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Government Dysfunction Is Good For Somebody -- Lawyers

The New York State Senate is in turmoil and right now is incapable of functioning. After one Democrat Senator voted with the Republicans to restructure the leadership the Senate has been split 50-50 between the two parties. Because the old Lieutenant Governor, David Paterson, is now the Governor due to Elliot Spitzer sexual peccadilloes there is not a tie breaking vote. This means that the dispute has moved to courts and public relations. The Senate has not conducted any business in a few weeks.

One group that is making money is the lawyers. Both parties as well as the state are involved in several lawsuits and disputes over the split. In some cases lawyers have been in the Chamber itself as arguments and fighting have broken at out at various times. In these kind of cases the state normally pays these legal fees but as of now the two sides have used campaign funds or pro bono work. Eventually of course there will be some money changing hands if the disputes continue.

The lack of progress in the Senate of state business is starting to effect the government as a whole. The Cit of Yonkers for one is faced with bankruptcy because its budget must be certified by the state. This requires bills passed through the Senate, and right now that cannot happen. The City of New York froze hiring as they have not received all of the funds from the state expected due to the impasse.

Like many of these disputes in past U.S. history - Bush/Gore comes to mind - there will be lots of legal fees paid in the end. The taxpayer on the other hand will suffer quite a bit as necessary work is not completed or services provided. There is hope that soon the two sides will come together and resolve the power sharing of the Senate when there is no majority or minority.