Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How Will Cuomo Succeed Where Paterson Has Failed?

We are two days away from July and three months past the New York State Budget's "deadline." A fiscal plan was supposed to be in place, but we are only left with budget extenders, legislative gimmicks and grandiose gestures from Assembly Members, Senators and the Governor. David Paterson has been bashed into oblivion by nearly all that watch and participate in New York politics, so much so that his weak poll numbers forced him to decline to run for re-election.

Due to Paterson's downturn, it has been nothing but smooth sailing for gubernatorial aspirant and the son of former Governor Mario Cuomo. The younger Andrew spent months railing against Wall Street as Paterson fell from grace, but now he's the main man and most likely to succeed Paterson as our next Governor.

The only problem though, is that by and large, Cuomo has been supportive of Paterson's strong actions taken against the legislature; a legislature that has had trouble reconciling the fact we have a huge budget deficit and the constituencies they wish to please by not making big spending cuts. Now it is all well and good that Cuomo wants to keep the state fiscally solvent, but if he follows Paterson's path next year, he will more than likely be subjected to the byzantine maze that is Albany.

And now, not too surprisingly, Paterson is having regrets about dropping out of the race. A day late and (many) a dollar short for that candidacy though.

Cuomo though is running circles around everyone on the GOP side, and unfortunately the people that are supposed to be voting for him in huge numbers. When it comes to the budget, he's glad Paterson is being tough about spending, but he also objects to the idea of raising taxes as a supplement to cutting spending. The budget deficit was above nine billion dollars and for our state, that is a serious amount of money to only be taking from programs that help people survive this miserable economy. While artificially boosting the price of soda and cigarettes will not solve all our problems, using a multi-pronged approach is far wiser than just cutting education and health care programs.

If Cuomo wants to come in next year and tackle the serious problems we face, he had better get his head on straight and stop playing pure politics, and look closer at the policy he will be charged with creating to get us out of our monetary mess. Not only will policy be important, but dealing with the Legislature in a way where they will cooperate with him is essential. Nothing will get done (whether it be on time or not) unless there is a spirit of cooperation, and if Cuomo thinks that he can endorse the bullish behavior of Paterson and somehow skirt through the political cesspool of the capitol on his good looks, he has another thing coming.