Cuomo appointee Robert Mujica will step down as NYS budget director

State Budget Director Robert Mujica — an Andrew Cuomo appointee kept on by Gov. Kathy Hochul — is leaving his post to run the financial oversight board for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Mujica, first named budget director by Cuomo in 2015, is one of the most influential players in New York State government and politics, crafting and overseeing the $220 billion budget.

He also serves as the eyes and ears for the governor on the workings of other government entities. Mujica serves on numerous important policy-making boards — including for the MTA, CUNY and the state Dormitory Authority.

“Robert’s more than 25 years of service to New York State have been incredibly valuable, and I’m so glad that our neighbors in Puerto Rico will get to benefit from his considerable talents. I am deeply grateful for his help in guiding my Administration through our first budget process, in which we delivered historic wins for communities across New York State and also budgeted prudently, with a record amount in reserves,” Hochul said in a statement released Thursday.

“I will continue to draw on Robert’s unique wisdom and expertise for years to come, but he has built a strong Division of the Budget that is full of dedicated public servants, and we’ll rely on them as we search for a new budget director.”

State Budget Director Robert Mujica is leaving his post after 25 years in state government.
Hans Pennink

Mujica denied Nov. 10 that he had any plans to leave the administration when asked by The Post.

But the outgoing budget chief, in his own statement, called being the budget director “the job of a lifetime” after the news broke Thursday.

Before becoming budget director, Mujica served as the chief financial adviser to the then-Republican-controlled state Senate — a rare official who served on both sides of the political aisle.

Mujica said he will help Hochul prepare her second executive budget plan to present to the legislature before he leaves at year’s end.

“New York State is on strong financial footing with record reserves planned over the next several years, and I look forward to helping put together the Executive Budget for 2024 in the days ahead.  My new position will also be the opportunity of a lifetime and I am humbled and honored to go to the place of my family and heritage to work with Governor Pierluisi and the people of Puerto Rico to rebuild the economy and restore opportunity,” the outgoing budget director said.

Mujica was appointed executive director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, which he noted is the birthplace of his parents and home to his grandparents.

Puerto Rico Oversight Board chairman David Skeel said, “As budget director of New York, Robert has been working with Democrats and Republicans to deliver timely, balanced budgets and to reach consensus among many stakeholders with diverse interests. Those skills will now assist the Puerto Rico Government to deliver services more efficiently, and for the people of Puerto Rico to prosper.”

Mujica called Puerto Rico a “special place to me, and I want to see it prosper.”

“My work in New York was dedicated to fiscal responsibility, budgetary stability, transparency, and economic growth. New York succeeded in all these areas. Puerto Rico can succeed too,” he said.