With the pandemic devastating state tax revenues, Gov. Andrew Cuomo quite rightly had his Division of the Budget hold back $4 billion in funds for local governments, nonprofits and school districts. But he’s declined to stint on the pork.
As the Empire Center reports, that same Division of the Budget has ordered the Dormitory Authority (which, despite the name, dumps cash on all manner of projects) to release grants totaling a whopping $46 million from April through July.
The 226 grants are funding by bonds issued without voter approval. Most of them were authorized via the State and Municipal Facilities Program, a $2 billion slush fund that the governor uses for political pork.
Nearly all that cash is for non-essential spending far less important than what the DOB has (again, wisely) withheld. But it wins points with other politicians and local special interests.
The biggest outlay, $5.6 million, goes to build a playground in Brooklyn. So school aid gets slashed, but the kids get a place to play.
Cuomo has always spent big on ridiculous projects (anyone want to buy an upstate “film hub”?), but this is a new low. And from a guy who just chastised Mayor de Blasio for all the “waste” in the city budget.
The DOB estimates that the pandemic and lockdowns have brought a revenue loss of $14.5 billion this year and a total $62 billion loss through the 2024 fiscal year.
It is, to put it mildly, the wrong time to ensure that only pork-barrel spending is held harmless.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article