Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been so weakened by the multiple scandals spiraling around him that state legislators not only rammed through $4 billion in new tax taxes — they also killed about a dozen bills he proposed as part of the budget process, The Post has learned.
“You see an incredibly shrinking governor,” a legislative source said Thursday.
“He can’t get anyone to stand with him and he can’t get anything done on his own.”
Cuomo came into the budget process facing multiple probes by federal and state authorities — including an impeachment investigation by the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee — over allegations that include the cover-up of nursing home deaths from COVID-19 and several independent accusations of sexual harassment by staffers and others.
The three-term Democrat has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Cuomo initially announced that the $12.6 billion state bailout in President Biden’s $1.2 trillion COIVD relief package and higher-than-expected tax revenues would balance the 2021-2022 budget without any need to raise taxes.
But he quickly reversed course and said the state faced a $2.5 billion deficit before caving in to the legislature and agreeing to soak high earners and big businesses as part of the state’s record, $212 billion budget, which has been passed by both the state Senate and Assembly.
Cuomo hasn’t yet signed the budget but signaled Wednesday that he would.
“Allowing the tax increases was a big sign,” veteran Democratic political consultant George Arzt said.
“He was always against increasing taxes.”
Meanwhile, legislators rejected a host of initiatives that Cuomo included in his January budget proposal on grounds that they’re policy issues that should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, Albany insiders said.
That claim came despite a long history of state lawmakers using the budget process to enact legislation that has nothing to do with taxes or spending.
Past measures include the controversial, 2019 bail reform law that NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea has blamed for the city’s surge in gun violence.
One Cuomo plan that got tabled was his idea to let landlords create affordable apartments in midtown Manhattan office buildings and hotels that have been all but emptied out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also left on the drawing board was Cuomo’s proposal to redevelop the area around Penn Station, with lawmakers limiting the use of $1.3 billion in bonds for the new “Empire State Complex” to expanding the station and upgrading its tracks.
Baruch College political science professor Doug Muzzio pointed to the lessons of history to explain Cuomo’s predicament, saying, “Machiavelli said it’s better to be feared than loved — but not hated.”
“The lawmakers are no longer afraid of him now that he’s partially disabled by two crises — the nursing home deaths scandal and sexual harassment scandal,” Muzzio said.
“He can’t instill fear. He’s virtually neutered.”
Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
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