Archive for the ‘Andrew Cuomo’ category

Gov. Cuomo surrenders to radical left – By George J. Marlin

April 23, 2021

The following appeared on Monday, April 19, 2021 on The Island Now’s website: 

After Congress passed the COVID-19 relief bill, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer announced that New York would receive $12.6 billion and would not have to raise taxes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed and added that proposed cuts in spending could be eliminated from his proposed budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

These declarations, however, did not impress Democrats in the state Legislature. Spending $194 billion was just not enough. Proposals floating around Albany called for a 22 percent increase in spending — 10 times the inflation rate.

In ordinary times, calls for preposterous and unsustainable spending would not be an issue for Cuomo.

Why?

Because the budget process in New York is very different from the federal government’s process. In Washington, the president proposes a budget plan, but Congress is free to do whatever it wants with it. In New York, the state Constitution gives the governor responsibility for drafting the budget.

Under this system, the governor deals from his budgetary deck of cards and the Legislature must play the hand dealt to it. The Legislature has the power to “take action,” which means that it can accept the governor’s budget as is or it can reduce spending, eliminate spending or add to a spending measure. However, the governor can exercise his veto power to reject any of these spending changes.

Hence, Cuomo has the upper hand in negotiations with legislative leaders.

An additional power the governor possesses: He can fire the friends, relatives and political cronies of assemblymen and senators who are employed in the inner sanctums of the state government.

In past years, Cuomo, like many of his predecessors, was not afraid to use his budgetary and political power to convince recalcitrant legislators to fall into line.

But this year has been different. For the first time in 11 years, the governor has surrendered to the fiscally reckless demands of Democrat legislators.

The $212 billion budget he agreed to increases spending by $18 billion—a 10 percent hike—and increases taxes by $4 billion:

• For New York’s highest earners, the state income tax will rise to 10.9 percent.

• The capital gains tax will add on a 1 percent surtax.

• Estate taxes will jump from 16 percent to 20 percent for estates valued over $10.1
million.

• The corporate franchise tax will be 7.25 percent, up from 6.5 percent.

Analyzing the tax hikes, E.J. McMahon of The Empire Center for Public Policy, concluded: “The financial incentive for high earners to move themselves and their businesses from New York to states with low or no income taxes has never ever been higher than it already is.”

As for spending, there’s plenty of pork:

• $385 million appropriated for the State and Municipal Facilities Program. These funds, The Empire Center reports, “can be used to underwrite almost any capital construction or equipment purchase a state or local politician can think of, including the vast category of privately sponsored ‘economic development’ projects.” In other words, corporate welfare for favored constituents;

• $2.1 billion for undocumented immigrants without jobs;

• $23 million for local community “restorative justice” programs;

• $300 million for farmland preservation and botanical gardens and zoos;

• $4.6 million for “the retention of professional football in Western New York”;

• $125 thousand to promote N.Y. grown Christmas trees;

• $50 thousand for N.Y. hop growers to promote hops;

• $108 million to develop the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx;

• $43 million for the N.Y. Council of the Arts and $1 million for “arts stabilization grants”—whatever that is.

And as tens of thousands of New Yorkers—who lost their jobs due to Cuomo shutting down the state’s economy—search for employment, the budget provides $175 million in raises for those who suffered least financially—state workers.

During his first 10 years in office, the fiscally prudent governor kept the growth of budgetary spending to an average of 2 percent annually.

So why did he sign on to a 10 percent increase?

Answer: He’s politically weak thanks to scandals haunting his administration.

Hence, Cuomo may believe giving into the radicals may slow down the Legislature’s investigation into his behavior and may thwart impeachment proceedings.

To save his political hide, the governor agreed to fund cockamamie legislative proposals and to throw overburdened taxpayers “under the bus.”

Andrew Cuomo—a profile in courage?

I think not.

Rich targeted to fund Albany’s spending frenzy – By George J. Marlin

April 7, 2021

The following appeared on Monday, April 5, 2021 on The Island Now’s website:

Shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed down New York’s economy in March 2020, he whined that the state’s budget deficits in 2020 and 2021 could be $12 billion to $14 billion due to declining tax revenues.

Well, what did he expect? After all, hundreds of thousands of people were laid off, tens of thousands of small businesses closed (many forever) and tourism came to a halt.

Sales taxes from restaurants alone were down over $2 billion in 2020.

In addition, people fleeing New York City caused rental apartment vacancies to increase to 5 percent in January 2021 vs. 2 percent a year earlier.

As for commercial real estate, with huge numbers of white-collar workers operating remotely from home, scores of companies downsized their office space as leases expired. In Manhattan, new leases dropped 70 percent in 2020 and the vacancy rate hit 13 percent —the highest level in 24 years.

As a result, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reported a 10 percent drop in billable assessed commercial property taxes. This phenomenon, DiNapoli noted, is the biggest decline in the recorded history of New York commercial real estate.

Even Mayor Bill de Blasio had to step out of his ideological bubble and recognize this growing problem. In his budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2021, he has projected a $2.5 billion drop in commercial real estate tax collections. And that number is probably too low.

It should be noted, that Gov. Cuomo exaggerated when he claimed that deficits could hit $12 billion to $14 billion. Because Cuomo did not factor in $6 billion in reserves that could be tapped in extraordinary times, the deficits would be in the range of $6 billion to $7 billion.

No doubt Cuomo threw out inflated numbers to pressure the Feds for plenty of stimulus aid. (Getting north of $12 billion in one-shot dollars would balance the budget for the fiscal year that ended March 31 and the budget for the next fiscal year, which is coincidentally an election year.

In March, Cuomo lucked out. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was able to procure $12.6 billion in unrestricted funding, permitting Cuomo to announce there was no need for tax increases or spending cuts.

But that good news fell on deaf ears in Albany. Spending $177 billion in the 2020-2021 fiscal year — which is twice the expense budget of Florida, with 22.2 million people vs. our 19.3 million — is too little for the Legislature’s Democratic majority.

Leftists are calling for a 22 percent spending increase to be funded by higher taxes on the so-called rich that include: raising the millionaires tax to 9.85 percent for incomes over $1 million, growing to 11.85 percent for people earning more than $25 million annually; increasing the estate tax from 16.5 percent to 20 percent; a 1 percent capital gains tax on people earning more than $1 million annually; a tax on New York City second homes.

Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute has pointed out that these proposed taxes on “a single filer with $1 million in income would see a 23 percent state tax hike…. A filer making $10 million would see a 48 percent hike….”

Combined state and New York City income taxes for a millionaire would hit an astounding 15.75 percent. Adding the expected increase in federal income tax rates to 40 percent means a person’s total payout would be 55.75 percent.

Sadly, a letter to Albany officials signed by 250 business leaders that employ 1.5 million people warning that “ultimately these new taxes may trigger a major loss of economic activity and revenues as companies are pressured to relocate operations to where the talent wants to live and work” has been ignored.

And since the top 1 percent of taxpayers — about 60,000 filers — pay 43 percent of the state’s personal income tax, if only 5,000 move out, New York’s tax base could be wrecked.

As I write this column on Saturday, April 3, New York missed the March 31 deadline to pass a budget. Hence, the fiscal picture is very fluid. But Cuomo, weakened by the nursing home scandal, may surrender to the radicals to maintain his lease on the governor’s mansion.

If the “soak-the-rich” ideology prevails, New York will not be able to sustain its spending spree and will hit a state of fiscal despair once the one-shot federal stimulus money runs dry.

Can Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin Beat Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2022? – By George J. Marlin

March 2, 2021

This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

Cuomo reminds us like father, like son – By George J. Marlin

February 22, 2021

The following appeared on Monday, February 22, 2021 on The Island Now’s website:

With the nursing home scandal roiling the Cuomo administration, it appears the governor’s management style—stonewalling, trusting no one, being secretive, instilling fear in his senior staff, badgering journalists and public officials—has finally caught up with him.

Why has Andrew Cuomo’s governing style approach been so heavy-handed?

Because he is his father’s son.

To understand Andrew, you must understand the man whose footsteps he followed, Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Outside of his family, Mario Cuomo trusted no one. When the journalist Jimmy Breslin, was asked about the governor’s inner circle, he replied: “There’s not enough people to form a circle.”

Similarly, Andrew only trusted Joe Percoco, the man he referred to in his father’s eulogy as Mario’s “third son.” But with Percoco doing time in a federal prison, there has not been anyone who could say to Andrew “No, that’s a stupid idea.” Instead he’s surrounded by sycophants that say “aye, aye, sir” to every ludicrous command.

Mario Cuomo was secretive. Although he claimed his government was transparent, reporters had a hard time prying information out of the administration.

Ditto Andrew Cuomo. The Empire Center for Public Policy had to sue the governor to obtain the true number of COVID nursing home deaths.

When dealing with the press, Mario insisted on being the principal spokesman for his administration. But he distained them. “Reporters,” he said, “are like epidemics. They follow catastrophes.” Another time, the New York Times reported that Mario said “he is adept at talking to schoolchildren…because he deals with them the same way he does with reporters.” He added, “Only the children get it right.”

Watching Andrew’s daily press conferences during the pandemic, it was obvious to me that Andrew had little regard for journalists and treated them like kindergarteners.

Andrew also adopted Mario’s practice of badgering and threatening journalists and public officials.

Mario Cuomo could be verbally brutal with those who disagreed with him. He was known to call reporters or editors at their homes late at night or very early in the morning to complain about their stories. The Times reported that “the governor has berated writers, accused them of doing the bidding of editorial boards and attacked their ethics.”

On one occasion, Mario threatened Times reporter Jeffrey Schmaltz. “I could end your career,” he said. “Your publisher doesn’t even know who you are.”

On another occasion, the noted Times journalist, Adam Nagourney (then the Daily News Albany bureau chief), had an “intense, at times unpleasant” argument with Cuomo, during which the governor said, “I could destroy you if I wanted.”

Andrew Cuomo is also well-known for threatening perceived enemies. A recent example is the call he made to Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim about the nursing home scandal. Kim alleges that Cuomo yelled at him for 10 minutes and threatened to destroy his political career.

Yes, the paranoid governing style of Mario and Andrew is remarkably similar. Nevertheless, there is one major difference between them which may help explain why Mario left public office with honor and why Andrew may not.

Mario Cuomo’s political model was St. Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers, statesmen and politicians, because he was, in Cuomo’s judgment, a combination of “noble hopes and goals and personal weakness.”

And while Andrew displays in Albany the copy of the Holbein portrait of More that hung in Mario’s office throughout his tenure as governor, Andrew’s political model is a man Thomas More abhorred, Niccolò Machiavelli.

In an essay titled “How a leader’s philosophy directly affects an organization culture,” Peter DeMarco, a former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development employee, wrote: “One of Cuomo’s first acts after taking over as secretary of HUD in 1997 was to distribute the book by Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, to his key aides telling them: ‘This is my leadership philosophy.’”

Machiavelli is the man the renowned 20th century political philosopher, Leo Strauss, called “a teacher of evil” because he stooped “to teach maxims of public and private gangsterism.”

Machiavelli’s best-known maxim is “the ends justify the means.” And if Andrew employed that “gangster” precept to rationalize the nursing home cover-up, he will be guilty of licentious conduct, will dishonor his family name and will go down in the annals of New York history as a political blackguard.

Andrew Cuomo — Second Generation Micromanager – By George J. Marlin

February 12, 2021

The following appeared on Monday, February 8, 2021 on The Island Now’s website:

Like many New Yorkers who have a parent in a nursing home, I was appalled when I learned about Gov. Cuomo’s March 25, 2020, health care order that directed nursing homes to take in patients who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Happily, my 93-year-old father survived the crisis and has received the vaccine. But that does not excuse the governor’s behavior and mismanagement.

Instead of reversing the ill-conceived policy early on, admitting it was a mistake and apologizing, the governor, not surprisingly, wouldn’t budge and actually doubled down.

Refusing to take responsibility, he blamed Donald Trump and The Centers for Disease Control for the screw-up. Cuomo also stonewalled. For months, he has withheld releasing to the public the accurate number of nursing home deaths. (On Feb. 2, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of a suit filed by the Empire Center for Public Policy and ordered the release of “full coronavirus tolls in N.Y. nursing homes.”)

Anyone familiar with Andrew Cuomo knows that his finger pointing is a ruse. That’s because he is a control freak. He micromanages every nook and cranny of his administration and calls all the shots.

To make sense of the management style of  New York’s 56th governor, one must understand the modus operandi of the man who had the greatest influence on him—the state’s 52nd governor, Mario Cuomo.

Throughout his career, Mario Cuomo was a one-man band. He would work long hours because he needed to have total control over all decisions, even routine ones. As a rule, he would not delegate. Also, outside of his wife and son, Andrew, he trusted very few people. “Even in his present position of eminence,” one associate told the Times, “Mario Cuomo trusts no one completely who isn’t a member of his own family.”

After his election in 1982, the elder Cuomo confirmed this management approach: “I want myself in the center of the wheel and a lot of spokes out to the agencies.” In other words, he would not delegate authority to executive chamber subordinates; he wanted his fingers in every governmental pie. And considering the size of the state government, this approach proved to be disastrous.

By March 1983, The New York Times was reporting that “Cuomo Holds A Tight Rein on Decisions.” Defending his loose chain of command, Cuomo thundered, “No bill will go up, no appointment will be made without crossing my desk … I don’t like having too strong a dependence on anybody.”

On another occasion, after a question was raised about his method of governance, Cuomo said, “Delegate what? I was elected to govern. I wasn’t elected to let other people govern. To the extent that my strength allows me to bring myself to bear, that’s what I ought to do.”

As criticism mounted that his administration was “confused or disorganized” leading to numerous snafus, Mario Cuomo doubled down: “My instructions to [my staff] are, ‘Do not make a policy decision the governor is supposed to make’. If there were any confusion, if there were any ball being dropped, I was the quarterback who dropped the ball.”

And the enforcer of Mario’s dictates was his son, Andrew, known by Albany pols as the “Prince of Darkness” and “Darth Vader.”

One long-time political operator told me: “If Andrew showed up in your office, you knew something was amiss or he would not be there. Andrew was not shy about badgering people verbally, humiliating them, demoting them or dismissing them.”

Well, like father, like son.

Andrew Cuomo’s management style is fundamentally identical to his father’s. The only difference—he is his own enforcer. Cuomo is a micromanager who cracks the whip, brow beats his staff and bullies anyone who gets in his way.

Andrew Cuomo is responsible for the disastrous policy that led to the deaths of thousands of nursing home residents. It is time he fesses up and begs New Yorkers for forgiveness.