Eminent 20th Century commentator H.L. Mencken once said in jest that he would be “forever ineligible” to hold public office in the U.S. because he is “strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency.” We have seen just the opposite in American politicians over the years. A prime example – yes, Exhibit A — is former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
But there is a new kid on the block who is giving her a run for her money and just may be the epitome of an inept and questionable politician: Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). Since becoming governor of The Empire State in 2011, Cuomo has made some head-scratching political maneuvers, delivering repeated black eyes to the Governor’s Office over the last several years.
Some of these policy decisions have been highlighted in last week’s report by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. The article combed through a handful of the governor’s so-called economic development programs, run by the SUNY Polytechnic Institute. The initiatives have consisted of either the state approving billions of dollars in tax breaks to politically connected companies or forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for new plants.
In an attempt to correct the “economic crisis” of Upstate New York, he has spent $8 billion a year to create jobs. Channeling the spirit of the famous 1984 Wendy’s women: “Where’s the jobs?”
Cuomo put $600 million into a Utica plant for Ams AG, but the company later canceled the contract. The state agreed to dole out $75 million for a new 57,000-square-foot facility in Greece to help create hundreds of new jobs, but very little has been generated. One of the biggest boondoggles may have occurred in Buffalo, where the state is spending $750 million for a SolarCity (owned by Tesla) solar panel plant, but it’s not creating as many jobs as promised and the long-term profitability has come into question.
And these do not include the hundreds of millions of dollars in other blunders, like the annual $420 million for the motion picture industry.
The New York Post reported on Sunday:
In March, a group of papers cited a spike in state and local aid, from $7.9 billion in 2010 to $8.6 billion in 2016. Yet upstate jobs on average grew just 2.7 percent in that time, a quarter of the national average. Four urban areas actually lost jobs.
Alain Kaloyeros, SUNY Poly’s founder, oversaw many of these projects, earning an annual salary of $1 million. Last year, he lost his job after it was discovered that he was part of a bid-rigging scandal. Gov. Cuomo and his aides have tried to distance themselves from the bribery gaffe, despite the myriad of scathing allegations laid against the potential 2020 presidential candidate.
Even with the heat causing the Governor’s Office to sweat a bit, Cuomo has yet to escape controversy. He has been involved in a wide range of crony scandals since then: from spilt milk to bipartisan hatred for an energy scheme.
One of the latest incidents to generate local headlines is “Milkgate.” This non-profit participant at the New York State Fair said that it would be increasing its prices for a glass of milk from 25 cents to 50 cents. Over concerns his approval rating would take a hit, Cuomo wasn’t pleased and vowed to provide the non-profit roughly $180,000 in taxpayer funding. New Yorkers were befuddled by the cash.
The other matter involves state energy users paying for a Zero Emission Credit, a credit that is part of his energy initiative to get the state to utilize half of its electricity from renewable sources within the next 13 years. It will cost consumers $1 billion in the first two years while boosting the pockets of the governor’s well-connected, affluent nuclear power plant-owning cronies. Both the Republicans and the Democrats disapprove of the plan, but they are largely remaining silent on the issue, reports The Washington Examiner.
Oh, and here is one more brewing storm for the road: a bidder for a $50 million development contract at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York claims a Cuomo campaign donor was chosen for the contract.
Many think that Cuomo will seek the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential campaign. Could he be a viable candidate to unseat President Donald Trump? Cuomo is up to his neck in controversies, scandals, and investigations – this didn’t stop Clinton from winning the nomination – so he may need to reconsider if he really wants President Trump out of the Oval Office in three years.
To date, Cuomo has been unscathed by the plethora of negative reportage of the Governor’s Office. This may change after his latest proposal: charging motorists more for driving into Manhattan. If even one of the biggest liberals in the country today, Mayor Bill De Blasio (D-NY), opposes a tax, then you know you’re in political trouble.
Do you think Governor Andrew Cuomo is a real challenge to President Trump in 2020? Let us know in the comments section!