Written by Senator Craig Johnson Friday, 03 July 2009 00:00
It is my hope that by the time that you read this, the stalemate that has gripped the Senate will be over.
Over the last few weeks, the residents of the State of New York have unfortunately seen government at its worst. On June 8, the Senate Republicans, with their new leader, Pedro Espada of the Bronx, derailed the end of the legislative session with a poorly thought out coup attempt.
Within a few days, each conference, the Senate Democratic Conference and the Espada Republicans, had the same number of members. With neither side having a majority, legislative business in the chamber has been paralyzed.
In an effort to break this deadlock, the Senate Democratic Conference has advocated a real, bi-partisan governing agreement that would split the responsibilities for running the Senate. Adopting this plan would allow us to pass vital legislation that has been held hostage by this impasse.
Before the June 8 coup, I was fortunately able to get legislation to extend Nassau’s sales tax and motel/ hotel occupancy tax through the Senate. These measures were requested by local officials to help balance the county budget and prevent additional burdens from being placed on property taxpayers. Other counties were not so lucky.
Nassau-specific legislation, including an important measure to authorize the county to bond, and to issue a surcharge on traffic tickets has been left in limbo as the stalemate continues.
The Espada Republicans have thus far refused to take us up on our bi-partisan plan, despite its widespread support from the public and from newspapers across the state. Still, negotiations are continuing and I am hopeful that a solution is near.
Despite the current state of affairs, operations at my district office have remained uninterrupted. Since June 8, 756 written responses to constituents that contacted us by letter, or e-mail have been sent out. Sixty (60) constituent case files have been created — and closed out – and the mobile office hour program has kicked into full gear.
Regardless of the situation in Albany, my staff and I remain committed to serving the residents of the 7th Senate District.