No Paychecks For NY Senators

New York state Controller Thomas DiNapoli has come through on his promise to withhold the paychecks of our do-nothing state Senate.

Senators, can you spare a dime? Thirty-one days into their stalemate, do-nothing warring state senators are having their salaries withheld Wednesday – for the first time since the infamous June 8 Republican-led coup. State Controller Thomas DiNapoli last week ordered the biweekly paychecks of all 62 senators held until the Senate wraps up its fight. Wednesday is the first payday since the order. Payroll for 62 senators amounts to some $190,000 – or $3,049 per senator, every two weeks. “The controller didn’t want to interject his office in what’s an internal dispute, but he just felt he couldn’t continue to process payroll as if everything was normal,” DiNapoli spokesman Dennis Tompkins said.

DiNapoli has also refused to process over $1.5M in expense reports.

UPDATE: Gov. Paterson is asking for airtime on all NY stations at 5pm today, when he is expected to announce the appointment of a Lt. Governor is order to break the Senate deadlock. Paterson’s plan is already meeting opposition.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo rejected the lieutenant-governor proposal Monday that was pitched by good-government groups, saying it would be unconstitutional. But even with Cuomo’s decision, Paterson said he would review the idea. The state has been without a lieutenant governor since Paterson left the position in March 2008 to succeed Eliot Spitzer, who resigned amid links to a prostitution sting.

Already, Republicans are warning Paterson that they would go to court to block him from naming a lieutenant governor. Cuomo, who is speculated to be interested in running for governor himself next year, and Republicans have argued that the state constitution doesn’t allow the governor to appoint a lieutenant governor when there is a vacancy. “I think it’s absolutely wrong,” Sen. Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said on Albany radio station Talk 1300-AM. Skelos added, “I just think this is another desperate and quite frankly sad stunt on the part of the governor to try to get attention and to try to show that he’s a leader.”