Even after agreeing to a huge pay rise for themselves, New York state lawmakers won’t be returning to Albany for a special session — although the need is obvious.
Yes, the New York Legislature has always been “part-time,” hence the traditional end of the June session.
And we usually breathe a sigh of relief when lawmakers leave, knowing full well that the damage for the year has been done.
But then there’s that pay rise: They’re all now earning six-figure full-time salaries — after voting for a 29% increase to $142,000 last December in a special session.
And the need for action is obvious.
Start making criminal justice corrections.
One in ten victims of the city’s shooting last year was under the age of 18, as were an unimaginably large number of perpetrators.
Nationally, violent crime remains well above pre-pandemic levels.
Shoplifting is still an epidemic and is causing retail stores to be killed across the city And risk to workers.
But Albany won’t fix Raise the Age, the no-bail law, or any other recently botched “reform.”
Then there is living space.
Lawmakers made no move in June for failing to implement Gov. Kathy Hochul’s ambitious plan or even offer an alternative.
Most importantly, years after the city’s 421 affordable housing tax break expired, lawmakers have failed to pass a replacement: leftists hate it because it spares large builders penalty taxation for new residential construction.
The problem is that builders just don’t build without a chance to make a profit.
The number of new planning applications in New York has meanwhile fallen sharply.
Manhattan saw only 21 building permits submitted mid-year, a record low since 2010 – and only 13 for multi-family housing projects. Citywide there were just over 100.
July saw NO New apartment buildings are fine for Manhattan, but only 10 small buildings across the city.
And all while market rents are skyrocketing should spur construction.
But parliamentarians won’t talk about a return to housing until January, when they hope to beef up Hochul’s plan with more special provisions favoring unions and tenants who already own a home.
Lawmakers won’t be coming back to deal with the failed legal cannabis market either.
Says the speaker of the congregation, Carl Heastie no dice at a special session to codify regulations for the legal cannabis industry in New York, despite an injunction halting the issuance of new licenses and the opening of new marijuana stores.
It appears that the gray and black marijuana markets continue to roll.
Many other issues require urgent action, most notably the refugee crisis.
Again, these are now the nation’s highest paid State legislators, but the only thing that keeps them enacting state laws for more than half a year is their own, most selfish interests.
Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who serve as gatekeepers to each special session, are clearly following the will of their Democratic members.
That alone is reason enough to vote out every Democratic MP in sight at the earliest opportunity.