Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Cuomo: US Must Alter Course Top Priority, More Funds Should Go to Solving Urban Ills, Says New York Governor. US CONFERENCE OF MAYORS MEETING

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Cuomo: US Must Alter Course Top Priority, More Funds Should Go to Solving Urban Ills, Says New York Governor. US CONFERENCE OF MAYORS MEETING

Article excerpt

UNITED States mayors gathered last week to discuss the country's pressing urban problems and how to make them priority issues for the 1992 presidential campaign.

Speaking Friday at the two-day US Conference of Mayors meeting, held in a Cape Cod hotel, New York's Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) denounced the "New Federalism" of the Reagan and Bush administrations.

He said, however, that he would not himself run for president. He criticized the Republican administrations for cutting back funds to state and local governments and for what he termed a regressive tax structure that favors the wealthy.

Over the last decade, Governor Cuomo said, the wealthy have made gains while middle class earnings have decreased and the poor are worse off than ever. Americans must see that the country needs to change its course, and this realization is even more important than whom they elect for president, he said.

"In effect, the middle class and the working poor of our cities have been called upon to pay for the huge income tax cuts at the federal level," Cuomo said. "Prosperity never trickled down in the '80s, only the tax burden did. And no one noticed it."

The popular three-term governor, who some think would make a strong Democratic presidential candidate, said he had no plans to run in the 1992 election.

"I don't think my state has ever needed a governor more than it does now, and that's the commitment I'll make," he said.

More important, Cuomo said, are getting a strong message out to the people and addressing crucial domestic issues including unemployment, homelessness, drugs, poverty, and illiteracy.

"What is important is the message," he said. "If you agree with the message and you think it's a useful message, then there are better instruments for its delivery, I assure you. ... Persona you can get if we agree on the message."

Cuomo said states and cities need help from Washington to address the national problems they face. He said the federal government must develop a more equitable tax system so that states don't have to raise their own taxes and compete with each other for jobs and businesses. In addition, he said, the government must address the country's faltering economy, improve public education, and produce a skilled, well-educated work force. …

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