Writing my story about the New York State Legislature that appears in today's Buffalo News left me shaking my head.
The story has two angles:
(1) The latest update from the Brennan Center concludes the Legislature remains dysfunctional. As in, the Senate Ethics Committee hasn't met in more than a decade, but the chairman keeps collecting his $12,500-a-year stipend.
(2) The Legislature wants to shield itself from the painful reality by the state's budget crisis by making only a modest cut in its own operating budget, leaving it the third-costliest state legislature in the nation. New York has a $15.4 billion hole to plug - the Legislature is offering to kick in all of $6.2 million.
Add to this news that Senate leaders have cut a deal to allow the staffers of GOP members to stay on the job through the end of the fiscal year, March 31. Many of them would have already received their pink slips because the Democrats have gain control of the Senate. Not only will they draw three more months pay, but if the state offers early retirement incentives to reduce New York's payroll, these people could potentially cash in. Meanwhile, the Democrats will start adding jobs, increasing the Senate's already bloated payroll.
Talk about an outrage.
When you're done reading my story, check out today's column by Donn Esmonde, based on an interview with Seymour Lachman, a former state senator whose tell-all book, "Three Men in a Room" pulls back the curtain on how and why Albany doesn't work.
Then, I want you to get out of your chairs, I want you to go to the window, I want you to open the window and I want you to ...