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The Right Priorities

November 7, 2010

Six weeks to go. Not a lot of time. There needs to be a discussion of priorities. There needs to be a discussion of what is doable, and the timetable for getting it done.

The conventional wisdom is that Andrew Cuomo should use his election mandate to rush through major spending cuts.  In fact, this weekend, there were stories almost everywhere headlined: “Cuomo Must Move Fast to Have Success.”

This bothers us. Despite our previous post, we really want Cuomo to succeed, and we think he ought to be cut some slack in dealing with a near impossible situation. We think that moving too fast might be the worst thing to do.

The problem is that the State Senate is in more disarray than ever. Regardless of how the current ballot challenges turn out, the margin for whichever side prevails will be narrow. And, under those circumstances, the concept of getting lawmakers to take tough votes quickly when control is so hotly contested does not make sense.

Of course, someone will say that the next election isn’t until 2012. Not to be morbid, but the next election could be any moment. That’s the reality of things. The Senate has several members who are in their 80s and in poor health. Several of them will not complete their terms. This means that special elections could occur at any time. Conference positions, especially on the budget, will be important factors in determining the outcome of such races.

No senator – despite what he or she might now be saying – is going to quickly and eagerly cast votes to cut school aid and health care. They can’t.

That is why Cuomo might want to focus on something other than the big ugly, at least at first. Maybe he should press for the property tax cap and certain economic development initiatives. Passing such popular measures first might help build a foundation of cooperation that Cuomo and the lawmakers could rely upon when dealing with the harder issues.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. crumbs permalink
    November 7, 2010 5:47 PM

    “No senator – despite what he or she might now be saying – is going to quickly and eagerly cast votes to cut school aid and health care. They can’t.”

    Why can’t they? Please explain.

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