Congestion Tax Bill Stalled: A Victory for the Outer Boros – By George J. Marlin
The old silver fox, Speaker Shelly, has done it again. To protect his outer boro members, he tossed the Congestion Tax Bill to the New York City Council.
By demanding passage of a home rule bill that officially requests state approval of the tax, the Speaker forces City legislators to take a public stand on the issue.
This will pose a dilemma for term-limited council members who are contemplating primary challenges to their local assemblyman or senator. If they vote yea on the home rule bill and the State Legislature never acts on it, their pro-tax vote will be used against them in a primary battle.
Speaker Silver’s delay tactic also stifled action in the Senate. While Majority Leader Joe Bruno was prepared to bring the Bloomberg Tax Bill to the floor, Senate Democrats got cold feet and opposed the move.
Why? Minority Leader Malcolm Smith and his fellow Senate Democrats did not want to cast a pro-tax vote without cover from the Assembly.
The outcome is a small victory for taxpayers. Unlike tin-eared Manhattanites Governor Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg, who believe that their blessing of this public policy measure should be enough to guarantee legislative passage, Assembly members were actually listening to the pleas of their overtaxed constituents.
Yesterday was a bad day for New York elitists – the democratic process actually worked.