What is Andrew Cuomo's end game for the New York State budget? Judging from the look of things, he plans on bullying everyone into submission by creating a crisis.
"How is he going to do that?", you might ask. Well, let us take a look at the situation as it stands:
- Cuomo introduces a "budget" that has more mysterious "fill in the blanks" than a poorly written MadLibs. While he is more than happy to cut funding to important State services, he lacks the testicular fortitude to make the cuts himself. He appoints "blue ribbon" committees to do the dirty work for him. Not only does he get to hide behind their decisions, he could use any failure to come to a conclusion to his advantage. Time is the commodity he wants to be wasted.
- Despite the impending end of contracts with both CSEA and PEF, Cuomo demanded the Unions make generalized sacrifices of $450 million or he would lay off 9800 State Employees. Even though a clear deadline is known and recognised by all parties concerned, Cuomo drags his feet in appointing his representatives to negotiate with the Unions. Before doing so, he states that unless an agreement is reached by April 1st, he will begin plans to layoff workers. Then, he gives the Unions what amounts to a couple of weeks to settle on a contract. If this is not setting up an impossible situation, I do not know what is. Getting an entire Union to negotiate and then vote on a contract can not be done in a couple of weeks. While the Unions had their negotiating teams in place for months, I suspect Cuomo deliberately sat on his ass to up pressure on the Unions and to create a crisis situation for the contract negotiations.
- Cuomo put forward a Republican pro-business budget. Could this be because he knew that the Assembly, which is Democratically controlled, would not like the poison he's trying to serve? He has already made statements along the lines of "it's my way or the highway" and has gone so far as to state he's going to force his budget on to the State through budget extender bills.
This brings me to my point, I suspect Cuomo intended to force his pro-business agenda on to the State through budget extenders all along. After all, he kept Larry Schwartz around. Schwartz is the stone-ignorant bludgeoning force behind former Governor Paterson's attempts at forcing the State and Public Employee Unions into his budget plans. You will remember Paterson was sued by the Unions and lost for his attempts at forcing contractual give-backs, furloughs, withholding back pay, and illegal firings.
While Paterson's dealings with the Unions were illegal. He did utilize the budget extender bills to their fullest extent in other areas. In effect, he forced the Legislature to pass his buget in bits and pieces by including them in the bills to keep the State running. Cuomo has already alluded that he will use the same tactic. Like the Republicans and Governor Walker in Wisconsin, Andrew Cuomo will force his agenda on to New York though a tactical and bureaucratic maneuver -- all the while ignoring things that will actually close the budget gap. Things like stopping the insulting tax cut for the wealthiest 3% in the State and a securities spectulation tax.
So there it is. Cuomo's deadline is April 1st and he's done everything he can do to delay any sort of an agreement from occurring before then. All with the intention of forcing his Big Business-approved anti-union agenda on to the people of New York. I have no doubt this was his intention from the beginning. This man is not an honest broker. He is a schemer, deceitful, and treacherous and can not be trusted by anyone who values the morals and ethics organized labor has brought to this country.
Democracy? Not under Cuomo. Hopefully, he will never see a second term.