Bloomy Indicts Pataki

Budget Blasts State Actions That Cost City Billions

On the heels of 9-11, Pataki pushed a budget through that gave the city only 21 percent of a $677 million increase in school aid, far below the 38 percent city share of the state's enrollment. The same budget, also eventually supported by Democratic Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, created a new $750 million economic development fund without a dime for NYC. Pataki's current proposed budget slashes the state's Tuition Assistance Program, particularly harming thousands of city college students.

Bloomberg has been silent about these travesties, even carefully limiting his comments about the governor's decision to appeal a court decision nullifying the state education formula, which so discriminates against the city it has cost us billions in aid. The mayor also says nothing about Pataki's property tax reduction program (STAR), which shortchanges the city another $400 million a year, or about the $600 million in annual transit subsidy shortfalls caused by the MTA and Port Authority's suburban bias.

The Times used to understand Pataki's geographic partisanship, assailing him in editorials over the years for housing, welfare, and prison decisions that it said "punished the city" and favored upstate. It contrasted his record-setting subway fare hike with his treatment of commuters, branding it "a deliberate policy of picking out city riders for punishment." It blasted him for joining a dairy cartel, accusing him of "taxing poor mothers" so he could "subsidize his supporters in upstate dairy communities." It derided his insistence on ending remediation at CUNY while continuing it at SUNY. It said his school aid and property tax program were "almost brazen in the way they discriminate against NYC."

The mayor's budget tries to reverse a slew of policies Pataki initiated.
photo: Jennifer S. Altman
The mayor's budget tries to reverse a slew of policies Pataki initiated.

Now, like Dennis Rivera and every other front-runner in town, the paper of record appears prepared to ignore the record to align itself with the state's pre-ordained winner. It doesn't matter that the city's '90s boom gave the governor the surpluses he redistributed upstate. It doesn't matter that he won in 1994 by airing poisonous ads against the city. It doesn't even matter that he isn't offering the city a penny of extra help now, distinguishing himself from a Republican governor in California who raised the sales tax in 1989 to help the earthquake-hit Bay Area, and from Hugh Carey, who came to a bankrupt NYC's rescue in 1975.

It will take more than a makeover on the cover of the Times Metro Section to challenge the truth of Pataki's painfully partisan history.

Research assistance: Annachiara Danieli, Jen DiMascio, Jesse Goldstein, Lauren Johnston, Peter G.H. Madsen, Jess Wisloski

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