The Most Childish Governor in America?

The Most Childish Governor in America?

Rachel CohenMonday,4 April 2016

This year’s election has brought up some interesting points – people are tired of “typical politicians,” and it seems as though plenty of people on both sides of the aisle are looking for change. Unfortunately, for many American citizens, this has meant rallying around some, well I suppose technically they are people, for their boisterous and loud personalities, instead of their actual political chops.

If you wanted to know what it looks like when you elect a person who acts childish to a position of power, just look at Andrew Cuomo, New York’s quintessential legacy politician. Here’s the deal with New Yorkers (city residents): we don’t love Cuomo, and we’d like it if Albany could get it together, but it’s hard to care when you’re living in a city of 8 million people that manages to get its shit together and continue to operate every day of the year.

Yes Bloomberg was a mini-dictator, but the buses also ran on express schedules.

Back to the point. This has been a weird year to watch Albany’s favored son do what he does best: act like a petulant child. Here in the city, we, the people, elected our mayor to be Bill de Blasio. Has he failed on many things? Yes. Has he succeeded on others? Also yes! However, none of that really matters when it comes to Cuomo because he has to deal with de Blasio – we’ve already decided that for him.

So what happens when you have a governor of a state who apparently has it out for the mayor of the state’s largest city – nay, the largest city in the entire country? You get games being played with a significant amount of the population that the governor is supposed to represent.

For a bit of a backstory:

Cuomo, kind of a corrupt guy maybe (probably), doesn’t like de Blasio because he is a “man of the people” who wants things like universal access to education and other things that rich people have trouble comprehending the need for. Obviously, it’s easy to find other people in Albany who don’t want any more funding to go to that heathen drag on the state that is New York City, so there was kind of this turf warfare thing happening between the two.

The thing with Cuomo, is that he has zero consistent positions, so he is constantly causing other politicians – like say, the mayor of the state’s largest city – to try and anticipate his next move. Today he hates an increased minimum wage, tomorrow it’s his favorite thing ever. He hated the teachers’ unions, until he absolutely loved them. Hard to know what kinds of policies you can expect from someone who seemingly wavers daily. His one constant, was being against de Blasio, whether it had to do with affordable housing, the MTA, or education.

This week, somewhat miraculously, the New York state government managed to pass a budget. Just like with the federal government, this is a really hard thing for politicians to do so instead, they like to turn it into a game of special interests and general fucktoitiveness.

Some good things came of it – the state is finally making actionable steps towards a $15 minimum wage, yay!

But would Cuomo approach this budget as part of the cost of doing, you know, his job? No! Instead, he literally proposed imposing austerity measures on the city equivalent to those put in use during the recession. For no reason. Except – presumably – to just remind de Blasio who is really in charge.

Some of his “proposals” included:

In 2011, Cuomo made it so that the state bears the burden of administering and funding Medicaid – in exchange for a 2% cap on property tax rates. This recent budget would put the burden onto the city, meaning an anticipated billion dollars in costs over the next four years.

CUNY – the city’s university system, has received about half of its annual funding from the state since the 70s, which seems fair given that it sees an estimated half a million students every year, with an unbelievably affordable tuition and high-quality education. Earlier this year, Cuomo threatened to slash that contribution, leaving the city to contribute triple the norm.

Thankfully, most of his “threats” didn’t come to light, but it shows clearly what happens when you put someone who plays games in charge of political office. Cuomo continues to battle the city on affordable housing and education, but now acts as though he is the great compromiser, willing to make things happen. Like some of the presidential candidates out there, he seems to forget that all of us peons have access to the internet.

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Image Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York, on Flickr

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