Gov. Paterson Wants Action By Tuesday

When I last blogged, Gov. Paterson had a “new idea” that would help the State Senate pass a funding package for the MTA. As we all read, the idea consisted of giving money to school districts to cover the cost of a new payroll tax. So basically his “new idea” was a rebate.

I commented on how it was of no surprise that the latest idea was not earth shattering & did nothing to sway my opinion. The current MTA proposal should not pass due to it massively failing to address the core funding problems that have plagued the transit agency.

Over the weekend, Gov. Paterson was on the offensive in terms of rallying support for his “new idea”. He successfully converted Senators Suzi Oppenheimer & Andrea-Stewart Cousins with his idea. Lets look into this more via a report from Glenn Blain, Kenneth Lovett & Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News:

Gov. Paterson’s proposed change to an MTA bailout won over two Democratic senators who could provide pivotal support for the long overdue plan.

With a razor thin 32-30 majority, the Democratic Senate leadership needs every vote it can get to save straphangers from huge fare hikes and service cuts.

Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer and Sen. Andrea-Stewart Cousins, of Westchester, had objected to a payroll tax funding mass transit because it would increase costs on school districts.

Paterson earlier this week suggested increasing state aid to schools to offset higher tax bills.

“If they make the school districts whole, I’m on board,” Oppenheimer said.

Click here for the complete report.

However supporters of this proposal should not celebrate yet as the bickering between Albany bigwigs is starting to boil over. Although Gov. Paterson has tried to downplay the feud between himself, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, & Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the frustration he is having with them is clearly evident.

The latest move came from Sheldon Silver who threw up concerns about Gov. Paterson’s idea to rebate school districts. As noted in the Daily News report, he is concerned about a precedent being set with the idea. However this did not stop the governor from demanding a vote & subsequent passage by the Legislature by the end of Tuesday. Lets start with William Neuman’s report about this courtesy of the New York Times:

Gov. David A. Paterson called on Saturday for the Legislature to vote early this week on a financial rescue plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority despite being unsure if there were enough votes to pass the measure in the Senate.

Mr. Paterson said the authority’s financial situation has deteriorated so rapidly that the rescue plan would no longer provide enough money to address the authority’s long-term fiscal needs. But limiting a fare and toll increase and halting deep service cuts would be enough for now, he said.

“What I’m saying is, this is not a plan that I think is going to get a blue ribbon,” Mr. Paterson said in a telephone interview. “But what it does is it solves the huge immediate problem of the anxiety and fear that commuters have over the shocking increase in fares and the prospect of widespread service cuts.”

If the rescue package were to pass now, Mr. Paterson said, he would try to get the Legislature to come up with more money later in the year to finance the authority’s five-year capital spending program as well as the state’s five-year highway and bridge construction program.

Click here for the complete report.

Now lets take a look at the report filed by Glenn Blain, Kenneth Lovett, & Samuel Goldsmith of the New York Daily News:

Gov. Paterson is demanding the Legislature vote on his proposed MTA bailout plan before day’s end on Tuesday to avoid a doomsday scenario for New York’s straphangers.

The governor presented a modified solution to the Senate Democrats’ bailout plan last week to avoid double-digit fare hikes and sweeping service cuts before the May 31 deadline.

Paterson’s frustration boiled up a day after Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver set another potential roadblock to the governor’s plan.

“It’s been 60 days of wrangling,” Paterson told the Daily News Saturday. “It’s time to take action.

“Clearly this [plan] helps level the fare increases and discontinue the MTA’s draconian service cuts,” Paterson said.

Click here for the complete report.

I for one can’t say I am surprised at the latest bickering in the feud between these 3 Albany bigwigs. As far as Sheldon Silver is concerned, I feel his point about setting a bad precedent has validity to it. Lets say his concern is not valid, can anyone legitimately say that this “new idea” of Gov. Paterson is the answer to long term funding solutions for the MTA?

Just take a minute & think about all these proposals that have come from Albany. When you do, start to do the math & see if it comes close to solving the long standing funding issues of the MTA. I can save you a ton of time by telling you that they fail miserably. So you now understand why I do not support the latest proposal & hope it fails to pass.

Last I check, the Ravitch Commission was supposed to come up with sustainable funding solutions for the MTA. While I felt the plan was a dud & failed to live up to its hype, it was by far the best solutions brought to the table. This is saying a lot considering how I found it left a lot to be desired.

Albany needs to come up with legitimate solutions to the problems they are mostly responsible for. Anything less & they will fail not only the MTA, its riding public, & constituents, but themselves as “so called leaders”.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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