Senate GOP Could Conference Minimum Wage By November, Lawmaker Says

From the Morning Memo:

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo shot down the potential for a special session to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15, Senate Republicans could meet to take a position on the issue as early as November.

“I don’t know where the conference stands,” said Sen. Patty Ritchie. “Sometime later in November we’re going to have a conference and I’m sure that’s one of the issues that’s going to be discussed.”

Cuomo on Wednesday in Albany said he had not heard of a special session — potentially in December — being a point of discussion.

But sources say a potential end-of-year session has been in the preliminary discussion phase for raising the minimum wage, potentially coupled with a tax cut for businesses.

The GOP conference is yet to take a formal position on increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15, but has expressed dissatisfaction with the fast-food minimum wage being hiked through a wage board. More >

Long: Senate GOP Shouldn’t Trade Tax Cut For $15 Wage

fastfoodFrom the Morning Memo:

Hiking the minimum wage to $15 is “absolutely ludicrous” and shouldn’t be traded for a “hokey-pokey tax relief” package, Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long warned Senate Republicans in an interview.

Long, whose Conservative Party line holds sway for Senate Republicans running in Democratic-heavy New York, blasted the proposal to phase in a minimum wage increase to $15, saying it would cost jobs and force businesses to leave the state.

“It’s going to cause jobs to be lost in the state of New York. That’s all it does,” he said. “We’re going to lose businesses, jobs and drive up the cost of doing business throughout the entire state.”

Long, meanwhile, called on Senate Republicans not to back a $15 minimum wage, even if the measure is lashed to a tax cut package as floated last month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“They’re supposed to be the defenders of small businesses and the defenders of economic growth,” he said. “If they were to go along with this on some sort of hokey-pokey tax relief, it’s playing a game of smoke and mirrors.” More >

Faso’s Employer Gave To Democratic Causes

From the Morning Memo:

As some Republicans in the 19th congressional district quietly question the donation GOP candidate Andrew Heaney gave to President Obama in 2008, others are scrutinizing the giving by former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso.

No, Faso hasn’t given directly to a Democratic candidate or campaign.

But he has with regularity over the last decade given to the political action committee of his employer, Manat, Phelps and Phillips.

The Golden State PAC, as it is called, has given steadily in turn to Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid a combined $11,600 (Obama’s committee refunded his contribution after his 2004 Senate victory).

Meanwhile, the PAC has given to Democratic campaign causes on the federal level, including tens of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Both Faso and Heaney are running in the 19th congressional district, a Hudson Valley seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson, who is considering a statewide campaign for 2018.

Another Republican Enters NY-19 Race

ny19From the Morning Memo:

A third Republican is looking at joining the 2016 race to replace Rep. Chris Gibson, who is retiring at the end of the year with an eye toward a possible run for governor in 2018.

Robert Bishop, a Delaware County native, local farmer and self-described “close personal friend” of Gibson’s, says he plans to soon formally announce his candidacy for the seat.

“I have been considering running for Congress for some time, and the next cycle looks like the best opportunity,” Bishop wrote in an email to CapTon.

“I have worked closely for Chris since he first campaigned, and now that he has announced he is not running again, I certainly think I am the one who can step up and continue the successes for NY-19 that he has achieved.”

Bishop, who has held several local elected posts, but has never before run for an office of this level, said he will provide an outsider’s view of politics.

So far, two Republicans – former Assembly Minority Leader and 206 GOP gubernatorial candidate John Faso and businessman Andrew Heaney – have declared their intentions to run for Gibson’s seat. More >

Senate Republicans Pitch In For Akshar

aksharState Senate hopeful Fred Akshar reported a whopping $429,548 in campaign contributions for his bid to win an open Senate seat in the Binghamton area next month, far more than his Democratic opponent, Barbara Fiala.

Akshar, the Broome County undersheriff and a first time candidate, has benefited from the largesse of Senate Republicans back in Albany, the filing made public on Friday evening shows.

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee alone has given Akshar’s effort $189,000 — nearly double the $100,000 Gov. Andrew Cuomo had reportedly stepped in to help raise for Fiala, a former DMV commissioner and ex-Broome County executive.

Akshar, too, has gotten help from rank-and-file members, including contributions from Brooklyn Sen. Marty Golden, Nassau County Sen. Kemp Hannon, Hudson Valley Sens. Bill Larkin and John Bonacic and former Elmira Sen. George Winner.

Akshar has put the money to use: He’s spent more than half of what he’s initially raised, $276,386, and has $153,162 in cash on hand with about a month to go before Election Day. More >

Source: Senate GOP Coffers At $1.2M In Cash On Hand

flanaganSenate Republicans are set to announce having $1.2 million in cash on hand, growing their campaign committee’s coffers by $640,000 since July, a source with knowledge of the filing told Capital Tonight.

The amount of cash on hand represents hard money in the campaign committee alone, and not the conference’s housekeeping account, which won’t be filed until January.

It’s unclear how much of the money represents transfers from individual lawmakers, but the source said the bulk of the money raised since July — about $500,000 — was pulled in from two fundraisers alone.

The GOP campaign account reported $847,316 cash on hand in July.

The healthy fundraising amount over the last several months is good news for the conference’s new majority leader, Suffolk County Sen. John Flanagan, who took over the leadership post in May after Sen. Dean Skelos stepped down from the leadership as he fights corruption charges.

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee is heading into what could be a challenging political year: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing a $15 minimum wage increase, a proposal that has support among voters, while GOP lawmakers will be defending their thin majority in a presidential election year. More >

Will Senate Republicans Block The Minimum Wage Hike?

From the Morning Memo:

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic state lawmakers plan a push for a $15 minimum wage, they’ll have to convince one man: Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and the Republican leader is skeptical.

“It’s not as simple as just saying, raise the minimum wage. There are many other effects that go with that. Some of the federal, some of them are state,” Flanagan said.

Addressing a group of business leaders this week, Flanagan blasted Cuomo’s push to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers administratively through the Department of Labor’s wage board. Employees of fast-food chains will see their wages gradually increase to $15 per hour over the next several years.

“I don’t agree with the wage board. I know it’s a statute in the state of New York. I think that was executive overreach,” Flanagan said.

Yet, raising the minimum wage is popular politically. Senate Republicans are entering what’s expected to be a challenging election year with a narrow majority in the chamber, but they are quick to point out a minimum wage increase has been approved several times before. More >

Flanagan Hopes For A Budget That Isn’t ‘Loaded Up’

FlanaganerFrom the Morning Memo:

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan hopes the first budget he negotiates with Gov. Andrew Cuomo won’t be a policy-laden one.

Speaking to the Westchester Business Council last week, Flanagan was critical of Cuomo’s budget proposal this year that included a variety of policy measures linked to spending, including changes to the state’s education policy and teacher evaluation criteria.

Flanagan at the time of the negotiations was heavily involved in the teacher evaluation and charter school aspects in his role as the Senate Education committee chairman.

“The governor’s approach this year was I’m going to put a whole boat-load of policy proposals in the budget,” Flanagan told the business leaders. “That created a number of issues, very, very contentious issues, in the area of education. That made it more challenging and difficult to focus on the real fiscal aspects of the budget. There was a strong chorus of members who said this kind of stuff should be done outside of the budget.”

Cuomo’s initial budget proposal also linked the DREAM Act — which provides tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants — to the passage of an education tax credit meant to encourage donations that aid private, parochial and public schools. Both measures fell off the negotiating table. More >

Faso Opponent: ‘I’m Not A Career Politician’

ny19From the Morning Memo:

A letter from Andrew Heaney to GOP committee leaders, a Republican businessman running for the 19th congressional district seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson, makes a pointed note up front: He’s not a career politician.

“I’m not a career politician, a lobbyist or an Albany insider,” the  letter begins. “I’ve been told that makes me an underdog in this Congressional race. I’m OK with that.”

Heaney touting his lack of elected experience comes after former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso launched his bid for the House seat as well.

A 2002 candidate for state comptroller and a 2006 GOP nominee for governor, Faso hasn’t served in elected office in nearly 14 years. But he has worked for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the Albany-based law firm and government relations shop.

The Republican field for the nomination to replace Gibson could be a crowded one. In addition to declared candidates Faso and Heaney, two Assembly GOP lawmakers are considering campaigns: Steve McLaughlin and Peter Lopez.

Gibson was a political newcomer as well when he won he first won a seat in Congress in 2010, and held the district for the Republican column two more times in 2012 and 2014 after it was redrawn during the redistricting process. More >

Cox: Boehner’s Decision Not Trivial

EdcoxThe decision for House Speaker John Boehner to step down was likely not a trivial one, State Republican Committee Chairman Ed Cox said in a radio interview on Friday.

Cox, interviewed on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show minutes after the news broke Boehner would resign both from the speakership and his House seat by the end of October, called Boehner a “good guy” who is stepping down for the good of the country.

“Look, this is a good guy. He just wanted to do what was right for the country and I think he just thought what was right for the country was for himself to resign as speaker,” Cox said. “I have no doubt this was a trivial decision on his part. This was a well considered, this is what’s best for the country.”

Boehner has made multiple appearances on behalf of New York House candidates and Republican incumbents since taking the speakership in 2011 — campaigning and fundraising heavily in New York’s upstate battleground congressional districts.

But he faced in recent months a revolt from conservative rank-and-file members who once again sought to curtail federal funding of Planned Parenthood, a move that risked yet another government shutdown, which Boehner wanted to avoid. More >