June 30, 2009

POLISHING A BIGGER APPLE:

Rudy's Back! : As speculation builds about his campaign for governor, Rudy Giuliani tells The Daily Beast’s John Avlon how he’d tame the nation’s most dysfunctional legislature. Can America’s Mayor become New York’s Governor? (John Avlon, 6/30/09, Daily Beast)

In Albany, the inmates are running the asylum. The state senate is entering its fourth week of partisan lockdown, cementing its reputation as the most dysfunctional legislature in the nation. Mayor Bloomberg’s successful school reform program could expire mid-week if no action is taken. A recent poll showed that 20% of New Yorkers want to leave the state amid rising taxes, poverty and unemployment rates, and parallels to the bad old days of the 1970s. At least one guy’s not buying it: “Once you say something’s ungovernable,” Rudy Giuliani told me, “You remove accountability.” [...]

New Yorkers know Rudy Giuliani does best in a crisis. I’ve seen that up close, working with him in City Hall. And the Empire State is currently wrestling with two huge problems with long-term ramifications.

First, the mess in Albany, where corruption and scandal have left only one out of four statewide elected Albany officials where the voters put them less than three years ago. The serial dysfunction has hit tragi-comic proportions in recent weeks, with party defections and parliamentary games like one party turning out the lights while the other locks the legislative door and hides the key. Literally.

Second, the state economy is a mess: New York has lost 1.5 million people this decade and 195,000 private sector jobs in the past year. Upstate manufacturing jobs have declined by 24% and the only sector growing north of the Hudson River Valley is the government. In the face of the worst economic crisis in a generation, the Democrat-controlled legislature raised taxes by $8 billion and spending by an unprecedented 9 percent.

Some people see parallels to the shape of New York State today and the shape of New York City when Rudy ran for mayor.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 30, 2009 6:47 AM
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