The Artificial Line Between Social and Economic Issues: Exhibit A, Andrew Cuomo
By Bryce Covert, Next New Deal Editor
The bright line that we often draw between the economic and social can lead us to ignore one at the expense of the other. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is a perfect example of that. He became a hero of the left when he helped usher through the legalization of gay marriage in July. But the rest of his agenda is so fiscally conservative that he’s currently embroiled in a fight with public sector unions over decreasing retirees’ pension payments and benefits for new workers.
In the very same year that Cuomo was lauded by the left for his stance on gay rights, he was busy implementing a budget that refused to raise taxes and filled a fiscal hole with huge cuts to services. The enacted 2011 budget reduced overall spending by 2 percent from the year before, “largely through cuts to services and State operations, as well as streamlined government actions,” the Human Services Council reports. But the enacted budget was much kinder than the one Cuomo originally proposed: he would have cut $400 million to health and human services, while the enacted budget added $271 million back. HSC concludes, however, that even with those restorations, “the final budget [did] not meet the need for services in New York’s communities.”