The bad news? New York got a D minus in its latest integrity report card.

The scarier news? There are 19 other states that have even worse scores.

The Center for Public Integrity handed New York those tough marks by looking at a wide array of factors, including the state's budget process, its civil-service management, and access to information.

It's definitely a tough scale – with first-place Alaska only getting a C.

But you don't have to be a grade grubber to realize there's something terribly rotten in Albany when both men who were in charge of the legislature in January are facing possibly federal prison time this winter.

Meanwhile, the weird opacity of the state Capitol continues, with most important deals being made behind closed doors and at the last minute. I cannot recall a single important hearing held about a piece of legislation in Albany in years – with the most drama coming in 2011 when lawmakers were voting to approve same-sex marriage. But even then, the process wasn't deliberative and we were only learning who was holding what cards at the end of the game.

Never aggressively pushing campaign finance reform or transparency, Governor Cuomo seems content to play the master of Albany's current political game rather than rewriting its rules. A government of one is naturally threatened by an open door.

Should Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos get convicted, the Center for Public Intergrity's report card will be all too generous to New York. It's way past time to change how business is done inside the Capitol.


Bob Hardt