Governor Andrew Cuomo’s propensity for creating advisory committees, commissions and task forces — more than two dozen in all — is the subject of an article in today’sWall Street Journal [subscription required].

Says Cuomo’s press spokesman:

“The commissions and advisory panels bring together unprecedented talent, experience and expertise in order to devise bold and consensus solutions to the most critical challenges facing the state and, under the governor’s leadership, it [sic] has been an unequivocal success.”

Well, at least he didn’t call it “historic.”

In reality, there was a notable lack of “bold and consensus solutions” in the final report of the governor’s Mandate Relief Redesign Team.  The team (or, rather, the Cuomo aides who wrote its report) sidestepped obvious but politically sensitive ideas like the proposed repeal of theTriborough Amendment, which is broadly supported by municipal and school officials across the state.  Under legislation enacted last year, the redesign team has now been succeeded by an 11-member Mandate Relief Council whose mission is circumscribed to ensure it focuses on direct cost mandates, rather than Triborough-like rules that indirectly shape compensation costs and the managerial prerogatives of local officials.

Cuomo’s use of outside advisory groups certainly has been a successful political tactic, buying time for the governor while creating an impression of movement and reform. The Medicaid Redesign Team, in particular, effectively co-opted the hospitals, unions and other health-care interest groups that could otherwise have derailed the governor’s first budget in a fight over Medicaid cuts. The massive Medicaid program hasn’t yet been fundamentally restructured for the long haul, which would require a combination of federal waivers and permanent statutory changes.  But for now, at least, the state share of spending on the program is being kept within Cuomo’s initial Medicaid spending cap, which was the governor’s immediate priority.

Cuomo is next due to appoint a tax reform commission, first promised last December.  This group will have its work cut out for it.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

Answers needed on Governor Hochul’s health-care budget

The health-care agenda laid out by Governor Hochul in her budget proposal this week leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Here are a few of them. Read More

The Health Department takes a big step toward COVID transparency

The state Health Department released a flurry of 20 COVID-related data sets this week, taking its biggest step yet toward full transparency about the state's pandemic response. Read More

Remembering the scandal that brought down Health Commissioner Howard Zucker

The resignation of Dr. Howard Zucker as state health commissioner marks the end of a term marred by scandal over his role in managing the coronavirus pandemic. The much-debated compelling nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients, though it origi Read More

After 10 weeks, all but five of the Empire Center’s 63 requests for pandemic data remain unfulfilled

Over the 10 days that Hochul has been in office, there has been no further progress on the Empire Center's record requests. Read More

New York’s health benefits remain the second-costliest in the U.S.

New York's health benefit costs increased faster than the national average in 2020, leaving it with the second-least affordable coverage in the U.S. The state's average total cost f Read More

Another Hochul To-Do: Timely Financial Reporting

The state will spend a record $212 billion in the current 2022 Fiscal Year, under the budget its elected leaders adopted in April. Read More

Can Cuomo still be impeached?

Andrew Cuomo and Donald Trump have more in common than boyhood homes in Queens. Like Trump, Cuomo could still face impeachment and an impeachment trial despite a promise to resign as Governor later this month. Read More

The Gov’s pension

There are several (dozens? hundreds?) of unanswered questions as the fallout from Andrew Cuomo's resignation earlier today continues. Among those are questions related to his pension, some of which can be answered, sort of. Read More


Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.


Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries:

Press Inquiries:


The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!