Off all the allegations of wrongdoing laid upon current New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, there may be one—perfectly legal act—that the New York Daily News considers his greatest betrayal of his constituents' trust.
Given all of the missed opportunities to expand or improve the city's infrastructure these last sixteen years, that $10 billion could have gone a long way.In 1999, he committed a dastardly crime against the 8 million people who live in the five boroughs — and they are still suffering the consequence.
Republican George Pataki was governor. Republican Joe Bruno was Senate majority leader. Competing for suburban votes, they sought repeal of the so-called commuter tax, a minuscule 0.45% levy on income for out-of-towners working in the city.The tax was a farsighted legacy from the Rockefeller years that recognized that the city was essential to the economic health of the region. The Democratic-controlled Assembly, dominated by city members, had always been the bulwark against repeal.Betraying his constituents and pandering to the suburbs, Silver this time said yes. And the accumulated losses to the city treasury now top $10 billion.