On Saturday, December 19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to extend the sales tax deadline for restaurants until March 2021. Restaurants in orange zones have been hard hit after the governor banned indoor dining. Better late than never? No, not even close, some New York lawmakers are arguing.
"With the finish line in sight, we will continue to support New Yorkers wherever possible and fight to get the federal government to deliver real relief for those who are struggling," Cuomo said in a press release.
The same EO continued property tax exemptions for low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities, two more groups adversely affected by the pandemic.
Republican Assemblyman Mike Reilly thanked the governor for "giving some much needed relief." There's "much more to do," he acknowledged," but he said that this is a positive step.
Earlier this month I joined some of my SI colleagues in sending a letter to Gov. Cuomo asking for much needed relief for our business owners, especially our restaurants in the orange zones. The Gov heard us, giving some much needed relief. Much more to do, but a positive step. pic.twitter.com/19oqzeaLnJ— Mike Reilly (@TeamReillyNY) December 19, 2020
Reilly's gratitude was not shared by Republican New York state senator Tom O'Mara. While the relief is better than a "sharp stick in the eye," O'Mara said it was "insulting" that Cuomo sent the aid so late, when many restaurants had already paid the bill.
Mike, I would say that the restaurant/bar relief, while better than a sharp stick in the eye, is insulting coming on Saturday when the tax is due Monday(today) and many had already paid it.— Tom O'Mara (@SenatorOMara) December 22, 2020
In his newest column, O'Mara explained why he opposed Gov. Cuomo's vast executive powers.
"Nearly ten months down this hard road, then, it's time to end government by Cuomo executive order," O'Mara wrote. "Endless executive orders are a recipe for failure and, in fact, are failing in some fundamental ways."
The lawmaker supported a measure that would have limited Cuomo's executive powers to 30 days and require legislative approval for extending them. But not a single Democrat supported it.
Cuomo has not only made delayed decisions, but he's enforced dangerous policies like his mandate to force recovering COVID patients back into nursing homes.
"Of course, the most egregious example of the failure of government by executive order occurred within New York’s nursing homes, where unilateral decisions by the Cuomo administration have proven tragic," O'Mara explained. "Governor Cuomo can no longer be allowed to just issue another directive or another unfunded state mandate out of Albany and callously disregard local input."
Despite these controversial moves, Gov. Cuomo has awarded himself impressive grades for his pandemic leadership. He wrote a book about it, and on Monday he predicted that Santa will be "very good" to him this year.