May 23rd, 2006

To those who pay close attention to state government, last weeks Quinnipiac poll was no surprise. The poll found that by a margin of 72 to 20 percent, New Yorkers believe that state government is broken and needs to be fixed. The only people surprised may be legislative leaders, who after two years of on time budgets, may have expected to see some positive feedback.

But there was none.

After two decades of late budgets, partisan infighting and legislative gridlock, the public expects more than on time budgets, they expect reform.

Even last years action on public authorities reform was not enough. Despite touting it as a major reform, the Governor and legislative leaders got another dose of bad news when a gubernatorial panel examining the new law determined that last years reform was not enough. Much more needs to be done.

That panel, created as part of the authority reform legislation, determined that there needs to be a truly independent authorities budget office to monitor the finances of state authorities. Last years reform legislation was supposed to create an independent budget office, but in reality the office is controlled by the Governor the person who also controls state authorities. This new budget office is hardly independent.

The scandals and controversies at state authorities including the now infamous Canal Corporation agreement to steer development rights to the Erie Canal for $30,000 to a favored developer have contributed mightily to the public disgust with Albany.

Last years authorities reform legislation was supposed to be a response to the mounting evidence of incompetence and corruption at state authorities. Sadly it was not and the panel led by the Governors lead man on authorities unanimously agreed that much more work is needed, including the creation of a truly independent budget office.

In one week the political parties will be holding their state conventions in order to agree on their election tickets for the Fall elections. It better be clear to Albanys political elite that action, not words, is what the public wants from incumbents running for re-election.

And so far, there has been too little action to match the rhetoric.

Of course, there are still six weeks for lawmakers to achieve some real reforms before they face the voters in November. Unfortunately, it appears that the Governor who will not be on the ballot will offer no help to the reform effort. For there to be any real progress, it will have to come from the legislative process.

And what are the issues that New Yorkers want addressed?

For starters, it would be a good idea for lawmakers to actually enact real reforms to bolster oversight of state authorities reforms that include creation of a truly independent authorities budget office.

In addition according to pollsters, New Yorkers by a 3 to 1 margin want legislation passed to create an independent redistricting commission to establish the boundaries of legislative districts, not politicians, as is now the case.

Also according to pollsters, a majority of New Yorkers believes that state legislators do not represent the publics best interests at the Capitol. Reforming New Yorks broken campaign finance system would help address this problem.

Its not too late. Lawmakers can act on these issues and other needed reforms before the session wraps next month.

Thats all for now. Ill be keeping an eye on the Capitol and will talk to you again next week.

By on May 23, 2006, 1:31 pm
In category: Eye on Albany | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN”

  1. e blurbus unum Says:
    June 8th, 2006 at 12:14 am

    Re – The broken and would be fixers

    Eerie Campaign

    Melody: Traditional
    Lyrics: Adapted from folk account by Fr. Stephen Foster Crump, S.J.

    LEAD SOLO, TENOR: I HIRED me a MULE. The CRITter done went LAME.
    Sing it:
    CHOIR: Fifteen hours on the Suozzi campaign.
    LEAD: She kicked and she screamed like shed truly gone insane.
    Hit it:
    CHOIR: Fifteen hours on the Suozzi campaign.

    LEAD: Time WAS Id pulled em to the polls —
    Jews, Italians, Croats, and Poles.
    Now mule kicked friends, with iron toe,
    From Albany to Buffalo.

    BASS BARITONES: Yes, mule kicked friends, with iron toe,
    From Albany to Buffalo.

    FULL CHOIR: Iron toe! Everybody down.
    Kiss dirt! Mule has got The Frown.
    Her flying off the handles
    Like an axe-blade in the brain:
    Will we ever get through this eternal campaign?


    LEAD: She SAID I spoke exTEMpore — the TINiest FIB.
    On back of rally signs, staff chalked me up a crib.
    These placards faced out. My delivery was fine.
    Then reporters in back caught me reading a line.

    FULL CHOIR:: SThis WHAT ya meanby odd duh cuff?
    LEAD: Press got mean and the Mule got rough.
    She launched 12 hacks, with iron toe,
    From Albany to Buffalo.

    SOPRANOS: Yes, launched 12 hacks, with iron toe,
    From Albany to Buffalo.

    FULL CHOIR: Iron toe! Fourth Estate, beware.
    Make tracks! Mule has got The Stare.
    And youll always know your pals
    And your sources aint the same
    If ya ever tried writing on Suozzis campaign.


    LEAD: My dream deMANded an arRESTing TV AD,
    So, my MULE kicked the JOB to a BRASH auteur LAD.
    We spent ALL the campaign cash that Id EV-er had.
    My MULE was just as PROUD as Jean LUC Godards DAD.

    The ad was blurry, jumped tres vite.
    Press said I looked like frozen meat.
    Mule called it great, despite my lisp.
    It made me sound like Quentin Crisp.

    CHOIR, LISPING ALTOS: Mule called it great, despite my lisp.
    It made me sound like Quentin Crisp.

    MINNELLI IMPERSONATOR: Mule called it great, despite his lisp.
    It made him sound like Quentin Crisp.

    LEAD: Duck, mule. Heres another poll.
    Sucks, mule. Fifty in the hole.
    FULL CHOIR:: And youll always know your pals
    And your bosses aint the same
    If ya ever tried working on Suozzis campaign.

    LEAD: Suck, mule. Have another malt.
    F XXX, mule — sreally not your fault.
    The stars they were against us
    But I guess fate blinded me:
    Bosses DAMNED ole-Tom-from HERE to e-TER-nity.

    ALTOS: He says stars were against him.
    Due to fate, he couldnt see.
    Will he ever put some blame on one Tom Suozzi?

    SOPRANOS: Will he ever put some blame on one Tom Suozzi?

    FALSETTO CASTRATI: Will she let us put some blame on Boss Tom Suozzi??


    (Proceeds from reproduction or performance of these lyrics go to the Society of Jesus Fund for Sons of Italian Veterans of the Battle of Saratoga.)

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