Real message? Escape from New York


Early in her State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Hochul cited widespread fears of crime and the sky-high cost of living as threats to New York’s future. She said predictions of a recession mean “we will not be raising income taxes this year.” 

So far, so good, and she followed that with her smartest observation of the day, saying, “We’re already seeing signs of out-migration that we can no longer ignore.”

Heart be still, maybe she finally gets it. 

Not a chance, not after she spent the next 40 minutes announcing a seemingly endless list of big-spending, big-government programs that would make the state less affordable and less appealing, all while giving Albany bureaucrats vast powers to override local zoning and building laws.

Last summer, Hochul told Republican opponent Lee Zeldin to “jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong.” Tuesday’s speech upped the ante, effectively telling New Yorkers of every political stripe in every city, town and village to jump on a bus or a plane and get out of Dodge while they can.

It was that bad. 

A mover puts belongings into a moving truck
The governor finally admitted the state is facing an “out-migration” crisis.

To judge by the plan she laid out, the governor is wildly ambitious but deeply confused. A laundry list of ideas and proposals, and a 275-page book with even more of them, does not an agenda make.

Especially not when some items would actually worsen the problems she identified. For example, she talked about “record” high energy bills across the state, then vowed to “wean ourselves from fossil fuels” while also making electricity cheaper through a subsidy program that seemed to my ears to be funded by a carbon tax. 

Calling Professor Irwin Corey!

Even the lefty Legislature, which never met a boondoggle it didn’t declare an absolute necessity for mankind, was underwhelmed by Hochul’s address. The only standing, prolonged ovation it gave her was for a promise to index the state’s minimum-wage law to inflation.

No wonder the Legislature likes it — it’s an idea that’s a proven job killer, especially entry-level jobs. That’s what happens when you impose costs on employers, though nobody in Albany seems to know or care.

Elsewhere, the governor got only silence when she ruled out an income-tax hike and said vaguely there was “room for improvement” in the disastrous bail laws that have turned courthouses into revolving doors.

How about a little passion and conviction, Governor? Merely to do a drive-by mention on such fundamental issues tells lawmakers not to worry, she’s not going to declare war if they buck her. 

The moment captures the basic flaw in Hochul’s tenure. She’s not really a fighter, with her getting rolled repeatedly by legislators from her own party last year. 

Hochul defeated Zeldin in the Nov. election.
Last summer, Hochul told Republican opponent Lee Zeldin to “jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong.”
John Lamparski/Sipa USA

More of the same

Her second year is shaping up as more of the same, with her approval of an obscene salary hike of 29%, to $142,000 for each lawmaker, without getting anything in return. If the state is in such bad shape, why do the people who screwed it up deserve a raise?

At least Hochul could have threatened to veto it unless the Senate agreed to approve her choice for a new chief judge, but she gave away the raise even as Dems pack the judiciary panel with opponents of her nominee, Justice Hector D. LaSalle.

Power — that’s the only language the Legislature understands. Why is Hochul still behaving like a hesitant beginner?

Moreover, with her convoluted speech, she missed another important opportunity to redefine herself as she begins her own term. Zeldin made the election the closest race in two decades largely on his promise to focus on cutting crime and taxes and generating jobs. 

Hochul had little to say on anything and spent most of the campaign in hiding, emerging only in the final weeks and only when surrounded by national Democrats, such as President Biden and Hillary Clinton. 

The closeness of the race in deep blue New York ought to have schooled her on the public mood. At one point Tuesday, she appeared to recognize that she was serving up a stew of unremarkable ingredients, saying, “Today I’m proposing another series of proposals.” 

But the recognition, if that’s what it was, didn’t matter. Because she’s for everything, she’s for nothing. Which is probably what she will accomplish. 

That’s the tragedy because, having identified the key issues of public safety, affordability, jobs and taxes, she should have built an agenda around restoring the state’s economic engine. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul
Hochul gave a salary hike of 29%, to $142,000 for each lawmaker.

Serious out-migration

Take the out-migration issue, where New York saw the greatest population decline of any state, according to Census data. Hochul concedes the seriousness of the drain, saying in her New Year’s Day inaugural that “we must reverse the trend of people leaving our state.”

Repeating that idea Tuesday suggested she aims to do something big enough to not only keep people here, especially high earners, but also to make the state attractive to working- and middle-class families.

Charter schools, for instance, ­offer an oasis in many neighborhoods where regular district schools operate as union-dominated failure factories. But if the speech was any indication, expanding quality public-education options is not a priority.

Indeed, there was nothing in the entire speech that would indicate a sharp course correction. Anything worthwhile, such as a commitment to 1,000 new psychiatric beds, was offset by larger doses of more of the same poison that is killing jobs and dreams.

The most alarming proposal involved a goal of getting 800,000 new housing units over a decade. The number is attractive, but how she would get there seemed to scare even many legislators.

Calling the idea a “housing compact,” Hochul accused local officials across the state of blocking new development, often for “no legitimate reasons.” 

Her cure is for the state to set a mandate, saying “every single ­locality will have a target for new housing.” 

If any proposed development is rejected, the state will examine why and, if necessary, approve it despite local objection. She also insisted that every town with a commuter rail line must rezone to allow new development within a half-mile of the train station.

Without irony, she described this process as one of communities “getting help from the state.”

Perhaps she still doesn’t know that one of the three biggest lies is when someone says, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Nooooo, no treason here!

Unable to ignore reports that classified documents were found in a former office of Joe Biden’s, The AP did its best to downplay the significance, describing the find as merely “an unexpected wrinkle” in the Trump document probe. 

What happened to fears of treason and Armageddon? Where did they go?

‘Tearing’ into Joe

Reader Patrick Turimike wants Speaker Kevin McCarthy to pull a Nancy Pelosi, with a twist: He writes: “McCarthy should tear up the president’s State of the Union speech while Biden is still speaking. That would throw him off.”


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