Andrew Cuomo

Checks nix

Constitutional concerns...fancy that. At the Times-Union:

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is defending language in his proposed budget that has been criticized by legislators, saying it will allow him to consolidate "back-office" functions across state agencies.
The governor suggested his critics, including top legislators, were simply seeking to keep the status quo. His proposal would allow budgeters on his staff to move money among agencies outside the state's normal budget process.
"The Legislature has one role, the executive has another role. I'm trying to manage this government. I'm trying to find efficiency," Cuomo said Tuesday. "How can I manage if I have to tell you in advance every dollar — (lawmakers) aren't even here half the time. That is a normal and usual tension, and you manage the tension."
"It sounds ominous, but this is an essential management alignment of back-office overhead," he continued...
...Some legislators remain leery of Cuomo's actions, which they said are an intrusion on their constitutionally prescribed role.
...At the Cabinet meeting, Cuomo indicated some willingness to negotiate, as part of what he described as "healthy tension" between himself and legislators. But the relevant language is written into bills that legislators cannot easily change.
There's a reason for separation of powers and checks and balances.  Being wary of creating a dictatorship in Albany, however benevolent it might appear at the moment, is just prudent.

For the sake of completeness -- Cuomo and pensions

If you only read the increasingly paltry print version of the Ithaca Journal, you'll have missed the paragraphs that appear at the end of the original AP story on today's front page, "Cuomo to propose cost-cutting for pensions."  With respect to Cuomo's Tier VI plan for public workers outside New York City (which appears in the "Pension Plan" box in the print version on p. 5A), these paragraphs were cut from the print version although they do appear in the online version at the Journal:

The proposal doesn't replace the traditional public pension with a 401(k) retirement plan common in the private sector, where employees pay far more or all of the contributions.

The Cuomo administration said government contributions to pensions rose as many as 20 times since 2001 for teachers, government workers, police and firefighters.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Levy, who has led the fight for pension reform among counties, recently said now is the time for governments to trade in pensions for 401(k) plans. He has said generous public pensions are unaffordable to taxpayers.

As always, read the comments, too—one commenter is a member of that supposedly nonexistent group of New Yorkers leaving the state for greener, less tax-burdened, pastures.  Just sayin'.


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