Friday, February 02, 2007

Gabe Pressman's View: Spitzer's Fast Start


Gabe is right on target with his analysis.......either you mean business or you don't.......Spitzer means business........andy

New York's new governor described himself the other day as a steamroller who will crush his opponents, if necessary, in his zeal to get his program enacted.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer was talking about a battle he was having over ethics legislation with the Assembly minority leader, Republican James Tedisco. New York Post reporter Fred Dicker, a veteran observer of the Albany scene, said Spitzer has reversed the lethargic climate of the Pataki years with significant successes, including agreements with legislative leaders on budget and ethics reform.
The Republican leader of the State Senate, Joe Bruno, tried to make a joke out of it by promising the governor the use of his tractor to haul him out if his steamroller got stuck while rolling over his opponents.
But regardless of the partisan bickering, which is par for the course in Albany, this governor is off to a fast start.
Spitzer has been in office just a month, but legislative leaders already have agreed on new ethics legislation prohibiting gifts to lawmakers and barring them from taking money for speeches. Major budget reform has been agreed upon. The Legislature also will be required to give the budget greater transparency and to pass a balanced budget.
In addition, Spitzer has tried to force major changes in the health care system.
"Because of wasteful state subsidies and the state's failure to make strategic choices," he declared, "tax dollars have been spent on empty hospital and nursing home beds."
And the new governor has taken on the educational establishment as well, denouncing the school bureaucracy for spending more per capita than all but one state in America. He said that despite the expenditures, the system "offers our children an education that is nowhere near the top."
He is fighting with the Democratic Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, over who will be the new State Comptroller. He has taken on the teacher's union by trying to change the tenure system and expanding charter schools. He's battling the health care worker's union, Local 1199, and the health care industry for allegedly wasting billions of dollars a year.
There's an old saying in politics: "A new broom sweeps clean." I looked it up -- apparently, the adage goes back to the 13th century.
Eliot Spitzer is the new broom. But in this era, we may need a sophisticated vacuum cleaner to get into all the corners and truly clean up the mess.

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