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Shutdown Talk 'Not an Argument for Three Men in a Room'

Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 06:33 PM

While a lot of Democratic lawmakers are complaining about spending cuts David Paterson put into the latest emergency spending bills, only two are threatening to block the legislation, which would shut down state government for the first time in New York's history.

A shutdown would stop government services, including safety inspections, parks, courts, unemployment offices -- and, of course, the lottery.

It's an extreme example of what happens when rank and file lawmakers have an outsized role in the budget process.

Citizens Union Executive Director Dick Dadey explained: "With the Republican state Senators standing unified in their opposition, the vote of every Democratic Senator is needed to keep the state functioning. And so, one state Senator’s obstruction could bring down the state government."

But that shouldn't be construed as an endorsement of Albany's traditional closed-door style of governing.

"Our current situation is not an argument for three men in a room. It just shows the difficulties of having a Senate with only a one-vote margin," he said.

Dadey -- sort of echoing the complaints Rep. Jerry Nadler let out earlier this week -- said the problem is with members of the Democratic Senate who are still getting acustomed to governing.

"Democratic Senators who have never before had the responsibility to govern [think] they can still protest when, in fact, they carry the responsibility to make tough decisions," said Dadey.

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