NYSUT Will Have Presence At Women’s March

The New York State United Teachers union on Saturday plans to have a presence at events across the state as part of the national Women’s March.

The union plans to be in force around New York, including a presence at the Albany march. The effort is being led by NYSUT Vice President Jolene DiBrango. The vast majority of the union’s membership is women, about three-quarters.

SD-37: Mayer Endorsed By Building And Construction Trades

Democratic state Senate candidate Shelley Mayer on Friday was endorsed by the Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester and Putnam Counties, her campaign said.

“I grew up in Westchester, and I know that the hardworking women and men of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester and Putnam Counties are the people who built this county and created the opportunities we all enjoy,” said Mayer. “The keys to keeping our economy growing are to keep investing in infrastructure, so we have a better climate for job growth, and to make sure workers all get safe working conditions and a wage they can live on. I’m running because we need a State Senate ready to invest in our communities, from Bedford to the Sound Shore to Yonkers. We need new leadership, and a new direction. It’s time for real change.”

Mayer, a state assemblywoman from Yonkers, is running to fill the seat vacated in the chamber by Westchester County Executive George Latimer and secured the party’s nomination earlier this month.

Republicans Sarmad Khojasteh and Dan Schorr are vying for the GOP nomination for the district that is a key part of a plan to unite the Independent Democratic Conference and the mainline conference of Democrats in the Senate.

“Good jobs for American workers are under attack every day, and we need tough, smart leaders like Shelley Mayer in the State Senate to fight for us, create jobs and grow our economy. Shelley has always stood with us to make sure that our families earn a fair wage in a safe workplace, and we’re going to stand 100% with her to make sure she wins this critical special election,” said Eddie Doyle, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester and Putnam Counties.

Rozic Seeks Gender Balance At Port Authority Board

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic is working with fellow state lawmakers in New Jersey to boost the number of women on the Port Authority’s board of commissioners, she said Friday in a statement.

At the same time, the Queens Democrat is backing legislation that aims to provide for greater gender balance on public authorities, IDAs and local development corporations.

The issue comes after the state Council on Women Girls released an agenda that includes increasing the number of women on state boards.

“Following stories about the lack of diversity on the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners in 2016, I decided to take an in depth look into women’s leadership positions across state boards,” said Assemblywoman Rozic. “Since then, three women have been appointed to PANYNJ’s board but New York has a long way to go in closing the gender leadership gap,” Rozic said. “I applaud Governor Cuomo for including this issue among his priorities this year and look forward to increased diversity on our public boards.”

The 12-member Port Authority Board of Commissioners has three women and no public state board in New York is composed of a majority of women.

Monroe and Cayuga Counties Added To Lake Ontario Disaster Declaration

The federal government has added Monroe and Cayuga counties to the list of counties along the Lake Ontario and Saint Lawrence River shoreline that are eligible for disaster assistance. The White House initially approved the declaration for six counties in November.

In the interim, Federal Emergency Management Agency and state Homeland Security and Emergency Services staff worked with the two counties to approve additional damage claims so they could reach the threshold for assistance. Money will now be available not only to municipalities in the region but also businesses, homeowners and non-profits.

“This year, many communities experienced severe and repetitive flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario due to historically high water levels and New York has been fighting all year to ensure the federal government provide appropriate support to help counties get back on their feet,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, said. “With this amendment, Monroe and Cayuga Counties will not only be able to make critical repairs to facilities and infrastructure, but improve their resiliency as well.”

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo released a statement Friday afternoon, thanking Congressman Chris Collins, R-NY-27, and Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, for working with stakeholders.

“I am grateful that FEMA today included Monroe County in a Disaster Declaration that will help local governments receive fair funding for costs incurred as a result of significant flooding along Lake Ontario last year. Monroe County worked diligently with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure that our community was ultimately included in this vital declaration and today’s approval is welcome news,” she said.

With the declaration, the federal government will cover 75 percent of costs for emergency management and permanent restoration with non-federal sources, including state and local governments, taking on the remainder.

Cuomo Seeks To Reassure Outer Borough Residents With Congestion Pricing

Repeatedly in an interview on NY1 on Friday did Gov. Andrew Cuomo remind viewers that he’s from Queens.

“I’m a Queens boy,” he said, while discussing the proposals for congestion pricing that could result in tolls charged for driving into Manhattan below 60th Street during peak times. “When you are an outer borough person, you have a different perspective on life than those who are gifted to live in Manhattan.”

The plan, released by the Fix NY commission, would charge drivers $11.52. Cuomo noted only about 5 percent of outer borough residents drive into Manhattan, with the vast majority of commuters taking mass transit.

Nevertheless, Cuomo said a congestion pricing is necessary in order to stem choking traffic and bolster funding for the ailing MTA subway system, Cuomo said.

Cuomo will still have to convince lawmakers from outside of Manhattan who represent New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. Sen. Andrew Lanza, a Republican from Staten Island, said he would oppose any congestion pricing plan he deems to be unfair to his constituents. He prefers an equalized toll plan on bridges into Manhattan.

The congestion pricing plan as envisioned by Fix NY would charge fares around zones in Manhattan. Congestion pricing has died multiple deaths in public policy debates, most recently 10 years ago when the Assembly declined to take a vote on a plan backed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Still, one potential critic on Friday appeared to surprisingly warm to the idea. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in an interview on WNYC earlier Friday said he still preferred his plan to tax the rich to further subsidize the subway.

He called what he had seen of the congestion pricing plan “a step in the right direction.”

“I believe the millionaires tax is still the best, most reliable, most verifiable way to get that permanent funding for the MTA, especially because our vision for the millionaires tax includes the Fair Fares concept, meaning half price Metrocards for low-income New Yorkers as a matter of equity and fairness and creating opportunity,” he said. “So I think, although I see some good elements in this new plan, I still think the millionaires tax should be the leading edge of how we solve the larger MTA problem.”

Cuomo Responds To Potential Nixon Primary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday appeared unconcerned with a potential primary challenge from actress and advocate Cynthia Nixon, saying he’s ready to put his record before voters as he seeks a third term.

In a NY1 interview, Cuomo jokingly suggested political anchor Errol Louis was considering running.

“I think a lot of people are running for governor, maybe,” Cuomo said.

Not really: At this point, only two declared Republicans have jumped into the race, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra. Democratic former Sen. Terry Gipson is for now the only declared primary opponent.

Nixon, known for her role on “Sex And The City” said Thursday she is “maybe” going to run for governor against Cuomo, staking out a claim to his left. Cuomo remains popular with self-identified liberal voters. A Siena College poll this week found 80 percent of liberal voters hold a favorable view of him.

Cuomo said he has a lot he wants to accomplish in the coming years, citing a series of infrastructure projects, including upgrades to LaGuardia Airport.

“I have produced in my job for the people of New York. I have a lot of projects underway in New York,” he said, adding, “I’m going to run with all my heart and soul and anyone who wants to run I’m ready.”

Considering Cuomo Primary, Nixon Leans Toward ‘Maybe’

Education advocate and actress Cynthia Nixon on Thursday said she was leaning toward “maybe” in a potential run for governor against incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

At the same time, Nixon is urging women to run for office in New York and nationally.

“When push comes to shove, I have the ultimate faith in women, and in young women in particular,” she told an audience in Brooklyn. “And in women of color, most of all.”

Even with Nixon’s name recognition and discontent from liberal advocates, a challenge against Cuomo would be a tall order. Cuomo, who is seeking a third term, has $30.4 million in cash on hand in the bank, an 80 percent approval rating in a recent Siena College poll among self-identified liberal voters and alliances with key labor unions.

So far, only Democratic former Sen. Terry Gipson has declared a primary challenge to the governor.

Nixon would likely run a campaign centered around education funding issues. She also praised Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, who Cuomo has been locked in a bitter feud.

“Who I would stump for anytime, any place, anyhow,” Nixon said.

Cuomo faced a primary challenge from Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout in 2014, who garnered 34 percent of the vote that year.

Apple RFP Process More Traditional Than Amazon

From the Morning Memo:

As Amazon considers its top 20 proposals for its second North American headquarters without any upstate regions in the running, the next giant on the economic development horizon is Apple.

The tech company announced earlier this week it is searching for a home for its new corporate campus as part of its plan to bring an estimated $245 billion dollars of business back to the United States.

While there are a lot of similarities in the Amazon and Apple projects, economic development officials in upstate say you’re likely to hear much less about Apple’s search moving forward.

“We’re constantly talking but one of the things we do and I really respect that with what GRE (Greater Rochester Enterprise) has done is we don’t often publicize our submissions. Amazon was different. Amazon when they came out, they made their HQ2 very public,” Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said.

The main difference will be in the Request For Proposals, or RFP, process. What made Amazon’s search so unusual is that the company encouraged any community that fell within its specifications to submit a proposal.

Invest Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Tom Kucharski said it won’t work that way for Apple. Instead the company will take a more traditional approach.

“In most cases you’re sent an RFP which means that the company or their consultants have said, yeah, you know you’re on the list, and then it’s your responsibility as a community to try to stay on the list. So it’s not a process of inclusion. It’s a process of exclusion,” Kucharski said.

Invest Buffalo Niagara said it hasn’t received that request yet from Apple or its consultants, but Kucharski said the region does have a good relationship and has already been in touch with the company to see if needs match resources.

“Apple is a recent announcement,” he said. “We’ve worked with the company for years. We have an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with them. I can only talk a little bit about that.”

Buffalo and Rochester submitted a joint bid to Amazon, and economic development officials indicated they plan to work together more in the future. It’s not clear whether that would be the case with Apple, however.

“There is nothing that we don’t go after when we hear about it and a lot of things that we don’t hear about, we find out through some back channels,” Duffy said.

Kucharski said even though the process is different, quite a bit of the research and ideas they gathered for the Amazon bid would be applicable to Apple too.

A Search for Revenue Amid A Budget Shortfall

From the Morning Memo:

As proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one billion dollars in new taxes and fees are included in his spending plan, taxing everything from health insurance profits to products sold on the internet.

“I am comfortable that where we raised revenues it was fair, it was right,” Cuomo said this week while unveiling the budget, “it’s not going to hurt the long-term economy of the state.”

The taxes include assessments on prescription opioids, a vehicle inspection fee on for-hire cars, a tax on e-cigarettes and deferring tax credit claims for businesses. The revenue comes as lawmakers and Cuomo have to close a $4.4 billion dollar deficit.

“Taken aback, shocked, apalled,” said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, a Republican candidate for governor.

“Certainly we live in one of the highest taxed states in the nation and to promote and propose more revenue raisers as he put it is only going to deteriate our economy even more.”

Generally Cuomo has been loathe to raise taxes during his time as governor, citing the need to attract and retain businesses, while also ending the perception the state is hostile to businesses. More broadly, the state enacted a tax cut that lowers rates over the next several years.

The taxes are being proposed as the $168 billion budget proposal avoids cutting the two most expensive and politically senstivie areas of state spending: education and health care. Business leaders had hoped Cuomo would take a different route.

“No, we don’t support any additional tax increases,” said Heather Briccetti, the Business Council president. “I think you have to eally look at the two large categories of spending and see where we are not getting a good bang for our buck.”

Even with a tightly balanced budget, Cuomo wants to increase education spending by $769 million. Education advocates had hoped for a much larger increase of at least $1 billion to fund schools. But some lawmakers, acknowledging the difficult fiscal situation, say attention should be paid to other areas, such as mandated spending on schools.

“I think this is a perfect opportunity for us this year to talk about some of the mandate relief that school districts have been asking for many, many years,” said Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica. “It’s also a chance for us to look at the formula. We have this debate every single year.”

And there is support for some of these tax actions, including a proposal to enter a multi-state compact that would close the so-called carried interest loophole advocates say has been taken advantage of by hedge funds.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.

In the morning, President Donald Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.

Shortly after noon, Vice President Mike Pence will introduce Trump as he addresses March for Life participants and pro-life leaders.

In the late afternoon, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will depart D.C. en route to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, FL.

In the evening, the Vice President and Second Lady Karen Pence will depart Washington, D.C. on Air Force Two en route to Clare, Ireland for a refueling stop before arriving in Cairo, Egypt.

At 8:30 a.m., state Financial Service Superintendent Maria Vullo presents the governor’s FY 2019 budget, Long Island City Partnership, LIC Conference Center, 41-21 27th St., Long Island.

Also at 8:30 a.m., state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon presents Cuomo’s FY 2019 budget, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Conference Room, 335 Adams St., Suite 2700, Brooklyn.

Also at 8:30 a.m., state Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball presents Cuomo’s FY 2019 budget, Columbia-Greene Community College, Room 612, Professional Academic Center, 4400 NY-23, Hudson.

At 10 a.m., WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” features NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

At noon, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James speaks at a Police Athletic League luncheon, Mutual of America, 320 Park Ave., Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., state Sen. Tony Avella and residents of Douglaston’s Willow Place and Stuart Lane call on New York City to reclaim privately owned streets, 9 Stuart Ln., Queens.

At 2 p.m., National Indigenous Congress of Mexico members hold press conference in New York ahead of the Women’s March being held tomorrow, 147 W. 24th St., Manhattan.

At 3:15 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul presents Cuomo’s FY 2019 budget, Onondaga Community College, Otis Suite, SRC Arena, 4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse.

At 6 p.m., Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon hosts a screening and discussion of the film “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” with former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman and Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, NYU Tandon School of Engineering MakerSpace Event Space, 6 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn.


The House approved a stopgap spending bill last night to keep the government open past today, but Senate Democrats — angered by President Trump’s vulgar aspersions and a lack of progress on a broader budget and immigration deal — appeared ready to block the measure.

It would be the first federal government shutdown in four years.

The Senate couldn’t even agree on holding a vote last night, adjourning after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spurned Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s request to hold a vote and, assuming it failed, restart bipartisan negotiations on immigration and government spending levels.

If the government does shut down, are you unsure who to blame? Here’s a cheat sheet to assist with that.

Trump is scheduled to mark the one-year anniversary of his inauguration by traveling to his Florida estate of Mar-a-Lago today to host a six-figure fundraiser – even as Capital Hill lurches toward a government shutdown.

Two House bills backed by Republicans would keep military paychecks flowing and provide pay to any federal civilian employees given furloughs during a government shutdown.

The Trump administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the preisdent’s right to end the program protecting so-called Dreamers, but has decided not to seek permission for him to proceed with the wind-down on the schedule announced last year.

He once called himself “pro-choice.” But a year into his presidency, Trump is stepping to the forefront of his administration’s efforts to roll back abortion rights.

Trump spoke in the Pittsburgh, PA area yesterday in what was originally billed as a campaign stop but what the White House later said was a speech to tout the benefits of tax reform.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Fix NYC” panel is expected to release its congestion pricing recommendations today, which would make the Big Apple the country’s first “pay-to-drive” city.

The plan is expected to be similar to the one floated by then-NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2008, which was rejected in Albany.

Under the new plan, cars could be charged as much as $11.52 to enter the most traffic-clogged streets of Midtown Manhattan, with trucks forking over even more: $25.34.

While attending an event to benefit an organization that encourages women to become politically active, actress Cynthia Nixon was asked if she’ll primary Cuomo this fall. Her response: “Maybe.”

LG Kathy Hochul said she and Cuomo are focused on getting New York State through its budget deficit, not on politics or the 2018 election. But when asked if she’s considering running against Republican Rep. Chris Collins, Hochul didn’t say yes or no.

Amazon named 20 metropolitan areas as finalists for its second headquarters after reviewing 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. New York City and Newark are among the choices, but upstate didn’t make the cut.

If taxpayers and lawmakers were expecting that a new 37-page report from the state Tax and Finance Department would provide a definitive road map of how New York might sidestep the effects of Trump’s new federal tax plan and its sharp reduction in the deductibility of state and local taxes, they instead got a view of just how complicated this is.

A niece of the late Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, Dr. Lucy Waletzky, has become the lone donor to his latest successor’s boutique political party: The Women’s Equality Party, founded by Cuomo in 2014.

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