New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday accused the federal government of shortchanging New York as he simultaneously demanded the federal government cover the state’s deficit and laid out plans for massive new infrastructure developments.
Cuomo had alluded to his demands of more federal money for New York in earlier parts of his series of State of the State addresses. But in the fourth episode of the series Thursday, the governor went out of his way to emphasize that he believes the federal government has long wronged the Empire State.
“We’ve established that the state’s short-term $15 billion economic deficit must be addressed by Washington and the inarguable truth that Washington has assaulted New York for the past four years and that we must demand justice and fairness from Washington,” Cuomo said.
He added: “New Yorkers are just tired of subsidizing other states with our tax dollars. The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan repeatedly made the point that New York has constantly been shortchanged by the federal government. No state gets back less from Washington than New York State. It has been true for over 50 years. New York subsidizes over 42 other states.”
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“Why should we subsidize other states to keep their taxes artificially low so they can then appeal to our citizens and businesses to relocate?” Cuomo said. “And it’s only been getting worse. The new SALT assault on New York taxpayers cost an additional $30 billion.”
The SALT (state and local tax) deduction from the federal government allows taxpayers in high-tax states to reduce their federal tax liability based on their local and state tax payments. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped these deductions at $10,000. Democrats aim to eliminate that cap.
Cuomo said that “our federal representatives, who now control both houses in Washington, finally deliver for New Yorkers. Basic fairness is all we ask. But basic fairness we demand.”
It’s widely accepted that more federal money per capita flows into smaller, red states than into bigger, blue states — specifically New York. Although Matthew Schoenfeld argued in The Wall Street Journal last year that “New York Is No ‘Donor State,’ because the claim Cuomo makes is based on “distorted measures.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Cuomo announced massive plans to expand New York’s infrastructure, comparing himself to early 19th century New York Gov. George Clinton.
“Our first great breakthrough came in eighteen seventeen when we built the Erie Canal, connecting the interior of the United States to the world through New York Harbor,” Cuomo said. “The canal was such an ambitious and audacious undertaking that they actually move to impeach Governor Clinton as being mentally unstable for believing New York could do it. But he did. New York did. And New York’s trajectory changed forever.”
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Cuomo touted new terminals at LaGuardia Airport, the New Moynihan Train Hall and other infrastructure-related projects New York recently completed.
He then said that New York also plans other massive infrastructure developments across the state. All told, Cuomo said, “we are expanding our infrastructure plan to invest $306 billion in the future of New York.”
Among those is the addition of 40% more track capacity at Penn Station by “acquiring the square block to the south of Penn Station. We can build another terminal. We call it Penn South.”
Cuomo said the project would also include new train tunnels across the Hudson River.
“The new project will be called the Empire State Complex and will be the most ambitious mass transit development in the United States of America,” Cuomo said.
He added that New York also plans to expand “the Javits Convention Center with a 50% increase, a 1.2 million-square-foot expansion. This expansion will make the Javits Convention Center a national leader in attracting conferences and exhibitions. And it’s going to be done this year.”
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Other plans Cuomo announced were an expansion of the High Line; extra building sites for retail, commercial and residential space with 1,400 units of affordable housing in Midtown West; a transformation of Pier 76; and redevelopment of the Port Authority Bus Complex.
“In total, these West Side projects represent $51 billion in investment and 196,000 jobs,” Cuomo said. “Even more, they will show New Yorkers and the world that a new New York City is in reach and that the future is bright.”
Cuomo also mentioned projects in Rochester, Albany, the Hudson Valley, Orange County and more.
This includes “historic efforts” to build airports both upstate and downstate, and acceleration of “the historic $51 billion MTA capital plan, upgrading, signaling, purchasing new trains and busses and making dozens of more stations ADA accessible.” The MTA plan would extend the Second Avenue subway from 96th St. to 125th St.
“That will open up the East Side all the way up to Harlem for exciting new possibilities,” Cuomo said.