Friday, March 12, 2010

New York legislature not worth its salt

New York state is facing as much as a $9 billion budget gap (some claim it might be as high as $18 billion) for the next fiscal year. In the last two years, it's had a state senator expelled after being convicted of domestic violence, a sitting comptroller resign after a corruption conviction, a senate majority leader resign to immediately become a lobbyist only to be convicted himself of corruption, one governor resign in a prostitution scandal, another governor accused of witness tampering in a domestic violence case and the legislature refuse all serious attempts at ethics reform. This is to say nothing of the merely embarrassing, like last summer's senate coup shenanigans and being named the most dysfunctional state legislature in the nation by New York University's Brennan Center.

In response to Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch's bad idea to borrow $2 billion to help cover that gap and create a fiscal oversight board, Senate Democratic leader John Sampson said, "I hate to abdicate my legislative responsibility to the board, but I have an open mind."

Lawmakers in Albany have been abdicating their legislative responsibility for years so Sampson's words ring more than a little hollow.

But apparently one Democratic legislator didn't get Sampson's memo on pretend responsibility. Because in the face of all the above problems (to say nothing of economic stagnation in most of upstate, the suffocating effect of unfunded mandates, sky-high property taxes, bureaucratic assaults on small businesses, the proposed closure of state parks and massive corporate welfare giveaways, among other things), Assemblyman Felix Ortiz feels that what the legislature really should be focusing on is combating ... the use of salt in restaurants.

1 comment:

PlanetAlbany said...

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."