Editorial: Same old tax-and-spend budget

Cuomo's proposal doesn't make inroads into addressing state's high spending and taxes that drive people away
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo gives his 2018-19 budget address Tuesday in Albany.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo gives his 2018-19 budget address Tuesday in Albany.

Between July 2015 and July 2016, New York state lost a net 191,367 residents to other states, the most of any other state.

Between 2011 and 2016, 846,669 left New York for other states.

That exodus, and the reasons behind it, should have been the focus of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 budget message. 


Instead, we got pretty much more of the same budgeting that we’ve been getting for the past seven years — more spending and more ways to figure out how to get New Yorkers to pay for it.

While the proposed budget does limit spending in some areas, makes modest spending increases in others and includes a few cuts here and there, it’s fundamentally the same old shoe that New Yorkers have been chewing on for decades.

What New Yorkers needed to keep them from putting their houses on the market and renting one-way moving trucks was bold action and creativity that would have at least sent a signal that the old tax-and-spend New York was on its way out.

The big bit of creativity in the budget is a questionable effort to switch New York from collecting taxes through an income tax to a payroll tax in order to get around the new limits on federal tax deductions. While that could help

New Yorkers save some money on their federal taxes, it does nothing to address the high taxes that necessitated the need for the federal tax break in the first place. It just changes how the same money is collected. 

Even when he seemed to be cutting in some areas, he was really just proposing smaller increases.

For instance, the budget includes a 2.5 percent increase for Medicaid spending, $103 million more in funding for higher education, and a 3 percent increase in education spending. While that’s far less than the education commissioner is seeking, it’s an increase nonetheless. And it fails to make any significant changes in the way the state distributes school aid to ensure the neediest school districts get the funding they need. 

The budget makes no new demands for austerity. It contains no bold initiatives to cut spending or divert money from failed economic development programs. No hacks on wasteful government initiatives. No courageous proposals that to cut the cost of doing business in New York by reducing onerous regulations and energy costs.

New York can’t keep spending even slightly more each year if it’s going to stop people from leaving the state.

From the governor, we needed something vastly different than a plan to do the same thing the same way it’s always been done.

Instead, we got the same old New York budget. And that’s just not good enough anymore.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

Leave a Reply