Commentary

‘Free’ tuition policy comes with strings and baggage | Poughkeepsie Journal

From the moment of its unveiling at the start of the year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “free” college tuition plan seemed to have been hastily reverse-engineered from a campaign slogan — a Bernie Sanders presidential campaign slogan, that is. The governor did nothing to dispel that impression when he invited the Vermont senator to deliver an endorsement of the plan when it was first rolled out at a Queens College rally on Jan. 3. [Read_more]

Don’t ‘overcommit’ on budget by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

Amid the smoke and confusion surrounding this week’s on-again, off-again budget dance in Albany, Gov. Cuomo made a point well worth repeating.

Noting big federal-policy changes afoot in Washington, Cuomo said Wednesday evening that his top priority was “to make sure we do not overcommit ourselves financially.”

That’s an eminently responsible position. Too bad the governor hasn’t followed his own advice. [Read_more]

A N.Y. health law so broken, it’s sick by Bill Hammond |  | Daily News

Imagine that the government, instead of distributing food stamps, wrote checks to grocery stores to reimburse them for giving stuff away.

Now imagine that the government gave lots of that money to Zabar’s and Whole Foods while stiffing the bodegas and supermarkets where poor people actually shop.

Such a system would be considered a travesty. Yet that, believe it or not, is how the state of New York finances health care for the uninsured. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s Budget Test by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Post

Halfway through his second term as New York’s chief executive, Gov. Cuomo could be approaching a fiscal turning point. [Read_more]

Wage hike is silent jobs killer by E.J. McMahon |  | Crain's New York Business

New York City's move over the next three years to a $15-an-hour minimum wage—the highest ever, after adjusting for inflation—will take the city into uncharted territory, fraught with risks and trade-offs for workers and businesses. [Read_more]

New York needs to end its ‘Hollywood’ giveaways by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

New York State’s tax revenues have fallen more than $1 billion behind projections since the current state budget was adopted eight months ago.

When the fiscal year starts April 1, it’ll be staring into the gaping maw of at least a $689 million shortfall. Under the circumstances, a new corporate-tax giveaway is the last thing Albany needs. [Read_more]

Your coming NYS electric-bill hit by Kenneth Girardin |  | New York Post

In what amounts to an unlegislated state tax hike, New York's already-high electricity rates are poised to go even higher. That’s because, essentially at Gov. Cuomo’s order, the state Public Service Commission will require electric utilities to both subsidize money-losing upstate nuclear plants and buy power from “renewable” energy sources, mainly solar and wind-generated. [Read_more]

Cuomo’s SolarCity Disaster by E.J. McMahon |  | New York Post

Earlier this month, Gov. Cuomo paid a visit to the centerpiece of his upstate economic development strategy: a massive, still unfinished “gigafactory” taxpayers spent $750 million to build and equip for SolarCity, a money-losing company with a foggy future.

“This is the economy of tomorrow,” the governor gushed, according to a Buffalo News account. “It’s such a metaphor — a symbol of everything we’re doing.”

Indeed. But rather than symbolizing a shiny high-tech future, the solar-panel factory could become a monument to what US Attorney Preet Bharara described as “pervasive corruption and fraud” allegedly infecting Cuomo’s signature economic development programs. [Read_more]

Cuomo policies discourage employers | Ithaca Journal

The recent announcement that Dick’s Sporting Goods will build a 650,000-square-foot distribution center in Binghamton has been cited by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as further evidence of an economic resurgence in the region.

“Five years ago, we had a 7.9 percent unemployment rate in the Southern Tier,” Cuomo said. “Today, 4.6 percent. The arrows are headed in the right direction.”

In fact, as shown in the state Labor Department’s household survey data, the unemployment rate dropped only because fewer residents of the region are available and looking for work. If the labor force were still at its 2010 level, the unemployment rate would be 13 percent. [Read_more]

Health insurance in New York has an Essential problem by Bill Hammond |  | City & State / NYSlant.com

The latest Affordable Care Act enrollment figures for New York reveal a troubling trend: Free and nearly free government-funded programs are crowding out private-sector plans in the state’s health insurance marketplace. [Read_more]
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