Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Winning battles and losing wars: Governor George E. Pataki and the executive veto
by Koczak, Steven D., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2013, 497; 3566337
Abstract (Summary)

The work first outlines a theoretical framework referred to as the Theory of the Strong Executive, drawn from what comparatively little literature there is about the state governors, as well as certain primary sources. The Theory of the Strong Executive outlines two sets of expectations for state governors, one theoretical (descriptive labels of expected political behavior) and one institutional (certain institutional or constitutional features one might expect to see).

The veto power, basically a legislative power granted to the executive, is critical for gubernatorial behavior, and gubernatorial power, under both sets of expectations, and is rather under-studied relative to its near-universally acknowledged importance. Governor George E. Pataki of New York State was selected for in-depth study, for various reasons, in an attempt to plug the gaps in the literature.

Certain conclusions specifically relating to Governor Pataki were arrived at. Several things of a more general applicability and interest also were learned. Governor Pataki used the veto early and often, usually to express a policy disagreement with the State Legislature (rather than, say, because a bill was too costly or technically defective). Governor Pataki's use of the veto reflected both partisan conflicts and institutional conflicts with the State Legislature. Governor Pataki's divided government issues extended beyond divided government in the strictly partisan sense to reflect a complex relationship with the Republican-led State Senate that resembled divided government. Though veto overrides occurred under Governor Pataki, a trend of overrides never emerged, and the veto retained its considerable power.

New York's governors appear to veto more often than governors of most other states, and Governor Pataki appeared to be a comparatively aggressive vetoer even relative to other New York governors. The strong inference, therefore, is that there was something unique about Governor Pataki, and there is something unique about the New York governorship. Fully understanding the differences between governors, between states and within a single state, requires close-up study.

Further aggregate studies of the gubernatorial veto, therefore, should keep in mind that more particular factors may be more important than they appear to be.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zimmerman, Joseph F.
Commitee: Hildreth, Anne, Malbin, Michael J., Miroff, Bruce
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science
Keywords: Executive, Governor, Legislature, New York, Pataki, George E., Power, Veto
Publication Number: 3566337
ISBN: 978-1-303-17430-8
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