states that are enjoying a strong national economy. Any speech that fails to address these obstacles to prosperity in our state is incomplete and inexcusable.”
Assemblyman Brian Manktelow (R-Lyons) agreed. “The governor didn’t fail to disappoint yet again at this year’s State of the State address as there was little talk about cutting taxes or regulations, something our state drastically needs in order to thrive,” he said. “The idea of putting in a high speed rail in New York when we have such a high out-migration rate is baffling. We shouldn’t be focusing on luxuries like that when people are struggling to survive in daily life.”
Meanwhile, Senator Pam Helming (R-Canandaigua) echoed those concerns, and said that Wednesday was an opportunity for the Governor to build hope. She says he failed to do so. “The Governor had the opportunity to build hope for New Yorkers by fixing what’s destroying our state: high taxes, crushing regulations and a broken criminal justice system,” she said. “Instead, he took this as an opportunity to point fingers. He is making it a priority to ban repeat sex offenders from public transportation, but offered no solution to fix his broken bail reforms that are putting rapists and murderers back on the streets.”
Sen. Helming said that while she agrees with the Governor that the middle class is the ‘backbone’ of the state. “Unfortunately, his policies are making them U-Haul’s best customers,” she added. “New York City leaders treat upstate taxpayers like an unlimited ATM and this has to change if we are going to turn New York around and stop the exodus of people, jobs and opportunity to other states,” Sen. Helming concluded.
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