NY Lawmakers Cut Special Olympics Funding, Heartlessly Stuff Their Own Pockets with $30K Raise


Remember those halcyon days of one week ago, when the mainstream media all hated President Trump because his administration cut (and then reinstated) funding for the Special Olympics?

Well, it turns out that outrage only really works if it’s Republicans doing the cutting. When it’s Democrats — the official party of nine out of 10 media apparatchiks — it’s no big deal.

That’s at least the takeaway from lawmakers in New York state, which was set to cut funding by $50,000 to the Special Olympics while giving themselves rather hearty raises for in the process.

“New York’s budget for the Special Olympics decreased from $200,000 in 2018 to $150,000 for this year,” The Daily Caller reported on Monday.

“Meanwhile, every one of the state’s 213 lawmakers will ultimately receive a raise that is almost the same amount cut from the games for disabled athletes.”

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In their first pay raise since 1999, Empire State lawmakers hiked their salaries from $79,500 to $110,000, The Daily Caller reported.

And that $30,000 raise is just a start.

“Under the budget, legislators will eventually earn $130,000 in 2021,” The Daily Caller wrote.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, did even better, according to The Daily Caller, getting a raise of $70,000 to make his salary “a quarter million dollars a year, the highest of any governor.”

Do you think the media should have given the Democrats a harder time over their decision to cut funding to the Special Olympics?

And there was no outrage from the Special Olympics this time, either.

“Special Olympics New York is thankful to the Governor and Legislature for securing $150,000 in State Budget to support our Unified Champion Schools program, which is creating inclusive school communities throughout New York State,” Special Olympics New York CEO and President Stacey Hengsterman said in a statement.

“The budget process is always difficult and we are grateful we had so many champions advocating on our behalf. We will continue to work with our representatives in state government to hopefully increase these funds and continue to grow this important program.”

Contrast this with the statement from Tim Shriver, chairman of Special Olympics International, who called Trump Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ now-aborted decision to cut Special Olympics funding an “enormous slap in the face for these people and an insult to our values.”

Trump, of course, reversed the Special Olympics funding cut.

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As it turns out, Cuomo also reversed course on the decision and restored Special Olympics funding, according to the New York Post — although certainly not with as much sturm und drang behind it we saw with the Trump administration.

And Cuomo’s decision again saw gratitude from the New York state Special Olympics president.

“Special Olympics New York is thankful to the Governor for fully funding the State’s annual $1.1 million commitment, and restoring the $50,000 for the Unified Champion Schools program. Special Olympics New York is grateful to the Governor for his generous support during a difficult budget year,” she said, according to WBKW-TV.

Again, contrast this to Shriver after Trump reversed course on Special Olympics funding:

“In some ways the most powerless, vulnerable, forgotten people in the country brought to their knees the most powerful people in the country,” he said after Trump’s decision became public, according to Politico.

“Probably in my 39 years of professional life, I’ve never had more attention than we got last week on anything I’ve ever worked on, honestly.”

That sounds more like gloating than gratitude.

In both cases, it’s not necessarily clear how much difference the public funding would have made, given that the vast majority of the organization’s money comes from private donations.

That being said, neither cut was probably a good idea politically. However, the media reacted in markedly different ways to the move.

In the case of the Trump administration, there was universal outrage, including from the Special Olympics. In the case of New York state — even as politicians gave themselves massive raises — the outrage was limited.

Was it because the state is controlled by Democrats? Is the sky blue?

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture