WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York
The Six Million Dollar Real-Estate Man
What you should know is today is the last day of the legislative session in Albany.
Today is the day for the last-minute deal-making, when poor people – who cannot afford high-priced lobbyists – usually end up paying the price for special interest deals.
Today is the day when “big ugly” packages of legislation, traded for campaign cash, usually get passed with messages of necessity from the Governor.
You should know a message of necessity allows the Governor to bypass the constitutional requirement to allow bills to age three days before a vote. This happens so the press and the legislators themselves don’t have time to read the bills, and the three men in the room laugh all the way to the bank.
But what you should know, dear reader, is that THIS year, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will NOT issue messages of necessity to the legislature for any bills. Over the past two weeks, he has done many interviews, and as recently as two days ago said he would not allow the legislature to sneak bills through at the last minute.
Now it looks like he’s not going to keep this latest promise.
Because this afternoon, there is a report in Newsday of a potential deal to pass a package of bills to take care of the NYC real estate industry, and in the article, Senator Martin Golden, a landlord himself, is requesting a message of necessity from the Governor. And the Governor has agreed.
You should know, dear reader, that the Real Estate Board of New York, also known as REBNY, is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in New York State.
You should also know that REBNY is one of the biggest contributors to the Governor’s Committee to Sell – I mean Save – New York.
You should know REBNY members contributed at least $6,000,000 to the Committee to Sell – I mean Save – New York.
So it’s no surprise there is a big special interest package passing at the very last minute because REBNY – and by extension – the Committee to Sell, - I mean Save – New York, wants it.
What’s also interesting is this bill is just like the budget. In March, the Governor held a press conference with Senator Skelos and Speaker Silver congratulating themselves for passing an on-time budget before the vote. This time, the Governor, Senator Skelos and Speaker Silver held a press conference congratulating themselves for making political history before they finished the legislative agenda.
We all learned as children that actions speak louder than words. This latest broken promise only confirms what many already suspect – if you want something done in Albany, join the Committee to Sell – I mean – Save New York. And Governor Andrew Cuomo is the Six Million Dollar Real Estate Man.
I am State Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.