The Vortex... Urban Legend or Is It Real ?

The Vortex... Urban Legend or Is It Real ?
Second Annual Event Starts at Five PM Friday at Thompson Park

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Politics Abhors a Vacuum and that May Help Carl Paladino

Conventional wisdom in the GOP is you nominate the person for whom it is his turn....Bob Dole &John McCain come to mind....And if that paradigm holds Rick Lazio will win the expected GOP primary for Governor.
But this Carl Paladino doesn't seem to be going quietly. He is stepping up his advertising and his flamboyant (some say crazy) style may energize a segment of the GOP base and lead him to victory.
I have heard that rumbling from a couple of corners and while MSM conventional wisdom precludes that happening, the Lazio effort is so non-existant I think anything is possible.
I read a piece on why the soda tax went down despite having political, media and do-gooder support...It was not so much soda or sugar...it's the idea of a tax was anathema this year and nobody wanted to chance firing up the normally docile New York electorate.
Same with the Lazio race....He is not exciting anyone in that party. Heck, I talk to local Republican poobahs and they roll their eyes at Lazio and walk past the graveyard hoping he won't drag down the whole ticket.
Air Paladino begins next week - Maggie Haberman - POLITICO.com

Candidates Work the Weekend While Everyone Else Tunes Out

While most folks lounge on weekends like this with a cookout or two on the docket, those running for office seek out parades....From Oswego to Plattsburgh, Independence weekend parades are on tap....There was one in Morristown today that attracted Matt Doheny...Assembly hopeful Ken Blankenbush attended a bagel breakfast in DeKalb and I am sure others were out gladhanding on the holiday.
One person not campaigning this year for the first time in a long time is Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava, who decided she had had enough of politics for right now......
I talked to her last night. She is still quite engaged in Albany and filled me in on what will likely happen down there in the coming weeks.
One surprise...she is one of those who thinks the GOP gubernatorial primary may produce a surprise with Carl Paladino running hard against establishment choice Rick Lazio.

WDT: City facing cleanup at J.B. Wise parking lot

There are so many horror stories about bureaucratic nonsense in the Gulf Oil Spill......The refusal to allow foreign help initially...The EPA screaming about locally built sand berms to stop the oil that no one else was stopping....The device that processes dirty water and removes 99% of the oil but cant be used because the end product still has that one percent and no oil can be dumped into the seas.
We all respect the environment and are sickened by the pictures from the Gulf.
But so much these days is like these sixty year old sites across upstate NY where gas from once made from coal. Now there are hangups with a simple rebuild of JB Wise parking lot because a portion of the infrastructure runs through land once used for this...No one was upset until now.
Then there is the $18 million cleanup on a small parcel on Engine Street on land that still won't be used for anything more than a parking lot.
It looks to me like the state of New York insists on these extensive projects just because they can....the Utility signed a consent order years ago and that's a blank check....
I would love to see tens of millions of dollars rehabing the entire river....But because the bureacrats can force certain types of clean up , they will...Even though nobody seemed too concerned up to now about these coal plants that closed before I was born.
We can only hope the work on Engine Street keeps neighborhood restaurants busy as workers descend on this mostly unknown street....And I hope the coal gas once on Public Square doesn't derail that project.
Watertown Daily Times City facing cleanup at J.B. Wise parking lot

New York Lottery

New York's First Lady of Numbers celebrates 20 years on the job and the NYS Lottery has marked the occasion by distributing Yolanda Vega bobble-head statuettes.
Ms. Vega has appeared in many locations to promote the state's lottery.
New York Lottery

Ready....Set.....Litigate !

In less than two weeks nominating petitions for hundreds of public offices, local and statewide, will be completed and submitted to Boards of Elections in counties or to the NYS Board of Elections.
These are the sheets of signatures from party members that justify the placing of a particular candidate's name on the ballot...There are also indepedent line petitions due later in the summer.
Warming up in the bull pen are election law lawyers whose job it is to ensure there isn't too much democracy in the Empire State this year.
Both parties have a stable of them, but it's not cheap to wage challenges of petitions which can be done at the Board level or in State Supreme Court.
Look for challenges in races like Congress or State Senate, particularly on third party lines. Sometimes there really is systematic fraud or extreme carelessness. Often it is an effort to nit pick petitions based and get signatures thrown out and disqualify the candidate for ballot status.
Sometimes objections are filed but never pursued just to get a little negative press for one candidate....the old "Probe Launched" headline. Then there is always taking someone into court in hopes they don't have the money or moxie to play the courtroom game.
To challenge a petition one much analyze all the names to make sure they really are party members...Create a data base to see if they signed more than one....check the witness statement to see if there is a flaw that could invalidate a whole page of signatures.....or just check that Rolodex for that judge so happy to be there for 14 years, he will sign just about anything, knowing real justice in a political case can always come at the appellate level as long as everybody has enough money.
Look for a lawyer fest in the 48th Senate race especially if by chance the NYS Indy party actually allows a primary by issuing two out of party authorizations.
Doug Hoffman will face a lot of scrutiny, especially in his Conservative party petitions. It is widely thought Mr. Hoffman does not have the organization to pursue bullet-proof petitions especially in a minor party where the signature threshold is much higher.
It's often said the 'best election is no election'.... That mantra will be in play shortly in NNY races.

Friday, July 2, 2010

WDT: Owens and Russell Part of the Family

The whacky left leaning Working Families Party has endorsed two NNY incumbents...Rep. Bill Owens and Assemblywoman Addie Russell.....
That's OK, I've voted on the WFP line just so I can tell my liberal friends like Dave Mance that I am not a tea party, knuckle-dragging, Newt-like, Palin-loving right wing guy.
These two need the second line and the WFP is good at importing those people who stand on street corners on election day.
As I have said before...nominees of the Conservative Party are seldom conservative...Indy nominees are never independent and Working Family voters seldom work.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

We Celebrate Freedom and Honor Those Who Fight for It

Before thousands of Independence weekend revelers at Thompson Park, I was pleased to present two brave Fort Drum soldiers Keys to the City.
The wooden keys crafted on post went to SFC Richard Olson Jr and Cpl Derrick Blackburn, both members of the 2/87's Third Combat Brigade.
Sgt Olsen is a Silver Star awardee while Cpl Blackburn received the Bronze Star.
Both men were party of Yellow Ribbon ceremonies prior to the annual Syracuse Symphony Concert.

Mission Accomplished...6900 Vetoes Completed

Governor Paterson didn't have to personally sign every line item....he could have used an automatic stamper...But he wanted to make a point...The image of the sight impaired governor struggle to initial a bloated spending plan 6900 times....Thats a powerful and a lasting image..
Estimates are the deficit next year will still be large...But the lame duck governor got the best of this affair and the old budget meisters in the Legislature...well they looked like the same old, same old.
The vetoes will not be overridden....Everyonw knows that, especially Speaker Silver who says he is out of town for the summer.
Mission Accomplished

Cigarette Enforcers ? Or Just a Hoax ?

Last week I told you NYS not only is charging an extra $1.60 on cigarettes (plus the sales tax applied to that) they want the tax paid on all cigarettes held in inventory as of July 1.
To that end they sent out a floor tax form which is to be filed by September, when its presumed you would have collected all that tax from consumers.
Yesterday there was someone who came by , slapped a couple cards on the bar and quickly retrieved them and claimed he was there to count the number of cigarettes. Since I wasn't there to help the agent, he was told to come back when I was there. He stormed out and peeled out of the parking lot.
If this is what the state is up to (and he may have been a hoax, but I don't know why) they should learn some manners.
So all of you know. I have 62 packs of smokes and a check for $99.20 goes out today. Please come and buy them so I can get my money back.

WDT: Doheny wants 11 debates with Hoffman

Talk about tedium...Eleven debates in remote locations attended by a handful of operatives and relatives who have already made up their minds.
Can't we get these people on television ? There is plenty of room on cable or on Public TV which has three stations in the District. Somebody slip Steve Weed a few bucks and get 'em taped and put on the Web.
Mr. Doheny wants to flush Mr. Hoffman out and beat him up in public. Doheny is more conversant on the issues, as he is indeed studious about topics from the West Bank to Wall Street. He also has a knack for reciting the names of all the towns in a county he is visiting. Doug Hoffman can't do that...Dustin Hoffman could in "Rainman", so I wouldn't take the demonstrations of memory too far.
Mr. Hoffman will agree to debates in venues not lending themselves to high visibility. Places in Hamilton County with spotty cell phone coverage.
Mr. Doheny wants to beat up Hoffman in public and finish him off.
Wonder if we will get 11 debates in the fall campaign ?
Watertown Daily Times Doheny wants 11 debates with Hoffman

WDT: Letter Claims| Coverage favors Doheny, slights Hoffman

This letter to the MSM alleges a shading of news coverage in favor of GOP Congressional candidate Matt Doheny....There is no doubt a giggly disdain in media circles for Doug Hoffman, but I read pretty much all of Jude Seymour's tomes and I think the doings of all sides are heard.
There is no doubt the WDT brass doesn't like Mr. Hoffman or what he stands for....and there is no doubt all of us in this large district like the notion of someone local holding the Congressional seat instead of a man from 200 miles away.
But, really....it's not all institutional bias....People who follow this stuff for a living actually assess the candidates. And after doing that, Mr. Hoffman is viewed as an inept candidate, unable to discuss issues at a Congressional level.
I agree his considerable attibutes as a businessman and member of the community are passed over in coverage and I agree there is little explanation of what is meant by the term "Watertown businessman." However, that excruciating TV debate on channel 9 still lingers in my mind as a symbol of why Mr. Hoffman would never be listed among the Congress' great debaters and orators. I am not sure he wants too much coverage as he did well last year as a concept and conservative icon and not as a living breathing candidate who has to ponder and debate issues and deal with the parochial concerns of constituents.
If there is a criticism of coverage in the MSM is that it is not enough...If you are a blog reader you get an assortment of stories, but in the main editions or on the regular broadcast news shows there is little coverage.....Has anyone knocked on the door of Hoffman's newly purchased in-district home ?
Also, I am not convinced there really is a Hoffman campaign this year. You read quotes from Rob Ryan, who is a hired operative for many campaigns. You don't see events or an organization or any advertising. Hoffman's recent annoucement he had raised $14,000 is not something I would not admit to in this world of multi-million dollar campaigns even in remote districts like the 23rd.
Impressions of the candidates will be shaped by the TV commercials they purchase. Last year Rep. Bill Owens had some dandies. Doheny is on the air this year with a presence, and he looks good doing them even though the text is riddled with the banalities of contemporary politics.
Doug Hoffman is relying on Tea Partiers which is fine but such an amorphous group do not replace the real need for a campaign organization to choreograph a race over eleven counties.
So, I think this letter writer raises great points about the shading of new coverage....But it happens all the time....It's like a bad call by the umpire...can't change it but you can complain loudly, so maybe the next close call goes your way.
Watertown Daily Times Coverage favors Doheny, slights Hoffman

Thursday, July 1, 2010

David Paterson swears off running for office - Shira Toeplitz - POLITICO.com

Governor Paterson knows something we all know....That is he will never gain elective office again...The Governor said today he will not run for anything again.....
Meanwhile, his tough stance in the budget this year will leave many with a good last impression of the affable but unprepared "accidental governor."
David Paterson swears off running for office - Shira Toeplitz - POLITICO.com

While Away, Still Keeping an Eye on NY

While on vacation this week, it was fun to follow the doings of our state Legislature....Despite the deadlines the fussing goes on, although most of the heavy lifting is done....Lawmakers restored some money and the Governor vetoed it....Some things were passed.,..There were no shutdowns...I was reading the Raleigh paper while visiting Mom and NC was doing their budget dance....Same thing...nibbling at a few cuts and kick the deficit down the road.
The rhetoric is the same all over....Talk about pain...doing it for the children...and wrap it up with a couple layoffs and a couple tax hikes and some fiscal sleight of hand like deferring pension contributions to that mythical day when there will be piles of money in front of the Capitol.
Thanx to Joe Brosk for filling in on the HOTLINE...I'll be back Friday....
Sorry to disappoint those who emailed the media suggesting I had fired...I would tell you if I was...
While driving back I detoured briefly to visit the nation's oldest brewery...Yuengling's in Pottsville PA.....Charming old town hidden in the mountains of PA...Everything was old there, but there was a lot of charm and the folks at the brewery were friendly....
Good to be back in the cool weather...Last Sunday on I-95 it was up to 107, Who need's that ?
Senate Out, Back July 13th? (Updated)

Last Day of June Musings

-The State Senate is indeed meeting Thursday (today) morning to do something.
-No posts for a few hours for me as I am returning from vacation to the balmy sixty-something temperatures you all have enjoyed.
-Don't forget Friday evening is the Syracuse Symphony Concert in Thompson Park.
-Best wishes.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WDT: Hoffman Claims to Have Raised $14K

Republican Congressional hopeful Doug Hoffman tells Jude Seymour he raised $14,000.....that more than the $10,000 he hoped to raise.....
I don't mean to sound disrespectful....but that's squat.
A race for local office will chew up more than that and running across eleven counties....well that's a heroic effort that requires hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of dollars.
Mr. Hoffman has a message...that's he is the true conservative....and he has name recognition...All of that makes him a player in the race against Matt Doheny.....
But 14 grand....There has to be more than that to win this race.
five-day fundraising blitz

Not Quite Done....But Almost There

Not Done Yet, but It's time to get out of Dodge. State Senators are headed home Wednesday night as negotiations continue to get the 32 votes needed on a revenue bill. Two lawmakers want something called the SUNY Empowerment Bill included while the Assembly opposes giving tuition setting power to individual campuses.
While those talks proceed, lawmakers are getting out of the high anxiety world of the state capital. There were some bills passed this week, including expenditures that keep the state in business.
Still in play are the Governor's vetoes of 6900 line items.
TheDailyPolitics - NY Daily News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she keeps 2 rifles under bed

The original Newsday story....followed below by today's revisionist history.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she keeps 2 rifles under bed

So What If You Had A Gun Under Your Bed

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand once told Newsday she slept with a gun under her bed at her Columbia County home and since she became Senator she keeps denying it, so as to curry favor with Jerry Nadler and Anthony Weiner....not to mention Mayor Bloomberg.
It's that kind of state. I got elbowed at a Democratic event once for just joking about it.
As far as I am concerned she never should have removed the gun, apologized or denied the existence of the firearm which she kept there to protect her family. There is is time and a place for firearms and in a large city we all understand the issues and sentiments.
But Senator, stop denying the gun story....
a Long Island newspaper

One-fourth of New Yorkers obese; rate rising - New York on the Potomac

It's a recession, government is cutting back...and we are getting fatter.....While a new study ranks NY as 36th nationwide in obesity, the percentage who are seriously overweight is rising....to 25.1 %.....
Maybe we eat because we are depressed, but whatever the reason its something we should all take note of....I'll start that diet tomorrow, by golly.
One-fourth of New Yorkers obese; rate rising - New York on the Potomac

AP: Final Revenue Budget Expected Today or Tomorrow

The final budget bill to be passed includes changes in lottery hours and a tax on small cigars...So your Swisher Sweets would cost a bit more and there will no longer be a break in Quick Draw from 3pm to 4pm....Also included is a 'suspension" of the exemption on sales tax on clothing.....Some of these items are small revenues...some are larger......But again, when you call the operatives....even the legislators, no one knows exactly what is being enacted....
That's frustrating for anyone with a direct stake in this year's legislative agenda. I assume the media accounts are accurate.....Add to that not knowing what the vetoes will bring.
Reports are the Governor is doing 6900 separate line item vetoes and it will take him over a day to initial the document in all the right places.
All of this uncertainty is one more reason to watch Capitol Tonight at 8PM or 1130PM on Time Warner.
New York Legislature fashions its final budget bill; vote expected late Wednesday or early Thursday syracuse.com

WDT: NY Budget in Murky Waters

At least the government has given us the new Mati Hari...the fetching Russian spy lady living among us....that might make you forget about the hole in the Gulf or what is a legitimate point raised in this WDT editorial. It is very hard to know exactly what is in the state budget....Documents are posted on line but are heard to sift through.
Despite all the bloggers and MSM on scene, all the little nuances and pet issues are not highlighted......Surely the lawmakers don't get to read all this and in a party-driven system, you have to vote for things you don't like because the leadership says so.
For instance, this editorial says the extended hours for Lottery games was voted on yesterday, but the bills I read didn't have that in them. The confusion over which tax is in and which is out...What is happening with wine in stores ? What do these vetoes mean ? What is that pension borrowing scheme all about ?
On and On it goes....If you devour all the newspapers and all the blogs, a clearer picture emerges...but not that much clearer.
But hey....here's some more pictures of the spy lady....
Watertown Daily Times N.Y. budget

County Clerks Remind Drivers: New 'Gold' Plates Are Just an Option

Patty...Stop already with the plates...
Newzjunky - County Clerks Remind Drivers: New 'Gold' Plates Are Just an Option

$300Million Overcomes a Lot of Moral Objections

A deal that was mired in scandal a few months ago gets a second chance as three high dollar bidders are being considered to run the Aqueduct Race Track....now called a "racino" because it is a combination horse track and casino.
Lawmakers have been quick to approve deals with the big boys for expanded video lottery terminals at race tracks as it seems beig government and big gambling like to do business....Mainly because big gambling is able to put up the $300 million in front money to the state that helps balance budgets.
Earlier this year, the State bent over backwards to approve an alcohol service scheme at the Turning Stone Casino upstate, in another tip of the hat to a large gambling operation.
-As for other stuff in Albany, the experts think the Governor's vetoes will not be the object of an override as Republicans in the Senate will not provide the votes to get to a two-thirds majority. In the Assembly the Democrats 107 of 150 majority would allow an override.
Three teams vie for Aqueduct racino deal - Capitol Confidential

School to Live a Little Longer

Welcome to New York...If there had been a shutdown, maybe Mr. Fralick could have gone ahead with the demolition...but the bureaucracy was still on duty...
The school board hired a high school principal...His name is Lloyd Peck and he will be paid $105,000 a year....An assistant superintendent was also hired. Her name is Mary Zehr and she will be paid $117,500.
Newzjunky - State Denies School District's Butterfield Demolition Request

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Coffey: Use Member Item Money To Open Polls Longer Upstate | Politics on the Hudson

AG Hopeful Sean Coffey is half right.....On primary day upstate polls should be open the same hours as those downstate....6AM to 9PM....Mr. Coffey suggests lawmakers use member items...That's just showboating...The Legislature should enact uniform voting hours and then counties should staff them.
The cost of elections is minimal and so important in a representitive republic.....Don't ever let a pol tell you something shouldn't be voted on because of what the election costs...
Coffey: Use Member Item Money To Open Polls Longer Upstate Politics on the Hudson

Dems in Legislature: Governor Paterson Hates Children

It's for the children !.... That's the official rallying cry against the big bad Governor who vetoed school appropriations.
I talked to an operative today who had been tasked to get quotes from all the superintendents about how they need more money....
That's ironic....After all, its our 'superintendent every five miles' system of education that is part of the problem...Too top heavy...
Democrats are now actually saying David Paterson hates the children....And they plan to turn up on the heat of GOP Senators in hopes of frightening them into an override.

Aubertine Wistful Over a Budget He Knows Won't Please Many

Senator Darrel Aubertine has gotten publicity from the budget debate, by doing his best Hamlet routine....He came down on the side of his caucus (did he have a choice ?). We all look at the budget through the prism of issues we personally are interested in. While I came away less than satisfied, others I am sure are happy....Most of the rest don't care.
What can anybody say ?...It's all over for this year, except some histrionics about the evil governor and his vetoes.
State of Politics Blog

FountainDesignVotingPage

View all the proposals for painting the fountain on Lachenauer Plaza....Cast a vote...
FountainDesignVotingPage

Where's Patty ?

And what about Patty ? Patricia Ritchie has just been handed a treasure trove of campaign material in a budget rife with fiscal tricks and unacknowledged deficits....A budget that raises taxes, overlooks other revenues, and avoids cuts.....
But for Patty its not so easy...She will have to curry favor with the same teachers unions, trade councils and big government advocates that Senator Aubertine has to listen to.
Ms. Ritchie will also have to take advice from Minority Leader , Senator Deal Skelos and the GOP hierarchy who really have had little of note to say in this process other than 'no'.
Indeed, could Ms. Ritchie do anything other than what Mr. Aubertine did when as a member of a 32-30 majority he had to conclude he could get no more for his district and had to hold his nose and vote for a politically perilous spending plan ?
Everybody says, 'vote 'em out'........But what is the alternative offering ?
We need to hear whether Ms. Ritchie will be an independent voice for lower taxes and less government......or something else.
The license plate issue was a nice metaphor for Albany and it got some attention....
But its a much more complicated set of issues than that...and many more trade offs that are made than just whether to get a new plate.....
The campaign for her will be whether she believes in a different course of action and if so, whether she can articulate it.

'Accidental Governor' Paterson scores victory as Albany clowns don't know own price tag

Another interesting analysis by downstate media of the budget situation.
'Accidental Governor' Paterson scores victory as Albany clowns don't know own price tag

You Go David !

Governor David Paterson told a radio audience this morning that he regrets not running for election this fall and challenging Andrew Cuomo in a primary...But he says the time has passed and he is content to be a lame duck....
Actually, it is his lame duck status that frees this Governor to do what he thinks is right. Now he is using the veto stamp and keeping the heat on lawmakers.
David Paterson will likely never run for office again, at any level. Freed of the shackles of candidacy, he can make his last six months memorable and leave a legacy of fiscal responsibility no recent governor can lay claim to.

Rain....It's Not So Bad at City Hall

One happy fiscal note for the City of Watertown....The heavy June rains are keeping Faith, Hope and Charity purring nicely...Those are the names of the three turbines at the Marble Street Hydro Plant....Under the lucrative forty year sale agreement with National Grid, this bit of foresight by our forefathers is the source of some $3.2 million in the upcoming budget. Earlier dry weather in the spring was a worry, so current we weather is making up for lost time...
Still, I am thankful for the rain and the blessings it brings for the City.
Watertown Daily Times June is setting records for Watertown rainfall

Pols to David: "Bite Me !"

Someone asked me over dinner last night to explain the term "Bite me." I said its a light hearted way of saying get off my back or more graphically 'kiss my a--." As in 'Johnny ,clean your room," and Johnny responds 'bite me.'
Well, Governor Paterson told the Legislature to balance the budget...and the reponse was in essence, "bite me.'
In fact the Governor's proposals were left sitting on the floor when delivered to the office of the Senate Counsel.
It's the kind of spending plan that is risky for a handful of lawmakers, but they know as we know that of the 212 lawmakers, it is doubtful any more than 5% will be defeated....And besides, New Yorkers like their government spending away.
So they think. This budget will provide a quivver of arrows on the issue of budgets, spending and deficits.
That could spell trouble in districts where an opponent is able to make the case and there are enough voters who care. No such districts are in the City of New York.
We owe it to look at the particulars as they become more apparents and to listen to the rationale for this week's actions.
The atmosphere is charged for a good campaign this fall...Not for Governor, that is decided...But for a handful of Senate and Assembly races....And as fate would have it...ours is one of them.
Pols trash gov's budget bid - NYPOST.com

A Bigger Pension Borrowing Plan - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com

The legislative plan for balancing this year's budget includes an even bigger sleight of hand on pension borrowing than the Governor's plan......The deal is to not fund employer contributions to the fund at appropriate levels and spread this year's payments over the next several...or perhaps forever (or however long this state lasts !)
Its a case of we will figure it out later....or an assumption there will be enormous returns on investment for the fund in coming years. Already the pension is predicated on something like an 8% return....Who gets that anymore ?
It will be a while to find out exactly what is in all that is being passed this week....
If this NYT article is accurate, we have sewed the seeds for problems in the future...And the people doing it always tell us whatever they do is "for the children."
A Bigger Pension Borrowing Plan - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

Paterson’s reality sandwich: restorations followed by veto - Capitol Confidential

Governor Paterson was true to his word this evening and vetoed $419 million in education funding and plans to do line item vetoes to cut more....He says its because the state does not have the money....
The Legislature had rebuffed the Governors budget in favor of a deal brokered by Speaker Silver.....While the expenditure bills that did pass tonight will avoid a shutdown, there is still more work to be done.
Paterson’s reality sandwich: restorations followed by veto - Capitol Confidential

DN: Aubertine's In Line as are All 32 Democrats

They have all fallen into line...The 32 Democratic Senators are voting for the two house revenue bill crafted by Speaker Silver and Majority Leader John Sampson......It likely will leave many standing at the station including those wanting a property tax cap...wine in the supermarkets, and extended hours for lottery games....It also means higher taxes.
This is what parties do best...Enforce discipline....It will remain to be seen if any concessions were obtained by the holdouts...But really...how long can you hold out ? For three or four members of the caucus who face tough elections, it remains to be seen if today, they took one for the team...
Dailypolitics - NY Daily News

More on those Democratic cracks - Capitol Confidential

Darrel Aubertine is one of a handful of Democratic Senators balking at the two party Legislative deal on a state budget....Among the items troublesome for Aubertine is the plan to count prison inmates in their county of origin for the purposes of redistricting....We know where most of them come from.
Other Senators are concerned about other parochial issues and will have to be bought off with language they can take home.
Among the sticking points is a bunch of promised but not delivered federal Medicaid money that Speaker Silver wants to count on , but others think will never come.
The prospect of a partial shutdown of state government is fading as lawmakers can vote on the expediture bills and leave the contentious revenue bill till later in the week. The reason is bills must age for three days and the Legislative version was not introduced in time for tonights shutdown deadline. Therefore, I believe the Governor's expenditure bills put in on Friday will be OK'd, while the Legislature version of revenue will be voted on Wednesday or Thursday.
More on those Democratic cracks - Capitol Confidential

Convenience stores drops support for WIGS - Capitol Confidential

Convenience stores have dropped their support for WIGS (wine in grocery stores) because they don't feel they individually have the cash to compete to buy medallions from liquor stores. So as with most issues, its all about the individual agenda of a group of persons or businesses.
I can't complain, I do the same thing.
Convenience stores drops support for WIGS - Capitol Confidential

Dems fear backlash for boosting Silver - NYPOST.com

Will upstate moderate Democrats in the Senate get nervous over rubber stamping Speaker Silver's proposed budget solutions ?
They should....the extra spending and the reliance on a clothing tax and other new taxes is dangerous in this election year. If you are a safe seat Democrat from Brooklyn, it doesn't matter what you vote for....
But if your name is Darrel Aubertine, it does.
The reliance on more taxes is toxic in the summer of 2010 and beginning to tax clothing a month before the election is walking the plank.
The wine proposal with the medallion plan proposed by the governor....even a modest soda tax and the expansion of lottery hours are three ways to produce a couple a hundred million with no downside with voters.
The smoke and mirrors of the Silver plan and the reliance on taxes is like Manna from Heaven for the Patty Ritchies of the World.
Dems fear backlash for boosting Silver - NYPOST.com

Indy big's spouse got biz 'break' - NYPOST.com

The ferocity to maintain GOP control of the State Senate was best evidenced in the 2008 special election in our district. Anyone who got in the way of that was in for a unique experience as newspaper clippings from the time will attest.
More to the point is where does this line on the ballot go this year ? The new masters in the Senate are the Dems and there is danger in taking the wrong side as there is no certainty on who wins this fall. Hence the apparent indecision in NY48.
Now to the issue of directing business to firms you have an interest in, that happens a lot. The largest beneficiary are law firms. When one party takes control, the lucrative legal work, including bond counsel goes to either a GOP or Democratic firm. In turn the firm helps out at election time, sending out notaries and making contributions.
I learned this firsthand when I took office in 1992 and a majority of the Council was Republican in its leanings. The first thing they did was get the bond counsel work shifted to the Barclay firm in Syracuse.
Lots of wheeling and dealing are done for judgeships as well.
To think Chicago style politics is limited to Chicago is naive.
Indy big's spouse got biz 'break' - NYPOST.com

This One is Not for the Children....Taxing Clothing While Passing on Booze and Gambling Revenues ?

Legislative budget goes after kids...to help the kids.
The primary purpose of the exemption on clothing was not to help the high fashion crowd...it was to help working families afford clothing for the kids.....
Now the Legislature wants to take that away. In essence raising the taxes on families.... They say its to restore money for education. Helping the children don't you know.
Meanwhile they are passing over revenue the supermarkets and drug stores are willing to pony up to sell wine. The governor's innovative medallion plan would have got that job done and provided some compensation to long time liquor license holders threatened by extinction.
Lawmakers are also passing over the Governor's original proposal to extend hours for the Lottery's Quick Draw game. This would have generated $54million. Currently the game has restricted hours although no other game or casino is so encumbered. Meanwhile lawmakers are expanding the use of video lottery terminals in race tracks.
The soda tax, while problematic, was rejected in favor of higher taxes on clothing.....
The Legislature will vote on something today just to get out of Dodge.
In a normal year, raising the taxes on kids clothing wouldn't hurt incumbents....Will it this year ?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sampson Confident...Sort Of

Senate Majority Leader John Sampson insists he has the 32 votes needed to pass the Legislative version of the budget...But I am not so sure...It will be tough for some upstate Dems to vote for this spending plan which omits easy revenue streams while imposing higher taxes.....
Senator Sampson needs all 32 Dems to vote yes as the 30 Republicans have already said they will vote against a tax increase.
State of Politics Blog

Sunday Session Does Nothing....Lawmakers Seem to Want to Pass Their Own Tax Hike Package

It was a whole lotta nothing Sunday night in Albany....The Governor called a special session of the Legislature and all they did was gavel in and gavel out....No business....
Earlier in the day a legislative version of a final budget surfaced as lawmakers are said to be tired of the Governor and his ultimatums....
Governor Paterson was again this week using a Monday night shutdown deadline to force a my way or the highway conclusion to the budget process on Monday.
Now it looks like both houses are going to adopt their own plan which scuttles wine in supermarkets....extends the hours for video lottery terminals in race tracks but declines to do accept the Governor's original plan to do the same for Lottery agents selling Quick Draw.....The sales tax exemption on clothing is gone under both proposals....and there are a couple token soak the rich provisions to placate the WFP crowd. The soda tax is non starter as well.
One aspect of the legislative plan to drop wine in grocery stores and drug stores may actually antagonize liquor store owners.....The Governor's final compromise plan had a medallion program that would have allowed small liquor stores to sell up to two wine franchises to the grocery stores, thus lessoning the financial impact....It was a good compromise that lawmakers dumped....Probably the prospect of small business actually getting a break galled them.
Its hard to say what will happen tomorrow, but its clear the plans leave some potential revenues untouched while sticking the people with some additional taxes.
Local Democrat Ted Ford told me the clothing tax isn't a hike because it's merely ending a "temporary" exemption.....Ted...Are you paying more for clothing ? If the answer is yes , its a hike. In an anti-incumbent year, I would think twice about voting for this budget if my seat were on the bubble...If you are one of those guys from Brooklyn or the Bronx and don't have to worry about elections....hey vote for the tax hikes.
I assume the schemes to spread out pension contributions are in there as well....