Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a victory lap on television and radio this morning, touting the work of his state troopers in helping to catch the two convicts who escaped a maximum security prison near the Canadian border.
In a radio interview with WCNY’s Susan Arbetter, Mr. Cuomo declared that his troopers are functioning better than ever, comparing their performance to their struggle to catch Bucky Phillips, an escaped convict, in 2006. Mr. Cuomo also took the opportunity to again celebrate his decision to cap state spending at an annual growth of 2 percent.
“State government is working better than it ever has and it has a 2 percent spending cap. So it’s not about the money, it’s about the management,” Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said. “You look at when the state really has to step up–emergencies floods, hurricanes, it’s done a better job than it’s ever done.”
“The state police right now on this manhunt did better than they’ve ever done,” the governor continued. “Compare this to Bucky Phillips and then tell me that you can’t live within a 2 percent spending cap.”
Mr. Phillips escaped a Western New York jail nine years ago and was able to elude police for several months before he was captured. In the meantime, he shot several state troopers.
Richard Matt and David Sweat captivated much of the nation when they successfully escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. Both were on the run for several weeks before state troopers, with the assistance of the FBI and U.S. marshals, caught up to them late last week. Mr. Sweat was wounded and taken into custody while Matt, separated from his partner, was fatally shot by police. Both were convicted on murder charges years ago.
For Mr. Cuomo, the prison break was a chance for him to flaunt his leadership and crisis-management skills. As the fallout from corruption scandals in Albany and various legislative fights threatened to muddle some of his legacy, Mr. Cuomo appeared to relish the spotlight the manhunt momentarily granted him.
And he implied today that it validated his fiscally centrist governing philosophy.
“I understand that people want to say constantly the answer is more money to every problem,” he said. “You can spend money better and you can be efficient and effective and the government is a bloated bureaucracy.”