Doubting Cuomo's stakeholders

Monday, January 10, 2011 - 11:05 AM

Jacob Gershman plunges into the problem Andrew Cuomo faces by bringing major unions into the discussion about how to lower state spending, which they normally oppose:

What happens if a consensus never materializes or it serves the interest of the policy teams over the interests of the public? In other words, what is Mr. Cuomo prepared to do if the stakeholders start to behave like special interests?

Some see an implicit threat in Mr. Cuomo's approach, that he'll use the hammer of his executive budget if they don't cooperate and try to impose cuts on his own terms.

For now, the interest groups say they're game and receptive to the governor's demands for lower spending. But it's hard to see how Mr. Cuomo will avoid a painful conflict, particularly when there's less money to go around than in past years and when he starts to wade into the issue of public-employee retirement costs.

Mr. Cuomo is counting on interest groups to recognize their stake in the state's future. It remains to be seen if they instead decide to stick a stake into the heart of his agenda.


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Comments [1]

Larry Littlefield

As I've noted, there are two groups of powerful interests.

Producers of public services -- unions and contractors -- who want to provide less for more before retiring early and moving to places with lower taxes and better public services.

And business interests and the wealthy, who do not believe they required public services and do not want to pay for others to have them, outside a few affluent suburbs with "executive housing." Or at least not pay anymore, since we have the highest state and local tax burden in the country.

Everyone else is unrepresented -- especially those who rely on public services, and younger generations.

Since the Governor has mandated no additional taxes, and the "stakeholders" can't get more for less or more for the same, their goal is to get the same (or slighlty less) while providing drastically less in public services (and pay and benefits for future workers) in return. While making sure those with seniority get everything they have promised themselves.

That would be consistent with the collapse of public services and the infrastructure during the 1970s NYC fiscal crisis. In many way public services never recovered, but those on the inside did fine.

Jan. 10 2011 05:52 PM

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