Silver Explains Why People Like Their Legislators

ALBANY—After a poll this morning indicated 39 percent of voters consider New York's legislature to be "among the best" in the nation, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver again has harsh words for a report from N.Y.U.'s Brennan Center, which painted a more negative picture.

"The average voter is not clear on what the legislature does, they are clear on their individual legislator," Silver said on WGDJ Talk 1300. "I think the legislators respond to their constituents. Their constituents understand when, for 12 years, a Democratic legislator says, to George Pataki, 'No, you're not reducing taxes on millionaires, what about the working people?'"

"That's not dysfunction. That's representing constituencies and there's a fundamental philosophical difference that leads to that stalemate," he said. He did condemn editorial boards that "repeat the nonsense that the Brennan Center writes."

In addition to the 39 percent who ranked the legislature among the best, 36 percent said it was among the worst, seven percent said it was the worst and three percent felt it was the best.

Silver also was asked about the U.S. Senate seat, but offered reasonably even-handed praise for both Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Caroline Kennedy.

He also said he expects the Assembly to pass deficit reduction measures by early February to plug a $1.7 billion gap in this year's budget.