Carl Paladino and Andrew Cuomo at the October 2010 debate

Carl Paladino and Andrew Cuomo at the October 2010 debate Credit: Newsday, 2010 / Audrey C. Tiernan

Carl Paladino was the Republican candidate for governor in 2010. A longer version of his response to the governor's budget is available at his website, Paladino for the People.


The executive budget by newborn conservative Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is essentially the same old smoke-and-mirrors rhetoric of the elitist Albany establishment.

Cuomo doesn't seek to change the status quo, only to resolve the deficit. That means we'll continue as the highest spending and taxing state per capita - and the least attractive state for job retention and growth in America.

Look at Texas: It has no state income tax and doesn't regulate its businesses to death. Texas created 500,000 new jobs over the past five years. New York lost 280,000 jobs last year. New Yorkers won't be appeased with a half loaf.

The executive budget doesn't cut taxes or call for tort reform, or workers' compensation and malpractice reform, which will save taxpayers and businesses billions in premiums. Cuomo calls for less than $1 billion in Medicaid cuts - probably because 99 percent of those on entitlements will register and vote as Democrats. The progressive political culture acts entitled because, sadly, we have let it act that way.

I refuse to accept that Cuomo's budget is a step in the right direction. That's the same old "change comes slowly" establishment nonsense that should be unacceptable in a state failing at such a staggering pace.

It is what Cuomo doesn't say in his budget that is so glaring: There is no plan for transparency, no defined effort to fire a political patronage class holding jobs that have no real function, and no rejection of the "three men in a room" approach.

Instead, Cuomo proposes:

To eliminate, with as few layoffs of state workers as possible, a maximum 11,000 jobs, and that includes attrition.

Nothing to redefine pensions from defined-benefit to defined-contribution for exempt public employees of the executive, legislative and judiciary branches, who number approximately 25 percent of all state, authority and local government employees. The pensions of these employees are not protected by constitutional language - and reining them in, as Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) has proposed, is critical to any effort to cajole the unions in negotiations for contracts expiring in April.

Nothing about bargaining extension of the Taylor Law's binding arbitration for critical employees - which expires in April - for a waiver of the union employees' constitutional right to the defined-benefit pension plan, arbitration by the judiciary rather than the ultraliberal Public Employment Relations Board arbitrators (who historically have thrown the taxpayers under the bus), and rescinding the taxpayer-busting Triborough Amendment.

Nothing to eliminate the $1 billion in business taxes on manufacturing, creative and high-tech industries - including the state Corporation Franchise Tax and the state minimum tax on small businesses struggling to stay alive - nor the elimination of green and alternative fuel subsidies (favored only by a small minority of irresponsible taxpayers), political patronage "development" personnel, or Empire and other such zones, and brownfields, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and other general and selective subsidies.

These are just a few of the many issues crucial to job creation and fiscal stability in New York. Cuomo can do a lot more. He admits the actual deficit is larger than the $10 billion everyone is citing.

Change will be difficult for the political ruling class, because gluttony is such a tough habit to break. Our impaired economy and quality of life, 8.2 percent unemployment, and the highest spending and taxes per capita of any state, are not accidents or bad luck.

Only cutting spending, taxes and regulation - comprehensively, deliberately and with a vengeance - will satisfy our people and businesses.

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