By Thomas Libous
Last Monday, I handed up a Resolution changing the Leadership in the Senate to Senator Pedro Espada as Temporary President and Senator Dean Skelos as Vice President Pro Tempore and Majority Leader.
We passed this†Resolution with 32 votes because 30 Republican Senators and two Senators from the Democratic†side were fed up.†
Fed up that after five months of talk from downstate Democrat leaders about reforms, openness and fairness, nothing had been done.
A budget thatís unfair to upstate New York was negotiated secretly and then passed under their leadership. It eliminates STAR Rebate Checks, creates Empire Zone Reform that hurts our businesses and gives unequal resources to upstate for our road and bridge repair.
Under downstate leadership, legislation is being considered that would substantially raise the cost of doing business for farmers. Theyíre even considering a bill that would require you to keep your vehicle free of snow if itís accumulated more than an inch. Talk about unrealistic and out of touch with the needs of upstate New Yorkers like us.
When we elected new Leadership last week, we immediately adopted a Resolution to reform the Rules of the Senate so that it will operate much more fairly.
Our Temporary†President, Vice President Pro Tempore and Majority Leader are now limited to six-year terms.†
Committee Chairs are now limited to eight-year terms.†
All†Senators will have access to the resources and services of the Senate: supplies, print and media production, administrative services and mailing.
All†Senators will receive the same base allocation for staffing.
Senators can move to have their bills voted on by the Senate by a majority vote.
The feedback Iíve received so far about the leadership change has been refreshing. People are saying they feel hopeful now that we can get New York State back on track after five months of higher taxes, more fees and more regulations. The reforms we launched will make†the Senate a much fairer place and give all New Yorkers a stronger voice.†
But most importantly, we have to get back to the business of tax relief†and creating jobs.
Letís hope the progress we made last week isnít undone by the time you read this.