Sunday, August 19, 2007

Day 421-a, everything changes? Spitzer slammed for closed-door negotiation

Gov. Eliot Spitzer gets slammed in the August 20 issue of the conservative Weekly Standard, in an article headlined Troopergate, New York-Style: Eliot Spitzer's character problem, by New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin and historian Fred Siegel.

Beyond the current scandal regarding the administration's attempt to discredit Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, the authors detail a disturbing pattern of Spitzer using family money to fund his campaigns and his lifestyle, without disclosing it.

And, they point out, Spitzer's ethical record as governor is hardly sterling:
The result was gridlock, familiar ground in Albany, but one of the things Spitzer had promised to fix. His campaign motto was "Day One, Everything Changes," and he had cited secret negotiations, higher taxes, and unchecked spending as targets for his new administration. Yet it was already clear that Spitzer no longer saw those practices as problems. His first budget, despite repeated promises not to raise taxes, did just that. He increased spending by close to 8 percent--nearly triple the rate of inflation.

Perhaps most troubling, he continued the discredited practice of meeting with legislative leaders in private to make secret deals on laws and spending. When Michael Goodwin confronted Spitzer by noting that not a single public hearing had been held on any major issue before the deals were cut, Spitzer responded icily. "I'm the governor of the state," he said. "I'll be Lyndon Johnson. I'll craft the deals and I'll get the job done. You will write and I will do. That's why you're there and I'm here."


Spitzer has made some progress, but the "compromise" on the revision of the 421-a tax break, which left a significant "Atlantic Yards carve-out" for Forest City Ratner, certainly didn't happen in public.

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