More Reactions To Hugh Carey’s Passing

From former Gov. George Pataki:

“Libby and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Governor Carey. He was a wonderful friend and over the years we have become close to the Carey family.”

“As our nation faces fiscal crisis, we are reminded of the proud example set by Governor Carey that with sober, enlightened leadership government can help solve even the most difficult problems.”

“His lasting legacy, saving the City of New York from bankruptcy, is an important lesson for our elected officials in Washington today and for all Americans. Our condolences to the Carey family.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:

“Today, we mourn the loss of Governor Hugh Carey, an extraordinary public servant who loved New Yorkers with all of his heart.”

“The way he brought people together to lead our great state through an economic crisis and rescue New York City from the brink of financial collapse should serve as an inspiration for all elected officials today. My thoughts and prayers are with the Carey family.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver:

“As a State Assemblyman, I worked with Governor Carey for six years and I learned a great deal from him.”

“Governor Carey guided New York through some of its most difficult challenges and helped rescue the city and state from the brink of financial disaster.”

“We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude and he set the stage for a tremendous comeback that allowed New York to continue to truly be the Empire State. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Senate Minority Leader John Sampson:

“Today, we all mourn the loss of Governor Hugh Carey, a great leader and a true American hero. New Yorkers were fortunate to have him at the helm during some of our darkest days.”

“Governor Carey was a voice for the voiceless and firm in his convictions. Without his leadership countless New Yorkers would have been profoundly hurt by the economic crisis of the 1970s.”

“We all owe the Governor and his family a tremendous debt. The Carey family allowed us to share in the Governor’s wisdom, leadership and heart.”

“As we confront the daunting fiscal and policy challenges of this era we must continue to look toward his example for inspiration.”

AG Eric Schneiderman:

“A tough fighter for the people of New York, Governor Hugh Carey will always be remembered for his unwavering leadership during one of our state’s most challenging times.”

“By meeting the challenge head on with courage, intelligence and vision, Governor Carey restored the public’s confidence in the government’s ability to deliver results, and reinvigorated New York’s role as the laboratory of national leadership.”

“As we mourn the loss of a true statesman who epitomizes the honor of public service, our thoughts and prayers are with Governor Carey’s family.”

Hugh Carey, 92, Has Died (Updated)

Former New York Gov. Hugh Carey, a Democrat led the state during one of its most difficult financial times, died this morning in New York City. He was 92.

Carey, the state’s 51st governor, served from 1975 to 1982.

He took the helm just as New York City was on the brink of bankruptcy. Working with government leaders, businesses and union officials, Carey managed avoid a fiscal crisis.

Carey also took the steps of cutting taxes and capping tax growth, later become the first Democrat to be re-elected to a second term in decades. He’s also been credited with reforming the state’s system of treatment for the developmentally disabled, signing the Willowbrook Consent Decree, which limited the number of patients that can be housed in a facility.

Carey declined to seek a third term, making room for his ambitious lieutenant governor, Mario Cuomo, to seek the job.

He had also considered running for president, but the death of his wife in 1974 was likely a contributing factor against launching a national campaign.

Carey has been an inspiration for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who distributed copies of his biography, “The Man Who Saved New York” to union leaders, lawmakers and aides.

“Declaring that the days of wine and roses were over, Governor Carey looked to statesmanship and compromise, rather than partisanship or parochialism, to get the state’s fiscal house in order,” the Carey family said in a statement released by Cuomo’s office. “He called for shared sacrifice and asked all New Yorkers to come together. New Yorkers across the state heard the Governor’s call to action, followed his lead, and the ship was righted.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement expressing “extraordinary sadness” upon hearing the news of Carey’s death.

“It was with extraordinary sadness that I learned of the death of my friend and mentor in public service, Governor Hugh Carey, this morning. When I first considered running for office, Hugh was one of the first people I spent a lot of time with. His strong and determined leadership, and his ability to bring people together to fix the most difficult problems, saved New York City during one of the toughest times in our history, and set the stage for the City’s incredible rebirth in the years and decades that followed. Mayors Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani, and I have all stood on the shoulders of this son of Brooklyn, whose political fortitude was matched only by his personal integrity.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., gives credit in a statement to Carey for developing the “plan that saved New York.”

“Governor Carey rose from the streets of his beloved Brooklyn to the halls of power in Washington DC and Albany, but was always rooted in his Irish heritage, his faith, his extraordinary commitment to family and his love for New York and this nation. New Yorkers will remember in 1975 when the state was on the brink of bankruptcy, Hugh Carey stepped forward and assembled a courageous team to come up with an ambitious, but difficult, plan that saved New York for future decades of prosperity. He steered the ship of this state away from fiscal calamity and toward brighter days of responsible budgeting and forward-thinking policy decisions, rooted in the common good and not in special interests or partisan politics. Hugh Carey created a legacy that few other New Yorker can claim. I express my deepest condolences to his family and all who loved him.”

Ron Paul: Downgrade Should Have Come Sooner

YNN’s Patrick Card actually broke the news of Standard and Poor’s downgrade of US debt to Congressman and Presidential Candidate Ron Paul, before he addressed a tea party rally in East Aurora – just outside Buffalo.

Paul has long been an advocate for less government spending. He was not surprised by the news, and actually downplayed its importance.

“I think the market is a much more powerful setter of the rates, and that is ultimately the only thing that counts. And besides, S&P, they are probably too late. Its so long ago. The debt rating should have been downgraded a long time ago. They didn’t do a very good job rating Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. They were completely wrong,” Paul said.

“So I don’t think the markets are going to pay too much attention to that. But the dollar is going to be downgraded, that’s what we have to worry about. Right now they are not paying any attention to the dollar, they are paying attention to some of these ratings that are artificial.”

Standard and Poors confirmed late this evening that they have lowered the nation’s debt rating to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’. In a statement, the credit agency explained the decision this way.

“The downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.”

Several other media outlets are reporting that S & P had warned the White House that the downgrade would take place unless $4 trillion in budget cuts were met over the next ten years. The recent deal only cuts about $2 trillion, with the promise of more cuts.

Cuomo And Christie Have ‘Concerns’ With Port Authority Toll Hike Plan

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie just issued this joint statement in response to news that the Port Authority is considering a $1b toll hike plan.

They take a measured approach, saying they understand the Port Authority’s worries that they might have their bond rating downgraded, but make it clear that their plan is “unacceptable.”

“The Port Authority has informed us of its proposal to dramatically increase tolls on its tunnels and bridges and fares on the PATH.

While we understand the Port Authority leadership’s concerns about a potential downgrade to its bond rating if toll increases are not instituted, our primary concern with this proposal is its impact on our respective states’ residents and commercial users of the crossings.

A downgrade of the Port Authority’s bond rating does indeed pose a potentially disastrous result on a transportation network that millions of residents of the states of New Jersey and New York rely on and would be unacceptable.

We will review the proposal with that in mind but have obvious and significant concerns. The Port Authority is facing financial issues but so are families in the states of New York and New Jersey, and the answer cannot always be an indiscriminate and exorbitant increase in the cost to the taxpayer, or in this case, toll payer. As families must carefully and effectively manage their finances at this difficult time, so must government.

It is our joint intention to cooperatively address this issue without regard for partisanship or parochialism, as was the intention and spirit of the creation of the Port Authority as a regional entity in 1921.”

Report: Standard And Poor Close To Downgrading US Debt (Update)

ABC’s Jake Tapper is reporting that the US debt will soon be downgraded by Standard and Poor, one of the world’s bond rating agencies. They are quoting a government official who says they are expecting and preparing for the downgrade.

From the ABC report:

Officials reasons given will be the political confusion surrounding the process of raising the debt ceiling, and lack of confidence that the political system will be able to agree to more deficit reduction. A source says Republicans saying that they refuse to accept any tax increases as part of a larger deal will be part of the reason cited.

Update:

Here is more from ABC News Jake Tapper, who is owning this story.

Another government official confirms the Obama administration is preparing for the downgrade but is not 100% positive it’s going to happen, and if it does happen officials are not sure when it will happen.

Before ratings agencies issue a downgrade, there is often some back and forth that goes on behind the scenes. Treasury Department officials have been making the case for months that S&P should not downgrade US debt.

Extras

Stock market closed up after a roller coaster day following yesterday’s 512 point crash.

Good job numbers helped stabilize the market.

But Europe’s troubles continued to create fear.

A guy named Dow Jones (really!) tells the NYT he’s having a “wonderful day.”

Cuomo is trying to increase his fan base on Facebook.

Today, he announced that he is returning hundreds of thousands of dollars to saltwater fishers.

And the Governor announced a new deal to bring 100 jobs to New York City, and keep 1000 current jobs.

The House Ethics Commission has dismissed a charge against Rep. Gregory Meeks. A different charge is still being reviewed.

The DCCC launched an attack against Randy Altschuler, a Long Island Republican who isn’t yet in Congress, but would like to be.

Irony Alert – The Nassau Control Board, charged with balancing the county’s books, is $2m over budget according to the county comptroller.

Port Authority is considering a $1b toll hike.

Tom Ridge is no longer “the face” of hydrofracking.

Scandel-ridden Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford says he is not returning to politics.

Rupert Murdoch was among the gawkers appreciating the Central Park Zoo peacock when it was briefly on the lam.

Jimmy McMillan is back in the headlines again.

NY Ranger and same-sex marriage advocate Sean Avery was arrested for shoving a police officer in Los Angeles.

Here’s Letterman’s top ten from last night, where he had some fun with the President’s 50th birthday.

Gillibrand Helps Wisconsin Women Raise $$

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on Democrats to donate money to five women who are running as Democrats in the recall election in Wisconsin next week. There are 6 senate seats up for grabs in the Tuesday election, which was spurred on by the fight with Governor Scott Walker over unions rights. Then two more recall elections the following week.

*If you want to learn more about the Wisconsin recalls, I suggest you check out this link

Gillibrand set up a page at ActBlue.com, a Democratic fundraising website, asking for donations to Nancy Nusbaum, Sandy Pasch, Shelly Moore, Jessica King, and Jennifer Shilling. Political insiders in the Badger state suspect that two of three of them are likely to win on Tuesday.

As you might recall, Gillibrand recently created a group called “Off the Sidelines” to encourage women to run for office, citing statistics that show woman make up only 25% of state legislatures, and even less when it comes to Congress or executive mansions.

“These are trends we absolutely must reverse. That is why I created Off The Sidelines, to mobilize women and make their voices heard. The best way to make sure our values are represented is if we run and win,” Gillibrand wrote in a fundraising email to supporters.

“That’s what I did in ’06 and what Kathy Hochul did this year. And that’s what five strong Democratic women are doing in the Wisconsin recall elections against Scott Walker’s allies next Tuesday – just four days away.

DCCC Attacks Hayworth Over Debt Votes

We saw this coming.

Now that Congress has passed a debt deal, the respective parties are using recent votes as fodder for political attacks. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has just released a robocall targeting NY-19 Republican Nan Hayworth as part of what they are calling their “Accountability August” tour.

Here’s the script:

“Hi, this is Clare from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee calling about Congresswoman Nan Hayworth’s vote to end Medicare in order to protect millionaires.

“You’ve paid into Medicare and deserve the Medicare benefits you’ve earned. But while you’re paying $6,400 more for your health care, Big Oil and millionaires will get big tax breaks. That’s not right.

“Everyone agrees we must cut spending and tighten our belt, but Hayworth has made the wrong choice.

“Please call Congresswoman Hayworth at xxx-xxx-xxxx and tell her to keep her hands off our Medicare!”

The DCCC is doing similar ads and robocalls across the country, hammering Republicans for failing to agree to any revenue enhancers during budget negotiations – like tax increases on the highest earners, or elimination of loopholes for specific businesses.

“House Republicans’ priorities are clear – they have repeatedly chosen Millionaires and Big Oil over Medicare and voters are holding them accountable for it,” said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel. “Republicans will have to explain to their constituents why they voted to end Medicare three times and raise seniors’ health care costs in order to protect tax breaks for millionaires and Big Oil. Republicans will have to defend the indefensible.”

To be clear, the debt deal that passed earlier this week doesn’t actually cut medicare spending. Though, House Republicans cut, cap, and balance plan did do so. So did Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan. Hayworth voted for both.

If the 12 person super committee cannot come to an agreement on further cuts, there are triggers in place that will force Congress to cut spending to health care and other entitlement programs, as well as military spending.

Good Week For Sen. Grisanti

Freshman lawmakers in Albany often have trouble getting their bills through both the Senate and Assembly, even if they are in the majority. But that’s not the case with Senator Mark Grisanti. This week, the Governor signed a handful of his bills into law, bringing his total to 15 bills.

“My work is still not done in Albany, I had a very busy first legislative session and I plan to have an even busier second session starting January 2012, My staff and I are currently working on our legislative agenda, which includes job creation initiatives, tax credits to small business owners, education reform, and legislation to help the environment,” said Sen. Grisanti.

Grisanti’s productivity is likely in part because of the political reality surrounding his district. Democrats out number Republicans there by almost 6 to 1, so Grisanti is expected to be a big target in the 2012 elections – no matter how the legislature redraws the district lines.

More about the five bills signed into law this week are after the jump.
More >

Senate Spends Less Under GOP Control (Updated)

Senate Republicans have released the expenditure report for the last 6 months of the 2010-2011 budget year. The report shows that they spent $48 million, which is $3.3 million less than the previous 6 months when Democrats were in control of the Senate.

The report covers the period between October 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011. The first 3 months the chamber was under Democratic control, before Republicans were sworn into office and regained the majority in January. Almost immediately, the GOP blasted their Democratic colleagues for running a $7.7 million deficit.

Back in January, Senator Sampson claimed he had taken immediate steps to cut $10 million from the budget, and blamed the cost overruns on his conference being too generous to the Senate GOP.

Senate Republicans were quick to fire back. They say they actually spent millions less than the $22.5m budget they were given following the June 2009 coup.

The report also shows that Senator Pedro Esapda Jr. received more money than any other Senator, $749,803, even though he was only in office for 3 of the 6 months. He lost re-election, and in December he was stripped of his leadership posts after he was indicted on federal corruption charges.

“Why didn’t Senator Sampson or any other Senate Democrats put their foot down and demand that Espada stop the spending, even after he had been defeated? It just goes to show what a mistake it would be to put the spend-happy Democrats back in charge of the Senate,” Scott Reif, spokesman for Senate GOP said.

Senate Republicans also say they have cut staff significantly since returning to the majority. Under Democratic control there was 342 majority staff members in four major areas. Now, there are only 84.

Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy responded to the report saying “”we have significantly cut spending and like all New Yorkers will continue to do more with less.”

Here’s a link to the full report.