Assembly Counts $830M In ‘Revenue Actions’

The “Yellow Book” analysis of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal released Monday afternoon counts $830 million in “revenue actions” — ie, taxes — in the spending plan.

“The Executive proposes $830 million in new tax actions in SFY 2017-18 including the extension of the current income tax rate for millionaires for three additional years,” the report states. “This would result in an additional $683 million in revenue in SFY 2017-18, growing to $4.5 billion in SFY 2019-20. The Executive also proposes new tax actions that require online marketplace providers to collect and remit sales tax on behalf of all vendors that sell to New York State residents.”

The Republican-controlled Senate released its analysis simultaneously with a lower estimate: $803 million in surcharges aimed at generating revenue.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office earlier in the day declared the Senate interpretation of the budget “a smokescreen” for opposing the extension of the tax.

In an updated statement, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi continued to hammer the Senate GOP on the issue.

“The Senate Republicans’ ‘new tax’ is an extension of the millionaires tax and they’re saying they would rather give a tax break to millionaires than a tax cut to the middle class and increase education funding,” Azzopardi said. “We say New York’s children and middle class matter and should come before the Senate Republicans’ millionaires.”

The Assembly analysis can be found here.

The Senate budget report can be found here.


President Trump formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership today, pulling away from Asia and scrapping his predecessor’s most significant trade deal on his first full weekday in office, administration officials said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders praised Trump for pulling out of the TPP, offering to work with him on the issue in the future.

In one of his first acts as president, Trump has reinstated a federal ban on U.S. funding for international health organizations that counsel women on family planning options that include abortion.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he believes that his job is to be honest with the public but said “sometimes we can disagree with the facts but our intention is never to lie.”

Trump reportedly brought his own cheering section to his meeting with the CIA workforce this past weekend.

A group of moderate Republican Senators have announced an Obamacare replacement plan that would give states the choice to pick a new health insurance system or keep the Affordable Care Act in place.

A “team of mules” would likely be unable to drag Hillary and Bill Clinton into ever running for office again, according to former Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, of Arkansas, but that hardly means they’re done with politics.

New York City has agreed to pay up to $75 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit that accused its Police Department of issuing hundreds of thousands of criminal summonses that were later found to be without legal justification, the city’s Law Department said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his Regional Economic Develompent Council competition amid criticisms from some lawmakers as he proposes funding for a seventh round. “(T)hey would rather dole out the money themselves as politicians rather than go through the (council) that is made up of business people, academics who are executing a real business plan,” the governor said.

In a speech to nearly 200 local residents and officials, Cuomo said he wants Empire State Development to “step up to the plate” in Niagara Falls, carrying out a multi-pronged plan to boost the Cataract City’s economy.

The state comptroller’s latest biennial summary report features a new section in its introduction devoted to what his office sees as a notable but unfortunate trend: “Agency Obstruction.”

In the face of record operating losses by ORDA, Cuomo announced that the state will put up $20 million for updates at the authority-run Whiteface and Gore Mountain ski facilities.

Cuomo has hired prominent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams to defend him against a federal lawsuit challenging a new law that requires politically active non-profit organizations to publicly disclose their donors.

EJ McMahon says Cuomo has reached a budget turning point.

Cuomo’s budget includes language tying aid and incentives to municipalities (AIM) funding to enactment of a law “regarding county-wide shared services property tax savings plans.”

“This initiative asks local governments to seek efficiencies and put a plan before their voters that helps lower property taxes,” Cuomo budget spokesman Morris Peters said. “This shouldn’t be controversial in any way. The bill language simply assures that the voice of the voters is heard.”

Most of the donors who helped Cuomo raise $4.4 million over the past six months were familiar ones. But there were 20 new contributors who hadn’t previously given to him since he took office as governor in 2011 and gave $25,000 or more from mid-July through mid-January.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the release of the final Ocean Action Plan, the first-ever comprehensive 10-year blueprint to guide the protection and conservation of New York’s ocean resources from environmental threats such as ocean acidification due to climate change.

Premium cigars in New York could get a good bit cheaper in New York state if a tax change included Cuomo’s proposed budget gets adopted.

Cuomo announced the plans for a $15 million, “world-class” gondola that will carry 1,200 people an hour from the New York State Fairgrounds to the Onondaga Lakeview Amphitheater.

The New York State Fair will run 13 days this year, not 12, in anticipation of increased attendance and more amenities, fair officials said.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher delivered her last State of SUNY address today.

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore previewed her first State of the Judiciary speech, which she will deliver next week.

Cuomo didn’t mention the epicenter of New York’s water-quality crisis during his State of the State tour, but he he quietly included proposals designed to prevent another Hoosick Falls-like scandal in his budget.

In a recent forum of the seven Democratic National Committee chair candidates, all of them, including Sen. Bernie Sanders-backed candidate Rep. Keith Ellison, refused to acknowledge the Democratic primaries were rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.

DeFran: ‘Nothing’s Free’

Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFranciso disputed the charge from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Monday that the Republican conference was practicing “fuzzy math” in its assessment the proposed state budget includes $803 million in new fees and taxes.

“It can’t be fuzzy math because if it’s extending the millionaires tax, that means it’s a new tax,” DeFrancisco said. “It would die automatically if we don’t extend it.”

Cuomo has insisted that extending high rates on wealthy earners is a key piece of his budget, which also includes a $961 million spending increase for education aid and a $163 million plan to phase out college tuition costs at state and city universities for those who earn less than $125,000.

While some lawmakers have debated the state price tag for the tuition plan, DeFrancisco disputed the notion that it’s “free” to New York students in a literal sense.

“I think it’s true if he spends all the money he claims he’s going to spend by people giving people free college tuition, sure, but that’s not free,” he said. “It’s got to be financed in some way and it’s going to come from taxes.”

Keeping the tax rates in place is expected to generate more than $700 million in revenue for the state.

“It’s integral to our budget because he wants to give more free stuff away,” DeFrancisco said. “Nothing’s free.”

The debate over the millionaires tax is expected to be one of the more heated this budget season. Assembly Democrats are pushing for increased rates that could generate more revenue in order to spend beyond what Cuomo is proposing in education spending.

Heastie: ‘Trying To Strike A Balance’ On Bag Tax

Discussions continue on the enactment of a surcharge on the use of plastic bags, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Monday said.

The Republican-controlled Senate last week approved a measure that block the enactment of the 5-cent fee from taking effect. But Heastie indicated a potential compromise with city officials may be in the works and has held conversations with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“Our staff has had conversations with them. We continue to discuss our concerns,” Heastie said. “Hopefully we can come to a place where everyone is comfortable. But we’re not there yet.”

The surcharged, initially delayed last year after a compromise was put in place with the Assembly, is set to take effect in February.

“We’re trying to strike a balance,” Heastie said. “There’s no definitive answer on where we’re going yet.”

Bonacic Says He’s Open To Millionaires Tax Extension

Republican Sen. John Bonacic is open to extending high tax rates on the wealthy that are due to expire at the end of the year and a cornerstone of the $152.3 billion budget proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“I’m open to it. I am. I am,” Bonacic said in an interview. “By the way, I supported the last extension of the millionaires tax.”

The fight over the tax spilled over on Monday with Senate Republicans charging the governor’s budget would create $803 million in new surcharges. Cuomo’s office fired back, calling such suggestions “fuzzy math.”

But Cuomo has pinned the preservation of the rates on boosting spending elsewhere in the budget, including a $961 million hike in education spending.

Assembly Democrats, meanwhile, have indicated they will push for an increase in taxes in order to go beyond what Cuomo is seeking in school aid.

Bonacic, in the interview, called the millionaires tax debate a “tougher” issue in the scope of overall revenue raisers.

“It’s going to require more in-depth discussions,” he said. “The governor has basically said, You Republican conference, if you don’t do that, we’re going to dramatically reduce public education, which is a sacred cow.”

Generally, Republicans in the Senate have been cool to Cuomo’s tax extender.

“I’m not ready to tell you what the conference will do,” Bonacic said. “I’m stilling dwelling on it.”

Cuomo Admin Accuses Senate GOP Of ‘Fuzzy Math’

The Cuomo administration fired back at the claims being made by the state Senate Republicans that the $152 billion budget proposal contains $803 million in new surcharges, accusing the conference of practicing “fuzzy math.”

“No one is fooled by their fuzzy math,” said spokesman Rich Azzopardi. “This is clearly a smokescreen to mask Senate Republican support for giving a tax break to millionaires — half of which don’t even live in New York — at the expense of the middle class.”

A Senate analysis today is expected to show the budget including $803 million in new taxes and fees. By 2021, the surcharges stack up to $4.5 billion.

The Cuomo administration argument is the bulk of that revenue comes from extending the millionaires tax, which the governor’s office does not consider to be a “new” tax.

Cuomo Frames His Populist Approach With Legislature

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s speech in Plattsburgh was largely in line with his previous regional versions of the State of the State: He wants to make prescription drugs cheaper through state action, he wants county officials to work with municipal governments to develop tax-cutting solutions, he wants to phase out tuition costs at state colleges.

But Cuomo’s remarks also at the end struck a populist note when it comes to pushing the Legislature to adopting his $152.3 billion budget plan:

It’s not about the local elected officials. It’s not about Big Pharma. It is about the people of this state and government is about making life better. Not taking care of donors, not taking care of political connect companies. Not taking care of powerful corporations that can make your life miserable. Remember who you work for: You work for the people of the state. Let’s come together and work with the people of New York.

Senate: Cuomo Budget Adds $803M In New Fees

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo asserted his $152 billion budget proposal included only one new fee through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

An analysis expected to be released later today by the Republican-controlled state Senate paints a different picture of the spending proposal: $803 million in new surcharges.

By 2021, those fees fully phased in would actually cost $4.5 billion, according to a Senate spokesman.

Cuomo’s budget also includes an extension of the millionaires tax, which is due to expire at the end of the year.

Legislature Introduces Its Own Outside Employment Rule

The Republican-led Senate on Monday and Democratic-controlled Assembly on Friday introduced a rules resolution that lays down its own terms for seeking an advisory opinion for outside employment developed by the Legislative Ethics Commission.

The measure appears to largely mirror what Gov. Andrew Cuomo sought as part of his slate of ethics legislation unspooled in the State of the State this month.

There is one crucial difference, however: The proposed Senate rule is silent on the inclusion of having a member of the Office of Court Administration, such as the chief administrative law judge, be included in crafting the advisory opinion alongside the Legislative Ethics Commission.

The LEC’s composition includes current elected lawmakers appointed by the Senate and Assembly.

Like the Cuomo-backed proposed that was folded into his $152 billion budget proposal sets the threshold for outside employment income at $5,000.

Lawmakers, especially in the Senate, have been generally resistant to efforts that would place limits or bans on outside employment.

Cuomo sought a constitutional amendment in December that would ban outside employment in a special session that failed to coalesce.

A Senate spokesman on Monday said the measure is yet to be discussed within the GOP conference, but a vote could come by Tuesday.

Conservative Party: Most Want ‘Bag Tax’ Repealed

There’s majority support for scrapping a surcharge on plastic bags in New York City, according to a poll released this weekend by the state Conservative Party.

The poll found voters in New York City by a margin of 62 percent to 36 percent oppose the tax, with even a narrow majority in Manhattan — 50 percent to 49 percent — also opposing it.

“This poll clearly shows that New Yorkers are tired of taxes and tired of fees,” said Chairman Mike Long. “They’re saying that New York is already unaffordable, and all the bag tax passed by Mayor de Blasio and the City Council does is make things worse. At the end of the day no one wants another tax, especially this one.”

The release of the poll, conducted by BK Strategies, comes days after the state Senate moved to block the tax from being enacted. The measure now goes to the Democratic-led Assembly.