Updated 06/10/2008 09:43 PM
What is New York doing for its residents?
NEW YORK STATE -- The only thing that could be worse than the state's current economic crisis, soaring energy costs, foreclosure woes and crushing property tax issues is if lawmakers do nothing about it and according to the watchdogs, so far, that seems to be the case.
“What's different about this year are the public statements of leading Senate and Assembly members who are saying 'We just want to get out of here.' It looks like at this relatively early but still late day in June, that lawmakers may not accomplish a whole lot," said Blair Horner.
On Tuesday, the Senate was back in session, but not the assembly. Majority Leader Joe Bruno says talks are underway, but confirmed Horner's concerns.
"It's going okay, but slower than it ought to," Bruno said.
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That's not what groups urging lawmakers to pass legislation want to hear, including one who rallied in Albany Tuesday seeking some type relief for struggling homeowners.
"There are too many people right now losing their homes for the state Senate to be sitting back doing absolutely nothing," said Tunisha Walker, ACORN Political Director.
The assembly has passed a foreclosure moratorium bill, but the Senate has not. Bruno says the senate is working on sub-prime legislation.
"We have been working three ways with the governor, with the speaker, trying to get a result, I hope we can get one fairly soon," Bruno said.
Another major issue is property taxes. The governor has proposed a school property tax cap, as recommended by his commission. Neither Bruno nor Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver support the legislation and on Tuesday, powerful labor and teachers unions joined forces to fight the cap.
"There are great inequities right now between wealthy districts and poorer districts and putting this cap in place right now would simply institutionalize those glaring inequities," said Ron Deutsch, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness Executive Director.
Tom Suozzi, Chair of the Property Tax Commission, says high property taxes are an issue lawmakers can't ignore, especially during an election year. He says those opposing the legislation are simply afraid of change.
"People are leaving New York State because the property taxes are too high,” Suozzi said. “If we keep on doing the same thing, people's property taxes will keep on going up, so that's not gonna work."
Legislative leaders are meeting and negotiating some outstanding issues, but it's all happening behind closed doors. The Assembly is back in session Wednesday and the session ends June 23rd.