Despite Bipartisan Appeal, More Dems Give To Cuomo

Leave it up to numbers whiz Bill Mahoney at NYPIRG to run an interesting analysis of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign finance haul from the last six months.

Cuomo, who raised $9.2 million over the last six months, received help largely from members of his own party despite his current cross-party appeal.

The NYPIRG analysis of the 57 percent of identifiable enrolled voters who gave to Cuomo showed 67.63 percent were enrolled Democrats. However, larger donors were less likely to be enrolled in the Democratic Party. Less than 20 percent of Cuomo’s donors were identified as enrolled Republicans.

Cuomo’s first six months, some progressives in his party would argue, was marked by fiscal conservatism. He opposed raising taxes, cut the state budget and pushed through a tax cap.

Cuomo still has more than $6 million in the bank.

NYPIRG Cuomo Donor Analysis

Here And Now

TGIF. Another hot day. Hydrate well, work out early and be glad you’re not in Newark.

Not a great time for sewage to be leaking into NYC waters, causing officials to ask people to stay on dry land.

It’s Opening Day at the Saratoga Racetrack and CapTon will be there – LIVE! – tonight. Look for us…I’ll be the very short TV anchor in the very large hat.

It’s the 143rd meet, and officials don’t expect to cancel it – despite the heat.

The Post celebrates Opening Day by suggesting the obliteration of NYRA.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is still in Albany with no public schedule. Prepare yourself for a 4 p.m. announcement of some sort.

More headlines…

As of yesterday, 3,145 couples had preregistered to receive NYC marriage licenses this weekend. Of that, about 2,200 are estimated to be same-sex couples.

NYC received 823 lottery entries for 764 spots available for marriage at clerks’ offices July 24. To accommodate everyone, the Bloomberg administration increased the number of slots in Manhattan to 459 from 400.

Same-sex couples break tradition with their pre-post wedding celebrations.

Attorney and former Nassau County Legislator Dave Mejias discussed the difficulties of same-sex divorces and pre-nups with Cindy Adams.

Says Mejias: “One lesbian couple took weeks to divvy up Manolos. Not like he has golf clubs and she has ballet slippers.” He also said his firm is located in Long Island because that’s where a “preponderance of homosexuals” are.

More >

A Heavily Lobbied-For Prescription Drug Bill Under Consideration

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is being sent a bill that could have dramatic effects on how New Yorkers purchase their prescription drugs.

The measure, quietly approved at the end of the legislative session, would prohibit health-insurance companies from requiring the insured to purchase drugs from a mail-order pharmacy, according to the bill’s supporters.

But the measure’s opponents say the bill will have the consequence of costing businesses more by essentially eliminating the cheaper mail-order option that keeps rising employer-provided health-insurance costs under control.

Health-insurance plans often now require some prescription drugs be filled in the mail because of the expense of going to the pharmacy.

And while the bill’s sponsors say it’s a freedom of choice issue, the state Business Council looks at it differently.

The group argued in a memo against the bill that it would actually increase health-insurance costs.

“The illusion is customer choice at no cost, but the reality is that pharmaceutical benefits and pharmaceutical riders to health insurance policies are premium based. If negotiated discounts from using a mail order pharmacy cannot be realized because of these state-imposed mandates, then the overall premium will need to be increased to make up that difference.

But perhaps most striking is the lopsided amount of lobbying done on behalf of the measure by the pharmacy industry’s political action committee, NYS Pharmacy PAC.

The PAC donated a combined $230,000 over the last two years to lawmakers, while mail-order pharmacy donated a fraction of that, about $34,000.

A Cuomo spokesman said the governor will review the bill when he receives it.

Update: Assemblyman Carl Heastie, a main sponsor of the bill, emails to note that mail-order pharmacies suck $5 million billion from the state’s economy. And he added that it was “insulting to insinuate that every bill is done based on campaign contributions.”

Pro A5502 Pharmacy Contributions Since January 1 2009 (1)

Not rec

when we do we’ll review it.

Extras

Outgoing MTA chief Jay Walder was given an unusually long six-year term, but served less than two years of it.

Just yesterday, Walder announced the MTA’s plan to slash $4 billion from its capital plan budget.

A debt deal may or may not be imminent.

Syracuse hit the century mark (heat-wise) today.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NYS birthday cake cost his campaign committee $600.

How CSEA and PEF fared compared to their union brothers and sisters in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

NYS has recouped 50 percent of the 169,200 private sector jobs lost during he 2008-09 recession. Still a long way to go.

Republican NY-9 candidate Bob Turner is being vague about his position on “cut, cap, balance.”

…He doesn’t have much to say about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, either.

YNN has launched a Saratoga blog in time for track season.

Former presidential candidate/Senate contender John Edwards must pay back the FEC $2.3 million worth of matching funds.

EJ McMahon has been stonewalled by NYC Comptroller John Liu.

Is Manhattan BP Scott Stringer actually planning to run for NYC public advocate in 2013, not mayor?

A key portion of James Murdoch’s testimony to Parliament was disputed in a joint statement by the former editor and attorney of the News of the World.

Rudy Giuliani has a Rupert Murdoch problem, says Wayne Barrett.

A green blogger gives Mayor Bloomberg props for taking on coal with his $50 million contribution to the Sierra Club.

Congrats to CapCon, which passed an historic milestone.

Gabe Pressman hopes the “two optimists” – Bloomberg and Cuomo – succeed in fixing the NYC and NYS economies.

God has a 52 percent approval rating, according to a PPP poll. Cuomo’s is considerably higher.

Can Cuomo Perform Weddings On Sunday?

Mayors around New York — including Albany’s Jerry Jennings, Binghamton’s Matt Ryan and New York City’s Michael Bloomberg — are gearing up to officiate at gay weddings as the same-sex marriage law takes effect.

love_boat

But one person who probably won’t be able to is Gov. Andrew Cuomo (oddly, this appears to give the captain of the Love Boat more power than the governor of New York).

The state’s Domestic Relations Law allows for a slew of elected and civil officials to officiate at weddings: A mayor of a village or city, a county executive, a city judge, a police justice or police magistrate of a city, a former mayor or the city clerk of a city of more than one million inhabitants or any of his or her deputies or not more than four regular clerks.

The law also allows for some federal judges to perform weddings.

But there’s no mention of allowing governors to perform marriage rites. However, Cuomo can be designated a marriage officer by the governing body of a municipality — and receive a tidy sum for his services, based on the law.

Cuomo’s office says for now he plans to hold a celebratory event in New York City with LGBT advocates.

MTA Chief Walder Leaving

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Jay Walder announced his surprising and rather abrupt resignation today.

Walder, a holdover from the Paterson regime, is leaving the MTA to join the MTR Corporation in Hong Kong as CEO and board member. He officially becomes CEO on the first day of 2012, but will take over in an interim capacity in November.

“I want to thank Governors Cuomo and former Governor Paterson for the honor of serving the people of New York State,” Walder said in a statement “The MTA’s transportation system is the foundation of the metropolitan region and we are fortunate to have thousands of dedicated men and women who work so hard to provide these critically important transportation services to millions of people each and every day. I believe that we have accomplished quite a lot in a short period, with the support of two Governors, the Mayor, a hard-working Board and many others.”

Walder was kept on by Cuomo after he was credited for finding millions of dollars in savings from a notriously costly authority, which provides commuter rail, bus and subway service to the New York City area.

“In challenging times, we brought stability and credibility to the MTA by making every dollar count, by delivering long overdue improvements and by refusing to settle for business as usual,” Walder said.

As this Crain’s Business story points out, Walder’s contract includes a buyout clause worth hundreds of thousands, but he cannot exercise that since he is voluntarily stepping down, a spokesman said.

Before joining the MTA, Walder worked as the managing finance director for Transport for London.

Schneiderman Cheers Consumer Protection Bureau Birth

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is cheering the long-awaited and long-gested birth of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The federal bureau was proposed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis as a means of protecting everyday investors when it comes to things like 401(k)s, retirement accounts and other investments.

In his statement, Schneiderman calls for the swift approval of the bureau’s new chief, former Ohio AG Richard Cordray. He was selected to become the agency’s director after President Obama passed over Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor who oversaw the bureau’s creation. Warren is popular in the progressive blogosphere, but seen as a politically unviable appointee.

“Our office welcomes the opening of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and we look forward to working closely with the agency to advance the financial best interests of New York’s consumers. Nearly three years after the financial crisis dragged the economy into recession, there is much work to be done to restore confidence in the markets for everyday people, businesses and investors. As a watchdog holding financial institutions accountable for wrongdoing, the CFPB will play a critically important role in developing a regulatory framework that ensures consumers are protected, and our economy is not vulnerable to another financial meltdown. It is now up to the Senate to expeditiously confirm Richard Cordray as CFPB’s Director, so that the bureau can fulfill its full mandate under the law.”

Cuomo To Celebrate Marriage Legalization Sunday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to hold a celebatory event with LGBT advocates in New York City on Sunday to mark the legalization of same-sex marriages in New York.

But there are no plans as of yet for him to officiate at a same-sex couple’s wedding ceremony, his spokesman said.

The bill Cuomo signed in June following the Senate’s 33-29 approval takes effect on Sunday.

Cuomo had originally planned to hold an event marking the occaision at the Exeuctive Mansion in Albany tonight. But those plans were postponed after the governor’s office received an overwhelming response from LGBT advocates who wanted to attend, but could not make the trek to Albany, spokesman Josh Vlasto said.

If anything, the event underscores how close Cuomo is with the LGBT advocacy community. He convinced the myriad advocacy groups to unite under a single banner, New Yorkers United for Marriage, in order to plan strategy effectively and not undermine each others’ work.

Cuomo did not introduce the same-sex marriage bill until he was assured of the measure’s passage in the Senate and after he received the OK from advocates.

The Under-60 Club

At my request, NYPIRG spreadsheet master Bill Mahoney whipped up the list you’ll find below of all the senators who have less than $60,000 on hand in their respective campaign accounts heading into another battle-to-the-death election year.

Sixteen lawmakers made the list – 11 Democrats and five Republicans.

There were several senators who hadn’t filed as of Tuesday when I made this ask of Mahoney – Kevin Parker, Martin Maleve Dilan, Greg Ball and Ruben Diaz Sr.

Since then, a few reports have shown up on the state Board of Elections Website. Ball has a balance of $248,575 in his “New Yorkers on the Ball” committee, but also has $20,987 worth of debt.

Parker has just over $15,000 on hand and spent $48,911 of the $56,174 he raised. His biggest expense? Consultant fees. He spent more than $16,500 on Peeler Allen Consulting, run by Kimberly Peeler-Allen, who, according to her Website, is the only black full-time fundraising consultant in New York.

Dilan’s filing still isn’t on-line, which appears to mean he has blown the official deadline of last Friday. Ditto for Diaz Sr.

I asked Mahoney for his take on the list, and he replied:

“I don’t think it’s too surprising. Most of the people on the list either had competitive, high-cost elections last November that diluted coffers which they have yet to rebuild, or live in fairly safe districts which don’t require much money to remain competitive.”

Some of those balances are awfully low though, however, and could be parsed by those of us who like to do that sort of thing. Consider Sen. Shirley Huntley, for example.

The Queens Democrat has just $16,950, on hand. She raised $35,915 since January and spent $26,661 – about $16,000 of which went to Antun’s, a catering facility frequented by the Queens Democratic set, for an event. Huntley easily defeated her primary challenger, Lynn Nunes, last fall, but now she’s the target of an AG probe, so who knows what 2012 will bring.

And what about Sen. Owen Johnson? The veteran Long Island Republican raised $30,850 and spent $20,363 over the past six months. He now has $33,534 on hand. That’s paltry enough to spark wishful talk among Democrats that the 82-year-old senator who’s health has been the subject of considerable speculation for some time might not run next fall.

It should also be noted that the $139,461 negative balance reported in one of the two campaign committees mantained by another Long Island Republican, freshman Sen. Jack Martins, was erroneous, according to Spin Cycle.

Senate Committees With Less Than 60K

Cox: An Advertising Campaign Doesn’t Cut It

In a New York Post op/ed today, State Republican Chairman Ed Cox said Gov. Andrew Cuomo needs to do more on job creation than fund a $10 million ad campaign.

“Sorry: That’s not delivering on the governor’s extensive unfinished agenda,” Cox wrote. “With Cuomo’s end-of-session focus on marriage, major issues crucial to New York’s fiscal and economic recovery wound up receiving at best cursory treatment.”

Cox goes on to say the governor should be focusing on ending the onerous mandates on local governments, consider tax reductions and education and pension reforms.

Key reforms include fostering more effective charter schools, merit pay for teachers, more aid to parochial schools and the elimination of stultifying laws such as “Last in first out” for teacher layoffs. Can Cuomo end Assembly Democrats’ resistance on these fronts?

To be fair, Cuomo’s job creation plan also includes channeling $1 billion in grants and tax credits, in addition to the advertising campaign meant to attract private sector investment.

Cuomo also introduced a new, less generous pension tier meant to save tens of billions over the next 30 years. But that measure never gained much traction in the Legislature before the end of session.