Andrew Cuomo holds a significant lead over Tea Party-backed Carl Paladino. With most recent polls in the race for New York Governor indicating a significant lead by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D), the race has turned into a debate about how the state government should balance the budget while encouraging job growth and maintaining welfare.
The governor is required by the New York Constitution to submit a balanced budget to the State Assembly, but the assembly does not have a statutory obligation to pass a balanced budget or to address the state’s deficit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
This year’s final state budget received a variety of cuts, including a $210 million deduction from the State University of New York’s budget, according to the Legislative Gazette, a newspaper that covers New York state government. Many state-funded education institutions, including Cornell, have been eliminating programs and departments since the state budget passed.
Despite Governor David Paterson’s (D - N.Y.) unpopular spending cuts during tough economic times, the next governor still has to address a $8.2 billion deficit, and further cuts have been proposed by and further cuts have been proposed by most candidates for governor.
Carl Paladino (R), who is backed by the Tea Party, said he will remove $20 billion in state Medicaid funding by eliminating optional benefits and strengthening anti-fraud practices. He also proposed a hiring freeze on state agencies as well as a “pay for performance” plan that will replace existing salary increases based on seniority.
However, Paladino has not addressed in detail what stance he will take toward public sector unions or explained how, as he suggests, tax cuts create more jobs than deficit spending.
But Cuomo, who has a commanding lead in the race, has been mostly silent about specific issues. One of his few proposals involves his state takeover of Medicare administration from local counties, which he said will cut costs.
Cuomo also called for salary freezes and property tax caps that will likely impact public school teachers. New York State Union of Teachers, which has 600,000 and is the largest public sector union in the state, has held off its endorsement of any candidate in the current gubernatorial election because candidates “have abandoned their long-time commitment to supporting public education and protecting the rights and benefits earned by public sector workers,” according to the union’s website.