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GOP Budget Strategy

March 22, 2010

The State Senate will vote today on a budget resolution that rejects new taxes proposed by Governor Paterson and makes significant spending cuts in education and health care.

This has gotta be a Republican resolution, right? Wrong. It was developed by the liberal Democrats and is opposed by conservative Republicans, who will vote in a bloc against it.   

Confused? This is Albany.

Since the same-sex marriage bill and ethics reform bill earlier this year, the basic strategy of the Republicans has been to deny the Democrats a single vote of support on any major bill.

The GOP, always better at party discipline, is making simple political calculation: The less the Democrats have accomplished, the better the Republican chances for taking back the majority by arguing – you guessed it – that the Democrats have no accomplishments.

At what point, though, does this strategy begin to backfire? If the GOP rejects every major bill without exception, and actively works to undermine potential compromises, won’t they be perceived as obstructionist and acting against the best interests of the people?

NT2 would argue that we’ve reached that point already. This budget resolution marks the first time in decades that the Democrats have voted against the disproportionate power of the unions representing teachers and health care workers. It gives one hope that it might be possible to moderate spending levels in New York.

Alas, it appears that no matter what the Democrats do, the Republicans will find an excuse not to support it. In this regard, the Republicans are now saying they oppose the resolution because it was “negotiated behind closed doors.” The least the GOP can do is come up with a better excuse than that.

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