Governor Andrew Cuomo Is Asking Support From Big Labor In Solving Fiscal Crisis
Gov. Andrew Cuomo practically huddled with labor activists to discuss the severity of the pandemic-fueled economic crisis in New York. As he and policymakers struggle to plug a huge hole in the budget for next year.
On Wednesday’s secret chat, a union source said that “The governor’s message was, ‘Things are dire. I’m going to need your help.’”
The labor source said there were uncomfortable moments at the confidential Wednesday conference. With Cuomo expressing anger over the 2.5 million New York State AFL-CIO throwing its weight behind a letter endorsing state legislators conducting an emergency end-of-year session. To enact tax hikes of $7 billion to $9 billion on the rich to cope with the fiscal crisis.
As opposed to Cuomo, who needs to discuss taxation and expenditures as part of next year’s budget negotiations. And waiting to see whether Congress and President-elect Joe Biden will offer COVID-19 relief assistance early next year the letter ultimately sided with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. He wants to pass taxes right away.
Conference call participants included George Gresham, president of the 1199/SEIU Health Care Workers Union; Andy Pallotta, head of the United Teachers of the State of New York; and Mary Sullivan, president of the Civil Service Employees Association, the union representing the largest number of employees of the state government.
However, of the 10 who signed up to the AFLI-CIO tax, the rich letter was their unions.
“Andy is in constant communication with the governor’s office on ways to stave off harmful cuts to education as we gear up for the budget process in the coming session,” NYSUT spokesman Matthew Hamilton said when asked about the meeting.
Both Cuomo and the leaders of the union expressed dismay that Congress will not immediately cough up cash to help close the massive budget hole of the state. And worried that any aid that may come after President-elect Biden takes office next year will be too late to avoid deep spending cuts, raising the specter of government workers being laid off.
No Immediate Comment From Cuomo’s Office
The office of Cuomo also had no immediate comment.
But when he also revealed on Wednesday that he would advance $1.5 billion to “central organizations” to provide cash flow and avert disruption, the governor delighted the unions.
On Thursday, the NY AFL-CIO also released a statement applauding the move. And voicing a more conciliatory view of the governor’s stance as part of next year’s budget to fix the tax issue.
However, the statement said for the near future, this action will stave off layoffs. It will also give New York a clearer view of the economic environment. This will also allow them, guided by the efforts of the Biden administration.