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As Strong As Sampson

April 23, 2010

Using the jawbone of an ass, the Samson of antiquity slew a thousand Philistines.

A would-be modern day Samson is John Sampson, President Pro Tem of the New York State Senate.

The Philistines he faces are Senate Republicans who want to win back control of the Senate in the fall elections.

Sampson’s asinus mandibilus is an enhancement of the STAR property tax relief program. And give Sampson at least some credit as a political strategist. The STAR program is wildly popular in the suburbs and upstate, which are the key battlegrounds in the fall elections.

Sampson is holding back in the budget talks, saying he’ll wait for as long as it takes to get what he wants.

The Governor has signaled willingness to work something out, but Shelly Silver, whom we credited a few weeks ago with being the most pragmatic person in the room, is now the one standing in the way of a resolution.

Silver’s posture is surprising. He knows that the STAR program helps his members as much as Sampson’s. It’s doesn’t make sense for him to be the obstacle. He should get a piece of the action for city condo and co-op owners, claim some credit, and call it a day.

As long as the STAR enhancement isn’t financed completely by borrowed money, everybody can be a winner here, even the GOP, which was always the champion of the program. Or, we can continue to drag out the process for week after week and turn the Capitol into the Temple of Dagon. (See Old Testament, last chapter of the Book of Judges)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    April 25, 2010 3:57 PM

    Wait, you guys are advocating FOR a tax cut that is NOT paid for with spending cuts? Because it would be a good political deal and good for incumbents seeking reelection. Please explain how that fits with your point of view?

    • April 26, 2010 9:32 AM

      Dear Anon:

      We say cut spending by $300 million to pay for STAR. Cut, cut, cut.

      And our larger point is this: There’s going to be a budget at some point. And then we’re all going to look back and say: “Why the hell couldn’t we have gotten this deal six weeks ago?” And there’ll be no good answer.

      Appreciate your interest.


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