And rather than cut spending, they invent new fees, charges and surcharges so they can, as Sen. Little said, get "every nickle they can get" from the people.
Finally, as if the Senate coup over the summer that shut down state government didn't do enough to erase any shred of credibility the Legislature might have had left, former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno went and got himself convicted on federal fraud charges in a trial that exposed Albany's power-for-money culture. If Senator Little was optimistic about anything at the state capitol, it was that lawmakers would finally be forced to pass meaningful ethics reform. But maybe she was just looking for a ray of sunshine in a thunderstorm. But you know and we know that the state Legislature has about as much chance of passing meaningful ethics reform as Chuck Schumer has of getting an extra bag of peanuts on his next flight. We've seen it before. Once the fervor from the Bruno trial dies down, they'll slap a new coat of paint on the ethics rules and go back to business as usual. They just won't tell anybody.
But it's not just Albany that's taking the spice out of Sen. Little's eggnog these days. It's the fact that she knows that with a sparkle of effort, a dash of cooperation and a smidgen of common sense, a lot of government's problems on all levels could easily be resolved - today.
One of the Legislature's early cheerleaders for sharing services and making government more efficient, Little talks about her frustration about getting governments to cooperate with one another.
She tells a story of trying to get jail administrators and elected officials in Warren, Washington and Essex counties to work together on more efficient practices to help save money and fill empty jail cells. Even after getting the blessing of state corrections officials for some of her ideas, the locals found ways to reject them.
Same thing with county probation offices. She saw a way for Warren and Washington counties to jointly administer probation services when Washington County's director stepped down. While Warren County's highly respected director was willing to run both counties' programs, Washington County wanted no part of it.
So much for saving money there.
She talks of the state-mandated mentors for teachers. A former teacher herself, she remembers being mentored by more experienced fellow teachers. She didn't need a program, with an administrator and extra staff, to help her find her way. Why do teachers today?
She doesn't understand why small school districts can't share superintendents and administrative functions, why the local BOCES can't be used to coordinate teachers contracts and training, or why districts can't even be convinced to operate on the same school calendar and the same time schedule to help make distance learning classes more feasible.
To demonstrate the absurdity of existing regulations, she cites an example of how when a patient has a bad reaction to a certain medicine, nursing homes can return medicine paid for by private insurers. But when the medicine has been paid for by Medicaid, the nursing homes are forced by state law to discard it.
She seems to want to bang her head against the wall when she tries to convince local officials dissolving small villages would save taxpayers money through the elimination redundant government functions. "Do you really need a village of Chateaugay and a town of Chateaugay?" she asks. "Do you really need a village of Whitehall and a town of Whitehall?"
And don't even get her started on the state Liquor Authority or the APA.
Nonsensical mandates. Antiquated regulations. Unnecessary layers of government. A never-ending stream of fines, fees and taxes.
It's enough to make you want to take a golf club and smash out a car window.
If we keep thinking and acting the same way we always have with regard to government and government functions, we're only going to get more of the same. When are we going to get tired of this and do something different?
Will we ever?
Local editorials represent the opinion of The Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rick Emanuel, Editor Ken Tingley, Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney and citizen representative Bill Reynolds.