There is a great riposte attributed to Karl Marx, a man who rather famously loathed all of his fellow socialists who pretended to emulate his self-acknowledged greatness. Observing the effort of the French socialist Proudhon to compile a comprehensive treatise of socialist theory, Marx remarked; "Proudhon seeks synthesis, but all he achieves is composite error."
It now appears that the state senate, looking for synthesis, is about to-if successful in its efforts to craft a compromise bill on congestion taxing-achieve composite error. If the report coming from the indefatigable Liz Benjamin is true, the senate has proposed a compromise that would sunset the "pilot" in three years, and create a new "congestion board" that would replace the SMART Authority that would have given the mayor complete control over all of the money.
All of which is lauded by Senator Marty Golden, a man we've known for over twenty years and, until now, have never known him to be as gullible as he is appearing on this issue. For him to call this a "great bill" is a slap in the face of his Bay Ridge constituents-and the rest of South Brooklyn as well. We can usually count on Golden to stand strong on tax subterfuges like the congestion plan, and can only wonder at what has prompted the about face.
In any case, the compromise is by no means a done deal, even with Malcolm Smith promising to deliver 12 votes from his caucus. The real question here, as Liz points out, is how many votes Bruno can deliver from the majority. And of course, where Shelly stands on the bill remains unknown.
Richard Brodsky, one of the mayor's staunchest critics in the assembly on the issue, told the Daily News that, "You never rule anything out...But the problem is the fundamental defects in the plan haven't been worked out." One being the fact that it is a $600 million a year tax (not including the residential parking fees that have yet to be set) that hasn't even been shown to be efficacious at accomplishing its main supposed goal: reducing congestion and pollution.
One final note here. The NY Sun is reporting that Speaker Quinn, silent on this issue up until now, will be stumping for the mayor's plan while he is away in California. It will be interesting to see how the Quinn-Weiner battle plays out in all of this; and if the Manhattan speaker, supporting a tax on Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island residents, will be able to resonate any kind of appeal outside of a rather narrow range of voters.