Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, January 31, 2011

Cuomo Doesn't Understand Budgetary Procedures

Up until today, Little Andy Cuomo has been portrayed in the media as a political genius and saviour who will bring Albany back from the brink of dysfunction and corruption caused by career politicians.

Then came today:

ALBANY — For months, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been raising alarms about the state’s more than $9 billion deficit. On Monday, he baffled many in Albany by saying the state did not really have a significant deficit at all.

And the governor went further, in a draft op-ed article his office circulated on Monday, calling the state’s budget process “a sham” and comparing it to “deceptive practices I fought to change in the private sector,” criticizing practices that have been in place going back to the three terms of his father, former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo.

Many legislative staff members, advocates and budget experts in Albany, speaking publicly and privately, accused the governor of either lacking a basic understanding of how states across the country put budgets together, or, more likely, deliberately muddying the water ahead of the formal presentation of his first budget on Tuesday.

Specifically, the governor was training his ire on the fact that spending increases for specific programs, and particularly for Medicaid and education, have been programmed into the budget over the years. Such formulas include so-called trend factors that increase reimbursements to hospitals over time, and are a feature of state budgeting across the nation — and are tied to billions of dollars in federal matching funds.

Part of the political calculation is clear. Mr. Cuomo wants the public to know that much of what he is likely to cut are actually planned spending increases aimed at maintaining current services as defined by law, not cuts to existing spending levels.

Mr. Cuomo, in his op-ed, argues that governors are handcuffed by preset spending increases that create large deficits.

“These formulas (predominantly in education and Medicaid funding) are often inserted into the law by pressure from well-connected special interests and lobbyists,” he wrote. “When a governor takes office, in many ways the die has already been cast.”

James A. Parrott, chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a labor-backed research and advocacy organization, said, “It is a little surprising that such an Albany veteran was surprised by the longstanding New York practice of current services budgeting as required by current law.”

“The governor should try to find people who can read the reports of the Division of the Budget,” he added. “This is the sort of bewilderment one would have expected from his November opponent.”

It is interesting to see Cuomo portrayed in the Times as ignorant and "lacking of a basic understanding of how states across the country put budgets together."

If Cuomo is supposed to "save" New York, he might want to, you know, bone up on the budgeting process.

Shelly Silver spoke to reporters today and responded to Cuomo's op-ed about the budget:

Man oh man, it is great to watch Silver.

Little Andy thinks he's high-flying with his 70% approval rating.

Let's see how he looks after the budgetary process and he goes to toe-to-toe a couple of times with Silver.


  1. Silver is gold, the one politician who draws the most criticism from the city tabloids is the man of conviction. He is the great champion of labor, students, and those in need. I hope he stays on for a hundred years. Shelly is a Mitzvah to all New Yorkers.

  2. I agree with the other anon!

  3. Cuomo will rely on Silver for his many decisions. Silver understands the law, the budget, and the needs of the people in NYS. If Cuomo's smart, he'll listen.

  4. I like that - Silver is a Mitzvah.

    Indeed he is.