Thursday, April 01, 2010

Fools to the left of me, jokers to the right

Facing a gargantuan $9 billion deficit and a budget due today, legislative misleaders have decided to send their members on a week-and-a-half vacation.

Senate Democratic boss John Sampson pooh-poohed critics with the same excuse legislative misleaders proffer every year: better to have a good, late budget than a bad, on-time budget. I guess it never occurred to these April Fools that it's their JOB to give us a budget that's both responsible AND on-time.

I nearly snorted soda out of my nose laughing at Sampson's excuse. The budget's always late but when was the last time the legislature gave us a good budget? If we'd actually been given these mythical "good, but late" budgets in the past, we wouldn't be in quite the fiscal mess we're in now.

By being the latest misleader to pose the false choice between a responsible budget and an on-time budget, Sen. Sampson and his colleagues don't seem to be aware of the responsibilities of the job, so let me enlighten him.

Maybe if the legislature had focused more on making tough budgetary decisions in the last few months, rather than micromanaging restaurant chefs' use of that dangerous toxin table salt, April Fools like Sampson wouldn't have to continually offer us the false choice between a responsible budget and on-time one. Real leaders would be capable of doing both.

But since Sen. Sampson is so blase about deadlines, perhaps he and the rest of NYS government won't mind if I wait until April 20 or May 10 or whenever the legislature gets around to doing its job and pass a budget before I send in my tax return.

It seems a cruel irony that New York's budget is due on April Fools' Day. Year after year, the joke's on us.

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