Left pressures New York’s Cuomo on taxes, spending

Will Rahn Senior Editor
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A group of local Democratic lawmakers in New York have published an open letter to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo that criticizes his proposed budget cuts and refusal to raise taxes.

“As loyal Democrats, we believe that protecting children, seniors, working families and our communities must always be a priority,” the statement says. “But the truth in Albany is that some of Governor Cuomo’s budget policies are neither balanced nor well conceived.”

The letter then goes on to list a number of complaints about Cuomo’s proposed cuts in health care and education spending. Also of concern to the lawmakers is Cuomo’s stand against the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax” on persons making more than $200,000 a year.

Cuomo, who campaigned as a fiscally conservative “New Democrat” during his election last year, has won high marks from some Republicans for his willingness to break with Democratic Party orthodoxy and lead the fight against Albany’s famously profligate spending habits. Although his reforms have faced little resistance from within his own party so far, the letter indicates that some Democrats are already fed up with the centrist governor.

“If this is what it means to be a New Democrat, if this is what it means to be a progressive than something is very wrong,” the letter continues. “We cannot be silent on the matter – not when the Tea Party, the Conservative Party, Republicans and a group of wealthy Wall Street executives are cheering the Governor’s policies.”

Although 42 Democrats put their names on the statement, none of the signatories hold statewide office, a sign that, for the moment, Cuomo’s control of the statehouse remains intact.