Gov. Kathy Hochul’s latest attempt to portray herself as a ruthless crusader for honesty and efficiency is weak stuff indeed: She’s announced another move in her crackdown on unemployment cheating, seeking repayment for the $11 million burned that way in August, per a Department of Labor investigation. (The total so far this year looks to be more than $110 million).
Yes, fraud needs fighting, absolutely. But Hochul’s already wasted far more than this on ideologically-driven spending and fiscal favors.
Heck, Hochul’s actually sticking the private sector with the bill for vast (and fraud-filled) jobless payouts during the pandemic. Most other states have used their own funds (or federal relief payments) to cover these deficits. Not New York, which owes the feds $8.1 billion and entered the last budget cycle with an $11-plus billion surplus — but didn’t spend a dime on that debt.
Now we face a per-employee tax on business that will ratchet up each year we don’t pay, while New York’s “leaders” hope for another federal bailout.
Meanwhile, Hochul’s $220 billion budget was an almost 30% increase from 2020 levels, swelled by pork like a $1 billion-plus tax-break giveaway to the film industry, pension sweeteners for state workers and new benefits for illegal immigrants. Not to mention the $600 million gift to the out-of-state billionaire owners of the Buffalo Bills.
Meanwhile, the state’s own recent numbers show a hideous shortfall of $6.2 billion by FY2027.
Heck, the unemployment fraud she says she’s targeting cost the state less than it lost by vastly overpaying her donor Charlie Tebele’s company for COVID tests. Physician, heal thyself.
If Hochul really wanted to target fraud, she’d be siccing state investigators on . . . herself.