Saturday, March 24, 2007


Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

I really don't think so..........too costly and destructive..........andy

March 23, 2007 at 5:02 pm by Elizabeth Benjamin
In an interview with
WNBC’s Jay DeDapper to be broadcast this Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Malcom Smith, D-Queens, gives the clearest indication yet that a government shutdown may be in the cards.
Asked if closing down Albany is a “real” possibility, Smith responded in the affirmative, claiming New Yorkers “don’t want anybody spending money wildly to the point where we have a deficit out into the future that would just basically mortgage the future of our children.”
“And so we’re prepared to shut the government down if that has happened,” Smith said.
While it’s a long way from a late budget to an all-out (or even partial) shutdown, Smith said the budget would almost certainly be tardy if an agreement isn’t reached by Monday.
“If we [by]pass Monday, that’s it, we’re going to be in pretty bad shape and you’re looking at a late budget,” Smith said. “And then if the governor chooses just to go ahead and deal with essential services, you know, the other part of big government will shut down.”
Given how close Smith and Spitzer are (politically speaking!), it seems a safe bet that the minority leader is acting as a surrogate for the executive. Spitzer himself has been unwilling to rule out a shutdown in recent days, preferring instead to adopt an optimistic attitude (at least publicly) by saying that there’s still time for a deal to come together.
Of course, he was saying that earlier in the week - back before Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, starting holding his GOP-only general budget conference committees and Spitzer started trying to pick off Republican senators by calling them into his office for private, one-on-one meetings.
New York hasn’t experienced a full-scale government shutdown in the modern era, though it came close in 1995 - the first year another governor was in office.
In ex-Gov. George Pataki’s first year atop Albany, which many agree in retrospect was his most productive time in office, the government prepared pink slips to send public employees in anticipation of a late budget.
There was also a fierce battle over Pataki’s decision to suspend more than 4,200 state paychecks, including for legislative staffers and some in his own office. He lost in court over that one. But New York was never really in full shutdown mode.
However, one needs to only look at the damage a federal government shutdown caused one Washington politician - now a possible Republican presidential contender - to see that all sides will be scrambling to assign blame elsewhere should it come to that.
Under a deal struck in 1998, which brought legislators their last pay increase and created charter schools in New York, lawmakers have their paychecks withheld if they fail to pass a budget by the April 1 deadline. This provision does not apply to the governor.
Also on Sunday, DeDapper interviews former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s newest presidential campaign advisor, Mike McKeon, who says the ex-mayor’s wife, Judith Nathan Giuliani, is “going to be more than an asset,” adding: “I think she’s going to be probably the surprise of the campaign.”
Click here to read the whole transcript

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