Friday, December 30, 2011
Senior Republican aides have made clear in private conversations that their bosses are not happy with how House Republicans have handled a bipartisan Senate compromise to extend tax relief for two months.
“It’s not helping,” a veteran Senate Republican strategist said of the House GOP fight against the Senate package. “Senate Republicans are tired of paying the price for the lack of legislative thoughtfulness in the House.”
The political operative said incumbents such as Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) could pay the price.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Common Cause/NY’s Mapping Democracy Project has drawn the only statewide reform maps for both houses of the state legislature and Congress
Common Cause Reform Map for Congress
District by District Explanation of Common Cause Reform Map for Congress
Common Cause Reform Map for State Senate
District by District Explanation of Common Cause Reform Map for State Senate
Common Cause Reform Map for State Assembly
Region by Region Explanation of Common Cause Reform Map for State Assembly
U Map NY – Common Cause Reform Maps in Interactive Format
Explanation of Procedure and Criteria Used to Draw Common Cause Reform Maps
The odds were long. At 34, Myers was the shift foreman at the “hot mill” of the Armco plant here. He had no political experience and little or no money, and he was a Republican in a district that tilted Democratic.
But standing in the dining room, still in his work clothes, he said he felt voters deserved a better choice.
When Myers entered Congress, in 1975, it wasn’t nearly so unusual for a person with few assets besides a home to win and serve in Congress. Though lawmakers on Capitol Hill have long been more prosperous than other Americans, others of that time included a barber, a pipe fitter and a house painter. A handful had even organized into what was called the “Blue Collar Caucus.”
But the financial gap between Americans and their representatives in Congress has widened considerably since then, according to an analysis of financial disclosures by The Washington Post.
Between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a member of the House more than doubled, according to the analysis of financial disclosures, from $280,000 to $725,000 in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars, excluding home equity.
Over the same period, the wealth of an American family has declined slightly, with the comparable median figure sliding from $20,600 to $20,500, according to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from the University of Michigan.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
But now consider what Mr. Romney actually said on Tuesday: “President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes. In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others.”
And in an interview the same day, Mr. Romney declared that the president “is going to put free enterprise on trial.”
Angle rode her Tea Party support to a Nevada primary victory over more mainstream Republicans, only to lose to Reid by six points, even though his own ratings were not good.
Jon Summers, who helped Reid orchestrate that win, said it's because whatever anyone thinks about the ex-boxer, he understands people and politics in a way that true believers of the Tea Party do not.
"Harry Reid gets regular people," said Summers. "They're mostly middle of the road. And if you ask people who are already having a hard time scraping by whether it's rational to raise their [payroll] taxes $1,000, they would look at you with bewilderment."
Voters' reaction was at the heart of why Reid and his team on the Democratic side were able to trump the House GOP, even after the Tea Party-aligned members rebelled: No one wanted to explain that Republicans had rejected a Senate bill that preserved a tax cut for ordinary Americans.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The House could vote on the bill as soon as Friday at 10 a.m., a House GOP aide confirmed. The bill would come up under unanimous consent, which means it could pass on a voice vote without requiring members to be present. Under that scenario, the Senate could take up the bill and pass it as soon as Friday as well.
The agreement ensures that a 2 percent tax break for about 160 million people will not expire on Jan. 1, and that Medicare payments will not be slashed for doctors. Emergency unemployment benefits also will continue.
House GOP leaders had been adamant that they had to have a year-long extension, arguing that a two-month version would create economic uncertainty. They reaffirmed that position as recently as Tuesday morning.
But pressure to secure the break kept rising, with everyone from Senate Republicans to the Wall Street Journal editorial page warning that their holdout was damaging the party's image. On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) became the latest to try and nudge House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) into backing down, urging him to take the two-month deal in exchange for a guarantee from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that he would appoint conferees to hash out a longer package.
"I think the general mood was that this was bungled from early on," a GOP source said. "After what the Wall Street Journal and [Karl] Rove said, it became clear that Obama had the upper hand.
"When people are living from paycheck to paycheck, it's tough to take the longview talking about trillion-dollar deficits," the source added. "The leadership simply didn't understand that."
House GOP leaders called a conference call with members for around 5 p.m. Thursday to lay out the agreement, a source said.
While the final deal represents a fairly stunning defeat for House GOP leadership, on strict policy terms, the Republican Party was able to secure major concessions. Democrats had initially wanted a surtax on income above a million dollars as a means for paying for the measure. That was scrapped. The president had also insisted that he would oppose any payroll tax extension that forced his administration to build the Keystone pipeline -- which would carry crude oil from Canada through the United States. The final bill doesn't force construction but it does require that a decision be made within 60 days. Those victories ended up obscured by the fumbled effort, on the part of the House GOP leadership, to get even more concessions (which they hoped to do by holding out for a year-long bill, to which they could attach even more spending cuts).
While broad outlines of the deal were emerging, its passage was not necessarily a sure thing. Republicans in the Senate had been confident that their agreement reached last Saturday would be approved. Instead, House GOP rank and file rebelled when Boehner presented it in a conference call.
Still, with the Republican Party recovering from a week-long pummeling for rejecting the extension of the tax holiday, this agreement seemed more likely to stick -- especially after several House Republicans had already begun to publicly call on their fellow lawmakers to accept the Senate bill.
Critical for the deal was the resolution of a highly technical payroll administration matter. The final agreement will eliminate a Senate provision that had irked the National Payroll Reporting Consortium. In order to prevent high earners from taking undue advantage of a reduced rate that might last just two months, the Senate bill would have required employers to pay at the full 6.2 percent rate on income above $18,350 during that time.
Workers pay Social Security taxes only on their first $110,000 worth of annual income. If someone earned more than one-sixth of that amount in January and February and the payroll tax cut expired in March, the thinking went, high earners could fulfill their yearly obligation to Social Security at a lower rate than everybody else, and get a break worth some $2,000 in only two months.
Citing the consortium's letter, Republicans had called the bill totally unworkable, though consortium president Pete Isberg told HuffPost it would have been difficult but not impossible for employers to implement the new wage cap.
"It's not impossible, it's just it would be very disruptive and costly for lots and lots of businesses," Isberg said.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Washington, Dec 20 - Congressman Owens urged Republican House Leadership today to provide immediate tax relief for the American middle-class by passing an extension of the payroll tax cut, which recently passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, 89-10. The two-month extension provides the House and Senate enough time to work on a year-long deal.
“If Republican House leadership is serious about solving this problem, we will pass the Senate bill today and immediately begin work on a long-term extension,” said Owens.“Senate Republicans have joined House Democrats in the call to pass this bipartisan agreement and extend the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans.
“If the House fails to act on the Senate bill, taxes will go up – bottom line. The Senate negotiated a bipartisan deal that House Republican leadership expressed support for over the weekend before their extreme right flank began to revolt. It was clear last night the Senate bill would likely pass the House with support of Democrats and moderate Republicans. The fact that House Republican leadership is bending to the will of an extreme minority and refusing to allow an up or down vote on this bill showcases Washington at its worst.
“I would have preferred the Democratic proposal I voted in favor of last week that would have offset a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut with a small surcharge on the wealthy. But that was not the bipartisan agreement reached over the weekend. I am fully prepared to join Senate Republicans and approve this deal if House Republicans will allow it to the floor for a vote.
“Later today I plan to vote against the Motion to go to Conference because it is a motion to ‘disagree with’ the Senate bill and reopen negations on an issue that has already been settled by a majority in both parties. The only reasonable path forward at this moment is a straightforward vote on the two-month extension the Senate passed Saturday.
“It’s time for the House to stop acting like children on the playground asking for a ‘do-over.’ Everyone must make concessions in a compromise, just as Republicans and Democrats in Albany did recently to cut taxes for the middle class. There is no reason why Washington can’t follow that example.”
# # #
Tempers grow short as hard-line conservatives remain opposed to a two-month extension that easily passed the Senate.
STOP THE MIDDLE CLASS TAX INCREASE
Something remarkable happened this weekend -- Democrats and Senate Republicans worked together to stop a $1,000 payroll tax hike on 160 million middle class families.
Sounds too good to be true? It is, if House Tea Party Republicans don’t do the right thing and support it.
Thirty-nine Republicans in the Senate voted for a middle class tax cut compromise, but Tea Party Republicans are ready to scrap the bill and sock the middle class with a $1,000 tax hike on January 1st. That will cost Americans money when they can least afford it.
The Tea Party is mugging the middle class with a tax increase because they don't think millionaires and corporations should pay their fair share.
Sign our petition today and tell House Republicans to stand with the middle class, not the Tea Party, and support the $1,000 payroll tax cut compromise before it’s too late.
Call House Republicans: (202) 224-3121
Monday, December 19, 2011
"The bipartisan compromise passed in the Senate yesterday received 89 votes, including 39 Republican votes, and Speaker Boehner himself just yesterday called it a “good deal” and a “victory.” The near 90 percent approval by the Senate reflected the view by the overwhelming number of Senate Republicans – as well as Democrats – that the best way to achieve the President’s goal of ensuring that taxes were not increased on 160 million Americans as we enter the New Year was to support this bipartisan compromise. If House Republicans refuse to pass this bipartisan bill to extend the payroll tax cut, there will be a significant tax increase on 160 million hardworking Americans in 13 days that would damage the economy and job growth. After months of opposition, we are glad that Republicans were finally showing a willingness to not raise taxes on middle class families. As the President said yesterday, it is inexcusable to do anything less than extend this tax cut for the entire year, and Congress must work on a one year deal. But they should pass the two month extension now to avoid a devastating tax hike from hitting the middle class in just 13 days. It’s time House Republicans stop playing politics and get the job done for the American people."
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Just nine votes shy of winning by 200 votes, Farfaglia, a Democrat, said he was surprised.
“I was expecting those numbers but I thought they would be the other way around,” he said.
After celebrating his victory, Farfaglia began the task of overcoming his next challenge — to be able to hear in the legislature chambers.
Farfaglia is 80-percent deaf in his left ear and 60-percent deaf in his right ear.
He utilizes hearing aids and lip reading. “I can read lips but I can’t do it without sound,” he noted.
Farfaglia said he has met with County Administrator Phil Church to discuss accommodations so he does not miss any part of the meetings. He said he will turn to those speaking behind him to allow him to lip read and better listen.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Holst, according to the Oswego County Treasurer’s office, is in arrears $7,344.55 and $782.52, going back to 2008.
The records also show that the county had twice foreclosed on Holst’s property and he redeemed it prior to the property tax auction dates.
According to documents filed with the Oswego County Clerk’s office, Holst’s property was taken by the county March 15, 2000 and he bought it back Oct. 2, 2000.
While there appears to be no state law to prevent Holst from taking office, he will have to disclose his arrears to the county’s ethics board when he submits a mandatory financial disclosure statement should his delinquent taxes not be paid.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo this afternoon announced they had tentatively forged a massive deal on restructuring the state’s tax code, reduce the MTA payroll tax and provide $50 million in storm aid.
Under the new code, the top tax rate is set at $2 million and cuts nearly $700 million in taxes, but also is able to close nearly half of a $3.5 billion deficit.
The agreement, aimed at reviving the state’s stagnate economy, is unusual in both its broad scope and end-of-the-year timing.
The $690 million tax cut affects about 4.4 million and expires in December 2014, the end of Cuomo’s first term.
As we reported earlier, the reshaping of the tax structure will generate $1.9 billion in new revenue for the state — reflecting that the move is not “revenue neutral” as some fiscal conservatives had hoped for.
The proposal also includes a $50 million flood reovery program, a $25 million tax credit program for inner-city youth hiring and a reduced manufacturing tax rate.
Officials also agreed to a $1 billion infrastructure fund which will leverage $10 billion in direct capital investment.
The statement notes that the proposal is within the state’s bond cap. Leaders added they had verbal agreements on design-build legislation (aimed, it seems, at reconstructing the Tappan Zee Bridge downstate as quickly as possible), as well as an agreement to push for an expansion of casino-stlye gaming in New York.
It’s important to note that everyone seemingly gets everything in this deal. Taxes are being cut at nearly every level, but the super wealthy who make above $2 million aren’t getting as big a cut as they were in line to receive at the end of the year if the PIT surcharge of 2009 was allowed to expire.
The package also takes some pressure off of Cuomo next year as all 212 seats are up for re-election in what is expected to be an especially contentious redistricting year. Post