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Editorial: After failure of Con-Con, Albany must now deliver

Editorial: After failure of Con-Con, Albany must now deliver

Unable to hide behind constitutional convention, legislators, governor are on the spot to make changes
Editorial: After failure of Con-Con, Albany must now deliver
A lawn sign urges voters to reject a ballot referendum calling for a state constitutional convention.
Photographer: Ryan Christopher Jones/The New York Times

Albany politicians might be breathing a big sigh of relief after voters overwhelmingly crashed a proposal on Tuesday to hold a constitutional convention.

There won’t be any ethics reform, campaign finance reform or term limits coming from this convention. The comfy perks are safe for now. Phew!

Voters, by a margin of 82-16 percent,  weren’t fooled by the prospect of convention, which would have been fueled by special interests and was offered to voters with no agenda, budget limit or timetable.

RELATED: Local voters crush constitutional convention proposal

But our representatives at the state capitol shouldn’t get too comfortable. Just because they shot this mechanism for change down doesn’t mean they don’t want and expect improvements.

Voters proved Tuesday that they supported changes to address corruption and government inefficiency — passing two state constitutional amendments, one taking pensions away from public officials convicted of felonies and another streamlining infrastructure projects in the Adirondacks and Catskills with the creation of a land-exchange bank.

Rather than set our state lawmakers and the governor at ease, Tuesday’s outcome should put them on notice that the voters now expect them, and only them, to do the job they were elected to do.

In less than a year, the governor and the entire state Legislature will be on the ballot.

If nothing changes between now and then when it comes to taxes, spending, economic development, infrastructure repairs, the business climate education and ethics, disgruntled voters may just fill in the little circle for someone else.

Tuesday night’s elections, both locally and nationally, reinforced the fact that voters are willing to upset the status quo.

In Niskayuna, the longtime town supervisor was booted in favor of a newcomer who had never held political office. In Gloversville, the two-term mayor was sent packing by a local firefighter.

In Saratoga Springs, voters are close to replacing their entire form of government for one more responsive to their needs.

While incumbents still have a strong advantage during their re-election bids (one of the reasons why changes need to be made), they no longer can rely solely on name recognition to protect them.

More and more, voters are demanding achievement or else they’ve demonstrated they’ll find someone else.

With the governor and state lawmakers not able to hide behind the potential reforms a constitutional convention might have brought, the spotlight is pointed directly on them.

If they don’t do what New Yorkers expect of them in the next 12 months, they very well could be the next ones to crash on Election Day.

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