New York’s frozen state Senate has moved from “conflict to crisis,” allowing key pieces of legislation to expire and costing some counties and cities millions in needed revenue, Gov. David Paterson said today. Gov. Paterson said the lawmakers ongoing leadership dispute means New York City will not be able to invoke a small sales tax increase City Hall had wanted as part of next year’s fiscal budget. Gov. Paterson said the Senate squabble has now resulted in lost opportunities and revenue for cities and counties.Also expired: A law to renew Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s control of New York schools. The Board of Education was reinstated by city officials today after that bill was left untouched.
“Where is the Senate today? Politicking as usual,” Paterson said.
That seems pretty accurate.
Earlier in the day, the Republican-dominated faction claiming control of the chamber accused a Democrat-appointed official of doctoring the original, official minutes of the session three weeks ago when the GOP and two dissident Dems staged a coup to seize the majority.
They claim the June 8 alteration was criminal, making it appropriate for courts to intervene in the power struggle that has left the chamber locked 31-31.
Democrats maintain that the official journal is correct, that the vote for a new Senate president happened after the Senate adjourned, and that journal corrections are routine.
State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara is reviewing the claims. He previously declined to rule on whether the contested leadership vote was legal, saying the court shouldn’t intrude on the Senate’s inner workings and urging senators to settle the dispute on their own.
The latest altercation comes a day after Democrats claimed control of the deadlocked Senate, declaring a quorum after a Republican took a shortcut through the chamber because an exterior parlor had been blocked by Dems for a press conference they never held. It takes 32 senators to have a quorum in the 62-seat chamber.
The Democrats began voting on a host of bills stalled by a three-week power struggle and declaring them passed.
A string of bills expired at midnight, including the key issue of mayoral control of New York City schools.