The State Senate's Republican minority has perfected the "no" vote since January 2009. The 30-member conference - as a bloc - opposes all budget bills. But Sen. Kemp Hannon of Garden City defied his colleagues last month by voting for a measure directing school districts to use $300 million to cut property taxes. But Gov. David A. Paterson vetoed the money. Five Republicans signaled support even after Sen. John Flanagan of East Northport demolished it in debate. During the vote, however, when Minority Leader Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre turned and looked at them, all but Hannon put their hands up. "They've been lying about me in my district," said Hannon. "I figured this vote would stop them."
- James T. Madore