The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.
The governor has impressed with the aura of cooperation that seems to characterize his working relationships with legislative leaders, who all seem to be on the same page about seriously doing the people’s business with no unnecessary fanfare and drama. And this is largely a tribute to the governor.
Our state government not too long ago had a rather sad experience with a chief executive driven by a need to control the governmental process and dominate the public discourse. The consequent discord and dysfunction were palpable – and harmful. While there have doubtless been sharp disagreements, as should be expected, we can’t recall any legislative disputes that have bubbled over into public confrontations. Indeed, one rarely sees Mr. Cuomo taking to the airwaves.
To be sure, several of Gov. Cuomo’s social and cultural positions are not in sync with our views. But we certainly recognize that in most of those areas he represents the views of many, if not most, New Yorkers. And we are encouraged that on the economic front he seems to have followed through on what we think is the emblematic governmental issue of our times – implementing and maintaining measures that speak to our innate compassion for the needy and vulnerable without breaking the bank. If there is one thing that stands out about Gov. Cuomo, is that he is serious about this and has, in fact, made important headway.
The facts speak for themselves. On his watch, state budgets have been on time. Not only have taxes not been raised, they’ve actually been cut. A cap was set on property taxes, even though that means less funding for certain school districts. Yet the anticipated hue and cry never materialized. Thus, while there have been substantial cuts in services and programs, Gov. Cuomo seems to have been able to persuade the representatives of those affected that there was no choice.
To our mind, that’s leadership.
We endorse Thomas DiNapoli for reelection as New York State Comptroller. Mr. DiNapoli initially came to office in 2006 as the designee of the legislature, tasked to replace a disgraced predecessor who had resigned from office amid charges of impropriety. He was reelected four years later and now seeks another term.
Since becoming comptroller he has striven mightily to restore the public image of the office and upgrade its role as the sole custodian of New York State’s $150 billion public employees’ pension fund with the responsibility for deciding on investments. It’s also the agency responsible, through its auditing function, for identifying waste and fraud in government agency spending and for evaluating the accounting, budgeting, and contracting practices of many state agencies.
By most accounts, Mr. DiNapoli’s vigorous stewardship has been a boon for New York. The pension fund weathered the financial meltdown of several years ago and continues to impress with significant returns produced by its investment strategies. His various audits have resulted in substantial savings for New York taxpayers and greater professionalism in the internal operations of several state agencies. He has also instituted some key reforms in the comptroller’s office designed to curtail political influence.
Mr. DiNapoli came to the comptroller’s office after many years in the New York State Assembly. In all those years he was a steadfast friend of the Jewish community and was unfailingly there for us in the various legislative efforts.