It’s disheartening to see that things haven’t changed in Albany.

Federal stimulus dollars — $24.6 billion over two years — are flying toward New York and lawmakers are already bickering over how to spend them.

In the guise of being fair to all areas of the state, lawmakers rushed to the table to carve out their concerns. As the spending was detailed, lobbyists and state legislators staked out positions and concerns at a banquet where pork is all that was served.

Gov. David Paterson, the man at the helm, is leading a sinking vessel.

“We’re in an emergency, we’re in a crisis,” Paterson said. “One of the things that is disturbing me about a lot of people right now is they acknowledge that we are in a crisis in the academic sense, but then when you try to respond to the crisis, you start hearing regional and political interests.”

Listening to Paterson is like listening to a parent scold a child publicly. The child just doesn’t get it. That’s how our lawmakers are responding to an economic crisis where New York state is teetering on the brink of insolvency.

Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos claims the governor is “totally wrong.”

Paterson’s staff is trying to meet strict federal guidelines and deadlines for using the aid on job-creating public works projects, some of which must be ready to go in as little as 120 days.

The governor warns that the Obama administration won’t allow pork-barrel projects and New York will lose federal funding if projects don’t meet the strict federal criteria and deadlines.

Paterson is right to worry. The Legislature has a record of taking months, even years on some policy deliberations and at one time famously had late state budgets for 20 straight years with previous governors.

Perhaps, instead of paying lawmakers to sit on committees, we should pay them to take classes in good government and economics.

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