I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cuomo v Christie

The Star-Ledger tells me that Andrew Cuomo is sounding a lot like Chris Christie these days.

Really? Has Cuomo compared NY teachers to drug dealers lately?

They also tell me to read Cuomo's platform. I think they should follow their own advice - there are a few interesting tidbits in there. For example, Cuomo claims:
New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in the nation....
Yeah, uh, I thought NJ had the highest property taxes; at least, that's what Christie says.  Can't be both states, can it?

I went through and searched "teacher" in the platform, but couldn't find any calls to freeze teacher pay as opposed to other local employees like cops and firefighters (Cuomo does imply he wants at least a reduction in the rate of wage growth, and maybe even a freeze). Which is interesting, because Bruce Baker compared NJ and NY teachers' salaries in the great NYC area, and found:
...Westchester County, NY teacher salaries are well above those of nearby New Jersey counties, and on average, Westchester salaries have increased more in recent years. Rockland County, NY salaries for teachers with a BA surpass the highest of the New Jersey counties in the figure by 2007, because Rockland salaries are also growing faster than NJ county salaries. Bergen County teachers, immediately adjacent to Rockland and closest to Westchester, fall well below those counties and have grown, on average, more slowly.
So NY teachers make more than NJ teachers, but Cuomo isn't singling them out for wage freezes.

Some other items:
...other New York public pension funds are successfully managed by boards of trustees, including the New York State Teachers Retirement System...
Gee, I thought the problem was that pensions are unsustainable; you mean a teachers pension can be managed well?
As Governor, Andrew Cuomo will convene a group of educators, school management professionals, parents and others to evaluate the many mandate relief options already on the table.
You mean he won't just tell teachers to quit if they don't like the job? He's willing to actually talk with them?
One of the most important ways the State can help local governments reduce costs and maintain services within a strict property tax cap is by helping to reduce their health care costs. Local health costs are one of the fastest growing government expenses. As Governor, Andrew Cuomo will take a number of steps to help reduce these costs.
I've yet to read any NJ pundit take on Christie over this. It's a huge cost driver in the state and he hasn't done anything to address it.
A Cuomo Administration will undertake a comprehensive review of such mandates and State laws that otherwise limit the ability of school districts and localities to contain costs. We will immediately move to eliminate unnecessary mandates and propose a “sunset” bill requiring all unnecessary unfunded mandates be re-evaluated within a two-year period of time and automatically eliminated unless the mandate is affirmatively renewed.

You mean he won't just go in and slash state aid but do nothing to eliminate state mandate first? He can do that?

To attract the best and the brightest to government, a Cuomo Administration will, among other things, create a scholarship program for undergraduate and graduate students in mission critical fields of study that agree to make a State service commitment. Eligible students would be required to obtain a degree in high-skill, underserved fields, including nursing, physical therapy, social work, speech pathology, education, engineering, medicine, information technology and public health.
So he actually wants to keep public employees from becoming the enemy?

Yeah, I know, let's wait until Cuomo gets elected (it's looking pretty likely) and then see what he does. Lord knows Christie flip-flopped like a pair of sandals down the shore when he addressed teachers during his campaign. (It's amazing to me they kept this link up; but when no one calls you out for basically lying, well...)

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