Jul 28th - 7:44 am
It’s impossible to say for certain how many state workers there are because there are two separate payrolls, one of which is for authorities and agencies beyond the governor’s control.
An entire segment of the public workforce may be blocked from an early retirement incentive the Paterson admnistration hopes will reduce the need for layoffs, according to an internal memo.
“Reform knows no party, and that’s why I’m here today,” said GOP Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano when asked why he was standing with Democratic AG Andrew Cuomo to call for a property tax cap.
A “savvy” GOP strategist explained Mangano’s motivation to Dan Janison thusly: “Because Cuomo’s going to win.”
Cuomo’s first ad of the gubernatorial campaign calls for voters to support his property tax cap proposal. (His aides refuse to say who made the spot).
Asked if he thinks Rep. Charlie Rangel should resign, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer responded: “Mr. Rangel has to do what Mr. Rangel believes is appropriate and proper.”
Mayor Bloomberg might not be attending Rangel’s big birthday fundraiser after all.
It looks likely that tonight’s extraordinary session will be a gavel-in, gavel-out experience.
It appears the Senate Democrats won’t even have the 32 vote necessary to pass any deals – should they arise – due to an ill-timed vacation by Senate President Malcolm Smith.
Lawmakers won’t be getting paid until they finalize the budget, but they will collect their per diems for traveling to Albany – even if nothing gets done while they’re here.
Jul 27th - 6:40 pm
Here’s former Gov. George Pataki taking AG Andrew Cuomo to task during an interview that will air on this evening’s “Capital Tonight” for going after the so-called “fake nun,” but refusing to investigate the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero.
Pataki, who endorsed Rick Lazio for governor back in March, wouldn’t go so far as to agree with the gubernatorial hopeful’s characterization of Cuomo as “incompetent” – “I don’t use words like that,” he told me.
Pataki also told me it’s appropriate for Cuomo to investigate the woman who is posing as a nun to solicit donations for a phony church, but said if the AG is willing to do that through his charities bureau, he should look into the funding for the Cordoba House, too.
“It’s certainly appropriate for the attorney general to ask questions and get answers before this facility is built anywhere near Ground Zero,” the ex-governor said. “I think it’s a legitimate issue. ”
“Why can you be so quick to pounce on a fake nun, but then stay away from the issue of where the funds are coming from for such an important facility that they’re trying to build so close to Ground Zero?”
“I think it’s just wrong that we don’t know the answers to those questions. The person legally who has the ability to get us those answers is the attorney general.”
Pataki also insisted he’s doesn’t share a growing concern among Republicans that Lazio might very well lose the GOP primary to Carl Paladino, and spoke a little about his own political future. The interview will air in full at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
Jul 27th - 4:50 pm
…Maggie Haberman tries to figure out the circumstances under which Rangel might be willing to deal.
Another House Democrat (not from NY) is calling on Rangel to resign.
Sen. Eric Schneiderman attacked his AG primary opponent Sean Coffey, calling him “rich” and “unfiltered”….get it?
Mayor Bloomberg takes an “us” or “them” approach to geese.
The mayor did not want to talk about the political aspirations of his live-in companion Diana Taylor.
Kristin Davis doesn’t find pot to be an aphrodisiac, but thinks it might work for other people.
The WFP has an on-line petition calling for a moratorium on hydrofracking.
A federal appeals court rejected the Bloomberg administration’s years-long effort to create a fleet of hybrid taxis.
Jul 27th - 3:43 pm
Senate Democatic Conference Leader John Sampson was downright evasive during a conference call with reporters this afternoon, repeatedly refusing to say how many of his 32 members will be on hand for tomorrow’s extraordinary session and whether he’ll be able to pass any deals that might spring up between now and then.
The call was ostensibly set up for Sampson to declare victory over the fact that New York is again a finalist for federal “Race to the Top” cash.
But the first question out of the box – from the uber-fabulous CapTon intern Bryan Terry (!) – was whether the Democrats will have enough bodies in the chamber to actually take up any legislation.
NY1 Capitol reporter Erin Billups Tweeted earlier today that Senate President Malcolm Smith is on vacation and won’t be back until week.
Jul 27th - 2:40 pm
AG Andrew Cuomo has released the first TV ads of his gubernatorial campaign – a trio of spots that highlight his property tax cap plan.
Cuomo’s campaign says this is the first in a “series” of ads related to Cuomo’s “New New York Agenda”, and they’re being released in conjunction with his launch today of a Website to generate voter support for his cap.
There are three versions of the ad – this is the upstate spot. There’s also one for Long Island and another for Westchester and Rockland counties. They all basically have the same script, which is:
“It’s not fair. It must be stopped. Property taxes on Long Island goes up, even as home values go down. But Andrew Cuomo has a plan to cap property tax increases at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Tell Albany we need the Cuomo Tax Cap. Go to capnypropertytaxes.com and help Andrew Cuomo keep property taxes from going through the roof.”
Oddly, there’s no mention of the fact that Cuomo is running for governor. It’s an unusual decision to go up on the air with an issue ad before a campaign ad….but, then again, I guess he has sufficient name recognition, and he’s trying to make this race more about his reform crusade and less about, well, himself.
Jul 27th - 2:10 pm
While appearing on Long Island with GOP Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano this afternoon, Democratic gubernatorial designee Andrew Cuomo announced he’s launching a new Website to rally public support for his two percent property tax cap.
This comes on the heels of the AG’s RV tour, during which he asked New Yorkers to sign a petition to support his government/ethics/budget reform etc. proposals.
A two percent property tax cap that is more stringent and broad than the 4 percent cap Gov. David Paterson is pushing (so far without success) in Albany, is part of Cuomo’s “New New York Agenda,” but this is the first time he has singled out the issue as a particular focus.
In an e-mail sent to supporters earlier today, Cuomo wrote:
Jul 27th - 1:45 pm
As predicted, the Senate Democrats are seizing on today’s “Race to the Top” announcement, declaring both a policy and political victory in their ability to push through changes that helped again push New York into the list of finalists for federal education cash.
(Keep in mind: This is not a done deal. The last time New York made it to this RttT level, only to finish 15th out of 16 when it came down to awarding cash).
Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson called this a “shining example of what the Senate Democratic Majority can accomplish for the State of New York.”
“By passing legislation to raise the charter cap, reform charter schools, improve teacher evaluation, and invest in tracking educational outcomes, the Senate Democratic Majority helped give New York the competitive advantage it needed to become a finalist in the Race to the Top,” Sampson crowed.
Jul 27th - 1:04 pm
Twelve upstate GOP county chairs and Assemblyman Joe Errigo are calling on former Long Island legislator Bruce Blakeman, the party’s designee to take on Democratic US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, to quit the race due to his failure to fundraise.
The group, led by Wayne County GOP Chairman Dan Olson, an early supporterof Blakeman’s primary opponent, economist David Malpass, argues in a letter to Blakeman that Malpass is the “only candidate” who can bring a strong challenge to Gillibrand.
(They make no mention of the third contender, former Westchester Rep. Joe DioGuardi, who petitioned his way into the GOP primary and also is backed by the state Conservative Party).
The GOP leaders also invoke the name of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, which is kind of ironic, since Blakeman frequently holds him up as proof that a little-known, under-funded Republican can win in an overwhelmingly blue state against a well-known and well-funded Democrat.
Jul 27th - 12:08 pm
The New York League of Conservation Voters is sticking with GOP Sen. Frank Padavan, who again faces a tough re-election bid this fall.
“Throughout his tenure in the State Senate, Frank Padavan has been focused on results, not rhetoric, said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn.
“He has fought for important laws to protect public health and secured funding for vital environmental projects in Northeast Queens. Senator Padavan’s record is proof-positive that clean air, safe drinking water and a healthy environment are not partisan issues.”
Jul 27th - 11:30 am
New York leaders are anxiously awaiting today’s announcement of the finalists for Round II of the federal “Race to the Top” cash, which is expecting to come sometime around noon along with a speech by US Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The state made the cut last time, too, but ultimately ended up finishing 15th of the 16 finalists – largely due to its failure to adopt reforms that including lifting the charter school cap and changing the way teachers are evaluated.
That money – or any portion of it – would go a long way toward helping close the budget gap that would likely be opened by the loss of FMAP Medicaid funding, for example, although the two are not interchangeable.
If New York is successful this time around, look for the Senate Democrats to declare a major victory.
Sources say they will be pointing out the fact that the charter school cap bill passed 45-15, with all 32 Democrats – even those who are vehemently ant-charter, like Sens. Bill Perkins and Shirley Huntley – voting “yes” and 15 Republicans in the “no” column.
UPDATE: AP has just announced that 19 states are finalists for the $3 billion in Race to the Top funds. The states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.