SEIU Mails In NY-26 On Medicare

1199 SEIU this weekend is sending out a mailer to “tens of thousands” of residents in the 26th congressional district slamming Republican candidate Jane Corwin for her support of the GOP budget plan.

Claiming the plan “shreds” Medicare, the flyers are aimed at older, male voters and shows a Medicare card being torn up. The name on the card is based on the recipient.

As the three-way race between Corwin, Democrat Kathy Hochul and independent Jack Davis winds down Tuesday, both national parties are getting involved, as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who plans a last-minute TV ad for Hochul. Polls show Corwin and Hochul running neck-and-neck. A Siena College poll is due to be released Saturday morning.

SEIU_NY26_Mailer1 (3)

Report: Cuomo Robocalls On Tax Cap

As per Gannett’s Joe Spector at Politics on the Hudson, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recorded an automatic robocall pushing his 2 percent cap on local and school property taxes.

Joe reports that the call features the Democratic governor urging voters to call their lawmakers in support of the cap. A separate call will be released for Long Island. New Yorkers live under one of the highest property tax burdens in the country.

The robocall caps a week of building momentum in Albany for the measure. Cuomo told Fred Dicker this morning that he appreciated Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’s stated willingness to negotiate the measure, which already passed his chamber. The Democratic-led Assembly, where support is far softer for Cuomo’s cap, may introduce a cap with some exemptions and an expiration date.

Bratton: Not Closing Any Doors On Mayoral Run

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton today didn’t rule out running for mayor once Michael Bloomberg steps down in 2013.

Speaking on Curtis Sliwa’s radio show this morning, Bratton said he was “very happy doing what he’s doing” as the chairman of the private security firm Kroll.

But he added:

“At the same time, I’m never someone who closes off options, looking to the future. The speculation that comes up from time to time on a political future or coming back to policing, going to Washington to work in the national government, those are all potential opportunities. Who knows what the future holds?”

Bratton, who served as police commissioner from 1994 to 1996, has also led police departments in Boston and Los Angeles. His name has been floated to run either as a Republican or Democrat.

Rep. Gibson ‘Confused’ By President’s Speech

During an appearance on AM Talk 1300′s “Live from the State Capitol with Fred Dicker”, Republican Congressman Chris Gibson criticized President Obama’s foreign policy speech yesterday.

“I will tell you candidly that I was confused by his remarks. On one hand he talked about humility. On the other hand, there was a call for sweeping action in regards to the direction of our country.”

Gibson continued suggesting Republicans and Democrats in Congress should reach a consensus on how to view the war on terrorism, much like both parties did during the Cold War. He even raised the prospect that the US hasn’t made up its mind if we are an Empire or a Republican. “What I took away from it is that we are still hoping to be an empire,” Gibson said.

Gibson supported the statement by saying we have troops in a 100 foreign countries. Dicker pushed him on this issue, suggesting that America doesn’t demonstrate the tendencies of an Empire, or colonies. Gibson pivoted back to the point that the US doesn’t have a clear consensus on foreign policy.

He went on to say he was hopeful that

Cuomo To Cut Ad For Hochul, Duffy To Campaign

A source confirmed this morning that Gov. Andrew Cuomo will cut a television ad for Democratic congressional hopeful Kathy Hochul set to air just as the special election in the 26th CD winds down.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, the former Rochester mayor who remains very popular in western New York, will campaign in person with Hochul on Monday, the day before Election Day. Cuomo has said he supports Hochul “100 percent” at a People First event earlier this month, but said a roll out of his endorsement would be decided by her campaign.

If anything, Cuomo cutting the spot shows he thinks Hochul has a real chance of winning in the Republican-heavy district.

Polls have shown Hochul running neck-and-neck with Republican Jane Corwin, most likely thanks to independent tea party candidate Jack Davis.

No script has been released and it’s unclear when the ad will air.

H/T to Tom Precious for the scoop earlier this morning.

DiNapoli: Budget Addresses Structural Deficit

The enacted 2011-12 state budget plugs the $10 billion deficit but mid-year gaps are still possible, according to a report released by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli today.

DiNapoli’s report found the budget plan lacking specifics in some areas when it comes to cost-savings. Those include plans to redesign and consolidate state agencies, find at least $1 billion in Medicaid cuts and includes $100 million in savings for facility closures.

“While this budget sets New York on a more sustainable fiscal course, we cannot let this progress be undone in future budget years,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Fiscal reforms must be set in law now to ensure the state doesn’t fall back into its old, bad habits.”

Budgets in New York have a habit of falling out of balance over the last several years, necessitating lawmakers to return to Albany after the regular session is completed in order to plug the leak.

The approved budget includes plans to consolidate the banking and insurance departments and savings from closing prisons. Cuomo nominated his chief of staff, Ben Lawsky, to lead the new Department of Financial Services. The prison closure plan is yet to be released.

DiNapoli Budget Report

Cuomo Knocks ‘Times’ Editorial On Gay Marriage

The New York Times editorial knocking Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s decision to not introduce a gay marriage bill in the Senate without assurances it would pass is “factually wrong” the governor said on Talk 1300-AM this morning.

The Times opined this morning that Cuomo should introduce a same-sex marriage bill in the Republican-led Senate, writing that advocates want the bill put to a vote, siding with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s statement in Albany earlier this week.

The governor has said he would only introduce the bill if the votes where there. Cuomo said in his radio interview that the editorial was wrong to say some advocates want a vote.

“I disagree with the Times today. It was factually wrong. The meetings I’ve been in that it’s unanimous. They don’t want to take a vote unless the vote will pass. The coalition believes they don’t want to take a vote just to take a vote.”

A major part of Cuomo’s strategy — which we covered on the show last night — has been finding a way to pass the marriage bill in the Republican-led Senate while providing cover to politically vulnerable lawmakers.

The final vote — if there is one — will be a carefully choreographed affair, Cuomo’s aides have said privately.

Cuomo Sees ‘Fluidity’ To Tax Cap Talks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Talk-1300 AM this morning that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver probably doesn’t want a property tax cap, but has been trying to reach a compromise on the measure.

“The speaker does not generally support the cap,” he said. “He is aggressively laying out the caveats and that is the ongoing articulation of his position.”

The governor wants a 2 percent cap on local and school property taxes. The Republican-led Senate approved the cap on Jan. 31 and GOP lawmakers have signaled for weeks they would not be open to negotiations that would “water down” the cap.

However, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos cracked the door a bit this week on those talks, saying he would consider changes proposed by Silver, who has said “minor” exemptions may be inserted.

Cuomo in the radio interview applauded that statement.

“That’s the intelligent position and I applaud his intelligence in handling this,” he said. “We have parties open to discussion and I applaud him.”

The tax cap has broad support in polls, but some local county leaders say the state needs to deal with troublesome mandates imposed by the state before a ceiling can be put in place.

Cuomo said the cap talks are fluid and decried the blow-by-blow in the political blogosphere.

“There is a fluidity to all of this and it can’t be defined by these simplistic snapshots,” he said.

Cuomo: Moreland Commission Is A Promise, Not A Threat

Empaneling a Moreland Commission to investigate the Legislature if lawmakers fail to approve an ethics overhaul is fulfilling a campaign promise, not a threat.

“There is very little incentive for the legislators to pass ethics reform which quite frankly only effects the legislators,” Cuomo told Fred Dicker on Talk 1300-AM this morning. “You need to generate public support for ethics reform.”

But he added it was incorrect characterize the Moreland Commission pledge as a threat aimed at recalcitrant legislators who don’t want to disclose their outside income or clients who have business before the state.

But there are some questions as to whether a Moreland Commission could even be used to investigate lawmakers and any creation could lead to legal challenges.

The ethics overhaul is part of Cuomo’s “People First” campaign, a tour around the state with the governor and members of his administration to drum up support for ethics, gay marriage and the 2 percent cap on local property taxes.

Cuomo said the ethics overhaul is needed because voters don’t trust state government and the Legislature to police itself.

“The people of this state don’t trust the system,” he said. “The people have seen scandal after scandal, year after year, sometimes month after month and they see the system guaranteeing integrity isn’t working.”

The tour has led to some tension with lawmakers. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, has seen shades of disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer in Cuomo’s harsh rhetoric. Skelos told Liz last week he would consider an ethics bill for the executive branch as well.

Cuomo said in the interview that some tension was to be expected, but that he has a good working relationship with Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“I have a good and functional relationship with both houses,” he said. “We’re able to communicate, we’re able to function.”

NY-26 GOP Blame Game Begins

Monroe County GOP Chairman Bill Reilich took a very subtle swipe at his Erie County counterpart, Nick Langworthy, during an interview yesterday with YNN’s Casey Bortnick, suggesting he should have involved more party leaders in the running of Assemblywoman Jane Corwin’s NY-26 campaign.

Reilich confirmed his organization only recently started playing a larger role in assisting Corwin, who came into the race as the widely accepted frontrunner, but has steadily lost ground thanks to a combination of independent Jack Davis’ presence in the race, a stronger-than-expected bid by Democrat Kathy Hochul and gaffes like the alleged assault on Davis by her Assembly chief of staff.

“They have asked us in the last couple weeks to get more involved,” Reilich said. “And we do know how to win races. And we have done just that. I have not met with Nick Langworthy since this race has begun. They were pretty much directing the race up until the past couple weeks and now we have become more involved.”

“…I am respectful of Nick being involved to the level that he was,” the chairman diplomatically continued. “We had about a 20 percent stake of the district. So, I understand that it covers many counties, so you are working with many county chairs. And I work with all the county chairs, and he was spearheading it at that time, so we deferred to his judgment.”

There’s a lot of internal GOP chatter over who might come out of this special election with egg on their face if Corwin doesn’t manage to eke out a victory next Tuesday.

Langworthy and Erie County Executive Chris Collins, who is up for re-election this fall, have been deeply involved in Corwin’s campaign, and both have a lot at stake here.

The chairman, as you’ll recall, has been her chief surrogate/defender and also was behind the release of that “assault” video. His stock was very high following the defeat by Carl Paladino (another Corwin backer) of GOP gubernatorial nominee Rick Lazio in the 2010 primary. He was even floated as a potential replacement for state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, who has largely taken a hands-off approach (at least publicly) in NY-26.