NY Senate Takes Hits as Bickering Continues
By Susan Barnett
Hudson Valley, NY –
Governor David Paterson was in Ulster County today to announce state grants encouraging regional cooperation. But the lack of cooperation in Albany is still holding center stage. Hudson Valley bureau chief Susan Barnett reports.
**Following the report is the full audio of the governor's question and answer session with reporters**
The governor traveled to Kingston with secretary of state Lorraine Cortez Vasquez to announce a million dollars in state funds for programs promoting consolidation of services. Ulster County gets almost 500 thousand dollars to automate its government vehicle locator system...while Millbrook in Dutchess County gets 600 thousand dollars to combine water and sewer systems with the town of Washington. Ulster County Executive Michael Hein came to office promising to emphasize consolidation of services...and the governor praised him as being a leader in that effort. The governor signed the local government consolidation bill last week. He admits New York has not been a model in governmental efficiency.
But first the Senate has to settle its bickering. And Paterson is out of patience. At the very least, he wants them to get the renewals for county sales taxes passed.
The only news from Hudson Valley Senators today is a column written by Senator Steve Saland praising the quadricentennial celebration. Governor Paterson says he has tried to speak individually to senators urging them to pressure their leadership to come to an agreement. Just one senator moving in either direction would break the deadlock.
The governor is preparing to start a state tour pushing for an end to the Senate shutdown. And until that happens, Ulster County will be seeing this latest state grant as not just funding for a consolidation program, but a way to offset the millions it will lose in sales tax money that wasn't renewed in the legislature.