MOSHE HILL OPINION COLUMNS FEBRUARY 08 2023
Governor Kathy Hochul released her budget proposal, and it is chock-full of policy proposals and expenditures that should have all New Yorkers taking to the streets in protest. Hochul’s view of New York is going to exacerbate the flight from the state, as well as put her in league with Gavin Newsom as the worst governor in America.
First is the sheer size of the budget. While it seems small compared to last year’s budget at an increase of 2.4%, it is a 29% increase on the pre-Covid budget. This means that the dollar amount that was said to be temporary to help deal with the issues brought about by the pandemic is not temporary; it’s here to stay.
Around $100 billion is going into the state’s broken Medicaid system, which is probably the most inefficient and poorly run healthcare system in the country. Bill Hammond wrote a report for Empire Center that broke down how poorly run the system is here. Some of the highlights are that “New York’s Medicaid program spends roughly $12 billion per year on in-home ‘personal care’ for the elderly and disabled — nearly as much as the other 49 states combined…The state’s per capita personal care spending is eight times higher than the national average…The state’s spending on personal care surged 178 percent from 2015 to 2021, which was 10 times faster than the growth of its elderly population….Despite heavy investment in home-based care, the share of New Yorkers living in nursing homes has declined more slowly than in other states and remains 29 percent above the U.S. norm…New York’s per capita Medicaid spending on nursing homes is the highest of any state and double the U.S. average.”
Hochul is also paying off her teacher union supporters by increasing the education funding by 10% to $34 billion. New York currently has the highest per pupil spending in the country, with education results somewhere in the middle of the 50 states. Enrollment is dropping as the state loses residents, yet Hochul is pushing more money into the broken system.
Speaking of education, Hochul is doing what some say is the bare minimum on raising the charter school cap in the state. When Lee Zeldin made charter schools an issue during the campaign, Hochul quietly and reluctantly confirmed that she would raise the maximum number of charter schools allowed by the state. (Why the state should have any cap on the number of schools allowed is beyond comprehension. A cap on schools reeks of corruption from a too-cozy relationship between politicians and the teachers union.) Hochul proposed an increase of 85 schools allowed.
Hochul also wants to increase taxes on the middle class and give that money to the film and TV industry. Payroll taxes are proposed to increase from 0.38% to 0.5%, so employers are going to take a hit, which they will pass to their employees and consumers. The ones who get tax rebates are the Hollywood production companies who helped fund her campaign. The tax breaks they get can be up to 30% of their budget, with a total of $700 million in tax breaks being given, a 66% increase from the $420 million it used to receive.
So that’s how Hochul plans to hit your wallet – but that’s not all. Hochul also wants to completely change the way every suburban neighborhood in the state works. Hochul wants to centralize zoning in her own government in Albany, taking it away from localities. While she claims this is to cut red tape, it’s to actually enact her ridiculous proposals that will make suburban life in the state non-existent.
Hochul wants to requires that within a half-mile radius of any train station, there are between 15 and 50 housing units per acre, depending on proximity to the city. This means that if you live in West Hempstead (as I do), which has three stations running through it, there will be between 24,000 and 80,000 housing units within a ten-minute walk of every station. Queens is in New York City, which means they’ll have the highest end of that. If places like Forest Hills or Kew Gardens were not urbanized enough for Hochul, get ready for some new low-income apartment buildings to crop up next to your morning commute.
Hochul also wants to control what happens inside the homes that were just constructed on top of each other. Hochul’s budget plan would ban the sale of gas stoves and other fuel-powered heating equipment by 2030. This means that every stovetop will be forced electric, and every home will be heated without natural gas or oil. So if the power grid fails, as it has increased as more people than ever are relying on it to charge their electric vehicles, there’s no heat in the home in the winter. On top of that, with her already enacted plan to ban gas powered cars in the state by 2035, the electrical grid will have even more strain. All of this and she is also requiring that all new buildings be “zero-emission” starting in 2028, with smaller buildings required to go “green” in 2025.
Hochul is certainly excited to have been given a full term as governor, and she is using her newfound power to completely restructure how people live in her state. She sees the urbanization, gridlock, pollution, and crime of Manhattan and decides that every corner of the state should look more like that. The only way to prevent it is for the elected legislators in the state to push back against it. Hopefully, there are enough sane ones left there to stop this madness.