NEW YORK, Aug. 7 (UPI) — Former New York Gov. Hugh Carey, who played a key role in New York City’s financial crisis of the 1970s, died Sunday at the age of 92, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Carey was instrumental in helping the city dig itself out of a harrowing budget ordeal that included President Ford’s refusal to provide federal bailout money and the famous newspaper headline, “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”
“Governor Carey led our state during a time of great financial turmoil and pulled us back from the brink of bankruptcy and economic ruin,” Cuomo said in a written statement.
Carey died at his home in Shelter Island. No funeral arrangements were announced.
Carey was the son of Irish immigrants and a decorated Army officer in World War II. He represented Brooklyn in Congress for 14 years before serving as governor from 1975-1982.
The New York Times said Carey faced an enormous task of undoing a tax-and-spend regime at the state and local levels that produced high-profile results in terms of education and infrastructure, but unraveled during the fierce recession of the mid-1970s.
When New York City found itself on the ropes and unable to raise new funds on Wall Street or Washington, Carey stepped in and formed a state agency that borrowed money on the city’s behalf. Another state agency took the lead in objecting to city budgets and union contracts in order to rein in spending.
Significant but unpopular steps included ending tuition-free education, hiking subway fares and forcing Mayor Abe Beam to fire a top aide to placate bankers.