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Let’s Make a Deal

December 1, 2014

There’s a deal to be made.

It’s definitely not more charter schools for a pay raise. Cuomo, distracted, seems to have forgot that Pataki already did that.

A far better deal is for the Dream Act. With the federal government and rest of the nation pretty much unable to do anything progressive, it would be a hellava thing to get a version of the Dream Act here in New York.

It’s doable, but it requires Skelos to think long term.  He keeps hearing from Republican colleagues that a Dream Act could be used against him, and so he’s afraid of it. And, for sure, there’ll be Rs and Cs who criticize him. But if he had vision, he’d see how it could help his party with Hispanics. And if he was simply pragmatic, he could get something in return, something big for him and his conference – like the Dolan initiative.

Remember that? It’s the tuition tax program for parochial schools. The Cardinal met last year with the Governor about it. It was the Church’s top priority – along with shooting down an extension of the statute of limitations on abuse cases. The Cardinal heard the Governor’s expression of support – “I’m with you, and I’m going to push it” – as a pledge and promise to make it happen. When it didn’t, the Cardinal and his people, in ways that were really unbecoming, started bad mouthing the Governor, calling him, in effect, a liar. That morphed into some passive aggressive looking the other way when nutty elements of the church community started taking shots at Cuomo for living in sin, etc.

Back to Skelos. It would be huge for the Rs to be the ones to deliver the Dolan initiative. It’d be a kind of White Catholic recruitment initiative for them.

Again, it’s doable. Felder would do it because it also benefits yeshivas. Tkaczyk, Gipson and O’Brien could be had. The numbers in the Senate could work.

That leaves Silver, who’d have some trouble with the teachers union and education advocates. But he’d tell them that if they went along with it, or just shut up about it, he’d kill the governor’s plan for more charters.  Silver wants to do this. (Silver, almost always right about such things, always says of the advocates: “They never win, because they never declare victory.”) For Silver, the calculus is, as always, internal, angry teachers and education advocates is a small price to pay for happy members, happy Hispanics and Hasidim.

Yep, there’s a deal to be made. Throw in some reform of per diem practices, and do a loose cap on lawmakers outside income as it pertains to acting in roles that are akin to being a lobbyist (some call this a Bruno regulation) and it’s not a bad overall deal.

Refuse to cut a deal, and then the session starts off on a negative note with lawmakers grumbling that 16 years will pass without a pay raise.

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