DCCC Targets Hayworth, Buerkle

The DCCC has included two New York congresswomen – Nan Hayworth (NY-19) and Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) – in a new radio and grassroots campaign that targets potentially vulnerable House Republicans across the nation.

The ad accuses 19 GOP members of “choosing a partisan plan that will cost jobs and make America less competitive over the President’s common sense solutions to create jobs and get the economy moving again.”

The campaign will include radio ads (starting in drive time today), Web ads, automated phone calls, live phone calls, and e-mails in targeted districts throughout this week.

Here’s the text of the Buerkle ad; the full list of targeted House members appears after the jump. UPDATE: Click here to listen to the ad.

“Here in Central New York the recession is still hitting hard, good job openings are really scarce. So it was good to hear President Obama’s plan to make the economy work for the middle class again. Invest in education to train our children for the jobs of the future, maintain America’s lead in technology with more research and development, and reduce the deficit with an overall budget freeze. That plan makes a lot of sense.”

“But Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle supports a plan in Congress that would cut education by 40 percent. And her plan would cut science and technology research by 40 percent, too. Research and development is how we get the new products that create new jobs. How does cutting that help us compete with China and India? It doesn’t make sense.”

“We should tell Ann Marie Buerkle to work with President Obama to create jobs, instead of supporting a partisan plan that costs jobs.”

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Skelos: First Step To Tax Relief Comes Today

Here’s Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos discussion the property tax cap program bill sent to the Legislature by Gov. Andrew Cuomo late last week that the Senate intends to pass today – apparently with bipartisan support.

Click here to read the 74-page bill, which teachers union officials say appears even stronger than what Cuomo discussed last year on the campaign trail. This is the first program bill of Cuomo’s short tenure in office.

Skelos, who revealed at the ABNY breakfast last Friday that his chamber would take up the 2 percent cap this week, said he hasn’t yet discussion this matter with the Assembly Democrats, choosing to leave that to Cuomo.

“We intend to pass the property tax cap bill tomorrow in the Senate, a two percent cap,” said Skelos, who was talking to CapTon’s Mike Whittemore at the CPAC conference in Colonie.

“It’s a program bill of Governor Cuomo. And it’s fulfilling our commitment to the voters that we have to bring property taxes under control. And the state itself has to cut taxes, cut spending and create private sector jobs. The governor gave us the program bill. I assume he’s going to send it over to the speaker also. So, this is the first step.”

Cuomo’s decision to send the Legislature his cap in a program bill apparently caught the Assembly Democrats, who aren’t uniformly supportive of the measure, by surprise.

The governor didn’t give the Democratic majority a heads-up about the bill, which many expected to show up in the executive budget proposal tomorrow. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was observing Shabbat and therefore didn’t see the legislation until sundown Saturday. Silver spokeswoman Sisa Moyo told the Times:

“The speaker stated at the State of the State that the Assembly is committed to passing a property tax cap bill. We look forward to working with the governor and our colleagues in the Senate on this issue in the upcoming budget.”

The Senate twice passed a one-house property tax cap bill when the chamber was under Democratic control, but that was back when it was assured the Assembly Democrats wouldn’t take up the measure, making the vote entirely symbolic. Then-Gov. David Paterson pushed for the Assembly to follow suit, insisting voters had a right to know before the 2010 elections where their legislators stood on the issue, but Silver did not heed that call.

The cap is expected to pass today with all of the 32 Republicans (assuming everyone is present) voting “yes.” It’s unclear how many Democrats will join in, although the four-member Independence Democratic Conference is likely to support the measure, too.

‘Inspect What You Expect’

The man who brought you “Stop the Sag” has a new informational YouTube video that informs parents how to regularly search their children’s rooms for guns, drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Brooklyn Sen. Eric Adams tells parents they have a “duty and an obligation” to keep tabs on their kids, who he says have “no First Amendment rights” while they’re living at home.

The video, which is part of a multimedia campaign to combat gun violence, was shot at Adams’ own home. In it, the senator methodically goes through several rooms in his house, urging parents to run their hands over pillows to search for any telltale bumps, check baby dolls for drugs and look for small-caliber guns inside jewelry boxes.

Something as simple as bullets or an the empty body of a ballpoint pen should trigger suspicion and be the jumping-off point for conservations with kids, Adams insists.

“What I would like to show here is to empower parents on how to search a room inside their room,” the senator says.

“It’s imperative that you should know what’s inside your household, and no one can state that you can’t search a room in your own home. You write the Constitution. There are no First Amendment rights inside your household. It is your obligation and responsibility not only to protect the child that may be using an illegal drug or carrying an illegal gun, but you also have to protect the members of the household.”

Adams is a somewhat controversial figure in the Senate. An outspoken former cop, he’s infamous for once yelling out “Show me the money!” during a floor debate about pay hikes (legislators haven’t seen their base $79,500 salary increase since 1999) and last week injected the issue of race into a debate over resource allocation.

Here And Now

T-minus one day and counting to the release of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first budget, which is expected to call for already-strapped state agencies to cut another 10 percent and lift restrictions on Keno.

Cuomo will brief legislative leaders on the budget at 7 p.m. tonight at the executive mansion. Let the leaking begin! (No link).

The Times is skeptical about Cuomo’s claim that he will be able to cut his way out of the $10 billion budget deficit without raising taxes or borrowing, but has some suggestions in the meantime. (The paper has launched a new editorial series on states’ fiscal troubles called “Within Our Means”).

Local elected officials, state workers, special interests and school districts all over New York are anxiously awaiting news on Cuomo’s plan for the “year of reckoning.”

Spending cuts could divide the Legislature and Cuomo, with some Assembly Democrats advocating for continuation of the millionaires tax and Long Island Senate Republicans going to war over school aid.

The governor surprised the Assembly Democrats by sending the Legislature his property tax cap bill for a vote that is expected to take place in the Senate today.

Cuomo sent the bill up late Friday, which meant that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an Orthodox Jew who observes Shabbat, didn’t see it until sundown Saturday.

EJ McMahon hails Cuomo’s cap, calling it a “very good start” to putting taxpayers first.

Carl Paladino’s former campaign manager, Michael Caputo, “can’t stand” Cuomo, but likes his fiscally conservative agenda and will e-mail Tea Partiers today to urge them to support it. (Paladino gave his blessing, but wouldn’t participate).

Cuomo is expected to propose another reduction in MTA funding, but won’t go so far as to require another fare hike.

More >

The Weekend That Was

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s shock and awe budget is coming Tuesday. State worker unions and school districts are worried.

The governor has to help New Yorkers come to grips with the fact that real pain is going to be necessary to close the $10 billion, budget deficit, The Buffalo News says.

The political Websites are already gearing up for 2012.

Tea Partiers are getting an early start, too.

The Manhattan DA may investigate how a dead man ended up on the Senate ballot in the district won by Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

Cuomo is a big fan of Jon Bon Jovi and hasn’t ridden the subway lately.

Governors across the nation are targeting Medicaid spending.

Cuomo’s budget, scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday, is likely to be “breath-takingly bad,” according to Sen. George Maziarz.

The executive budget will not include Mayor Bloomberg’s request to end the “last hired, first fired” requirement for teachers.

The mayor warned of mass teacher layoffs if the city’s education aid is significantly cut by the state.

More >

EXCLUSIVE YNN/Marist Poll: Gillibrand Hits New Heights

It seems that everywhere you turn these days, there’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

In Vogue. On the Senate floor delivering a passionate speech in support of the Zadroga bill. At a press conference receiving kudos from Sen. Chuck Schumer for her work on Zadroga and the repeal of DADT. On set with Jon Stewart, who called her “adorable.” On national TV talking about the recovery of her close friend, Rep. Gabby Giffords.

All this exposure – plus Gillibrand’s cruise to her first statewide victory last fall – has paid off in a big way for the former congresswoman-turned-junior-senator, whose job approval rating at hit an all-time high of 49 percent, according to a YNN/Marist poll.

Thirty-six percent of voters think Gillibrand is doing an “good” job, while 13 percent grade her performance as “excellent.” An October Marist poll found just 36 percent of voters giving the senator an above-average grade.

“This is the first time since being appointed to the U.S. Senate by former Governor David Paterson that Senator Gillibrand has established herself with New York voters in terms of her job performance,” said Marist pollster Lee Miringoff. “Voters see Gillibrand in a different light.”

Gillibrand has improved her standing with voters in every region of the state. The largest bump in her support came from members of her own party. Sixty-one percent of Democrats approve of the job she’s doing in the Senate, compared to just 45 percent back in October.

Schumer’s approval rating is also up, the poll found. Nearly six-in-10 voters (59 percent) think he’s doing an excellent or good job – that’s four percent higher than in the fall.

President Obama’s numbers on the rise in New York, too. He’s up to 53 percent from 45.

EMBARGOED_Complete January 28th, 2011 Poll Release and Tables


The executive mansion chef errs on the side of austere in menu choices when the governor is wooing state lawmakers.

A judge told former Sen. Hiram Monserrate he can’t use public funds to pay an attorney of his choosing.

Former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s sentencing was postponed again.

Bloomberg again warned of mass teacher layoffs if NYC loses $1 billion worth of state education aid.

Tom Robbins remembers the late Sen. Guy Velella.

Staten Island BP James Molinaro inadvertantly dropped the f-bomb on live TV.

Will Carl Paladino show up at CPAC?

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos talked up Cuomo’s (yet-to-be-released) budget plan at ABNY.

Skelos also made a congestion pricing joke after he arrived late to give his speech.

Bloomberg’s concept of Obama’s legacy sounds a lot like his own (or at least what he hopes it will be).

Cuomo’s plans for the Albany convention center remain unclear.

Door hangers, courtsey of the Committee to Save NY.

Rep. Michael Grimm was selected to co-chair the House Republican Israel Caucus. (No link).

NYC Schools Chancellor Cathie Black is very, very details oriented.

Bloomberg isn’t a fan of Donald Trump’s plan to run Tavern on the Green.

Will Olbermann replace Parker-Spitzer? (Not in the next six months, theoretically).

Cuomo is not the only governor gearing up for battle with state labor unions.

Go Dad!

Upstate = “wilderness”?! Huh?

High-Speed Rail’s Biggest NY Fan

That, of course, would be Sen. Malcolm Smith.

The Queens Democrat has not given up hope that New York will some day have a super-speedy rail system, despite the fact that elected officials have been pushing for this since time immemorial (or at the very least since back in former Gov. Mario Cuomo’s day, as Bill Hammond recently recalled).

Smith readily admits New York’s high-speed rail plan is lagging far behind other states, like California and Florida, for example.

But he was heartened to hear President Obama give top billing to the issue in his State of the Union address this week, and also to see the House Transportation Committee hold a field hearing on high-speed rail in the Northeast corridor – its first of the year – in NYC yesterday.

Smith attended the event, as did Mayor Bloomberg, who is a big supporter.

“Having a presidential cheerleader as President Obama and dealing with what we saw today… this was major,” Smith told me during a CapTon interview last night.

“Think about it: You have a chairman of a House committee that’s a Republican from Florida who already has high-speed rail moving in his state… here having his first hearing of the year, in NYC to talk about how important high-speed rail is in the Northeast corridor.

Then having two very noteworthy people such as Governor Rendell and Mayor Michael Bloomberg talking about that and then prior to that at 8 o’clock in the morning in New York City where we had a big snow storm, we had 25 people in the room…talking about high-speed rail and how to finance it. It’s a major happening for this initiative.”

DiNapoli Shuffles Staff

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is continuing to make staffing changes as he settles in to his first four-year term.

The comptroller, who asked about a dozen top staffers for their resignations in the wake of his first statewide victory over Republican Harry Wilson last November, announced today he has elevated Assistant Deputy Comptroller Elliot Pagliaccio to the post of deputy comptroller for state government accountability.

In this $157,000-a-year job, Pagliaccio will oversee audits of state agencies and authorities. He has extensive experience in government auditing and has also served as a state agency inspector general.

DiNapoli also announced that Kevin Murray has been named executive deputy comptroller for the state and local retirement system. He previously served as deputy comptroller for the system.

Former Troy Mayor Mark Pattison, who is currently serving as executive deputy comptroller for the Office of State and Local Government Accountability, will assume Murray’s former duties.

(No salaries were given for either Murray or Pattison).

The comptroller also announced the following will continue in their current roles:

Joan Sullivan, Executive Deputy Comptroller for Operations; Margaret Becker, Deputy Comptroller for Contracts and Expenditures; Kevin Belden, Chief Information Officer; Daniel Berry, Deputy Comptroller for Payroll, Accounting and Revenue Services; Kenneth Bleiwas, Deputy Comptroller, Office of the State Deputy Comptroller for New York City; Angela Dixon, Deputy Comptroller for Human Resources and Administration; Raudline Etienne, Chief Investment Officer; Celia Gonzalez, Deputy Comptroller for the Division of Diversity Services; Stephen Hancox, Deputy Comptroller for Local Government and School Accountability; Thomas Nitido, Deputy Comptroller for Budget and Policy Analysis; and Dennis Tompkins, Director of Communications.

It should be noted that at least one person in the above list – Tompkins – was one of the staffers who was asked to tender his resignation. Clearly, the comptroller had no intention of getting rid of everyone, but he did bring in some new blood, including former Assemblyman Pete Grannis, and move people around.

Goo-Goos Weigh In On Rules Revolt

Five of New York’s good government groups are calling on the Senate Republicans to have an open debate on the chamber’s rules and offering some suggestions on improvements to the changes that first came to light earlier this week.

The goo-goos praised the GOP for keeping “most of the important advances from the last session,” which, as you’ll recall, were made in the wake of the coup-inspired 31-day stalemate, but said the changes proposed “fail to take the next crucial steps that are needed to continue reforming the Senate.”

The group was “disheartened” that the Republicans’ changes surfaced just two hours before the Rules Committee was scheduled to meet, and also sided with the Democrats on the effort to end LG Bob Duffy’s ability to break a tie over who the chamber’s temporary president should be.

The state Constitution “already provides under what circumstances the lieutenant governor may cast a vote, and the Senate is bound by those provisions, regardless of what internal operating rules it passes,” the goo-goos wrote.

They also suggested a host of additional reforms, which are laid out in the letter below.

1/27/2011 Letter to Majority Leader Skelos Re: Rules