Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 20, 2013

Cuomo: Legislative bills get in the way

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Cuomo's spokesmen declined to comment for this story.

Withholding the specifics of bills works for politicians, who can later claim they supported popular aspects of the law and opposed unpopular ones, without revealing provisions that could have made for a better health program, school directive or government ethics reform. It also makes it easier to carry out the notorious horse trading of unrelated issues.

Voters won't know the truth because of a bond by governors and Senate and Assembly leaders not to divulge the closed-door negotiations.

"It's the kind of thing a benevolent dictator would prefer," said good-government advocate Michael Benjamin, a former Democratic assemblyman from the Bronx. "Yes, we will criticize (a bill), but that's the process. Government isn't playing poker. ... This is the kind of thing that leads to backroom dealing."

Others say Cuomo simply spoke the truth of Albany today, despite all the politicians' assertions that dysfunction is a thing of the past.

"It's too much of a truth for him to be joking," said professor Doug Muzzio, a political scientist at Baruch College.

"Democracy is slow, sloppy and sometimes totally ineffective," Muzzio, with a nod to Albany's former and infamous dysfunction and Washington's current gridlock. "If you want to be effective, you have to work within the democratic restrictions, but you have to push it."

"Prior to Cuomo, you had both process and product dysfunction," Muzzio said. "Now at least you provide product."

Cuomo also hasn't released his bill on promised election reform that may or may not include the public financing of campaigns he has promised Democratic supporters.

Also unseen is a bill on a centerpiece of his Jan. 9 State of the State speech, which most political observers said was a liberal turn to position himself for a 2016 presidential run. In the speech, he appeared to call for expansion of abortion with a rallying cry repeated three times: "Because it's her body, it's her choice!"

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