Governor Cuomo’s administration is not spending its money bailing out Florida. It’s spending it on government unions and welfare, and on an increasingly dysfunctional New York City transit system for which a new mile of track or a new station costs five times (or more) as much as the same work does in London, Paris, or Madrid.
As Chris Edwards at Cato points out, New York and Florida have about the same number of kids in school, but New York spends far more on its highly unionized public-school workforce, shelling out $69 billion in 2017 to Florida’s 28 billion. U.S. News and World Report ranks New York and Florida about the same when it comes to preK-12 education, right in the middle of the pack at 25 and 27, respectively. (It ranks Florida No. 1 in higher education and New York No. 15.) Edwards finds that New York spends two and a half times what Florida spends on welfare, even though the Empire State has a higher median household income. New York’s government workforce is much larger than Florida’s (1,196,632 vs. 889,950), and as Edwards notes, “New York spends vastly more on employee retirement than Florida.”
Rick Scott likes to boast that Florida’s government debt was reduced by $10 billion on his watch and that Moody’s upped its credit rating to AAA. Less debt and better credit mean less money spent on interest payments. New York carries more debt than Florida does, and does not share that AAA rating. That takes an additional $10 billion a year out of New Yorkers’ pockets compared to Floridians’ interest-payment burden.