The following appears in the April 26-May 2, 2013 issue of the Long Island Business News:
What has become evident since Andrew Cuomo took office as New York’s chief executive 27 months ago, is that no one – including the governor himself – can say whether he has any beliefs at all. Save one. He believes in himself.
The Cuomo record confirms this claim:
Elected on a pledge of no new taxes, Cuomo also promised that extending a tax beyond its statutory sunset would count as a tax increase. After extending the “millionaire’s tax” for two years – a transition period that was supported by the business community and the NYC Partnership – he eliminated that sunset in this year’s budget. Pledge made. Pledge broken.
After Hurricane Irene hit in 2011, Cuomo blasted the Long Island Power Authority, a wholly-owned and run subsidiary of his state government, and ordered an Inspector General report. Report ordered. Report never issued.
After Sandy destroyed the fabric of communities in Long Island and New York City, Cuomo attacked LIPA again. LIPA failed. LIPA was not prepared. LIPA did not restore electricity. LIPA was at fault. But LIPA and the state are synonymous. The state is LIPA and LIPA is the state. So what about the governor? When asked if he had any responsibility, he replied “Absolutely not.” The obvious question. The fictitious answer.
When a low-level employee of New York’s Department of Transportation was quoted in an upstate newspaper without preclearance from the governor’s office, the man was terminated even though his comments were favorable. Ignore? Never. The governor’s director of operations went on a radio show to castigate the employee’s personnel record and disclose information about his employment history. Overreaction? For most, yes. To instill fear, absolutely.
Fracking. From Cuomo, we do not get a yes, we do not get a no. We get a study. And another study. And another. Then a consultation with his former brother-in-law, Robert Kennedy. Then another study. What is the governor’s position? It is Fabian. Delay is the path to victory. Not for the people of the Southern Tier, of course. For him, of course.
To “beat” the feds, the governor pushed through hastily prepared gun-control legislation that limits magazines to seven bullets. But no one makes them. Did he admit a mistake? Nope. Rather, he approved an amendment that permits you to buy a gun with a magazine with 10 rounds but bans the use of more than seven of them except on a firing range where you can use all 10. If you are out to hurt people, you can only use seven. More than seven would be illegal. Huh? You really cannot make this up.
Faced with a federal audit demanding the state return money for the care of people with mental disabilities – New York had been collecting administrative costs to the tune of $5,200 per patient per day in state institutions – Cuomo cut aid to the disabled by nearly $100 million. State mistake. The most needy pay the bill.
Meanwhile, the governor signed a cynical $400 million bill that gives couples with one dependent and making between $40,000 and $300,000 a year a $350 check that will be delivered in October 2014 when he runs for re-election. Why? He says these families are “hurting.”
If they are, are they not hurting now? And is a family making $300,000 a year really “hurting” – and would they be not “hurting” after they get their $350 check next October?
And what about a couple in their early 70s with no children living on Social Security? Are they not “hurting” more than the family making $300,000?
Where are his beliefs?
One answer. He is ahead in the polls. So he must be right.
The key question for Cuomo is simple: Is power without a purpose worth having?