Yesterday, the day 3000 pages of budget bills hit state legislators’ desks in advance of a vote scheduled for only 48 hours later, the Times ran a story on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's unprecedented power in
It will take more than one or two individuals to loosen the Speaker's 15-year grip on the legislative process; the legislature needs the weight of an entire chamber to act as a countervailing force. A robust committee process, regular and substantive legislative analysis, and rules that protect the voices of rank-and-file members can all help ensure that the locus of power in the legislature lies with the body of representatives elected by
Now back to those budget bills. Speaker Silver has often touted the punctuality of his budgets, arguing that open budget negotiations might get in the way of meeting the state deadline. Looking around the country during budget season, it’s clear that this is a false tradeoff.