The left-leaning Working Families Party has aggressively pushed back on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Inequality Budget,” but a top Cuomo aide maintains that the latest state funding package actually has solid progressive bonafides.
In an interview last night on NY1′s Inside City Hall, Howard Glaser, Mr. Cuomo’s director of state operations, said it’d be difficult to find a budget more progressive than the one signed into law earlier this week.
“The governor has a progressive record that is stronger–I would dare say–than we’ve seen for many, many decades in this state,” Mr. Glaser said when asked about the WFP criticism. “So, you know, different groups, different people, have their points of view. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more progressive budget than we’ve had this year.”
The WFP would likely disagree with that assessment. Reacting to the budget, the labor-backed third party sent out an email Tuesday titled “Four reasons why New York lost.”
“This morning, Governor Cuomo signed into law a budget for New York that boosted education funding, provided for universal pre-K in NYC, and increased support for child care and renters,” the party’s state director, Bill Lipton, wrote in the email. “Good things, no doubt. But what he neglected to mention is that much of the budget expands the divide between the wealthy few and the rest of us. When you look at the big picture, the banks got their tax break and the wealthy got their estate tax cut, but New Yorkers got shortchanged.”
In his interview last night, Mr. Glaser argued it was more important to look at the big picture, including the fact that the budget was passed on time for the fourth year in a row.
“Look, let’s take one step back. You mentioned that this is the first time we’ve had an on-time budget four times in a row in over forty years,” Mr. Glaser said, arguing that not all of the governor’s priorities were included in the budget deal, which has to be negotiated with the state legislature.
“But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg in the accomplishments of this budget. Really what the budget is about is reversing the dysfunctional state government that has plagued Albany for decades. We’ve gone from out of control spending to fiscal discipline. We’ve gone from being ‘the’ high-tax state to one that’s welcoming for small business and for manufacturers,” he said.
“And we’ve made significant investments because of that fiscal discipline in education; education aid up 5 percent. Have an affordable housing program–a billion dollar housing program [that] doesn’t get a lot of attention … And targeted investments all over the scope of the state budget that will help New York be a stronger place,” he continued. “Much of that is very progressive.