That is one of the continuing themes of this blog. Over and over again those two words appear on CP, and get attention as they rise above any partisan division or human rancor that cloud the issues. Without a firm and established process in government, as in many areas of our daily lives, there is chaos.
I made a few waves over process while working with Representative Lary Swoboda, and know that regardless of the outcome I was right. There are always louder voices that will try to out-shout the good-government types, but I stand with those around the nation who know that it is not the end results that matter as much as the means which allowed for an outcome to be reached.
That all may be boring for many to ponder, but it is vitally important to our democracy that we all claim to embrace.
Be it in state capitols that dot this land, or in any family probate there is one thing that is crystal clear. Try and circumvent the required process and there is a legal mess. In the case of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and his changes to tax law there may be a political price to pay in future elections as opponents use his methods against him.
Wisconsin Governor Walker tried for a fast end-run around the political process when he sought to undermine and toss aside collective bargaining. It was a colossal mistake that very well may force him from public office in a recall election.
While there will be less blow-back against Governor Cuomo there is now a more clear picture of how that New York politician uses power and wields it in ways that makes many queasy.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo first notified the public that he wanted to revise New York’s income tax Sunday afternoon, with e-mail sent to the state’s newspapers, offering them an essay in which he mentioned “comprehensive reform of our tax code.”
Just two days later, the governor announcedthat he and legislative leaders had agreed on an overhaul of the income tax; that day, he summoned lawmakers back to Albany, and the next day, Wednesday, he invited them to a party before they had seen the measure or voted on it.
The remarkably rapid progress of the tax revisions — without a single public hearing or town-hall-style meeting — provided the most striking illustration to date of Mr. Cuomo’s policymaking strategy: information is tightly controlled, negotiations are carried out behind closed doors and the debate is limited to just a few people.
The tactics, derided by government watchdog groups and some lawmakers, have proved highly effective during Mr. Cuomo’s first year in office, as he has pushed, against long odds, to win passage of same-sex marriage, a property tax cap, a reworking of ethics rules and extensive budget cuts. And his efforts were rewarded again this week: The Senate voted, 55 to 0, to approve the tax code changes on Wednesday night, and the Assembly voted 132 to 8 in favor of the measure early Thursday morning.
“If you admire pure power politics and accomplishing things, which is what a leader does, you have to give the guy credit for the way he pulls these things off,” said David Grandeau, a former director of the state lobbying commission who now blogs about ethics in Albany.
“You can argue that it’s not good for democracy when we have things done this way,” he added, “but if you really want to be honest with yourself, the greatest form of government to accomplish things is a dictatorship. Democracy is a pain.”