It’s as blue as can be
Every branch of state government came under Democratic control for the first time in a decade after Republicans lost their narrow state Senate majority in Tuesday’s elections.
Blue rule will affect a wide range of major issues, from taxes to rent regulation to health care to marijuana legalization, insiders said.
The last time Democrats were in complete control, in 2009 and 2010, proved to be a disaster. Lt. Gov. David Paterson became the accidental governor following Eliot Spitzer’s resignation in a hooker scandal as Democrats controlled the Assembly and had a one-seat majority in the Senate.
But the Democratic conference in the Senate was riven by ethnic and racial divisions. Amid the chaos, two Democrats — Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate — staged a coup and temporarily gave Republicans control. Monserrate then flipped again and the chamber was in a paralyzing 31-31 split.
The law giving New York City mayors authority to run the school system was allowed to lapse, forcing then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg and borough presidents to briefly reconstitute the notorious Board of Education.
A truce was reached that put Democrats back in control, but the damage was done.
As it turned out, four of the top Senate Democratic leaders — Malcolm Smith, John Sampson, Espada and Carl Kruger — were subsequently convicted of crimes. A fifth, Monserrate, was expelled after being convicted of domestic violence.
One of the eight Senate Democrats still in office since that debacle insists this time will be different.
“I don’t see my conference moving forward on massive new tax proposals,” said state Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan).
Democratic rule will be more hospitable to New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who’s had rocky relations with the Republican-led Senate. Krueger foresees extension of mayoral control of schools and expansion of school speed safety cameras next year.
She also said financing for mass transit and the New York City Housing Authority will be top priorities, as will stronger protections for rent-stabilized apartments. The state law governing rent regulations expires in June.
The big issues — taxation, health care and housing and education — will be more heavier lifts, insiders said.
Critics are skeptical that Democrats won’t revert to form.
“A leopard doesn’t change its spots,” said former Republican Sen. Al D’Amato.
D’Amato predicts a “disaster for the suburbs,” with the Democrats trying to reinstate a commuter tax, cut school aid to the wealthier communities and extend the millionaires’ tax after it expires in 2019.
But Krueger says such talk is a “scare tactic.”