Those who have followed Andrew Cuomo’s career will not be surprised to see that unlike most candidates for public office, he did not disappear after Election Day for a long (and no doubt much-needed) vacation. Instead, the governor-elect has been dominating the news as he wisely prepares New Yorkers for what promises to be an awfully painful new budget.
Mr. Cuomo spent several days after the election touring state-run facilities, including the famous Sing Sing prison in Ossining. The message he delivered was unpleasant but necessary: The state cannot continue to operate facilities simply to keep people on the payroll. “I understand the economic consequences of losing state jobs,” Mr. Cuomo said during his tour. “The answer can’t be we are going to employ state workers who literally have no function.”
Mr. Cuomo cited a prison upstate that has no inmates but that continues to employ 30 people. Yes, the upstate economy is terrible, and has been for some time. But Albany can’t afford to keep open unnecessary prisons and other facilities.
Then again, Mr. Cuomo no doubt knows that he simply can’t shrink state employment without a plan to encourage private-sector growth, especially upstate. His transition team must prepare a practical plan to replace unnecessary state jobs with solid private-sector jobs in hard-hit cities and towns north of the Hudson Valley.
Bad news and hard times are coming. Mr. Cuomo is right to prepare us for that reality.