State Republicans assail Hochul’s massive budget, record campaign contributions

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Gov. Kathy Hochul, left, and U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, right.

Feeling a congressional midterm red wave, New York State Republican gubernatorial candidates and statewide officials took off the gloves today in denouncing both Gov. Kathy Hochul’s record State Budget and her massive fundraising haul in the latest filing period.

The takedown comes after Hochul delivered a record $216 billion executive state budget  – the largest proposed state budget in the nation – on the same day a source reported that Hochul raised $21.6 ($21.9 total)  million in the latest filing period – the largest contribution total for any single filing period in New York history.

In delivering her Fiscal Year 2022-23 State budget Jan. 18, Hochul’s noted the plan benefits from better-than-expected tax revenues, a thriving stock market, and billions in federal pandemic-era aid, including the American Rescue Plan and early funding coming from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“We have the means to respond to this historic moment with a historic level of funding,” Hochul said. 

But U.S. Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R-Long Island), who has the backing of a majority of GOP County Committees statewide on both the GOP and and Conservative Party line, said Hochul is doubling down on the tax and spend, Albany-knows-best mindset that has failed New York for too long. 

“Albany’s never-ending assault on the wallets of hardworking New Yorkers has been relentless and unsustainable,” said Zeldin. “This is one of the primary reasons why New York leads the nation in population loss percentage and why every single day more and more New Yorkers hit their breaking point and flee the state for good.”

Westchester County Executive and Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino said Hochul’s proposed budget exhibits no fiscal restraint nor the imagination needed to help reverse the decline of our state. 

“It’s a classic Albany status-quo budget – the special interests get everything they want and the taxpayers get patronized, then stuck with the bill.  When I’m governor we will audit every penny of the state budget, cut the waste and redundancy, lower our debt, reduce taxes in a real way and cap spending, all of which I did as Westchester County Executive,” said Astorino.

The timing of Hochul delivering her executive budget on the same day that campiagn donation disclosure reports were due for the filing period Aug 13, last year to Jan. 14 was also not lost on State GOP Chair Nick Langworthy.

“The only way Kathy Hochul could have raised $21.9 million is by selling state government out her back door. It’s clear she perfected the corrupt art of pay-to-play politics using every trick she learned from her mentor Andrew Cuomo,” said Langworthy. “Kathy Hochul is Andrew Cuomo 2.0 where crooked deals are cut with lobbyists and special interests in exchange for campaign cash and New Yorkers are the collateral damage.”

A Hochul spokesperson refused to comment on Langworthy’s comments, but a campaign source noted that 87.6% of her donors came from the state, including donations from all of New York’s 62 counties.

-amNY Reporter Kevin Duggan contributed to this story.