Latest Senate Proposal Has Been Amended

The confidence once exuded by State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has evaporated. The 32 votes he seemed so confident in getting clearly looked to be a figment of his imagination as the support was clearly not there. His latest proposal has been trashed by all sides. I happen to agree with the piece by Bill Hammond in today’s New York Daily News. He accurately notes how Malcolm’s latest plan has been “stinking up the place”. Here is more:

That smell at the state Capitol was Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith’s latest proposal for bailing out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority stinking up the place.

It was the latest in a series of rotten eggs laid by the Queens Democrat, whose rookie year in a high-stakes job has been a series of disappointments.

Yesterday, virtually nobody in Albany was willing to defend the key provision of Smith’s MTA plan – a $1 surcharge on cab rides, with half the money leaving New York City to pay for roads and bridges upstate and on Long Island.

And no wonder. City taxpayers already carry more than their share of the load in this state, sending Albany $11 billion more in taxes than they get back in benefits. Asking cabbies and their passengers to shell out even more would only make things worse.

On top of that, Smith’s plan would still leave the MTA well short of the cash it needs to avoid a painful 30% fare hike and devastating service cutbacks.

Smith doesn’t even seem to have the votes for passage. The taxi tax was supposed to buy him support outside the city, but so far nobody has bitten. Two Democrats from Long Island are still threatening to vote no because the plan includes a payroll tax on employers throughout the MTA service area.

Click here for the complete report.

Any logical person who understands the MTA’s financial situation knows that all of the Senate’s proposals fail to address the problems at hand. This is not stopping Albany from attempting to push forward with the latest proposal. Earlier today the bill was amended & effectively started the process to get it to the chamber for a vote. Jimmy Vielkind of Politicker NY, who has done a great job staying on top of this crisis, has more in this report:

Majority Leader Malcolm Smith’s M.T.A. bailout bill has now been amended—the changes are mainly technical—it most likely must “age” another three days before the chamber can vote on the it. That’s one hurdle, but the legislation has a much bigger obstacle ahead: Smith doesn’t appear to have 32 votes to actually pass the measure.

The bill was voted out of the Finance Committee along party lines, and not before Republicans were able to voice more criticism of the bailout package.

One, State Senator Bill Larkin, called it “bullshit.”

State Senator Carl Kruger, who chairs the Finance Committee, emphasized that the bill will likely be further amended. “This is the first step in a process, not the end of the road,” he said. “This is not the end, this is only the beginning.”

Click here for the complete report.

Thank you Senator Larking for using the most accurate word to describe this proposal. Honestly, the word could be use for every single proposal that has come from Albany during this entire process. Not one of the Senate’s proposals has correctly addressed the MTA’s problems by creating long term sustainable funding solutions. Everything that has come from Albany has been stop-gap measures which will lead the MTA right back to the collapsing cliff that they currently occupy.

How much bad news does Albany need to hear before they get it or show that really care about the riding public? There is no magical solution that will cure these problems. I can’t say enough on how vital it is for Albany to create viable & sustainable long term funding solutions. The best proposals will not please everyone but to any logical person, that was not possible to begin with & should not matter. The clear objective is to fairly spread the burden across everyone as a properly funded transit system benefits everyone even if you don’t use it personally. This is not an assumption but an actual fact.

Albany is on the clock, what will they do? The lives of millions are in the balance & it is up to Albany to get this right. There will be no do-overs here……..

xoxo Transit Blogger

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