“For us in the Assembly, we always believe in raising revenue,” Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters Tuesday as he discussed how to handle New York’s coming $6.1 billion budget gap.
Give him points for honesty — though it’s pretty appalling that he feels free to be so honest about soaking the public.
Yet the grim truth is that hiking taxes (and fees and any other revenue source) whenever possible is baked into the DNA of the Assembly’s huge Democratic majority.
Indeed, New York faces this shortfall — in a time of solid economic growth and ample revenue for state government — because Democrats are so devoted to spending.
And with Democrats in complete control of state government, and the hard left in the driver’s seat, new taxes and fees are sure to be high on the agenda for the coming legislative session. Sure, they’ll talk purely of hitting millionaires and corporations — but New York didn’t become one of the nation’s most-taxed states just by hitting the rich.
Note, too, that the main issue is a $4 billion-plus gap in the state’s Medicaid spending — a catastrophe created entirely by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature, who have goosed pay for unionized health-care workers and payments to politically potent hospitals, far above the rate of inflation.
The state has also let the Medicaid rolls soar, not even trying to enforce its generous rules for eligibility because the federal government picks up much of the cost.
Again, this is the largest budget gap since the Great Recession hit a decade ago — even though there’s been no recession this time. The politicians have simply sent money out the door faster than it’s coming in.
And now, if Heastie & Co. have their way, they’ll balance the books by slamming the public — and pretending it’s the responsible thing to do.