Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson has introduced a reform package that would eliminate political parties, implement term limits, eliminate pensions and require full disclosure of campaign finances. Photo by Gazette file.
April 29, 2013
Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, is asking the Legislature to "cut the crap" when it comes to corruption in politics.
The Hudson Valley senator announced his "Cut the Crap" reform package last week to "root out public corruption and rebuild public trust" following the arrests of Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Hollis, and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, D-Bronx.
The comprehensive reform package would eliminate political parties, implement term limits, eliminate pensions for employees convicted of crimes related to their offices and require full financial disclosure of campaign finances.
"If you really want to take down the culture of corruption you can't nibble at the edges," Ball said. "This package will permanently change politics as we know it."
The outspoken senator proposes to eliminate political party affiliations on the ballot. Candidates would have to collect a certain number of signatures from active voters to appear on the ballot and would run as individuals with no party affiliation. Voters and candidates would still be allowed to register for a party, but it would not be required.
Ball's reform would also impose a limit of three terms for an elected official in state government and limits for leadership positions and chairmanships in the Legislature.
According to a press release from the senator's office titled "Cut the crap, just reform it," when Ball was elected, he pledged to his constituents that he would limit himself to three terms. He left the Assembly after two terms and has reiterated his promise that he will not seek re-election beyond three terms in the state Senate.
The reform package "goes even further than the most recent reforms and fully closes a loophole in New York state's social security law." Under New York law, public employees still receive a state pension and retirement benefits even if they are convicted of a crime while serving public office.
"While the good government groups focus on the size of contributions, they are missing the real root of corruption," Ball said in his press release. The "Cut the Crap" reform would require full public disclosure of all campaign finances including reporting all outside income and personal assets. All donations made to a candidate will be required to be reported within 24-hours of the receipt.
"This package presents far reaching reforms that will comprehensively flip politics in New York state on its head," Ball said. "For that reason, while I have dubbed it the 'Cut the Crap' package, maybe it should be more aptly... named the 'Dead on Arrival' package. Let's admit up front that many elected officials and party leaders like the system the way it is now. That said, as a legislator, I must use my position to at least try to make a real difference."