Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Dysfunctional New York Senate

Jimmy Vielkind of the PolitickerNY penned an article on the highly dysfunctional State Senate today. The question he asks, whether or not the Senate can do the business of the New York is one that remains unanswered, even though some lobbyists are hopeful of potential movement once the Democratic majority gets some time under their belts. As for now though, nothing is happening and the narrow split in the chamber isn't helping anyone.

From PolitickerNY:

ALBANY—After yet another failure to hash out an agreement on how to bail out the M.T.A. this week, State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith declared that it was no longer about the merits, but purely about "what gets us there with the votes we need to get it passed."[...]

"From my perspective, it's extremely frustrating that everyone from the staff down to the speaker to the most recently elected senators can't speak for anyone but themselves, and don't," said one person who represents a major interest group with business before the senate. "Everyone involved should be educating these folks that they actually have a job to perform. It's not just about getting re-elected, it's about running the state."

Yet "getting re-elected" is all that anyone cares about, unless you are Dean Skelos, who can tack on "getting power back from the Democrats" to his primary goal of re-election. Skelos has no intention of helping Smith get legislation passed and the Majority Leader has no willingness to let Skelos be a part of the process. With a few renegade dems within the caucus such as Kruger, Diaz and Espada, Smith doesn't have a true majority and because of it, we all lose out. Whether it be straphangers in New York City or school funding upstate, New Yorkers are suffering from Senate inaction and general dysfunction. As Vielkind quotes Smith, saying that the Senators need to be big boys, men and ladies, it is yet to be seen in any regard.