Have you received any mailings lately about state government initiatives? A postcard, for instance, about the new artificial reef that the Cuomo administration is creating off of Long Island? How about a mailing from the Department of Taxation and Finance applauding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to promote voter access?
If you did, you’re not alone.
Tom Precious, a longtime reporter at the New York State Capitol, recently penned a devastating piece on Gov. Cuomo’s use of taxpayer-funded resources to promote himself in election years. According to Precious, state agencies “have reached out to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers via taxpayer-funded mailings about various initiatives. Most include the administration’s mantra at some point in their outreach: ‘Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership …’ That term is used [in] 786 different agency documents posted on one main state government website.” Precious adds that the Governor travels to public appearances “with teams of state workers and police,” has access to a state airplane, and often includes campaign-style rhetoric at state-sponsored events. Precious also mentions that “the state tax department is getting out earlier than ever annual property tax credit checks to 2 million taxpayers who own homes in New York. The administration says the timing has nothing to do with the elections.”
Not all of Gov. Cuomo’s taxpayer-funded electioneering has gone unchallenged. Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro has filed an ethics complaint regarding Gov. Cuomo’s “use of students on school grounds at events promoting a gun control measure the governor sought.”