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Cuomo on 'sham' of budget practice

Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State

Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State speech. (Jan. 5, 2011) Credit: AP

The concept of what constitutes current or "flat" spending has become so intertwined with a presumption of increases -- marbled into the law -- that it distorts the whole budget picture, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In an op-ed piece now circulating, assessed here, Cuomo and company seem to be taking their fraud-prosecution mind frame from the AG's office and applying it as governor to the deficit at hand.

Basically the administration is saying that in the looking-glass world of Albany accounting, what are traditionally and legally called "flat" spending levels actually include increases. It sounds as if the state has written itself spending mandates of the type that localities perpetually complain the state has written for them.

Here is an early summary of the back-and-forth thus far.

Whether or not you accept his word choice that the laws and procedures on the books constitute a legal "sham", the contention does bring with it a fascinating glimpse into the assumptions behind accustomed practice -- a rare look under the hood in the public view.

More about all this in the next few days.


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