Ruben Diaz, Sr. Still Bending Over Backwards for Suburban Drivers

Last night, shortly after Pedro Espada secured his $41,000 majority leader perk, the State Senate returned to the business of legislating. Liz Benjamin has several posts today explaining what that looked like. In less than 24 hours, the chamber passed 135 bills. It could have passed 136, but Bronx Democrat Ruben Diaz, Sr. sided against his party and killed a measure to stiffen penalties for traffic violations on Long Island:

Diaz Sr. raised eyebrows when he crossed the aisle to join the GOP in voting against a bill that would have established a mandatory surcharge for traffic offenses and infractions in Suffolk and Nassau counties.

It was not immediately evident why the Bronx Democrat would care enough about such a parochial suburban issue to buck his own conference. His move created a 31-31 tie, and since Richard Ravitch is not yet presiding over the chamber (and probably couldn’t have legally cast the stalemate-breaking vote, anyway), Sen. Malcolm Smith decided to take the bill off the floor.

The reason Diaz stalled the bill? He wanted to cajole Republicans into opposing an increase to New York City’s sales tax. Of course, the ploy, if you can call it that, didn’t work at all. The sales tax coasted to passage in a 43-19 vote (so much for avoiding taxes on hard-working New Yorkers). But rest easy, Nassau and Suffolk drivers: Ruben Diaz, Sr. has got you covered, again.

  • I thought the Senate was much more effective when they were meeting for one minute a day and were incapable of accomplishing anything. Not doing something bad is almost like doing something good, right?

  • Eric, I agree 100%. It was much better before yesterday. Now all we have to look forward to is opening our wallets wider, and more inane, do-nothing ‘vice’ regulations.

    PS. Is no one willing to admit that Diaz is right (for once)? The sales tax is the most regressive tax there is.

  • Adam

    What’s the status for candidates opposing these corrupt hotshots?

  • Larry Littlefield

    You miss the main point here. Populist Democrats against taxes, and to hell with the consequences for public services. Because no one wants to take responsibility for paying for them, because from now on they will be a ripoff — all the money goes to debts, pensions, senior citizens, nothing anyone can see.

    Well have unemployed workers in the gutter in two years, with the tax man coming around to force them to pay money so affluent seniors can get their tax free muni bonds paid, and former government workers who retired in their 50s can continue to receive their tax-free pensions.

    Just remember who didn’t pay a dime to bail out the MTA. Non workers.

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