State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. was not kidding about voting “No” on the budget extender.
In debate in the Senate Chamber this evening, Diaz made very clear he would not vote for an emergency bill that contains cuts, making it look like Democrats, with a slim control of the Senate, will need Republicans for every week until the budget is done.
Just in case anyone thought he wasn’t serious, Diaz reiterated his point – over and over.
“I said it last week, I’m not voting anymore. And people said, ‘Oh, he’s gonna vote, he’s going to vote,’” he declared. “Listen to me, ladies and gentlemen, I’m not voting for cuts. Not today and not next week.
“We’re at 62, I’m only one vote, so don’t put that on me. I’m a Democrat, as a Democrat, I will fight for services,” he continued. “I will not cut more benefits to the people that send me here, and I’m willing to take the consequences.”
His floor speech was full of other fun tidbits: He voted for last week’s budget a day after leaving the hospital, where he said Senate Democratic leader John Sampson came to see him, asking him to vote on the budget extender. (He also said Sampson calls him “Red.”)
“I said Senator, I’m here in the hospital, they haven’t even found out what I have yet,” Diaz said. “He told me, ‘Red, we need you Monday.’”
Diaz voted for those cuts, but this round apparently is too much (he said today’s vote is his wedding anniversary, incidentally).
Some of the typical revenue raisers that usually are too good to be true, and, even if true, would not go far enough to close the gap: collecting taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations, and buying pharmaceuticals from Canada.
“If it is not illegal for the city of Schenectady,” he said, referencing a city that buys drugs from up north, “it cannot be illegal for the state.”