COMMON SENSE: Week of April 7

New York has an on-time budget that raises no taxes, cutsspending, and implements important Medicaid and educational reformsas well as numerous other reforms designed to change permanentlythe way New York government functions. The immediate payoff for NewYorkers is the closing of a $10 billion budget gap without the needto float any new debt. The long-term results can be reduced taxesand a healthier business environment with new jobs fueled by agrowing economy.

The governor and the two houses of the legislature worked welltogether. The template for budget negotiations put in place severalyears ago but never strictly followed until this year worked well.Interestingly, the few bumps in the road mostly came from the statesenate Democrats who simply could not accept many of the cutsdemanded by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Many of the state senate Democrats regularly vote against theDemocratic administration. Just the other day, John Dyson, GovernorCuomo’s nominee for the Board of Trustees of the State PowerAuthority, was rejected by the minority members of the DemocraticConference. Dyson — a successful businessman who served as thestate agricultural and commerce commissioners under former GovernorMario Cuomo, and as a deputy mayor under former New York City MayorRudy Giuliani, and who has held many non-paying governmentpositions in both Democratic and Republican-led governments — waspraised by most for his many contributions. The major exception wasSenator Bill Perkins of Harlem.

Senator Perkins raised a question about a comment that Dyson madein 1994 that Perkins took as insensitive. As it turned out, Perkins– who had not been present when the comment was made — hadincorrect information and had also taken the comment completely outof context. Dyson explained the error which all of the members ofthe Finance Committee appeared to accept. Perkins himself, at thispoint, did not vote against sending the nomination to the floor. Anhour later, Perkins was ranting and raving again about the supposedinsensitive comment that Dyson had thought he had cleared up ashort time earlier. When the vote took place, Dyson was confirmedwith most of the minority members taking Perkin’s lead and votingagainst Dyson. They had nothing more to go on than Senator Perkinspreviously disqualified statement.

I can only imagine what Governor Cuomo thought when a third of theState Senate, all Democrats and minority caucus members, votedagainst one of his administration’s major nominees who had servedhis father well, based on the inaccurate portrayal of awell-debunked 1994 comment.

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The Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Parade was a very exciting event. Thecrowd on this sunny, but cold day seemed to be one of the largestever. At many locations, the crowd was four or five deep along thesidewalks. And, as always, there were marching bands, pipers, Irishdancers and many, many fraternal, religious, educational and civicorganizations. I proudly marched behind the banner of the KingsCounty Conservative Party. The party has marched in 11 of the past14 parades.

State Senator Marty Golden, a parade founder, together withAssemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, shook hundreds of hands as theychatted with countless people along the route. At one point, agroup of Irish dancers could be heard shouting, Marty, Marty.They really love him at this parade. Congressmember Michael Grimm,Councilmember Vincent Gentile and Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasnyalso marched and greeted the throngs of people happily enjoying acold spring afternoon.

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