Albany Special Sessions Grow Increasingly Less Special

We know this stretches the definition of news, but the Albany special sessions haven't accomplished much in the way of deficit reduction. Sheldon Silver informs us the hard-working assembly has been churning out bills, including one inspired by the sad case of Leandra Rosado that will make it a felony to drive drunk with a kid in the car. But even there Albany has seen conflict: some state senators called the assembly bill "watered down."

They say they have a deal on that, but when it comes to money matters, the wheels grind exceedingly slow. Democratic senate leader John Sampson (pictured) says there's a consensus among senate members to... keep talking. So that means double-secret special sessions!

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli pleads for action because the state is going broke, to which legislators might reasonably respond: so what else is new?

Assembly Republicans have come up with their own budget cut wish list, including an end to environmental-minded "open space" purchases and "elimination of extra spending by the legislature" which by itself is supposed to "generate $1.5 billion," reports the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle with a straight face.

They are ignored by the Democrats, who run things and reportedly have cold feet about Governor Paterson's education cuts. SUNY trustees are floating a 2 percent tuition hike; students are flooding Albany with petitions. Brooklyn senator Carl Kruger is said to be blocking the ed cuts, preferring that the state get the money by taxing Native American cigarette sales.

Well, that'd be about $400 million if we're lucky. The state is over $3 billion in the red. The chances of hitting that target without wounding a sacred cow are remote. But that's what our elected representatives are trying to do. Give them credit: it's exceedingly difficult work, and merits all the emoluments they have coming to them.


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