Six NY House Districts Part Of National Tax Reform Focus

A Republican aligned advocacy group has in recent days bolstered its efforts in New York congressional districts to promote the push for tax reform in Washington.

The group, American Action Network, is targeting six districts overall in New York as part of a 41-district effort.

In New York, the campaign has been focused on the districts represented by GOP Reps. Lee Zeldin, John Faso, Elise Stefanik, Claudia Tenney, John Katko and Chris Collins.

Of those lawmakers, Collins is believed to be safest in next year’s midterm elections, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sought to work to unseat the western New York Republican who had backed an effort to shift the burden of Medicaid spending from county governments to the state level.

This effort from the American Action Network has been focused on tax reform, part of a $500,000 digital ad campaign to push for the issue. It comes as the U.S. Senate is turning its own focus back to a potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“Now is the time for Congress to act and make tax relief for working families a reality,” said Corry Bliss, AAN Executive Director. “Conservatives are on the right track and have a winning message on pro-growth tax reform: cut taxes on working families, keep and create jobs here at home, and eliminate loopholes for special interests. That’s exactly what Americans across the country deserve. Lawmakers must deliver on their promise to families or prepare to be held accountable.”

Erie County Comptroller Features Union Head In First Digital Ad

While the focus of last week’s primaries was mostly on Upstate mayoral races, there are some countywide contests to watch in November. One of those is the race for Erie County Comptroller.

Republican Stefan Mychajliw is looking to win his second full term as comptroller. The former investigative reporter also won a special election in 2012.

Mychajliw launched his first digital campaign advertisement Thursday. In the 30 second spot, local union head Rich Canazzi talks about his endorsement of the comptroller.

“In my 23 years I have never witnessed a union president backing up a Republican candidate, and I believe that going forward this county is in good hands with Stefan,” Canazzi said.

AFSCME Local 1095 was one of the first groups to endorse Mychaljliw’s re-election campaign earlier this year.

“Being Comptroller is about one thing – being an independent watchdog for taxpayers. It does not matter if it is a Republican or Democrat – my job is to hold the politicians in check and protect taxpayers. That’s why I’m grateful to have the support of 1500 hardworking taxpayers who make up AFSCME Local 1095,” Mychajliw said.

The local Democratic party believes it has a candidate who can unseat him this year in Vanessa Glushefski. The certified public accountant has been active on Twitter, often criticizing Mychajliw for catering to political donors.

Glushefski is also running a digital ad.

“Because I’m not funded by special interest groups or partisan politics, you can trust me to work for your best interests, doing the most with your dollars,” she said.

 

County Execs Sound Alarm Over Tax Reform Proposals

County executives in New York are urging federal lawmakers to not end the deduction of state and local taxes and the federal tax exemption for municipal bonds, arguing in a statement Thursday that both measures would have a negative impact on local taxpayers.

The two proposals are among a package of potential changes to the federal tax code that congressional Republicans want to achieve before the end of the year.

“Our congressional members must understand that these two actions would have a direct and negative impact on our homeowners and local governments,” said Onondaga County Executive Joannie Mahoney, president of the New York State County Executives Association.

Ending state and local deductions, in particular, could have a broad impact on high-tax states like New York and has been largely opposed by state elected officials in both parties. Meanwhile, the elimination or limits on federal tax exemptions for municipal bonds has received less attention, but could have cost local governments $45 billion in higher interests costs if it had not been in place.

“With this letter, we are asking our congressional members to put their constituents first,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It’s time to fight for working New Yorkers and reject the current plan for tax reform.”

Hannon, Gottfried Push For CHIP Renewal

The leading health committee lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly on Thursday called on Congress to re-approved the federal Child Health Insurance Program at the enhanced match rate before it expires at the end of the month.

Republican Sen. Kemp Hannon and Democratic Assemblyman Richard Gottfried are renewing their call after initially pushing for the re-approval in August.

The state’s own version of the program, which pre-dates the federal government, provides health care access to 300,000 children in New York.

“Our state was among the first to create the Child Health Plus Program and has led the way in expanding access to the important services it provides children under 19,” Hannon said.

New York has since expanded its program by raising income eligibility levels and raising the age of children covered since it was enacted in 1990. The federal program came on line in 1997. The changes largely hinged on federal matching dollars.

“New York’s Child Health Plus ensures health care access for over 300,000 young New Yorkers,” Gottfried said. “The increased CHIP funding that was part of the Affordable Care Act is critical to maintaining this extraordinary success story.”

Rep. Higgins Avoids Criticizing Trump UN Speech

From the Morning Memo:

President Donald Trump has received heavy criticism, primarily from the left, for his first speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly.

But Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins was far more measured than some of his House colleagues when asked in Buffalo for his reaction to the speech.

First off, the Buffalo congressman didn’t voice any concerns about the president’s threat to “totally destroy North Korea,” saying: “I think the president was pretty clear about his disdain for North Korea and what’s going on there. I think that can be explained in the most clear and certain of ways.”

Of course, Trump’s critics aren’t necessarily upset that the president drew a hard line when it comes to North Korea or even Iran. Rather, they were concerned about his choice of words – “Rocket Man“?! – as well as the tone and setting of a speech in front of the U.N., an organization that has as its main goal the fostering of peace around the globe.

Higgins said he believes the country still values the purpose of the organization, and by no mean wants to get involved in another war.

“There’s different methods and modes of diplomacy,” he said. “Look, the president is the president. You’re not going to change him.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that based on his conversations with the defense secretary, there is no good military solution in North Korea. He said America has anti-missile systems that can protect American soil – even Guam – but there are other concerns.

For one, he said, North Korea has thousands of rockets and cannons lined up on the border, just 30 miles from the South Korean capital of Seoul.

“They could probably kill a million people, probably thousands of Americans there,” Schumer said. “Aside from our service men and women who are there, we have tons of American civilians who are there as well.”

The Democratic Leader said the president is conducting a 90-day study, considering his suggestion to get tougher on trade with China, until the Asian superpower does the same with North Korea.

Southern Tier Ag Leaders Discuss Concerns

From the Morning Memo:

Federal immigration policies could have a negative effect on the Southern Tier wine-making industry, some constituents are telling Republican Rep. Tom Reed.

Mazza Wines General Manager Mario Mazza said it’s tough to find applicants with related work experience, and asked that any immigration reform include employment-based policies.

“The vast majority of applicants that are viable candidates have come from overseas, and that’s where we’ve made our hiring decisions,” Mazza said. “Not that we didn’t want to hire domestically, it’s that we didn’t have viable options to hire domestically.”

At a forum hosted by Reed for agricultural leaders yesterday in Chautauqua County, he also heard from dairy farmers who are concerned about a potential overhaul to the North American Free Trade Agreement, otherwise known as NAFTA.

Canada and Mexico are two of the largest trading partners for the dairy industry, and “trade looms very large when it comes to our bottom line,” according to Chautauqua County Farm Bureau President Richard Kimball, who noted: “We have to have exports.”

The congressman listened and promised to bring the concerns he heard back to Washington with him. He assured constituents that comprehensive reform to the tax system, immigration and trade agreements will ultimately be to their benefit.

“These are the policies that are restricting their opportunities to grow, to succeed,” Reed said. “And if we don’t solve these issues, this is to me something that will do the most harm to them on a day to day basis.”

Here and Now

Happy Rosh Hashanah, if it applies to you. Have a sweet new year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 7 a.m., Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to appear on CBS This Morning and Fox News’ Fox and Friends.

Pence and President Donald Trump will then participate in expanded meetings with the president of Afghanistan, the President of Ukraine, and the President of the Republic of Korea at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel.

The VP and the president will then have a working lunch with the Prime Minister of Japan and the president of the Republic of Korea.

Later in the day, Pence and Trump will participate in an expanded meeting with the prime minister of Japan, after which Pence will return to Washington, D.C., and Trump will head to his New Jersey golf club.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also in NYC for the UN General Assembly, where he’s scheduled to participate in a Security Council session on nuclear non-proliferation and host an “EU Partners Dinner” at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel.

At 10:15 a.m., Rep. Dan Donovan conducts site visits with the new Department of Housing and Urban Development Region II Administrator Lynne Patton in Staten Island.

At 11 a.m., the board of directors of the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corp. conducts its monthly meeting, The Brisbane Building, 403 Main St., fifth floor conference room, Buffalo.

Also at 11 a.m., members of the Buffalo branch of the American Association of University Women, Western New York Women’s Foundation and the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women hold a press conference to reveal newly released census data that shows women are still at a workplace compensation disadvantage, Bak USA, 425 Michigan Ave., Buffalo.

At noon, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will discuss the city’s assistance to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., NYCHA Residents and workers gather outside of NYCHA headquarters to rally for the preservation of funds and existing programs, 250 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Compassion & Choices New York is sponsoring two screenings of the award-winning documentary “How To Die In Oregon” at the Tompkins County Public Library in Ithaca, 101 E. Green St. The movie will be followed by a discussion.

At 3:30 p.m., NYC Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver and others unveil American Nobel Prize winners’ names inscribed on the NYC Parks laureate monument, Theodore Roosevelt Park, Columbus Avenue and West 81st Street, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Albany Fire Chief Warren Abriel Jr., a 45-year veteran of the Albany Fire Department whose family has been central to the department’s history for four generations, will be speaking about the history of AFD, Albany City Hall, 24 Eagle St.

At 6 p.m., Defend Puerto Rico alongside two local PR organizations Nuestra Escuela and Taller Salud, host a night of arts and auction to fundraise for Puerto Rico after the Hurricane Maria devastation, Julia de Burgos Art Center, 1680 Lexington Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., Uplift Syracuse, a progressive advocacy group, hosts a launch party and fundraiser, Munjed’s Middle Eastern Cafe, 505 Westcott St., Syracuse.

Also at 6 p.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosts his annual Ecuadorian Heritage event, 851 Grand Concourse at East 161st Street, the Bronx.

At 7 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul celebrates the Girl Scouts of Western NY Women of Distinction at their annual dinner, Kleinhans Music Hall, Mary Seaton Room, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo.

Headlines…

Trump took to Twitter to slam “Crooked Hillary” Clinton over her criticism of his hard line on North Korea and to retweet other posts hailing his speech at the United Nations.

Hillary Clinton’s new book debuted to higher sales than any nonfiction hardcover since 2012, selling over 300,000 copies (including digital sales) in its first week, though that’s not quite as high as her first book.

Clinton believes First Lady Melania Trump has not kept her word about doing more to prevent cyberbullying, questioning whether she’s really “serious” about her commitment to the cause since she has yet to release a formal plan for her efforts after vowing.

Melania Trump condemned bullying during a speech at a UN luncheon, saying it was up to adults to teach young people how to live by “the golden rule.”

When Clinton took the guest’s seat on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” she was in a mood to put Russian President Vladimir Putin on the psychiatrist’s couch. She mocked him for “man spreading” at a meeting.

Former President Barack Obama didn’t mention his successor or congressional Republicans by name in a speech before a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation conference, but his message about their attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act was clear.

A move by the Trump administration to make it simpler to sell small arms abroad may provide some relief to gun makers American Outdoor Brands and Sturm Ruger & Company in an industry grappling with a deep sales slump since the president’s election.

Trump is seeking to revisit the nuclear agreement with Iran to toughen its provisions rather than scrap it right away as he has threatened, enlisting allies to pressure Tehran to return to the negotiating table, administration officials said.

Six months after being fired by Trump, Preet Bharara has a new gig at CNN. The former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York has been hired as a senior legal analyst.

Bharara — whose office rocked state government with cases against ex-top legislative leaders and people with ties to the governor — recounted his interactions with Trump in his inaugural “Stay Tuned with Preet” podcast, released yesterday. He also told the tale to the New York Times in April.

Hackers have been hiding inside Equifax’s computer network since March — far longer than previously thought, a report says.

Equifax said investigators had determined that an online dispute website at the heart of the theft of some 143 million consumer records was initially compromised by hackers on March 10 – four months before the company noticed any suspicious activity.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked the Trump administration for documents pertaining to 13 areas from which he wants information.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, said Paul Manafort and the president’s other associates should “go to jail for the rest of their lives” if they colluded with Russian officials during the elections.

Manafort was hired to promote an upcoming referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq that the U.S. fears could destabilize the region.

Less than two weeks before Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, Manafort offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin.

NBC anchor Megyn Kelly said Trump’s election was her final push to leave Fox News after 12 years.

Governors and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are championing a 15-state coalition that’s tackling environmental issues, announcing they’re on track to reach the goals of the Paris agreement from which the president plans to withdraw.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Trump administration is the most ignorant in history about the environment and climate change.

More >

Extras

All of Puerto Rico has lost power as Hurricane Maria has left at least nine people dead in the Caribbean.

The Republican National Committee spent over $230,000 last month to cover President Donald Trump’s legal fees related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Iran vowed not to be the first nation to violate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, while Trump said he had made up his mind whether to abandon the accord but declined to disclose his decision.

Former President Barack Obama attacked congressional Republicans for their renewed efforts to repeal his signature law, the Affordable Care Act, better know as Obamacare.

In the race for New York City mayor, Democratic incumbent Bill de Blasio leads his Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis by 47 points, comparable to his 2013 margin of victory, among likely voters citywide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, a new poll finds.

De Blasio wants to be seen as a leader in fighting global warming, and he says that everyone needs to do their part. But when it comes to two buildings he owns in Brooklyn, it’s not clear that he’s following his own advice.

The committee tasked with helping to price tolls on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge has never met since it was created in November 2015, and the seven-member group has never sought public input and its findings are more than a year late.

Billboards touting language classes at a school in Croatia that used a photo of first lady Melania Trump have been removed after a lawsuit threat.

Brown University has launched a campaign to eliminate loans from its undergraduate financial aid packages.

In a rush to finish the long-awaited Second Avenue subway by a New Year’s Day deadline imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the MTA failed to finish its final safety testing before opening, leading one inspection report to note, “quality was compromised for schedule acceleration.”

A Manhattan judge has yanked a confidentiality caption that was shielding former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s divorce case with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, from the public.

Weiner repeatedly convinced an underage girl to get naked and fondle herself while he watched over the internet, federal prosecutors revealed in a court filing today.

Weiner has asked not to serve any prison time for his sexting conviction. But his request for probation was “simply inadequate,” federal prosecutors said, adding that “his crime deserves time in prison.”

A federal grand jury has returned a second superseding indictment in a major corruption case involving Joe Percoco, a former top aide to the governor who was snared in a state economic development scandal.

The Syracuse Post-Standard ranked the Upstate New York colleges where students were least likely to get a degree, and had the highest rates of default on their federal loans.

The big five news organizations have passed on offering former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer a job as an exclusive paid contributor.

Trump jabbed back at the Emmy Awards’ “bad” ratings on Twitter last night, after the show featured a string of derisive jokes aimed at the White House.

The state Tax and Finance Department has a new website that show New Yorkers whether their STAR property tax rebate check has mailed.

Former state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky today released a “A Constitutional Agenda For The Protection And Expansion Of The Rights And Liberties Of The People of New York.”

Fresh off of its nine Emmy Award wins, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” will be live across the country when it returns for its new season Sept. 30.

A coroner and medical examiner say a 28-year-old New Jersey hiker, whose body was found near Wallface Mountain Monday afternoon, died from bronchial pneumonia resulting from a lack of food, a constant wet environment and the cold.

The loss of revenue from the Seneca Niagara Casino is taking a toll on the City of Niagara Falls. The latest audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s Office projects the city’s fund balance will run dry by the end of the year.

Bring water to Paul McCartney’s concert. That’s the biggest piece of advice Carrier Dome officials want to pass along for anyone attending the show on Saturday, because the sold-out event is taking place on a very hot day.

Schumer, Reed Say They’ll Do Their Best To Fight Medicaid DSH Cuts

A day after the governor called on the New York Congressional Delegation to stop imminent cuts to a specific Medicaid program, two members on opposite sides of the aisle both said they’d do their best.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he’s been a leading voice against the cuts to so-called Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments. If Congress doesn’t take action before October 1, New York could lose $2.6 billion in funds used to reimburse hospitals for uncompensated healthcare costs.

Hospitals that serve uninsured and under-insured patients would stand to lose the most revenue. Schumer said rural hospitals, in particular, would be devastated.

“Many of them would have to close. Most others would have to lay off hundreds of people if this, these cuts went through,” he said.

Despite the serious consequences, Schumer called his chances of passing legislation to avoid the cuts “neck-and-neck.” His colleagues seem to agree it won’t be easy.

Republican Congressman Tom Reed also said he plans to try and help strike a deal to alleviate the cuts, but he chastised the hospitals for putting him and others in a tough spot. That’s because Reed said when the Affordable Care Act originally passed, the hospitals agreed to the future cuts as part of the process.

“Now to come in and say, ya know, that deal that they struck somehow has to be undone, to me is troublesome, but at the same time, I understand the impact this has on the people that these hospitals serve,” he said.

Reed also noted, a major reason he supported the failed previous GOP healthcare plan, was because it addressed DSH funding.

Cuomo: Climate Alliance On Track

The U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico, announced Wednesday its members are on track to meet their targets under the Paris Climate Accord. This comes despite the fact, President Donald Trump pulled the country out of the international agreement earlier this summer.

According to the alliance’s progress report, states are on track to reach a 25-29 percent reduction from 2005 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2025. Between 2005 and 2015, members reduced emissions by 5 percent more than states that aren’t part of the coalition, the study also claimed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, is a co-chair of the coalition.

“While the federal government abdicates its responsibility on climate change, governors do not have the luxury of denying a scientific reality, and it is more important than ever for states to take collective, common sense action,” Cuomo said. “Today, New York State is picking up the mantle of leadership and raising the bar in the global fight against climate change.”

The alliance also announced the addition of North Carolina as its newest member. Altogether, the membership said it represents 36 percent of the U.S. population.

Meanwhile, Cuomo announced he is expanding NY Green Bank, a state-sponsored financial entity that helps support private sector investment into New York’s clean energy sector. The expansion will include raising new funds and assisting other states in establishing Green Bank offices.