How New York Could Benefit From Line Item Veto
by Anthony Stasi
Jul 13, 2010 | 7162 views | 0 0 comments | 682 682 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 1996 Line Item Veto Act, passed by a Republican congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, allowed the president to strike certain budget items from a proposed budget – trim the pork, if you will. Deemed unconstitutional in 1998 by the Supreme Court, a new bill has been tossed around for four years in Washington.

A new Line Item Veto bill would allow the president to check off items that he wants struck out of the budget. After he marks it up, the budget goes back to congress where it votes not on the entire budget, but on the items the president checks off as unnecessary. Congress would then vote a quick "yes" or "no" on each item. It is constitutional because it does not make the president a legislator, but instead a…suggester? This is supported by the current president - as well as the last president - and it merits serious consideration.

This might be the kind of line item veto legislation that could help Albany as well. New York has a version of the line item veto, but the veto as a tool can be polarizing. If the governor could mark off parts of the budget and ask the state house to vote yes or no and return the budget, the process may be more congenial and it might move the process along faster. If you are not sure about legislation like this, take a look at the people that are opposed to it.

Former Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia was against it. Byrd was also against most balanced budget legislation. Now consider West Virginia gets more federal money than all East Coast states. The fact is that politicians that defend pork barrel spending are often not supportive of these measures, which is why you should be.

Now Batting, For The Yankees...

I spent long summer nights as a college student in Yankee Stadium, sitting in section 23 between the right field foul pole and first base. They were good seats, and there were few other things that could be categorized as good back then. Eddie Layton piped in all of the stadium's music, and I once sat next to him at his piano while he was playing. Robert Merrill, the great opera singer, delivered the national anthem before most games. And the public address man for 56 years was Bob Sheppard.

Young Yankee fans have not really experienced long droughts, like the fans in did between 1965 and 1975 and then in the 1980s. Back then, we went to see the Yankees because we thought they would break out at any moment. There were fun players (like Steve Balboni) and false hopes (like Brien Taylor). And then there was the only reason to be optimistic: Don Mattingly. But no matter how bad a season was, the Stadium was a cathedral, and it was Layton, Merrill, and Sheppard that made it that way.

Sheppard, who died last week at 99 years old, was the stadium announcer. I remember the game when I first heard one of his replacements, and all I could do was look to my right and then my left to see what other fans might be thinking. It was strange.

Sheppard also taught speech at St. John’s University. When a friend was called on to answer a question in Sheppard’s class, hearing his name roll out of Sheppard’s pipes, he was floored. That voice was reserved for introducing names like Reggie Jackson, Lou Pinella, and Alvaro Espinoza (Sheppard’s favorite name). We would go to St. John’s games just to hear him do the public address.

Sheppard was one of those rare institutions that made New York City a small town. We all knew him. We all talked about him. The city got smaller because of traditions like his public address work.

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