Budget proves Cuomo’s loss of clout

Dunkirk Evening Observer

The biggest takeaway from this year’s state budget isn’t the record spending, the legalization of mobile sports betting or the $2.1 billion the state will spend for those who weren’t eligible for unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

What should be striking to everyone in the state — from the most conservative to the most liberal — is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s weakened position.

For the past several weeks Cuomo had said taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents didn’t need to be increased because the state’s budget deficit had disappeared through a combination of stronger-than-anticipated tax receipts and the federal government’s generosity.

Cuomo has also said consistently for the past several years that the state needs to be careful raising tax rates on the state’s wealthiest residents because those residents could move from New York state and leave the state’s finances in shambles.

For years, Cuomo has been able to hold the line on taxes on the wealthy. That is no longer the case.

It’s a rare case that removing a speed bump makes a ride bumpier, but that is exactly what is happening in New York state. Consider further that Cuomo lost out to legislative Democrats over language that would strengthen Kendra’s Law.

Cuomo supported the changes in his executive budget, but those changes were rejected by Democrats in the Assembly and Senate to the chagrin of local state Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay.

If Cuomo can’t stand up to the whims of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, state residents of all political persuasions are in for a bumpy ride.

By Paul Wager