I popped my head up from my plethora of work today to find that with more than two months after the deadline to pass a state budget had gone by, hardly anything has been done since. Unless of course you count backbiting, grandstanding and empty promises as tangible legislative goods. Instead of taking care of business, the legislature has passed budget extenders several times over, each with a way to cut spending and reduce the multi-billion dollar deficit. Today lame duck Governor Paterson went to a "leaders" meeting and again, nothing of much significance came of it.
From The Daily Politics:
Faced with a revolt from two “rogue” Democrats who say they will no longer vote for emergency spending bills that contain deep cuts, Paterson said it is up to the Senate Republicans to offer enough votes to keep government running.
The entire Republican conference has voted in recent weeks against the extenders, meaning the Democrats have had to muster all their members to supply the necessary 32 votes to pass them.
Paterson this morning dismissed the two renegade Democrats, Majority Leader Pedro Espada and Ruben Diaz, both of the Bronx, as “reckless and very sui generis.”
“I’m not going to respond to any threats, any thug activity,” Paterson said without mentioning Espada and Diaz by name. “I’m not going respond to any blackmail in that respect.
With such a slim majority of Democrats and a few within that are Democrats in name only, Paterson has frequently appealed to the Republican caucus to plea his cases. There's no doubt about it, Espada and Diaz have to go (their buddy Monserrate has already been taken care of!) and their day of reckoning is fast approaching.
Until then, the inept Governor will try in vain to get Skelos to make him look semi-competent, and Skelos will laugh in his face. Skelos' only concern is to win back the majority in November. He could care less about the fate of New York's fiscal situation and has repeatedly proven that, both as leader of his caucus and back when he was one of Joe Bruno's underlings.
For now, the hope of a passable budget looks bleak at best. As long as the cast of characters remain the same, doing the people's business takes a backseat to certain individuals' unethical whims.