Cuomo to DC: Give me $15 billion or I shoot what's left of my tax base

Cuomo to DC: Give me $15 billion or I shoot what's left of my tax base

What? Didn’t Andrew Cuomo’s book sales from his COVID-19 memoir How I Cured Disease And Showed I Am the Greatest generate at least that much in tax revenue for New York? Apparently not, as the self-appointed paragon of gubernatorial virtue finds himself short on funds despite having one of the highest tax rates and largest tax bases in the nation.

In fact, Cuomo told the state that Washington DC either had to send him $15 billion immediately, or they’d have to pay. Oh, and he’ll also sue to get it:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had one overriding message Tuesday as he delivered his annual budget address from New York’s state Capitol: If Washington doesn’t send New York $15 billion as part of a pandemic relief package, he’ll have no choice but to slash public payrolls, cut services and raise taxes on the rich.

Cuomo argued that the state is uniquely entitled to those funds because the pandemic hit New York so hard last spring and was comparatively defenseless thanks to federal government bungling.

“New York paid a bill for Covid that no state in the nation paid for and it’s not even close in many ways,” he said. “The remaining cost is $15 billion.”

Ahem. Plenty of states are struggling to contain their pandemic surges at the moment. Which of those think they owe money to New York at the moment? Talk about a “Wall Street sucks cash from Main Street” story! Also, only a handful of these states forced nursing homes to take COVID-positive patients, with Cuomo leading the way. That price Cuomo refuses to even reveal, but we know that it costs thousands of lives of seniors.

So the “you owe me” argument ain’t gonna fly. Cuomo has a plan B for that, one which confounds Politico’s Anna Gronewold:

He went one step further and threatened to pursue litigation if the federal government did not acquiesce to his ask, though officials, when asked, did not immediately say whom the state might sue or what legal arguments New York could employ.

That’d be curious in all sorts of ways. For one thing, we’d all love to know just how he quantified that the other 49 states owe New York precisely $15 billion. And for another, how exactly does one sue to get a bailout from one’s own bad decisions? Maybe — and I’m just spitballing here — if Cuomo had spent 2020 focusing on the problem rather than creating self-congratulatory COVID Mountain posters, writing and publicizing a book on how he beat the pandemic while it returned with a vengeance, and getting Emmys and awards for his “leadership,” then just perhaps Cuomo might have managed his money better.

Hiking taxes in New York is a redundancy anyway, but it’s also about to become a dry hole. Thanks to the pandemic, high-density cities are becoming a lot less popular than they used to be, and Cuomo’s taxes are making it much worse. Cuomo and Bill de Blasio seem intent to chasing out what business remains in New York City, and this threat might just hasten the exodus even further.

Realistically, though, Cuomo’s almost certain to get most of what he wants from this new administration and Congress. The bloc-grant state aid in the upcoming Phase MCMLXII aid bill will likely give New York something close to $15 billion, if not more, essentially reimbursing Cuomo’s mismanagement and neglect. Does anyone think Cuomo will need to sue Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer to get his bailout? Come on, man. That should free up Cuomo to write his sequel, Here’s How I Got Away With It.

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Jazz Shaw 10:01 PM on June 07, 2023