Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised — loudly, proudly and publicly — that New York state will overspend on public works projects.
“The only way the state could support the capital plan would be to borrow money, and it can’t borrow because it’s too close to its debit limit – but the MTA is not,” said E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for Public Policy.
In their budget bills, state Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans both had the good sense to reject one of the most egregious fiscal-political gimmicks ever to emerge from Governor Andrew Cuomo: a temporary income tax credit that would have reimbursed a portion of Thruway tolls paid by New York State residents and businesses.
So you have to wonder: Is now the time to be looking at rebates on tolls – rebates that will average just $97 a motorist – when the state still has no plan in place to fully pay for the $3.98 billion replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge in the lower Hudson Valley?
In his combined State of the State and budget message last week, Gov. Cuomo officially unveiled $100 billion in “transformative" infrastructure projects — enough to “make Governor [Nelson] Rockefeller jealous.”
That wouldn’t be easy, even if it were desirable.
To finance a 15-year building binge that included most of the State University system — not to mention countless other capital projects capped by Albany’s monstrously modernist Empire State Plaza — New York’s legendary Republican governor from 1959 to 1973 quintupled state debt.
Cuomo clearly hopes his plans will be perceived as Rockefeller-esque in scope. So how does he plan to pay for it all?
The answer: for the most part, he doesn’t.
So, how is Governor Andrew Cuomo paying for that $100 billion infrastructure "development initiative" that, as he put in his State of the State message yesterday, "would make Governor Rockefeller jealous"?
The answer: for the most part, he actually isn't.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) could be taking the money-losing state Barge Canal off the back of the Thruway Authority under the fiscal 2017 state budget that will be proposed today by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Assuming this Buffalo News report is true, it would explain how Cuomo intends to finance his proposal to freeze Thruway tolls for five years even while building the $4.8 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement.
Gov. Cuomo’s 2017 state budget, which he’ll present next week, is likely to call for billions of dollars in new spending on highways and bridges.
Unfortunately, taxpayers won’t get their money’s worth if the state continues to insist on rigging bids for public-works projects that all but guarantee the jobs will go to unions.