State To Begin Collecting Indian Taxes ‘Immediately’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office says they’re going to start their plan to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations immediately following today’s federal court ruling lifting an injunction on the plan.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto sent this statement on the issue:

“As a result the U.S. Court of Appeals decision today, the State Department of Taxation and Finance has posted the regulations governing collection of sales taxes on cigarettes sold to non-tribal members. The state will begin enforcing the regulations immediately.”

The long-sought revenue source for the state has gone and back forth over the years. The last major attempt, made in 1997, resulted in members of the Seneca Nation setting tires on fire and cutting off traffic on Interstate 90.

This is new plan, approved last year and coupled with a hike in cigarette and tobacco prices, pre-taxes the cigarettes sold on reservations. Tribal members and reservation residents are exempt from the tax.

Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, Seneca County, said the court’s ruling was the right one.

“This is lifting of the temporary injunctions indicates that the collection can and should go forward,” he said.


It looks like Newt Gingrich is running.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has bumped ex-Gov. David Paterson yet again – this time on the LCA wall.

Der Tzitung apologized if its decision to airbursh Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason out of a bin Laden raid Situation Room photo was “seen as offensive.”

The paper backed Clinton when she was a NY senator and a presidential contender.

An investigation by the state DMV using facial recognition software led to the arrest of 46 commercial drivers, some of whom were MTA employees.

A Duke University study found hydrofracking is contaminating groundwater wells in Northern Pennsylvania and Utica with methane.
A Public Policy Polling survey for Daily Kos and SEIU shows Kathy Hochul up by four percentage points over Jane Corwin.

Mayor Bloomberg thinks NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly would make a “great president.”

A report from the NYC Economic Development Corporation shows a living wage mandate would stifle development, cost jobs and curtail private investment in the city for years to come.

Bristol Palin is getting a reality show.

The Progressive Democrats of WNY endorsed Green Party contender Ian Murphy in NY-26.

House Speaker John Boehner took no questions from reporters about Medicare during his brief trip to WNY.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is heading to WNY to help Kathy Hochul.

Protestors sharpened their teeth on REBNY in preparation for their May 12 march on Wall Street.

More proof (was more needed?) the Trump bubble has burst.

Congrats to Newsday’s Sandra Peddie.

Boehner: NY-26 Comes At ‘Critical Time’

During a brief visit to WNY this afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner told attendees at a fundraiser for Assemblywoman Jane Corwin that the May 24 special election in NY-26 is coming at a “critical time” in Washington and offers Republicans the opportunity to re-establish the political edge they gained in the 2010 midterm elections.

“You know this special election comes at a critical time; Washington Democrats are hoping they can steal this election so they can continue to move this agenda which is more taxes and higher spending,” Boehner said.

“…We’ve got a chance to tell Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama that we want a different agenda. We can remind Washington of what they said last election by electing Jane Corwin in this special election here in New York.”

Boehner evoked the specters of the president and the California Democrat he relegated to his old minority leader post no fewer than three times during his brief (just over seven minutes) formal remarks.

This comes as Boehner is prepared to re-ignite the battle over the debt ceiling in D.C. by delivering a speech this evening at the Economic Club of New York that an increase in the amount the country can legally borrow limit should be accompanied by spending cuts that exceed that rise.

In his clearest statement to date on what the GOP wants in return for raising the debt ceiling, the speaker will say (according to early excepts released by his office):

“Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase. And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given. We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions.”

Cuomo Plans ‘People First’ Kickoff

The “People First” road show featuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his cabinet and three big issues he’s pushing — gay marriage, a property-tax cap and an ethics overhaul — will be kicking off in Syracuse on Tuesday.

“Our entire team is going to travel the state to speak directly to New Yorkers about the issues that can move this state forward, and it begins in Syracuse,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We need to pass a property tax cap, ethics reform, and marriage equality during this legislative session. The clock is ticking, but when the people speak, the politicians will listen. We will assemble a broad coalition of New Yorkers to support this agenda and work tirelessly to get it passed in Albany.”

The governor will be speaking at Onondaga Community College at noon.

The effort to get these measures through the Legislature is similar to Cuomo’s tour in the lead up to the state budget. He has less than seven weeks to reach deals on all these issues.

However, unlike the budget process which gives the governor broad authority, Cuomo must break out his chess board if he wants to reach a deal on gay marriage in the Republican-led Senate and get the Democratic-controlled Assembly to approve his 2 percent tax cap.

He’s also threatened to enact a Moreland Commission to investigate the Legislature if he doesn’t have a yet-to-be introduced and written ethics bill approved.

Senate Votes To Ban Pretend Pot In NY

The Senate has acted on legislation that would ban synthetic marijuana-type products in New York. The Senate has already passed legislation that bans salvia divinorum, a decorative plant with hallucinogenic qualities similar to marijuana.


The bill, which passed today 59-1 (the no-vote being Sen. Tom Duane), takes the previous bill a step further and outlaws other near-drugs that are commonly referred to K2, Spike 99 and Spice.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has taken action on the fake drugs, making them illegal. However, the bill’s sponsor points out this ban is only a temporary measure imposed by the DEA.

“While I applaud the efforts of the federal government, it is important to enact a statewide law restricting the sale of synthetic marijuana to make sure that our communities are protected in the event that the federal ban is lifted,” said Sen. John Flanagan (R-Northport).

“These substances are dangerous, they are gateways to future and more expanded drug use and they should be permanently banned. That is why I am hopeful that the Assembly will join the Senate in passing this legislation.”

If signed into law, those convicted of knowingly selling or distributing synthetic cannabinoids would face a civil penalty of up to $500.

Today’s legislation, along with the salvia-ban bill, have yet to be taken up by the Assembly.

Trump Headlines Lincoln Day Dinner

Though his stock may be falling after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate, the Donald is still a sought-after public speaker.

Trump is scheduled to give the keynote address at the Lincoln Day Dinner in New York City. Also due to make appearances the $1,000-a-seat dinner are GOP Chairman Ed Cox and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Trump is yet to formally announce whether he’ll run for president, but has said he would make a formal decision after his reality show “Celebrity Apprentice” finishes its season.

2011 Lincoln Day Dinner Invitation

Buerkle’s Office Temporary Shuttered By ‘Suspicious Communication’

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) just released the following statement on a “suspicious communication” that caused the temporary shutdown of her district office in Syracuse.

“We can confirm that a suspicious communication was received at my Syracuse District Office. Staff reacted appropriately by contacting local emergency responders who evaluated the situation.”

“The office has now been reopened and staff has returned to work. I am very troubled by this incident, which threatened not only members of my congressional staff, but also postal workers, building workers and tenants.”

“My staff and I are grateful for the professionalism and responsiveness of the various local and federal law enforcement and emergency response authorities.”

The statement doesn’t offer any details on what type of “communication” – call? package? e-mail? – was received by the freshman GOP congresswoman or its content. I have a call in to her spokeswoman, as does YNN Syracuse.

Buerkle is one of the top targets on the DCCC’s 2012 list of Republicans to oust.

She has been the subject of several negative ads, mailings and call campaigns that highlighted her votes on, among others things, Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare overhaul plan and the “extremist” effort to defund Planned Parenthood (she voted “yes” on both).

A number of New York Republicans have received suspicious and/or threatening correspondence lately, including state Sen. Greg Ball and Rep. Pete King.

Canestrari: Spending Cuts Make Millionaires Tax Look Better

The deep cuts to social services, education and health care successfully sought by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will result in a renewed call for the millionaires tax, Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari said this afternoon.

But convincing the governor, who wanted to close a $10 billion deficit without tax increases and new borrowing, will be difficult, Canestrari said.

“We’re not going to give up on it and it’s something that we believe in strongly,” he said. “We don’t get intend to let this get by the board.”

Liberal members of the Democratic-led Assembly made a strong push for keeping a surcharge on those who make $1 million or more, saying it would offset the spending cuts by bringing in an extra $750 million.

But Cuomo, who marshaled the support and resources of the business community, opposed the plan. Most Republicans in the Senate, save briefly for Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, Orange County, were also against the millionaires tax idea.

The final $132.5 billion spending for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which began April 1, also allows the surcharge on those making $200,000 or more to expire in 2012. Sen. Tony Avella, D-Queens, re-introduced the millionaires tax legislation last week.

Having both Republicans and the business-friendly governor come around to support the tax will be an uphill climb, Canestrari added.

“That’s a harder lift, that’s difficult. But we’ll continue our efforts here and see what happens as we move forward. As people see the effects from the cuts because of the lack of revenue I think our case becomes stronger to get this done as well,” he said.

Duffy: Cuomo Has ‘Horrendous’ Schedule

Lt. Gov Robert Duffy said Gov. Andrew Cuomo couldn’t make today’s Equality and Justice rally because of his “horrendous” schedule.

Duffy, who spoke before 500 or so people at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center this morning, said the governor’s absence didn’t mean support for gay marriage was faltering.

Instead, the deployment of Duffy was the beginning of the governor’s plan to deploy members of his administration around the state to drum up support for a tax cap, ethics bill and gay marriage.

Moments before we spoke to Duffy on camera, he attended to woman who had fallen down the Million Dollar Staircase here at the Capitol. Duffy, a former cop, rushed to the woman’s side calling for help and stayed until an ambulance crew arrived.

Duffy said the woman would be OK.

“These stairs can be unforgiving,” he said.

Jeffries Forms House Exploratory Committee (Updated)

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries is taking the first steps to begin a run for a House seat currently occupied by Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Towns.

The Observer reported today that Jeffries, D-Brooklyn, has long been considered an ambitious member of the Legislature. Towns, a longtime House member, has faced stiff primary challenges in the past, notably from firebrand Councilman Charles Barron and Assemblyman Roger Green.

Jeffries’ committee website can be found here.

UPDATE: Several folks have emailed to say the link is dead. We’ll get to the bottom of this. — NR