Glaser To Miner: Solve Your Problems Or Someone Else Will
Getting to this one a little late:
State Operations Director Howard Glaser phoned in to Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show and responded to Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s criticism in The New York Times that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pension smoothing proposal amounts to a fiscal gimmick.
Glaser — as Cuomo and other administration officals have reiterated since this debate began last month — that locking in stable rates now at the expense of future savings is a voluntary program and that a financial control board is always an option as well.
But he also said Miner — along with other city mayors that are facing financial troubles — are elected because they’ve promised to fix things.
“You’re elected mayor to solve problems,” Glaser said. “If you’re unwilling or unable to solve a problem in fiscal management in a city, there’s a mechanism for doing that — You ask the Legislature to create a financial control board, and the financial control board will solve the problem for you.”
Glaser added, “The only thing that doesn’t make more sense is ‘Someone else just give me more money to solve my financial problem, that my city created.’
Miner wrote in an op/ed in The New York Times today that called on the state Legislature and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to reject the proposal, upping the ante from her initial skepticism that the smoothing plan doesn’t go far enough to help local governments with shrinking tax bases and scarce revenue.
To be sure, Miner isn’t necessarily asking the state for more money to fix Syracuse’s budgetary woes, but for more structural reforms to be enacted so cities can enact better cost-cutting measures.
“It’s not an accurate read of what we’re proposing,” Glaser said of the op/ed. “It’s not borrowing.”
The criticism is unusual coming from Miner, who is Cuomo’s selected Democratic Party co-chairwoman.
Glaser dismissed any concerns that a political leader selected by the governor would be such a vocal critic of a budget proposal, saying this all part of the debate.
Glaser also took issue with a separate piece of criticism from DiNapoli’s office on Wednesday after its report raised concerns over the amount of borrowing in the governor’s budget, but again reiterated that it’s part of the debate.
On the contentious issue that is hydrofracking and the latest delay in whether the state will allow drilling permits, Glaser said the process the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health are going through to determine human safety and impact is designed to prevent politics from entering the internal discussions.
“It is a complicated matter on hydrofracking, no question about it,” Glaser said.
Miner will join Liz in the studio on Capital Tonight this evening. Tune in at 8 and 11:30.
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