One of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aides fired back Thursday at an op-ed from the co-chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, characterizing her criticism as a plea for more state money to solve her city’s financial woes.
Howard Glaser, Cuomo’s director of operations, said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s piece in the New York Times amounted to a call for more state funds to “solve a financial problem that (they) created in Syracuse because (they) didn’t exert fiscal discipline.”
Miner, who was tapped as the co-head of the state’s Democratic operations last year by Cuomo, had called on the Legislature to reject Cuomo’s proposed budget, which includes a pension-smoothing plan that would lock in a contribution rate for local governments—effectively allowing them to pay less now and more later as rates decline. She called the pension plan an “accounting gimmick.”
Glaser, in an interview on Albany’s WGDJ-AM, said Miner wants “someone else” to solve her city’s problems.
From Glaser’s radio chat:
“You’re elected mayor to solve problems. If you’re unwilling or you’re unable to solve a problem in fiscal management in a city, there’s a mechanism for doing that—you ask the Legislature to create a financial control board, and the financial control board will solve the problem for you. That’s how you deal with it in New York if you can’t deal with it yourself. The only thing that doesn’t make sense is someone else just give me more money to solve my financial problem that my city created. That would only cause more problems.”
Glaser also pushed back at criticism from E.J. McMahon, senior fellow at the Empire Center for New York State Policy, who flagged a portion of Cuomo’s budget plan that would eliminate language that require local school districts to report their financial data—such as tax rates and spending—to the state.
“Towns and counties throughout the state, one of their major complaints is that they have got to report every last little thing,” Glaser said. “They want relief from reporting requirements. We’ve set up a process through this bill to give them relief from reporting requirements while maintaining the ability to ensure important material still comes to the state. It’s just common sense.”
The proposal would allow Cuomo’s Mandate Relief Council to choose which local governments or districts would have to report their information to the state.