Breaking The Spell Of Sorcerer Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo must unveil the true costs of his proposed paid family leave program.

Cuomo claims employees would fund his proposal with payroll deductions of 1-2 cents per hour, but when pressed by The Post-Journal on how he reached that amount the governor’s office has remained silent. Perhaps the governor understands his proposal would receive much less support if New Yorkers knew how it would impact them. They could have to contribute more than 2 percent of their weekly pay to the program if Assemblyman Andy Goodell’s analysis proves true.

The governor’s office says a “nominal” payroll deduction will fund paid family leave. A cent or two an hour fits that definition, but what about $1,400 annually? Do New Yorkers consider $27 a week a “nominal” investment in the program?

Cuomo’s fantasy, veiled in a predictable cloak of secrecy, and the reality unearthed by Goodell’s study differ drastically. The governor has rallied his troops with fancy sound bites about his father and fancies himself as a champion of the state’s everyday citizens. In reality, he has proposed an expansive program beyond the realm of legislation passed in other states but wants us to believe his brainchild will cost less.

Goodell notes California residents chip in nearly 1 percent of their weekly salaries to the Golden State’s less-inclusive paid family leave account. They receive 55 percent of their salaries for six weeks of leave. Cuomo wants to sign New Yorkers up for a 12-week program maxing out at 67 percent of a worker’s income. Our assemblyman pegs the Empire State employee contribution at 2.16 percent, or $27.35 on average, a week.

Workers, many of whom will never benefit from paid family leave, join their employers in frustration. The governor’s proposal and the Assembly bill do not require those drawing from the program to use their personal, vacation and sick time first, unlike California’s law. Laughably, New Yorkers could take advantage of paid leave after four weeks on the job. What a bargain. The governor says his state is “open for business,” but it sure doesn’t look that way.

As a good business practice, employers should take care of their best employees when they need time to care for their families. The state shouldn’t cripple companies’ business practices to help newcomers cheat the system, however. Cuomo must bring some common sense back to the top of Albany politics before more businesses flee from our borders.