State Senate Democrats are reaching across the aisle to buttress their scant 32-30 majority by inviting several Republicans into a governing coalition. If it succeeds, this effort could vest Albany with greater stability and effectiveness.
A bipartisan Senate coalition could end the paralysis and dysfunction. It could also improve the chances of needed legislation and wrest agenda-setting power from rogue senators who threaten to switch loyalties.
Senate Republicans tried to form a coalition last June with two unsavory Democrats: girlfriend-assaulter Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) and campaign-finance scofflaw Sen. Pedro Espada (D-Bronx). The alliance didn't hold, and the result was a 31-31 stalemate for nearly five weeks. Many important initiatives were lost. Smart governing in the coming year will be vital for New York to survive the economic upheaval.
Senators must do better. This week, Senate Majority Leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) met with his Republican counterpart, Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), before offering committee chairmanships to several GOPers from upstate. Those senators are wavering. And we're concerned about Buffalo billionaire Tom Golisano's role - senators must not allow one individual's agenda, or their concerns for re-election, to dominate. Recent polls show that voters have awakened to the Senate's inability to function. Getting work done might be the best way to keep their jobs. hN