Governor Cuomo seems to be following the path blazed by his colleague in the White House, riding a wave of popularity that he incorrectly perceives as a mandate to consolidate more power in his own hands. And even Democrats are wary of these dangerous actions…
Via the New York Times:
He has included a clause that would allow him to give out some contracts without the customary review of the state comptroller. And he added another provision that some budget experts fear could expand his authority to borrow money for construction projects.
Riding high after a string of successes during his first year in office, Mr. Cuomo is now taking an expansive, and expanding, view of the role of governor, in the name of reining in the state’s sprawling bureaucracy.
But even some of Mr. Cuomo’s fellow Democrats are raising questions about what they view as a power grab. And suddenly a staple of civics class — the notion of checks and balances between different branches of government — is the talk of the Capitol.
One fellow Democrat calls it an overreach:
“I think many of us, including myself, feel that there is overreaching proceeding down the path by our new governor, and that it is ultimately not healthy for there to be excessive power in the executive branch, even though he’s popular,” said Assemblyman James F. Brennan, a Democrat of Brooklyn.
This of course comes on the heels of another power grab yielded by the Governor, in which the entire New York State Inspector General’s Office was granted the authority to snoop into the tax returns of not only the state employee workforce, but anyone they deem to be relevant to an investigation. At the time, this level of investigative power was being labeled ‘unprecedented’, something even the State Attorney General has not been granted.
Cuomo brushed off any questions regarding this consolidation of powers in the executive branch as “basic competence”. But another Democrat Assemblyman claims it will undo years of efforts to improve government accountability.
Richard L. Brodsky, a former Democratic assemblyman who wrote legislation to improve accountability of the state’s public authorities, said the provision would undo safeguards that lawmakers had put in place with some difficulty.
“It goes to the heart of the reform efforts that took six years, three governors and two attorneys general to get done, and it’s extremely important,” Mr. Brodsky said.