Monday, October 06, 2008

Dean Skelos Unprepared or Unwilling to Solve Financial Problems

A NY Daily News Editorial says "Judging by their feckless performance at a special public meeting with Gov. Paterson on Friday, Silver and Skelos cannot bring themselves to confront the difficult challenges looming over the state."
"At this moment, New York State government is hemorrhaging money. Because of plummeting tax revenue, this year's budget is suddenly $1.2 billion in the red, with far worse to come. And in this election year, neither Silver nor Skelos expresses any urgency to do anything."
""I don't think we all get how serious this problem is," Paterson gravely informed Silver and Skelos, who took ludicrous offense.
"I don't need to be lectured," Skelos responded.
He's wrong, because the Legislature - Democratic and Republican members of both chambers - must come to grips with the magnitude of its duty as it has not since the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.
As Paterson said after Skelos tried to rule out cutting local aid or laying off state workers and Silver suggested new spending on the pretext of "stimulating" the economy:
"This is an emergency. This is one of these times when you can't wait for all the statistics to be in, you can't wait for all the numbers to be there ... If you listen to some of your own statements, it's not clear how ready you are to make the kind of cuts that are appropriate for this time."
With the books way out of balance right now, and with a $6 billion deficit next year, those cuts will have to be deep and smart.
The standard procedure employed by Silver and Skelos - nipping and tucking and searching for dimes - will not suffice. Instead, they will have to engage in wise and overdue budget triage."

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