Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature are preparing for a grand finale to the legislative session that promises to dwarf next month’s Independence Day fireworks displays — unless all the big guns being loaded onto the stage the closing days prove to be duds.
Once again, the governor and legislative leaders have waited until the waning days of the session to get serious about grandiose plans, and are trying to push through more last-minute blockbusters than the rank and file can possibly wrap their brains around.
Leading the list is the second vote on a constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling. The latest wrinkle to the plan involves a bill by the governor that considerably narrows the possible sites for the first three of seven casinos.
But that’s not the only last-minute bill from the governor. He’s also going ahead with plans to create tax-free development zones near public colleges; publicly financed elections; and a women’s equality agenda, among other initiatives.
We support most of the governor’s legislation — the casino bill being the notable exception — but not his timing. With lawmakers scheduled to leave town June 20, come hell or high water, it leaves too little time to get these bills done right — with public debate, deliberation, etc. So they won’t get done at all, or they’ll get voted on without legislators knowing all the details, or the bills will be muscled through in the wee hours because some sweetener like a legislative pay raise got thrown in at the last minute.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: This is no way to do the people’s business. Deadlines are often arbitrary, and we see no reason why people who are already extremely well paid for part-time work can’t agree to stay on a few more days or weeks, and give taxpayers their money’s worth for a change.