Statement on Cuomo Budget Power Grab by New York State Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar


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Statement on Cuomo Budget Power Grab by New York State 

Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar

April 1, 2020

“It’s unfortunate in the extreme that Governor Andrew Cuomo capitalized on the Coronavirus pandemic today by embedding taxpayer-paid political campaigns in state budget bills that are needed to keep the state afloat. This is akin to having a new and odious tax shoved down our throats while everyone is preoccupied with life-and-death health issues.

“The Governor, who has the support of all New Yorkers during this crisis, should know better than to engage in a political trick like this now. New Yorkers don’t want welfare for politicians — they have made that clear for years in polling — and legislators should have been able to debate this as a standalone issue later this year. This was a cynical ploy and a time where cynicism is least appropriate.

“Taxpayer-paid campaigns will cost New Yorkers a minimum of $100 million per election cycle, and, plain and simple, that’s money we don’t have. Even before COVID-19, New York was in a six-plus billion dollar hole. When all is said and done, the state’s debt load will be many multiples of that. And yet, taxpayers will be forced to shell out money to political consultants.

“It is equally outrageous that the budget was used to eliminate political opposition and dissenting speech. By drastically increasing the requirement for small political parties to attain ballot status, Governor Cuomo will have effectively stifled debate in a state that needs more of it. The Conservative Party will more than meet the new threshold based on our nearly 58-year history of garnering votes, but other smaller parties will almost certainly perish, directly suppressing the political speech they have traditionally provided.

“Governor Cuomo has been widely lauded in the news media for his leadership during this crisis. But what he did today in Albany was anything but. New Yorkers will be paying for it for years to come.”