Albany's rent paralysis

Editorial, The New York Post
NY Post, May 22, 1997

Albany's inability to move beyond the matter of New York City rent regulation and attend to other issues is raising hackles in odd corners. On Tuesday -- while a couple of thousand city tenants massed in the state capital in support of rent control -- Assembly Majority Leader Michael Bragman publicly pointed out the obvious: "We cannot allow to continue to monopolize the state government."

No fooling.

One month and 22 days after last year's state budget expired, serious negotiations on a new spending plan have yet to begin. Property-tax reform is up in the air. Ditto welfare reform, energy-rate reduction, a variety of economic development proposals and the matter of mandatory minimum prison terms for first-time violent felons. Among other things.

Bragman -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's principal deputy -- is a Syracuse Democrat of relatively moderate sensibilities. He's also attuned to the concerns of the 36 (of 97) Assembly Democrats who do not hail from New York City.

Taken purely in political terms, Bragman's restiveness is extraordinary (look for Silver to slap his deputy's hand at the first opportunity). But his words do reflect the sentiments of many of the 5.5 million city dwellers who don't benefit from rent control -- to say nothing of the 10 million suburbanites and upstaters with other things on their minds.

Silver's responsibilities extend to them as well. Will he ever recognize this?

Copyright ©1997, N.Y.P. Holdings Inc.