Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver initially said he was not trying to send a message when he kept Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, the longtime chairman of the Economic Development Committee, off a legislative panel considering the budget's economic development plans.
"No, no message at all," Silver said.
And then he sent a message.
"We had a [budget] resolution. He wasn't supportive of it," Silver said of Schimminger. "The way the conference committees usually work is the people who are supportive are the ones who defend the house position. They are representing the house."
Schimminger, a Kenmore Democrat who came to the Assembly in 1976 in the same class as Silver, in years past had been co-chairman of a joint Assembly/Senate economic development conference committee ironing out some budget details. Schimminger had the post because he has been chairman of the Assembly's Economic Development Committee since 1997.
Schimminger last week voted against the Assembly Democrats' budget plan, explaining that it included too much in the way of tax hikes.
A day later, Schimminger found out the budget panel on economic development would not include him; the panel's chairman for the Assembly is Bronx Democrat Peter Rivera.