Democrat and Chronicle
June 24, 2013
It’s too bad that some notable achievements made during the just ended regular session of the New York Legislature were overshadowed by the continued pall of corruption cast over Albany.
Don’t think so? Quick, what do you remember most: passage of the third straight on-time state budget or the scandalous behavior of some lawmakers? Most would agree, it’s the latter hands down.
This page, which has for decades campaigned for systemic reform, remains “Fed up with Albany.” New Yorkers should be, too. Let your state legislator know you’re watching and you don’t like what you see. (Go online to nysenate.gov and Assembly.state.ny.us to find out who your representatives are, then write or email them.)
A string of on-time budgets is nothing to sneeze at. And neither is the fact that a proposed constitutional amendment was cleared for the November 2014 ballot that could begin to break the lock that incumbents have on Albany.
Similarly, lawmakers’ approval of Cuomo’s Start-Up NY program, which could jump-start the upstate economy with its tax-free provisions, makes New York a competitive player against no-tax and low-tax states.
In response to gun violence in Webster and Sandy Hook, Conn.; Cuomo was right to tighten New York’s gun laws, but he should have allowed for more transparency. He also should not have insisted on an all-or-nothing approach to his 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda.
Finally, despite more sex scandals and the indictment of lawmakers on bribery charges, there was no meaningful legislation that pushed back against Albany’s culture of corruption. Campaign finance reform, which could loosen entrenched incumbents’ usual grip on re-election, went nowhere. Neither did anti-corruption proposals that could deter the misuse of power.
Until New Yorkers can trust their government and its leaders, it’s hard to believe that real progress toward Cuomo’s new New York is being made.