Eventually, cooler heads will prevail.
But until then, New Yorkers are left to endure the drama that has been unfolding in Albany since June 8, when the Senate was put into legislative deadlock after two dissident Democrats joined Republicans and voted the Democrats out of power. One of the Democrats later reversed himself, leaving the state Senate split 31 to 31.
"I'm always the optimist,'' said Assemblyman Bill Parment, D-North Harmony. "I'm sure they'll work it out. Over the years, when things go awry it always seems to follow the same format - there are dueling press releases and statements and fights, but most of it's hot air. Eventually, things get worked out and the business of the public gets done. That's how it always happens.''
Brocton Central School was previously given too much funds by the state Education Department. The department wants the extra funds returned, but school officials want additional time to pay the money back.
After a pause, Parment added: "But then again, we've never been faced with this particular wrinkle before.''
Control of the state Senate has been up for grabs for almost a month and the antics of both parties have been increasingly eyebrow-raising.
For example, Democrats on Wednesday entered the Senate chamber at dawn and guarded the rostrum in shifts in an effort to prevent Republicans from coming in and seizing control of the gavel. The doors were locked so the Republicans couldn't take procedural control.
"It has to end sometime,'' Parment said. "But until then, we're just going to be in limbo.''
Indeed. Parment said there are between 400 and 500 bills affected by the Senate's deadlock - all of which have passed through the Assembly and await consideration by the divided chamber.
"I'm guessing upwards of 50 of them are county sales tax bills - and those are pretty critical,'' he said. "There's probably a couple dozen bills that ratify and validate the actions of various school boards. They're a little less critical than the sales tax bills but still very important. And they're all effectively stuck for the time being.''
Three of the bills caught in limbo are very important for Chautauqua County, Parment said.
One such bill would keep the county's sales tax rate at 7.75 percent until Dec. 1, 2010, when it would decrease to 7.5 percent. If the Senate doesn't consider and pass that bill, Parment said, the county's sales tax would drop to 7 percent on Nov. 30.
Parment - who, for his part, is a fierce opponent of the sales tax - said he considers the bill a "good thing'' because it would reduce the tax. But he said county officials aren't in favor of it, since a decrease to 7.5 percent would mean a loss of about $3.5 million in county revenue.
Two other bills related to Chautauqua County are also in limbo because of the Senate's chaos, Parment said.
One bill would help the Brocton Central School District, which was given too much money by the state Education Department. Officials from the Education Department asked that the school system pay back the extra money, so BCSD officials sought the assistance of state legislators.
"Essentially, they want to be able to pay the money back over a period of time, as opposed to a lump sum, to ease the impact,'' Parment said.
The Fredonia Central School District has also sought the assistance of state legislators, Parment said. About 10 years ago, the district failed to file the last required report on a capital project it had completed, prompting Education Department officials to request the repayment of money they had dedicated to the project.
"They're waiting on the Senate,'' Parment said. "And the unfortunate thing is nobody knows when things will get straightened out.''