What next from Andrew the Munificent?

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

I couldn’t resist using the above headline, printed in Newsday on January 7th and written by William F.B. O’Reilly, a Republican consultant in this column. The writer criticizes  the governor’s recent announcement to fund “free college education at SUNY and CUNY for every state resident making less than $125,000,”and in effect, promising enough people whatever they want – no matter the consequences – no matter how pie-in-the-sky.

The use of the word “munificent” i.e. extremely liberal in giving, certainly applies. While mired with problems in state government, and in dealings with the Legislature, he has taken the high road, marketing himself as both a progressive leader of a ‘new’ New York; and, a game changer “Building Today for a Better Tomorrow.”

With a reelection bid in mind, Cuomo stated college affordability is “perhaps the most important” of his 2017 proposals. An interesting remark considering other needs also cited. Not by any means original thinking, with prior President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, and presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, all Democratic Party sponsors of similar plans.

PS: During a recent State of the State address Governor Cuomo further commented we have today “two educational systems in the state, one for the rich, and one for the poor.” Wow!

The “Building Today” image he is creating also speaks volumes. Outlined in numerous presentations, he intends to build and/or rebuild just about every major structure standing in the state, short of Grant’s tomb. Trust me, it will take a Warren Buffett to try to figure how to pay for any major portion of this agenda, without cuts in other needed programs, higher taxes or a changes in current statutory debt limitations.

The state legislature has just re-convened and we can expect high levels of acrimony in dealing with the legislature while re-balancing our state billion dollar budget, all by April 1st. Given current projection of reduced revenues, and unending other debt repayment obligations, many of the governors’ pronouncements exhibit extraordinary levels of irrational exuberance. My next column will explain why.

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