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In just six months, New Yorkers were pushed to the breaking point with a litany of broken promises and failed leadership by state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) and his conference colleagues. Time and time again, Smith and his colleagues proved they were more interested in political perks than standing up for New Yorkers and producing results. Accountability and responsibility were pushed aside for political expediency.
In just a few short months, Smith and his colleagues:
• passed the most fiscally irresponsible and reckless state budget in New York history;
• enacted a dangerous set of changes to New York’s drug laws that will turn back years of progress and keeping our communities safe from drug dealers and criminals;
• imposed over $4,000 in new taxes and fees on the city’s middle-class families;
• eliminated STAR rebate checks;
• increased state spending by $12 billion from last year in the midst of a growing recession;
• added over 700 high-paying political patronage jobs while New York is facing multibillion dollar budget deficits;
• passed a disastrous Metropolitan Transportation Authority bailout plan that taxes jobs throughout the MTA region, adversely affecting already-struggling small businesses and nonprofits;
• halted progress toward a property tax cap and common-sense reforms to make government more accountable to all New Yorkers;
• imposed overwhelming new taxes and fees on New York businesses that will only further hinder economic recovery and job creation;
• violated the legislative process and state law by conducting the most secretive budget process in state history; and
• broke a list of promises made during last year’s campaign to reform the operation of the Senate.
On June 8, a legal leadership change and sweeping rules reforms were advanced and adopted with bipartisan support. Instead of supporting these changes, Smith, Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) and their colleagues staged a seven-day work strike and were only compelled to come back to the Senate chamber when Gov. David Paterson issued proclamations for extraordinary sessions.
Every day, my Senate Reform Coalition colleagues and I have been in the chamber ready to address the important bills — including extending and improving mayoral control of city schools — while Smith, Sampson and their colleagues refused to show up. Their antics have caused the Senate to become a circus.
In order to break the leadership stalemate and get the Senate back to addressing the people’s business, I have proposed a fair-minded proposal that will take the issue to an independent, third-party arbitrator, with the outcome binding on all parties. The proposal has been supported by Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. To date, Smith, Sampson and their colleagues have refused to accept this offer and continue to employ delaying tactics, which has brought the Senate to a halt.
Instead of working in good faith toward breaking this stalemate, Smith has engaged in a misleading campaign against me and my fellow colleagues. They have flooded our community with endless and annoying robo-calls and television advertisements claiming I have not been working. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Every day I have been working to break this stalemate and address constituent concerns. To the detriment of all New Yorkers, they are more concerned about petty partisan politics, power and taking cheap shots than ending the stalemate.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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