Friday, April 4, 2014
State Board of Elections commissioner Doug Kellner said the board was not consulted about administering a public financing system, and was not given additional resources to carry out the process.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he was completely left out of discussions about the financing system, which only impacts his office, but also believes there’s “still time to fix it.”
Rumors began flying in the state’s information technology community about chief information officer Brian Digman after a job posting went online for his job.
New York is forging ahead with its casino plans even though gambling revenue is down across the country and other states are facing a saturation point with local gaming facilities.
Dozens of environmental activists showed up to crash a Hudson Valley fundraiser for Cuomo and protest against hydrofracking. He avoided them – and reporters – by using a side entrance.
“My sense is if you’re saying we’re going back to having private funding for this, that’s basically what we’ve already got, so the governor isn’t doing anything,” said Robert Scott, the executive director of Cornell University’s Prison Education Program.
In his second major address since taking office, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio next week will assess his administration’s accomplishments and discuss his agenda moving forward.
A federal court upheld New York City’s ban on religious services in public-school buildings in a 2-1 ruling on Thursday, but de Blasio signaled that he may change the Department of Education’s policy.
De Blasio as he approaches the 100-day mark: “I think the sheer math of the job — the number of items that come, and the speed with which they come up — is something that would surprise anyone…The good news is, you get used to it pretty damn quick.”
De Blasio described Albany to pre-K students as a “strange and mysterious land.”
Top Cuomo aide Larry Schwartz said New York City officials waited until the final hours of state budget negotiations to ask for additional speed enforcement cameras. LINK
The article's premise was telling in that it focused on what the political fallout would be if Obamacare sign-ups fell short. Noticeably absent was any analysis of what an Obamacare deadline success would look like or what the political implications would be. The scenario of success simply wasn't considered plausible or worth addressing.
Of course, we now know that as many as seven million people enrolled for private coverage through the exchanges established by Obama's health care law. Thanks to an amazing consumer surge in the month of March, the seven million mark, routinely thought of last year as completely unattainable, and often dismissed this year as not possible, was met.
And because of a provision of the Obamacare law, approximately three million young people have been added to their parents' private insurance plans. Meaning, more than 10 million people have used Obamacare to secure health coverage. The new law, noted the Los Angeles Times, "has spurred the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century." The paper reported, "At least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gotten health insurance since Obamacare started."
Thursday, April 3, 2014
The 5-4 ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was penned by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia. The decision relies heavily on the assertion in the 2010 Citizens United ruling that influence and access are not a corruption concern.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate opinion that agreed to strike the aggregate limits, but also called for an end to the entire campaign finance reform system. Full Post
Sunday, March 30, 2014
“If this package is adopted, then I would end the Moreland Commission,” Cuomo said.
The $137.9 billion budget would create new penalties for bribery and defrauding the government, as well as the office of an independent enforcement counsel within the state Board of Elections.
Cuomo created the commission last July after he and lawmakers failed to reach any agreement on ethics legislation following a spate of unrelated corruption scandals that saw three state lawmakers arrested.
The commission had subpoenaed lawmakers and their outside business interests for more information on their activities.
The Legislature responded by challenging the commission’s authority to do so in state court, noting that such a move violated the separation of powers.
The legal arguments surrounding the Moreland Commission, however, would be rendered moot should the ethics agreement pass.
The commission in December issued a preliminary report recommending a host of ethics reforms, with several members dissenting on whether the public financing of political campaigns should be included.
Sen. Jeff Klein, meanwhile, says he will continue to push for a broader public financing than a pilot program for the state comptroller’s race.
“More needs to be done. We still need to get real campaign finance reform,” Klein said in an interview. “I think we’re working on a system. I’m very optimistic we can come to an agreement.”
Asked about Klein’s position on the public financing component, Cuomo indicated the pilot program was the best outcome, considering Republican opposition.
“The political sentiment in the Senate does not support a more robust public finance system,” he said.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
“The fact that the Independence Party genuinely stands for nothing, supports virtually no political activity and appears to exist only for the financial benefit of its leadership, while distasteful, does not necessarily lead us to take action against it. It is the corrupt activities by its leadership that, I believe, have crossed that line,” Jacobs wrote in a letter to state Democratic Party co-chairs Keith Wright and Stephanie Miner. “Dealing with this corrupt party requires no change in the law – only political courage. I urge the State Committee to work toward an agreement whereby the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor mutually and jointly agree that they will not accept the Independence Party’s nomination.”If both the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor reject the the Independence Party line, it could end up all but starving the organization out of existence. If a party’s gubernatorial candidate does not receive at least 50,000 votes on its ballot line every four yers, it loses its official status – not to mention its relevance.
Jacobs, a former state Democratic chairman himself, said that while the state’s other minor parties with ballot lines – Working Families, Conservative and Green – represent “clear political viewpoints,” the Independence Party exists largely to improve the financial status of its leaders.
|New York State||7.3||6.6||9.1|
Monday, March 10, 2014
Sunday, March 9, 2014
"I have a very good relationship of working together with this governor," Lanza told the Staten Island Advance Wednesday. "We have worked very closely on a number of things. He has worked with me in delivering for my constituents. That is certainly something I will factor in and take into account."
The new access points will allow for more than $6 million in projects for access to hunting and fishing, boat launches, and new hiking opportunities. Six projects are scheduled to take place in Central New York.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Multiple sources confirmed that Valesky – the lone upstate member of the IDC (Sen. David Carlucci hails from Rockland County) – is in the liberal crosshairs, though efforts to find someone willing to run against him in September (or June, if the Legislature manages to agree on moving the state primary date to coincide with congressional contests) have so far not borne fruit.
At least two names have been floated as potential primary opponents to Valesky: Former Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll, currently serving as president and chief executive officer of the state Environmental Facilities Corp.; and Assemblyman Sam Roberts.
Driscoll issued the following statement through a spokesman: “I have not been been approached on this matter, and I’m solely committed to the important work we do at the Environmental Facilities Corporation.”
Roberts did not return a message left at his legislative office seeking comment.
A Democratic source said Roberts is actively seeking someone to take on Valesky, though he is not likely to run himself, since he would have to give up a safe seat to do so. “He has been talking to a lot of people lately,” the source said of Roberts. “He’s really pissed, but not pissed enough to run on his own.” Continue Reading
Saturday, January 11, 2014
In what seems like ages ago in the Chris Christie Gina Close-a-your-bridgeda scandal saga, the WSJ reported something that looked exceptionally fishy at the time; that Christie had talked with Andrew Cuomo and asked him to get Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to back off investigating the Fort Lee bridge closure.
Mr. Christie, a Republican, complained in a private phone call to Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, that Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was pressing too hard to get to the bottom of why the number of toll lanes onto the bridge from Fort Lee, N.J. was cut from three to one in early September, according to this person. The lane closures occurred without notice to local authorities, officials have said, and snarled traffic for a week in the small borough on the Hudson River bluffs.According to the WSJ story, that phone call was the week of December 12.
Yeah. Kind of makes Christies little press "performance piece" this morning look like the firehose of lies that it actually was.
Among the mounting stream of evidence that shows Christie knew damn well what was going on, this one would seem to be the final nail in the coffin.
And it's very easily proven ... if Governor Cuomo has the backbone to be a proper partisan and put his boot on Christie's neck.
He doesn't have to do it personally. Heck, the WSJ would be HAPPY to report the facts if they just got the nod ... they're the ones with the connections to "a person familiar with the matter," which by the sound of it has to be someone in Cuomo's office anyway.
Ball is in your court, Andy. End Christie's political career.
Friday, January 3, 2014
Every year, usually in December, the Legislative Calendar is released for the upcoming session. This gives everyone who needs to…well, you know…plan, a chance to look over the session days and make necessary personal and work arrangements for the next six months. But the month of December has now come and gone and there is still no calendar from the Senate and the Assembly. Here is a sampling of some of the responses I got from the various legislative spokespeople when I asked about a possible delay:
“No delay,” “There are no issues,” “Sometimes the calendar will be issued earlier, sometimes later,” “Don’t know, but it’s not unusual,” “there is no delay,” and my personal favorite…the calendar will be released “in due course.”
Right, and I suppose these are not the droids I am looking for either. When asked for concrete examples of when the calendar has been this late or later, none were provided. In fairness, the holidays were a little weird this year, with New Year’s Day falling on a Wednesday. So, one could make the argument that this week is still sort of a holiday. Although Inauguration Day, and the various statements of support for the new NYC Mayor that were released by legislative leaders kind of poke a hole in that theory.
Some insiders have speculated that the Senate Coalition can’t seem to come to terms. Another pesky issue is the attempt by Democrats to move up the State Primary to June in order to align with the Federal Primary on June 24th. Republicans have voiced opposition to this, because June is often a very busy month in Albany, and legislators would likely have to be in district campaigning instead of up in Albany legislating. There was a proposal to wrap up legislative business by the end of May in order to afford lawmakers the opportunity to campaign in preparation for a June Primary, but Republicans would have to agree to the new date first. Could that be causing a delay? It’s possible. But for now…officially, at least…there is no delay. So stop asking. POST
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat, told Brian Lehrer on WNYC on Thursday that the power retained by GOP lawmakers in the Senate — who have a numerical minority in the chamber — prevented the passage of an ethics measure following a spate of corruption arrests.
“They have this power sharing agreement that disallows what the other doesn’t want in getting to the floor,” Stewart-Cousins said. “Despite that the fact the majority of people wanted to see things happen, because of this relationship we couldn’t see something like ethics reform. I mean, everyone had an ethics package. You would think certainly obviously New Yorkers are looking to see some accountability and responsiveness from the New York state Legislature.”
Still, as Gannett recently pointed out, there isn’t uniform support in the mainstream Senate Democratic conference for public financing (the proposal is on the IDC platform, the Democratic conference’s platform and in the Assembly Democrats’ ethics package). POST
The group launched a $2.5 million ad buy targeting Sens. Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), all Democrats facing tough reelection battles in 2014. The three ads follow a similar theme, zeroing in on some of the struggles the health care law has faced in the early stages of its rollout -- namely President Barack Obama's pledge that individuals could keep their current plans under Obamacare, which later turned out to be untrue.
"It's the lie of the year," the narrator says in the ad targeting Shaheen. Each spot also notes that the senators in question reiterated Obama's "If you like your plan, you can keep it" promise. The woman appearing in the Hagan-directed ad is Sheila Salter, a small business owner in North Carolina who recently said she was so stressed out by Obamacare that it was causing her to drink. The ads will run for three weeks in major media markets across North Carolina, Louisiana and New Hampshire.
Americans for Prosperity released a similar set of ads against two House Democrats last week. The broader campaign is consistent with the overarching Republican strategy to once again focus on Obamacare in the 2014 midterm elections. Conservatives have already seized upon some of the law's initial failures, even though more than 2 million Americans successfully enrolled in the health care exchanges for benefits that went into effect Wednesday.
While Hagan and Landrieu are considered more vulnerable running for reelection in conservative states, Republicans are hopeful that a potential challenge to Shaheen from former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) would make the New Hampshire Senate race more competitive. Brown said recently he has "nothing to announce" with respect to his political career but confirmed his move to New Hampshire last month, citing personal reasons. POST
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Over the course of those 100 pages, the report’s authors offered up a number of urgent “bottom line” thoughts on the state of the party after 2012. One of the most firmly stated admonitions cautioned against insular thinking: “The Republican Party has to stop talking to itself.”
Indeed, that’s solid advice for anyone who’s been long trapped in the bubble of “This Town.” But the question, one year on from the publication of this report, is whether or not the Republican Party has started listening to its own advice.
Those who produced the after-action report definitely took a soup-to-nuts approach, devoting their energies to matters both philosophical and practical. The RNC got deep into the weeds on how to operate better in the modern campaign finance environment, took on the tremendous deficits the party endured in terms of campaign technology, and made a critical dissection of the party's entire primary process. There was also tremendous emphasis on reaching out to demographic groups that have lately found it all too easy to spurn the GOP's advances.
The governor announced a $4.5 million state-funded campaign, largely aimed to attract international tourists visiting New York City and downstate residents to upstate’s ski areas and 10,000 miles of snowmobile trails, will kick off Jan. 1 in print, radio and television media outlets across the globe.
Mr. Cuomo, who made his announcement at the Ridge View Inn, 6912 Bardo Road, claimed the state legislature had not emphasized northern New York’s recreational outdoor opportunities for years.
“The north country felt like a stepchild to Albany,” he said. “They just didn’t get the attention, they didn’t get the respect that they deserved frankly from the state government.”
That was, Mr. Cuomo said, until last year when the state invested millions back into its “I Love NY” campaign.
“Last year the legislature had the intelligence, I believe, to really invest in tourism, spend more money on the “I Love NY” campaign, run that campaign and expose our assets,” he said. “We spent about $60 million on a promotional campaign and we have increased tourism this year 7 percent.”
One of the advertisements displayed beside Mr. Cuomo Monday featured a skier with the Manhattan skyline in the background. The governor said the advertisements, and similar ones, will greet commuters on Metropolitan Transit Authority-operated systems including its buses and subway system. LINK to STORY
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today travelled to the Tug Hill region in the North Country to launch “I [Snowmobile] NY,” the first part of a print, television, radio and digital, nationwide, $4.5 million winter tourism campaign aimed at promoting snowmobiling, skiing, and other recreational activities in Upstate New York. To view a sample of the print ads, click here.
“This season, we welcome visitors from around the world to experience winter in Upstate New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “The North Country region is unmatched in its natural beauty and now offers new recreational trails for snowmobiling and a wide variety of other activities for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages to explore. As one of the biggest and growing employers in the state, the tourism industry continues to play a significant role in boosting our economy. With our new ad campaign, we want more New Yorkers and tourists to come visit regions like Tug Hill to see what winter adventures await in the Empire State.”
The print and digital “I [Snowmobile] NY” ads will begin running after January 1, 2014, in national newspapers and trade magazines.
Earlier this month, the State released a report showing that the number of visitors to New York increased by 8.8 million, a 4.2% increase in 2013. In addition, the industry is projected to generate $7.7 billion in state and local taxes with direct spending expected to reach $61.3 billion, up 7% from 2012 and double the national average. The industry is also projected to add 24,800 jobs by the end of the year, a 3.1% increase from 2012, also double the national average. In total, leisure and hospitality is projected to finish the year with 818,700 jobs, making tourism the third fastest growing job sector in New York.
There are 10,300 miles of snowmobile trails throughout New York—that’s more than Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, and more than Massachusetts and Michigan combined. Since 2011, the state has spent more than $11 million for trail maintenance and development, an investment that has helped generate $868 million in economic revenue. Approximately 90,000 New York households snowmobile.
The “I [Snowmobile] NY” ad campaign continues Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented commitment to promoting tourism and supporting economic development in the North Country in order to generate revenue and create jobs. Over the last three years, the Governor has focused on rebuilding the North Country tourism economy through actions such as:
• Presiding over the state’s largest land purchase—69,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn and other Nature Conservancy lands throughout the Adirondacks
•Announcing his intention to approve the land classification for 42,000 acres recently added to the Adirondack Park that would enable creation of new snowmobile connector trails on formerly inaccessible land.
•Providing $12 million in state funding for vital repairs along the eight-mile Whiteface Mountain Veterans’ Memorial Highway, in Wilmington, New York.
•Establishing a partnership between the State, Clarkson University, and the Trudeau Institute to form a world-class biotech enterprise
In addition, this summer, Governor Cuomo held various high-profile events to highlight locations in Upstate New York as world-class tourism destinations. On July 21 and 22, the Governor hosted the first ever Adirondack Challenge, a two day festival with a whitewater challenge featuring the Governor, New York officials, and members of the media. On August 8, the Governor also attended the BassMasters Tournament in the Thousand Islands, which drew more than 34,100 people to the four day event. There, he announced that the 2014 BassMaster Elite Series will return to New York in 2014, including the “Governor’s Challenge,” a fishing competition featuring the Governor, elected officials from New York State and some of the biggest names in professional fishing to highlight the state’s many fishing and vacation opportunities.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The designation was done to comply with the federal MOVE Act, a measure that requires military and overseas voters have timely access to absentee ballots.
But the designation of the June primary by Sharpe only applies to elections on the federal level.
State lawmakers in 2012 were not able to come to an agreement on a primary date, and Sharpe designated the fourth Tuesday in June as the day to hold primaries for House races and the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
Democrats had pushed for a June date as well, while Republicans in the Senate backed an August primary that they say would have given them more time to collect petition signatures.
When taking into account the Republican presidential primary in April, the resulting impasse creating a third primary date for state and local races, which defaulted to Sept. 13 (state lawmakers could agree on moving the primary date from the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to the Thursday of that week).
Once again, Assembly Democrats are pushing a bill that would create a June primary for state races as well; it remains unclear if the measure will be approved by the Senate.
(h/t to Jimmy Vilekind at Capital for flagging this).
Cuomo, who plans to push for a tax cut next year, has said in the past that there is an “essence of a surplus” in the upcoming budget.
But in an interview with WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom, Cuomo pegged that surplus for the first time at the estimated $2 billion figure.
A tax commission co-led by former Gov. George Pataki and ex-Comptroller Carl McCall recommended about $2 billion in cuts over the next several years, including a two-year property tax freeze.
“There will be about a two billion dollar surplus. If you don’t stick to the 2 percent, the surplus won’t exist,” Cuomo said.
The last three state budgets have stuck to a voluntary 2 percent cap on spending increases. The state Division of Budget projects a $1.74 billion deficit if planned spending increases take effect.
Cuomo also brushed off questions as to whether the extra money should be used to provide more funding for areas like education, which is sure to be pushed for by lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session.
The governor insisted education spending — one of the costliest items the state pays for next to health care — will be increasing anyway.
“In that 2 percent you would probably have about a 4 percent increase in education funding,” Cuomo said. “Four percent in this environment is a lot of money. Nothing is going up 4 percent.”
He also pushed back against the criticism from the right and the left on the tax commission report, saying the issue is polarizing for interest groups who either want deeper cuts for businesses or increases in taxes on the wealthy.
“When you say taxes it is binary. You have people who always want to raise taxes, people who always want to lower taxes,” Cuomo said. “It’s Yankees or Boston Red Sox. You get strong opinions and they won’t change.”
He added, “We want to be smart and wise and prudent and we would be investing. We have also learned in this state that more money does not necessarily mean more help for everyone.”