Shouldn’t Republicans Be In Favor Of Saving The State’s Money?

Some New York Republicans have left us scratching our heads last week with their stance on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s planned closure of six state prisons.

Hochul’s move streamlines the prison system and saves the state money. It’s not easy, as we learned locally earlier this year when the state closed the Gowanda Correctional Facility. It’s one more job provider leaving leaving counties that need the higher wage jobs that a correctional facility can provide. But sometimes closing prisons must be done despite the local pain.

Imagine our surprise, then, when Republican Leader Robert Ortt, R-Lockport, took a stance that, frankly, makes no sense for a Republican to take.

Rather than welcome the cost-cutting, Ortt blasted Hochul’s decision as a punishment to hard-working corrections officers. The news stinks for corrections workers, but the news would stink for any state department that finds itself being cut.

Ortt was trying to score a political point, but in this instance, what he really did was undermine the Republican Party’s arguments against Democrats’ writing big checks that taxpayers are expected to pay. Ortt just contradicted six months’ worth of upcoming floor speeches by his members in his rush to excoriate a decision by a Democrat that likely will turn out to be a good one. If those six prisons were fully staffed to run at half capacity, we’re sure Ortt and his fellow Republicans would be jumping up and down about how Hochul and the Democrats were only keeping the prisons open as a favor to the unions that represent the prison workers.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Mr. Ortt.


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