Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is facing well-funded and organized criticism from his left by a good-government group over his fiscal and anti-corruption policies.
The group, EffectiveNY, is accusing the Democrat of failing to live up to his progressive and liberal promises. Founded by longtime Democratic fundraiser and adviser Bill Samuels, the group promises “a series of policy and issue-focused campaigns that offer forceful rebukes of Cuomo and recommend specific actions.”
“I was a strong supporter of Andrew Cuomo’s when he ran for governor in 2010,” Samuels said Wednesday. “But like many progressive Democrats, I have grown increasingly disillusioned with him. Cuomo’s Albany is today just as broken and corrupt as the Albany he inherited when he became governor. He needs to start answering for that disturbing fact as he gears up for his re-election. We plan to hold him accountable.”
There was no immediate comment from Cuomo. His highest poll numbers are from Democrats and self-described liberals.
EffectiveNY said Cuomo must take over more of the local cost of the Medicaid health care program for the poor. New York has one of the most expensive and generous programs in the country and is one of the few states to require counties and some cities to pay part of that cost. Under Cuomo, however, the state has taken over a larger share of the local cost saving local governments more than $1 billion a year.
Some local governments are trying to avoid insolvency and local officials in part blame unfunded mandates from Albany, including the Medicaid cost.
Last month, Republican Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney supported Cuomo’s efforts.
“We’ve really banged the drum with this governor on mandates, and he has responded,” said Mahoney, who some Democrats have suggested could be a new running mate for Cuomo.
“The state has picked up or prevented more costs than has ever been done in modern political history,” Cuomo said at a news conference this past week in Syracuse announcing that the state would provide $30 million for local lakefront development.
EffectiveNY executive director Jesse Laymon described tax rebate checks approved by Cuomo and the Legislature as a “cheap gimmick.” The checks of $350 will be sent to most New York families with children under 18 years old in the fall as the governor and lawmakers seek re-election. Cuomo’s property tax plan would provide another tax rebate check.
EffectiveNY also blamed Cuomo for failing to end the stream of corruption arrests in the Legislature in 2012 and 2013 after enacting his ethics reform package in 2011. Last year the Legislature rejected Cuomo’s latest ethics package and Cuomo appointed an anti-corruption panel under the Moreland Act to investigate the Legislature and recommend new laws.