Sizing up Gov. Hochul after a pivotal period

For many months after she took over from Andrew Cuomo last Aug. 24, it was good enough for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to be seeming to turn a page. Gone were her predecessor’s domineering ways. Gone were petty and vindictive fights with the leadership of New York City. Here was a humbler, genial, chief executive who’d actually try to work with people for once.

Thirty-three weeks in, Hochul enters the primary campaign season bearing scars of her own making.


The state budget, an ideal opportunity to shore up the state’s finances for future years, wound up committing to $4 billion in spending above her initial $216 billion plan. She made the right choice to propose significant changes to bail and discovery and other public safety laws, but she erred in waiting until mid-March, as an April 1 budget deadline loomed, to inject that fraught argument into the complex process.

She squandered leverage to win many of those changes, and to hold the line on other spending, through her deep personal investment in an even later eleventh-hour addition to the budget mix, a new Bills stadium to be built with an overgenerous billion dollars in taxpayer support. Every other pol in Albany knew superfan, Buffalo-native Hochul wanted and needed it, but no one could defend the largesse with a straight face.

The final product that emerged out of the late and chaotic budget scramble was not a disaster: It accelerated tax cuts for the middle class, bolstered child care, shined more light on economic development subsidies and adjusted criminal justice statutes in intelligent ways. But there are oodles of new recurring spending with no clear revenue source going forward.

It didn’t help matters that all of New York now knows she tapped state Sen. Brian Benjamin as her lieutenant last summer despite swirling questions about his fundraising practices, and then stood by him even as the legal walls closed in, and that she now must find a new governing partner and running mate. Hochul’s got a reelection case to make, but it is not the one she had hoped it would be.

— New York Daily News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email