Gov. Kathy Hochul says she didn’t discuss the huge inflow of migrants (40,000 and counting) into the Big Apple in her State of the State address on Tuesday because the problem doesn’t have “broad, statewide interest.” Huh?
Earth to Kate: The downstate migrant crisis is of immense interest to the rest of New York. It’s another case of “if the city gets a cold, the state gets pneumonia.”
First off: Illegal immigrants don’t all stay in the city. MS-13 and other gangs plaguing Long Island are ample testimony to that. And while Hochul won’t entertain inviting migrants upstate from the city, they’re bound to spread as the crisis continues, if only to look for off-the-books work.
Second, the city is the state’s main economic engine. If a growing migrant presence further slows the return to NYC workplaces, the state’s tax take, and economy, will suffer.
Plus, Mayor Eric Adams warns that the Big Apple can’t absorb a continuous inflow of migrants without help from state and federal leaders “without bankrupting the city.” And any city fiscal crisis historically turns into a state one, too.
So far, the feds have allocated just $8 million to help out, and President Joe Biden’s “every city for itself” approach suggests that Gotham will get nothing like the $1 billion that Adams says the crisis will cost this year alone. City Comptroller Brad Lander puts it at $1 billion a year for at lest three years, by the way.
Which suggests the state will need to cough up plenty, also adding to the “statewide interest.”
For that matter, Hochul spent much of her speech talking housing — which is also overwhelmingly a city-driven issue, even if her solution involves some new homes in commuting distance.
The gov’s silence on migrants looks more like another issue she just doesn’t want to push the Legislature on. Or perhaps, like other Democratic pols around the country, she just doesn’t want to embarrass Biden, whose policies are driving the entire mess.
Whatever her motive for dodging, it’s about her political calculations, not what the public cares about.