Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
Who Had the Better Week—Cuomo or Christie?
Friday, March 30, 2012
Both rock stars in their own right, both trying to right their states' ships, and both building serious momentum for a potential presidential run. Every Friday, we'll look at who's week will look better on a résumé come 2016.
Check out last week's results here.
This week Governor Cuomo struck a deal with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to pass a $133 billion budget for New York. WNYC's Colby Hamilton notes that this "marks the second year in a row the state's budget has come in balanced and before the deadline."
This year’s budget closed the remaining $2.1 billion budget gap left over after last year’s tax restructuring, which left higher income earners paying more but helped reign in an initial gap of $3.5 billion.
The final budget limits spending growth to two percent, while investing in infrastructure job programs, restoring education aid, and eliminating or consolidating dozens of government agencies.
It's entirely possible that the U.S. Senate will still not have passed a budget by 2016. Governor Gumby would have a nice campaign line about putting an end to their streak.
- Verdict: +2
Among the many infrastructure investments Cuomo secured this week, none is more thrilling to this reporter than the $600 million deal to buy 300 new subway cars on New York City's C-train subway line.
Yes, it's also a nice boon for the town of Plattsburgh, NY; and yeah, maybe it'll blow a hole in the MTA's budget come 2017. It also probably won't have any implications for 2016. But as someone who relies on the C line, it appears this godforsaken subway system has finally given me something to look forward to.
The current cars on the C will be 53 years old by the time they're replaced—given how many times I've seen people vomit in them during my two short years in this city, it's safe to say they're ready to be put out to pasture.
- Verdict: +1,000,000
When you look at the headlines, it seems like Governor Christie coasted this week. Taxes this, Bruce Springsteen concert that—we've heard most of it before (although a politician live-tweeting the Boss may be a new one).
More newsworthy, however, was an interview with Oprah in which Christie indicated that he'd be more willing to run for president in 2016. That's music to the ears of his fans, but it's also sort of a half-gaffe: the only way Christie could plan for a 2016 run is if his boy Mitt Romney doesn't win this November.
Meanwhile, a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll found that New Jersey voters wanted their politicians to stop name-calling, and voted "numb nuts" the least acceptable Christie-ism. So there's that.
- Verdict: 0