>NJ.com yesterday had an interesting editorial that I think a lot of people should be reading.
In the face of an $11 billion dollar budget defect, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo balanced NY’s budget by cutting spending and entitlement without raising taxes just as our governor did last year (although that is somewhat debatable). Cuomo achieved this by reaching out to legislator and including them in the process. Gov. Christie on the other hand, has created divisiveness between the governor’s office and those in the legislature with his take it or leave it approach and sledgehammer style.
Interestingly Cuomo was able to balance his State’s budget without demonizing any one group (public employees) or had to hold nonstop “Town Hall” meetings to convince people that there is a problem and his way of solving it, is the only way that it can be done.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo just won agreement on a budget for New York state that cuts overall spending and contains no new taxes. He even blocked an attempt by fellow Democrats to extend a surtax on millionaires.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because New Jersey did all that last year. Perhaps Cuomo looked across the Hudson and liked what he saw.
Now maybe Gov. Chris Christie can return the compliment. Because Cuomo has something to teach him as well.
Note the lack of personal attacks in Albany. Cuomo was tough, but he wasn’t abusive. He didn’t call his Assembly speaker a liar, for example, or clear his schedule for a nonstop tour on the unlimited greed of teachers and cops.
And he negotiated. Especially relevant to New Jersey was Cuomo’s approach to Medicaid.
Like most states, New York and New Jersey are facing daunting increases in health care costs. Cuomo’s approach was collaborative.
He invited key stakeholders, including hospitals and unions, to sit together and hammer out an agreement on cuts. If they couldn’t come up with an answer, he said, then he would do it for them.
After two months, Cuomo’s committee pulled it off, agreeing to 79 cost-cutting measures, from lowering reimbursements to shifting patients to managed care plans.
Christie wants to cut $540 million in Medicaid spending next year, a huge sum that both sides expect to be a main point of contention. But he’s drawn up his plan in secret, and even now is keeping the Legislature out of the loop. People such as Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), a key architect of the current system, are still looking for basic answers.
“They are crafting their own proposal in a vacuum,” Vitale says. “They would be wise to include legislators.”
Cuomo’s collaboration ensured that his plan had broad political support, and would pass. Christie’s approach risks just the opposite.