Amidst the euphoria of Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing gay marriage into law, most New Yorkers seemed to forget who the governor actually is. He isn’t, after all, some kind of crusading liberal, like his governor dad Mario. Soaring poll numbers and unabashed praise obscure the truth: he’s a hardline centrist who won an election because no one took his opponent very seriously. But now the real Andrew Cuomo emerges, at last: he will repeal the state’s millionaire tax, despite polls calling for its extension.
He will tax the wealthy even less than they already pay, while raising tuition at SUNY schools and waging war on public employees. Pandering to the wealthy elite is nothing new for the governor and will help cement his “pragmatist” reputation, whatever that actually means. Comparing his own stance on the millionaire’s tax to his father’s opposition to the death penalty only emphasizes further the type of moral blind spots with which our governor is afflicted.
Just consider this: in a New York Times interview this summer, he said that his top goal—the number one thing he just has to do as governor of this great state—is to slash the retirement benefits of state and city workers. Not create jobs. Not regulate the financial industry. Not restore the cities of upstate New York to their former glory. Not remedy urban blight. Not guarantee health care for every New York resident. Not ensure SUNY remains affordable.
There sure are many things he doesn’t want to do. Luckily, a lot people in a little park in downtown Manhattan—and everywhere else—want him to do much more.