Kumquats, peanut brittle, vampires and the New York state budget


What do state senators discuss when they vote on budget bills in the wee hours of the morning? Vampires, peanut brittle and kumquats, if the early Wednesday debate serves as an example.

Fruit and Dracula-related metaphors were plentiful late Tuesday and early Wednesday, as the state Senate debated for seven hours on the merits of a $135 billion spending plan they ended up approving around 4:30 a.m.

Freshman Sen. Terry Gipson got things started early, repeatedly dubbing the budget a “vampire bill” because the Senate had taken it up in the middle of the night. The Rhinebeck Democrat has sponsored a bill that would prohibit such late-night votes, which he pushed several times throughout the debate.

The metaphor mania really got going after 1 a.m. when Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye, rose to speak about the education, labor, housing and family assistance portion of the budget. He used the image of a Christmas gift basket to make the case against the state’s system for voting on the budget, which allows a massive amount of issues to be tied together and voted on in a series of bills, which doesn’t allow lamwakers to vote individually on a specific policy issue such as a minimum wage increase.

Here’s a taste (and you can watch Latimer’s comments here):

“This is very much like one of those gift baskets that you either receive or give at Christmastime, and inside that gift basket is a bottle of wine, there’s a can of nuts, there’s some cookies, there’s some fruit,” Latimer said. “And when you open up the gift basket, you like the wine, you don’t like the peanut brittle. You like the shortbread cookies, but you don’t like the kumquats. You have to either take the whole basket or send it back to your aunt and say, ‘Sorry, I didn’t really like the basket.'”

For whatever reason, the kumquat line stuck. Several senators carried on the metaphor during the remainder of the debate, referring to specific issues they didn’t agree with inside the budget bills as a “kumquat.”

Gipson, however, said he preferred his original image.

“I appreciate my colleague’s comparison using fruit as a metaphor,” Gipson said later in the debate. “But I’m going to stick with vampires. This is a vampire bill. We should be doing this in the light of day.”

“Thank you, Count Gipson,” Sen. Joseph Griffo replied, to big laughs in the chamber.


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  1. Yes we Vampires stay up late thats when we do our best work of bleeding the taxpayers dry


    Memo To Bob Hardt & NY! News & TimeWarner

    Do you now plan to rename the NY1 WiseGuys since Al is now truly a “WISEGUY” (LOL)

    So why did you pick the name “NY1WISEGUYS” for the segment ?

    Did Al’s picture with “WiseGuys” & his past of helping them as

    Constituents play ann row ?

    Was Ed Koch the (Meyer Lansky) of the NY1WiseGuys ?

    So come clean & tell us the reason for picking “NY1WiseGuys” as the name.


    Before there was the “Oracle of Delphi” there was Count Vampire J. Machiavelli

    VJ Machiavelli
    To The Moon, Mars, and Beyond.

  2. North of the Hutch on

    Latimer showing his true colors by commenting on the obvious and continuing to side w/NYC Democrats in the suburban v. urban battle.

    Why anyone voted for him is beyond me as he didn’t bring home any goodies from the budget to his constituants. Don’t think he supported the $350 check idea or allowing the utility tax (18a) to sunset either but he did want the minimum wage indexed to inflation.

    Lets hope none of the other senators DON’T support his legislation to increase utility & other taxes ON New Rochelle residents. Latimer & Bramson know only how to spend money, not how to save it or balance a budget.

  3. Latimer showing his true colors by doing an excellent job as State Senator. The I Hate George crowd, made up of a handful of sore losers, never ceases to criticize him, but it falls on deaf ears except for other fellow travellers. PS He voted with the GOP on their bills – so once again, the boo-bird crowd never lets the facts get in the way of their story.

    PPS THe utliity tax bill isn’t sponsored by Latimer. Its Paulin and Otis.

    I guess winning 64,000 votes vs Cohen’s 54,000 was enuff proof for all but the hard core North of the Hutch Nuts.

  4. Amen, Hippie, Amen.

    Cohen lost big time. Get over it, haters. You wasted millions of $$$$$