June 22, 2009

Senate Dems Friends & Family Plan Thrives

I'm not for one second going to pretend that when the GOP was in control of the State Senate, they didn't have their share of patronage. In fact, there's probably not a governmental body in existence that doesn't have some level of patronage.

But what the Democrats have done in Albany should disgust anyone who lives in this state, regardless of party. Under then Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, the Democrat-led Senate Majority hired over 100 new staffers since April alone. To add insult to injury, they did this after raising taxes and fees by $8 billion.

Smith had said that the Democrats had cut close to 200 Senate positions. But state records show that the 186 Senate job cuts Smith spoke of had been reduced to just 74 between April and the June 6 payroll, meaning 112 new staffers were added.

Most of the job cuts were Republicans who were fired or retired as a result of the GOP losing the majority. They were quickly replaced by Democrats, many of them making six-figure salaries.

According to a report in The Daily News Saturday, that the Senate payroll jumped by $3 million the first six months the Dems controlled the Senate.

This is so offensive on so many levels. And I know, people will come in and say "the Republicans did it!" Maybe they did, but not nearly to the level as we've seen this year. And didn't the Dems sweep into office under the premise of change? What change were they talking about...vote us into office and we'll screw you even more than you were getting screwed? Because that's exactly what happened.

This is just another example of why the State Senate is better off in the hands of the of the GOP. There's no accountability with the Dems. They are looking out for their NYC interests and those of their friends and nobody from Upstate better stand in their way.


Dark Knight said...

I think the best part of the Senate coup is that the roof has been blown off the place and people are finally starting to realize the level of waste, mismanagement and sheer incomptence that goes on down there.

Larry has long called out for greater citizen participation and maybe this will be the catalyst that finally jump starts people's interest in the inner workings of Albany.

I for one hope this is the start of a tidal wave that cascades into the Assembly where things are even worse and then extends out to the shadow governments like NYPA and the Thruway Authoritiy.

Dark Knight said...

Larry, you may have never written truer words. Looking across the country, it is the largest governments that are in the most chaos because the institutions they have built are simply incapable of adapting to our current times.

California, by it's sheer size, geogrpahic diveristy and ironically, it's referendum process that in many ways has tied the State Legisalture's hands, cannot solve it's own problems. The institutions that comprise New York State government are so disconnected from the people that those in charge have no idea how the decisions they make actually impact the day to day lives of people in this state.

Look at the way that a centralized SUNY governing body is destroying higher education in this state by stifling innovation and dictating from afar a one size fits all approach to what should be 64 invidival campuses.

Yet, while we can clearly identify the problem, how do you ever begin a process of de-centralization when you need the blessing from the very people who gain from the status quo?

Niagara Prognosticator said...

DK cited California as an example of a bloated government in a large, diverse state that is disconnected from the people. For the sake of argument, let us assume DK is correct. California is the paradigm of disconnected, too big government. Similar epitaphs are often thrown NY’s way.

Let’s compare and test some modern conventional wisdom (CW). Let us compare California Legislature vs. New York Legislature

CW. - Too many elected officials. Save money by reducing the size of the legislature.
Senate Cal. 40 vs NY 62
Assembly Cal. 80 vs NY 150

CW -“People serve in the legislature too long. Lose touch with the “real” people. Forget why they are there. And re-election is upper –most their minds, not good government.”

Term Limits: Cal. - Yes (Assembly 3-2 year terms; Senate 2-4 year terms) vs NY - No

CW - The “People” are not represented. The legislature is controlled by special interests. “

Cal. – Initiative by petition and referendum allow direct popular votes on State legislation and constitutional amendments that do not change the basic structure of government.

NY – No popular referendum feature. No direct vote on legislation. Constitutional amendment requires votes of 2 successively elected legislatures and popular vote approval or by constitutional convention every 20 years if approved by voters.

So if CK’s premise is true, that California is a prime example of over-bloated government, and if LC’s premise is also true, that it is underlying structural defects that create dysfunction and disconnect, why do we get seemingly the same problems in California and New York?

Why should we believe that populist reforms often touted in NY such as term limits, referendum and reduction in the numbers of representatives will actually work?

Just asking.