Governor Spitzer’s radical DMV policy has met stiff opposition from the Legislature, county clerks, experts on immigration and national security and the vast majority of New Yorkers. According to a recent Siena College poll, 72 percent of New Yorkers disagree with the governor’s plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and potential terrorists.
In response to the opposition for his plan, the governor has labeled his critics “right-wingers and fear mongers.” When name-calling did not silence his detractors, the governor switched tactics and moved onto a more heavy-handed approach designed to intimidate opponents of his reckless proposal.
The first act of retribution came against the state’s county clerks, when the governor threatened to sue any county clerk who did not enact his DMV policy. When my colleagues and I came to the defense of county clerks, by proposing the County Clerks Protection Act, the governor turned his vengeance on us.
Earlier this week, the governor’s office reversed its pledge to fund member-item grants for Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco’s (R,I,C-Saratoga-Schenectady) district. A large portion of the funds were slated to provide needed revenue for a clinic that would provide free health care to low-income children and families without insurance.
Now, the governor is going after more of his political opponents by stripping over $740,000 in member-item funding from the Assembly Minority Conference including $5,000 from my district, which included a $2,000 grant for the Otetiana Council, funding for Boy Scout Troop 195. The governor’s office rejected the notion that the cancellation of member-item money was done in retaliation and claimed that the governor is only trying to get state spending under control.
This is laughable, especially coming from a governor whose proposed state budget was a whopping $120.6 billion, a 6.3 percent increase over last year’s budget, and more than double the rate of inflation. If the governor is serious about reducing spending, my colleagues and I have a number of proposals that would reduce spending without punishing charitable organizations that provide funding for children.
Governor Spitzer must be under the illusion that he can steamroll any opponent of his policies through retribution. Well, I have news for the governor, the Assembly Minority Conference will not back down on this issue, and I will continue to voice my dissent of the governor’s plan. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.