Monday, June 14, 2010

There's A Deafening Clucking Sound And It's Coming From Albany

As I lament the Game 5 loss of my beloved Lakers last night, the feelings for my basketball team quickly fade in the shadow of this impending, or possibly impending, state government shutdown. Senators such as Espada and Diaz, along with the entire Republican caucus have made it nearly impossible to reach any kind of tenable deal to keep New York state humming. Of course, trimming a multi-billion dollar deficit while making everyone happy is an uphill battle but their "self-imposed deadline" came and went months ago. However at this moment the Democrats can't even manage to pass emergency extenders and the clock is ticking quickly towards one of three things, either we get a budget, a way for the renegade Democrats to sign off on another extender or...

As the Daily News calls it, High Noon!

It's high noon today in an Albany budget showdown that will decide if state government shuts down for the first time in New York history.[...]

But a key Bronx Democratic senator continued to insist yesterday that he'll vote against the latest bill because it cuts spending for mental health and social services by $327 million.

"I'm not voting for no more cuts," Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. said. "Let the Republicans cut. I'm a Democrat and Democrats protect services for the poor and needy, they don't cut them."

Without Diaz's vote, the Democratic majority does not have enough votes to pass the bill without Republican help.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson expressed confidence the 32 votes will be there to ensure government doesn't shut down.

"We're not playing a game of chicken here," the Brooklyn Democrat said.

Actually, this is a giant game of chicken. No one seems to have the gall or guts to get anything substantial done. The Senate consists of 62 chickens and their squawking and clucking over budget details is getting on everyone's nerves. I understand Diaz doesn't want to cut. If it were up to me and in an alternative universe I'd be increasing the budgets to help the poor and the needy. Unfortunately the Senate and the rest of Albany has been a poor steward of the state's money over the last, oh well let's just say it's been a minute. Because of that, we are stuck with out of control deficits and not enough Senators exist that have the chutzpah to tax the few New Yorkers that had instigated the latest financial meltdown. So, we have to compromise and that means we need to cut. Diaz had better get on board, or else there'll be no state services at all.