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Gov Paterson strikes for us again
January 11, 2010 - John Stack
Last week, in Gov Paterson’s ‘State of the State’ address, his theme was ethics. He claimed that ethics reform was vital to the recovery of New York. Of course he is dead right. The Gov wants to limit the amount of influence that special interests, lobbyists and corporations yield over the Senate and Assembly. He wants Assemblymen and Senators to end their ‘pay for play’ practices and rely less upon huge campaign contributions by these special interests. There are a number of ways special interests sway legislators. (By special interests, I mean corporations, unions, lobbyists and the like). Many legislators are ‘consultants’ like Joe Bruno (and Sheldon Silver). In Bruno’s case, the mountains of damning material should have sent him packing up and apologizing like Jimmy Swaggart. He was finally done in by a client who paid an extraordinary amount for a useless ‘racehorse’. Unfortunately, most believe this isn’t an isolated incident, but more commonplace than should be. Of course, unions and such can contribute large amounts of cash, or help set up phone banks and the like for a candidate’s election. Not to mention the perceived clout of the union on getting their members to vote for a certain candidate. Paterson’s plans include: an independent ethics commission, more stringent financial disclosure requirements, limit contributions from lobbyists and public contractors, and strengthen the ban on personal use of campaign funds. I have to say this is a great step towards cleaning up the corruption and greed in our legislators. Of course, not everyone agrees. The chair of the Party of No, Senate minority leader Dean Skelos believes the governor should ‘focus more on the State’s ‘wasteful spending’ and ‘creating jobs for New Yorkers’ . Why is this guy still in office? Where does the ‘wasteful spending’ come from? Itscomes from special interests getting legislators to pay more attention to their coffers than the welfare of taxpayers of New York! Why are there significant job problems? Well, the aforementioned special interests, plus the problems with the Empire Zones, which very often just padded the pockets of corporations by shifting around employees. Who pays for these tax breaks? You and I. Another legislator who needs to go? John McEneny, D-Albany. Paterson’s law would be called ‘Reform Albany Act’. McEneny had the audacity to say ‘I think many legislators will interpret it as taking the gloves off rather than building bridges with the people who pass the laws," Who is he kidding? Its very late and the Governor FINALLY put on the gloves. The Assembly and Senate aren’t, and haven’t done anything about ethics. The people of New York are completely fed up with people like McEneny who just don’t seem to get it! The name of the bill is very apropos, and deserves to be passed. We have come to a point where ethics reform, and strong REAL ethics reform has to come (The legislature will come up with some soft ethics reform that will be announced with lots of fanfare and absolutely no substance). Editorials point to Bruno and a host of other NY officials who have been forced from their jobs by illegal or unethical practices. But, those are the ones who got caught! There are many more who are ‘playing by the rules’ – Bruno didn’t even get convicted on what most New Yorkers thought were his most egregious lapses – that need to stop. At the Federal level, folks are finally paying attention to our national debt. They are finally trying to do something about it. It took a financial calamity to get their attention. Now, New York is in the midst of a calamity – one of a complete lack of trust by the public of their elected representatives and a complete lack of belief that our tax dollars are being spent in our best interests. . Its about time somebody did something about it. Good luck Governor!!
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