New NY governor adds 12,000 deaths to publicized COVID tally

Link: https://apnews.com/article/andrew-cuomo-health-coronavirus-pandemic-7312b49695e726eda8d59848e82271c5

Excerpt:

Delivering another blow to what’s left of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legacy, New York’s new governor acknowledged on her first day in office that the state has had nearly 12,000 more deaths from COVID-19 than Cuomo told the public.

“The public deserves a clear, honest picture of what’s happening. And that’s whether it’s good or bad, they need to know the truth. And that’s how we restore confidence,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said on NPR.

In its first daily update on the outbreak Tuesday evening, Hochul’s office reported that nearly 55,400 people have died of the coronavirus in New York based on death certificate data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s up from about 43,400 that Cuomo reported to the public as of Monday, his last day in office. The Democrat who was once widely acclaimed for his leadership during the COVID-19 outbreak resigned in the face of an impeachment drive after being accused of sexually harassing at least 11 women, allegations he disputed.

The higher number is not entirely new. Federal health officials and some academic institutions tracking COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been using the higher tally for many months because of known gaps in the data Cuomo had been choosing to publicize.

Author(s): MARINA VILLENEUVE

Publication Date: 25 August 2021

Publication Site: AP News

Report Reveals Albany’s Balanced Budget a Gimmick

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Excerpt:

The dramatic reversal that shrank the state’s four-year budget gap from $38.7 billion in January to the current $3.4 billion occurred, incredibly, despite the Governor and legislature adopting a budget that increases state spending significantly in education and other areas. What turned the tide was a massive injection of federal aid—including $12.7 billion in no-strings federal aid awarded to the state in March under the American Rescue Plan—along with tax collections that defied earlier projections of vast, pandemic-induced revenue loss, and new tax hikes inflicted on high earners estimated to yield $2.75 billion in new revenue this year alone. As a result, the enacted budget financial plan the Governor’s budget office issued last month shows a balanced budget for this fiscal year and next. Even the red ink that starts accumulating in 2024 and 2025 looks manageable.

But looks are deceiving here. Extending the budget window—as does a chart on page nine of the Comptroller’s report, shown below—reveals large, yawning budget gaps growing from nearly $8 billion in 2026 to nearly $20 billion by the end of the decade. The dual expiration of American Rescue Plan funds in 2026 and a temporary hike in the PIT in 2027 sends the budget deep into the red.

Author(s): Peter Warren

Publication Date: 28 June 2021

Publication Site: Empire Center for Public Policy

Report and Recommendations of the Task Force on Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care

Link: https://nysba.org/app/uploads/2021/06/11.-Task-Force-on-Nursing-Home-and-Long-Term-Care-Report-staff-memo-and-comments-6.11.2021.pdf

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Excerpt:

Because of the anticipated need for large numbers of hospital beds, the Governor, in his first Executive Order issued under his emergency powers, authorized hospitals to “rapidly discharge” patients47. An especially important event in terms of the State’s health care capacity occurred on March 23rd. On that date, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order requiring that all hospitals cancel elective surgeries to free up hospital beds, and urged that hospitals go beyond the order and increase their capacity by 100%. Health officials said that day that New York had 53,000 hospital
beds with an anticipated need due to COVID-19 of 113,000. Officials also stated that New York had 3,000 ICU beds with an anticipated need due to COVID-19 of 18,000.


Two days later, on March 25th, the Department of Health issued the now infamous Advisory to nursing homes. The Advisory was explicitly issued out of concern for hospital capacity. It said so in its second sentence. “There is an urgent need to expand hospital capacity in New York State to be able to meet the demand for patients
with COVID-19 requiring acute care.” The Advisory went on to state the expectations for nursing homes.

Author(s): New York State Bar Association Task Force on COVID-19 in New York Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care

Publication Date: June 2021

Publication Site: New York State Bar Association

Dems Demanding SALT Tax Cuts Stand to Benefit

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/democrats-gunning-to-end-salt-cap-stand-to-benefit/

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Excerpt:

The SALT tax deduction allows state and local taxes like property taxes to be deducted from federal taxes. The deduction is particularly beneficial to wealthy property owners in Democratic states, which typically have higher property tax rates. In 2017, the deduction was capped at $10,000 under President Trump’s tax reform bill, in what many saw as a Republican attack on blue states.

Repealing the SALT cap would cost the government $600 billion in revenue over nine years.  That outlay would essentially negate any financial benefits from  the Democrats’ proposal to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 25 percent, the party’s preferred alternative to Biden’s proposed 28-percent corporate tax rate. With all of the money from raising the tax rate being funneled back to wealthy homeowners, there would likely be little money left to fund Biden’s infrastructure package.

Author(s): EMMA RINDLISBACHER

Publication Date: 11 May 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster

Cuomo Aides Spent Months Hiding Nursing Home Death Toll

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/28/nyregion/cuomo-aides-nursing-home-deaths.html?smid=tw-share

Excerpt:

Aides to the New York governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, repeatedly prevented state health officials from releasing the number of nursing home deaths in the pandemic.

The effort by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office to obscure the pandemic death toll in New York nursing homes was far greater than previously known, with aides repeatedly overruling state health officials over a span of at least five months, according to interviews and newly unearthed documents.

Mr. Cuomo’s most senior aides engaged in a sustained effort to prevent the state’s own health officials, including the commissioner, Howard Zucker, from releasing the true death toll to the public or sharing it with state lawmakers, these interviews and documents showed.

A scientific paper, which incorporated the data, was never published. An audit of the numbers by a top Cuomo aide was finished months before it became publicly known. Two letters, drafted by the Health Department and meant for state legislators, were never sent.

….

The Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing home death data now is the subject of a federal investigation, one of at least four overlapping inquiries into the governor and his administration. As of this month, more than 15,500 nursing home residents with Covid-19 have died.

Author(s): Goodman, J David; Mckinley, Jesse; Hakim, Danny.

Publication Date: 28 April 2021

Publication Site: New York Times

Cuomo: Congress must include SALT cap repeal in future legislation

Link: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/549083-cuomo-congress-must-include-salt-cap-repeal-in-future-legislation

Excerpt:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday urged Congress to include repeal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap in future legislation as House Democrats from the state are pushing to include such a repeal in an infrastructure package.

“Don’t pass another bill until you fully repeal SALT,” Cuomo said during a news conference.

Cuomo’s remarks came as he signed a state budget that raises state taxes for wealthy individuals and lowers taxes for the middle class.

The legislation Cuomo signed Monday raises the top state tax income rate to 10.9 percent for income above $25 million. It also continues phasing in tax cuts for middle-class households that were first enacted in 2016 and provides an income tax credit for certain homeowners with income up to $250,000.

Author(s): Naomi Jagoda

Publication Date: 19 April 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

New York Taxes Go Skyscraper High

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-taxes-go-skyscraper-high-11617834769

Excerpt:

The budget deal Gov. Andrew Cuomo cut this week with the Legislature lifts the top marginal rate on the state’s income tax to 10.9%, from today’s 8.82%. Add New York City’s top local tax of 3.88%, and the total is 14.78%. Take a knee, California (top marginal rate of 13.3%), and recognize America’s new tax king. Wall Street types already are migrating to Florida, which has an income tax of 0%.

Mr. Cuomo’s budget deal also raises the business franchise tax to 7.25%, from 6.5%. This affects many independent proprietors and will be another incentive to escape from Manhattan. Both of these tax increases are sold as temporary “surcharges,” running through 2027 for the income tax and 2023 for the corporate tax. But politicians in Albany used the same line when they passed the “millionaires tax” in 2009. Does Mr. Cuomo think two decades is temporary?

The reason for the tax increase isn’t the pandemic or a revenue shortfall. Mr. Cuomo last year pointed a gun at New York’s head and threatened to shoot unless Congress sent more money. He received the ransom he demanded, and more. The state is getting $12.6 billion in direct budget relief from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid bill.

Author(s): Editorial Board

Publication Date: 7 April 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

They Came, They Saw, They Taxed

Link: https://www.city-journal.org/ny-legislators-pile-on-tax-burden

Excerpt:

The New York tax burden is already punishing enough. New Yorkers pay a greater percentage of their earnings to the state than residents of any other state. The total tax burden, on top of federal taxes, amounts to 12.79 percent of income, according to a new study. Opponents of the latest tax increases claim that the state’s punishing rates are responsible for driving high earners and businesses away, and indeed the state consistently faced massive levels of net outmigration to other states even before the pandemic. That migration has included thousands of jobs in areas like financial services. Among the firms that have relocated significant jobs away from the city are Credit Suisse, Barclays, UBS, and AllianceBernstein, according to a recent Forbes article. Goldman Sachs has moved a big-money management division to Florida, and hedge fund manager Carl Icahn has decamped there as well. The Empire State’s taxes are one reason that former hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman said, “I suspect Florida will soon rival New York as a finance hub.”

Author(s): Steven Malanga

Publication Date: 6 April 2021

Publication Site: City Journal

Cuomo admin. kept COVID tests from nursing homes as gov’s kin got them

Link: https://nypost.com/2021/03/28/cuomo-admin-kept-covid-tests-from-nursing-homes-as-govs-kin-got-them/

Excerpt:

Troubled by reports of COVID-19 running roughshod through nursing homes early in the pandemic, Jack Wheeler, the manager of upstate Steuben County, requested in April 2020 that the state Department of Health provide enough tests for every resident and staff member of three facilities in his jurisdiction.

The DOH, however, only came through with enough supplies for one of the three facilities, Hornell Gardens, with the precious diagnostic tests then hard to find, Wheeler told The Post.

That lackluster response came, as The Albany Times-Union reported last week, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo allegedly pulled strings to secure tests for bigwigs connected to his administration, as well as relatives including his brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, and their elderly mother, Matilda.

Author(s): Bernadette Hogan, Aaron Feis

Publication Date: 28 March 2021

Publication Site: NY Post

F.B.I. Investigating Whether Cuomo Aides Gave False Data on Nursing Homes

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/19/nyregion/cuomo-nursing-homes-covid.html

Excerpt:

The state revealed the full count — which added thousands of additional deaths — only in January, after a report by the state attorney general suggested an undercount, and after a state court ordered the data be made public in response to a lawsuit filed by the Empire Center, a conservative think tank. As of this month, New York has recorded the deaths of more than 15,000 nursing home residents with Covid-19.

Melissa DeRosa, Mr. Cuomo’s top aide, tried to explain why the administration had withheld the data last year to state lawmakers in a conference call, saying she and others “froze” because of the federal request for data, which came in late August as the governor faced criticism over nursing homes.

But more than two months earlier, in June, Ms. DeRosa and other aides removed such data from a report prepared by the Health Department, an investigation by The New York Times found.

Author(s): J. David Goodman, Nicole Hong and Luis Ferré-Sadurní

Publication Date: 19 March 2021

Publication Site: New York Times

Federal probe into nursing home COVID-19 death coverup circles closer to Cuomo

Link: https://nypost.com/2021/03/19/federal-probe-into-nursing-home-covid-death-coverup-gets-closer-to-cuomo/

Excerpt:

Investigators have contacted lawyers for Cuomo’s aides, interviewed senior state Health Department officials and subpoenaed the governor’s office for documents relating to the alleged data coverup, the sources said.

The New York Times first reported the probe earlier Friday, citing four unnamed sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Health officials are being grilled about nursing home-related COVID-19 case and death data the state submitted last year to the Justice Department, sources told The Post.

Author(s): Larry Celona

Publication Date: 19 March 2021

Publication Site: NY Post

Report: FBI Now Probing Cuomo’s Corporate Immunity Law

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/report-fbi-now-probing-cuomos-corporate

Excerpt:

The probe follows a Daily Poster investigative series detailing how one of Cuomo’s biggest donors, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) — a lobby group that represents hospital systems and nursing home operators — said it “drafted and aggressively advocated for” the corporate immunity provision. Cuomo’s administration quietly inserted the measure into his state’s budget as thousands lay dying from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes. 

Critics say that the immunity law removed a key deterrent to corporate malfeasance, and victims and their families were subsequently stripped of their legal rights. Cuomo’s original executive order shielding front line health care workers from lawsuits was widely reported, but not the governor’s separate budget language extending immunity to hospital and nursing home corporations’ executives and board members. 

Author(s): David Sirota, Joel Warner, Andrew Perez, Julia Rock

Publication Date: 18 March 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster