Today we're launching CuomoWatch - NYCC's blog covering Andrew Cuomo's corporate-backed agenda which is wreaking havoc on public education, low wage workers, immigrants, and homeowners and tenants through the state. Unfortunately, we'll be posting frequently - The Governor is really hard at work!
Our first post comes from NYCC's Executive Director, Jonathan Westin:
Since first being elected in 2010 as a progressive, Gov Andrew Cuomo has morphed from a reformer "Main Street Andy" to the Wall Street-and-wealthy-friendly "Cash and Carry Cuomo."
While he needed the progressive-liberal Democratic vote the first time around in a nasty race against conservative Carl Paladino, this time he is staking out the anti-reform, friend-of-the-rich position.
Nowhere is that more clear than in state budget deal that would widen the income inequality gap, eliminate the bank tax, undermine our mayor's authority in citywide school policy and would effectively kill the DREAM Act for now.
There are no new limits on campaign contributions, restrictions on personal use of campaign money or closing loopholes that let LLC's give pols tons of money.
The tax provisions in this budget provide the biggest benefits to the wealthy and to Wall Street, which is like oil & gas in Texas, where lobbyists usually get what they ask for. Cash and Carry Cuomo's plan favors the wealthy and Wall Street at the expense of everyday New Yorkers and requires new austerity cuts to schools, services and the safety net.
The budget gives Wall Street some $350 million a year in tax breaks at a time when profits, bonuses, CEO pay and stock prices are at record levels and the property tax caps give large benefits to wealthier families with the biggest houses in the most prosperous suburbs and does not provide substantive tax relief to New York City.
Cuomo's support of Wall Street in the budget doesn't stop there. The Governor wrested control of $600 million from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that the State received as part of a settlement with JP Morgan Chase for their part in the foreclosure crisis. The Attorney General had planned to devote the funds to a comprehensive foreclosure program. Instead, the use of these funds will be determined by a Governor who has spent his career catering to Wall Street interests.
On campaign financing, the Legislature and Cash and Carry Cuomo offer virtually no new regulation and missed the opportunity to fix a broken system that favor wealthy contributors.
On education, the governor and Legislature did add some $400 million in education funding but that's about $500 million less than what was needed to prevent yet another round of classroom cuts. Instead of fighting harder for our children, Cash and Carry Cuomo decided to spend his political capital to cut taxes for the wealthy and give charter schools more money and special treatment at the expense of the 97% of kids who attend traditional public schools.
And finally, the governor talked the talk on the DREAM Act - which would have provided tuition help for the children of immigrants - but didn't walk the walk. He failed to bring pressure to bear to stop Sen. Jeff Klein's cynical ploy of getting a floor vote on the Act when he knew full well it would fail.
From start to finish, Cash and Carry Cuomo used every cheap trick in the book to thwart his political rivals and preside over a budget deal that Main Street Andy would never have approved.