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Albany’s budget mess is just one reason why New Yorkers are leaving

The news from Albany is that there isn’t any. This is not a good sign.

A too-quiet capital five days before a budget deadline could mean back-room dealers are secretly divvying up the goodies.

Or it could mean the competing powers are just playing chicken to see who blinks.

Either way, the prospects for desperately needed reforms are not promising. So much is at stake yet there is so little time.

The differences in positions are dramatic. Democratic legislative leaders hold most of the cards by virtue of their veto-proof majorities and their ideas are, as usual, the most radical and ruinous.

Raise taxes even higher, keep coddling criminals, block new charter schools and spend, spend, spend.

Their plans take some of the state’s worst polices and maintain them or make them even worse.

At times like this, it seems as if they are double agents being paid to destroy New York. 

Take the case of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Despite The Post poll showing majorities of Democrats in his Bronx district support tougher anti-crime laws and want more charter schools, Heastie opposes both — yet still gets re-elected by landslides.

Go figure.

Kathy Hochul
Matthew McDermott

Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams, meanwhile, are overwhelmingly popular in that same district while opposing Heastie and other lawmakers on important issues.

The governor and mayor sensibly want judges to have more discretion to hold dangerous suspects before trial and oppose raising income taxes on high earners, arguing that adding to the tax burden would give wealthy families another reason to head for the exits.

Both worry that New York leads the nation in out-migration, according to the Census Bureau.

Soon after taking office in the summer of 2021, Hochul warned that Albany needed to “take a hard look in the mirror and deal with a harsh reality.” 

Addressing those who left during the pandemic and those thinking of going, she added, “I have one message: You do not want to miss what is about to happen next.”

It wasn’t a convincing argument or performance and the stampede continued last year, bringing New York’s total population decline to more than 400,000 people over the last two years.

Relatively speaking, New York has been in a slump for 50 years.

The state was home to 18.2 million people in the 1970 Census, and now has just 19.6 million.

With other states booming, the 39 House seats New York had in 1970 have dropped to 26.

Eric Adams
Lev Radin/Sipa USA

Yet that hasn’t stopped the budget from continuing to expand like mushrooms after a rain storm.

The state spent $140 billion in 2015, while Hochul proposes spending $227 billion in the next 12 months and legislative proposals add about $5 billion more.

Fast-growing low-tax states do much better. Texas has 30 million people and projects state spending of about $170 billion. Florida has nearly 23 million people and a budget of $115 billion. 

While watchdogs warn that New York faces dramatic deficits in coming years, Florida and Texas each report surpluses of more than $30 billion.

Although Hochul and Adams are right to push for criminal-justice fixes and oppose income-tax hikes, they are as quiet as church mice in making their case.

Adams, talking about the need to give judges more discretion, told Albany reporters that “Lawmakers are going to deliberate exactly over what’s going to happen . . . and it’s up to them to come to a final solution on that.”

That’s hardly a rip-roaring, rabble-rousing call to action. It sounds more like an acceptance of defeat.

Hochul hasn’t said much of anything publicly since making her proposals, leaving a $5 million super-PAC to do the talking for her.

Funded by former Gotham mayor Michael Bloomberg, a group called American Opportunity is running TV and digital ads, along with direct mailers, urging voters to support Hochul’s plans on judges, taxes and schools. 

Phil Murphy and Kathy Hochul
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Still, even if all those proposals were somehow to pass, they only scratch the surface of what is driving New York’s steady decline. Indeed, Adams and Hochul support other policies that are part of the problem of unchecked spending and sky-high taxes.

Hochul wants to hike a business tax and supports the eventual plan for congestion pricing — both of which would raise the cost of living in the city and suburbs. 

A fellow Democrat, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, cites the sluggish pace of post-pandemic recovery in opposing the congestion scam that would effectively be a new tax on Jersey commuters and visitors who don’t use mass transit.

He said what Hochul should say: “The last thing it seems to me you want to do is to give people some other excuse to not be in Manhattan.”

For his part, Adams made his job far more difficult with his open-ended invitation to the migrants who illegally crossed the Mexican border.

He said there are about 50,000 here now and reported Monday that 250 new ones arrive each day. 

The cost is said to be nearly $5 million a day with no end in sight, while neither Washington nor Albany has chipped in a penny.

Beyond the staggering price tag being borne by city taxpayers, services from police to courts to schools to hospitals, are being stretched to accommodate the newcomers.

Adams had a prime opportunity during last year’s election to put the squeeze on Hochul and the White House for help and a secure border, but pulled his punches in a show of party solidarity.

In exchange for forfeiting his leverage, he got nothing.

If that’s a prelude of what he’s going to get from Albany, he and Hochul should seal the state’s borders.

Not to keep people out, but to keep the suckers already here from leaving.

Ron DeSantis

Won’t join Ron blandwagon

Reader Bill Berger captures the essence of many Donald Trump supporters, writing: “Ron DeSantis is like Mitt Romney in saying the right things, but words aren’t enough. He lacks the grit, charisma, and sheer bad-assness of Trump. Elections aren’t debates; they’re wars. Trump’s faults are insignificant to what matters: he’s the only Republican that can win. If he loses, the country is finished.”

Cuo still plagues us

New Yorkers owe a debt of gratitude to Arlene Mullin, who alerted The Post to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s edict forcing nursing homes to take infected COVID patients from hospitals. Her mother was one of thousands who died in nursing homes as a result, and Mullin remains vigilant. 

She writes: “I could barely contain myself last evening [Friday] as I listened to Andrew Cuomo on 77WABC radio discuss the ‘State of the City, State and Nation.’ His ego and lack of self awareness were as apparent as ever. 

“It was 3 years ago today, March 25, 2020, when he issued the mandate forcing nursing homes to admit over 9,000 COVID patients, and the virus ‘spread like fire,’ to use his words.

“To quote him last night, ‘Government is about changing people’s lives.’ Tragically, he is right about that.”