"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Newsworthy

The member items "pork" in New York State's budget is an annual issue that causes consternation among observers. This year is probably the worst with inflation around 1% and spending increases in the budget above 10% and there is no shortage of "pork." Nor is their any equity in distribution of the member items among the legislature members.

When Darrel Aubertine and the Democrats ran in the last election cycle they promised to fix the ills of inequity that they blamed the Republicans for, as it turns out nothing will change! But, as one of a handful of majority members representing upstate there is likely to be inequity by region this year as well.

New York Times did a piece today - read more here.
"This year there will most likely be a big geographic shift in member-item spending. With both chambers now controlled by New York City Democrats, the biggest losers could be upstate community groups."
Rest assured, someone will be tracking the money spent upstate and compare it to the year's past to illustrate the inequity of regional distribution now that downstate Democrats control the entire process.

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Despite all the reform hype by the Democrats in the last election cycle, it ends up nothing more than hype and politics as usual in Albany.

GOP district slated for prison closure is but one example.

Post Standard cover this issue today - read more here 

But also included in this article is some reasoning certain Democratic members of the legislature had backbone enough to vote NO on this budget. 
"There were two reasons why," Stirpe explained. "First of all, I was opposed to the utility assessment increase and the second thing was the bottle bill." Stirpe opposed a last-minute change in the bottle bill that took a portion of unclaimed deposits away from distributors.
"In budgets past, I could say I did the right thing" by voting 'yes,' " Christensen said. "This year, I didn't have that feeling. . . . What an opportunity we missed. We didn't have enough in there that reformed government, cut spending, shared services. I worried about some of the taxes.
"The other overwhelming reason was that my constituents were calling up, and they didn't like what was happening to Upstate in the budget," Christensen continued. "I knew the budget was going to pass, but at least it didn't pass with my support. Sometimes you have to vote symbolically to let people know somebody is listening."
So the sad reality is Assemblywoman Russell and Senator Aubertine supported a budget that others (in their own party) recognized as no good for upstate. Aubertine's defense of this mess is a joke and Russell continues to be absent on the issue.

1 comment:

Dan Francis said...

I know it sounds naïve and simple, but sometimes the simplest things actually work. I would love to see a NYS constitutional amendment in this short form:

"No member items shall be inserted into any state budget unless each item is indivudually voted one by the full Senate and Assembly and approved two months in advance of an approved budget, and no changes shall not be authorized at anytime after that approval date."

I know that won't fly, but damnit, all legislators should make that pledge and stick by it.

~ I'm done now (soapbox is out of sight)

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