Skelos And The Sunset: We’ve Got Three Weeks To Go (Video Added)

The Assembly property-tax cap proposal, which includes an expiration date tied to the sunsetting of rent control for New York City, is seemingly at odds with what Senate Republicans have hoped for over the last several minds.

But Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos indicated that part of the proposal could be negotiated.

“I don’t think there’s a direct linkage other than the legislation right now talking abour a sunset provision. I think what’s positive about today is the governor, Senate Republican conference by passing a hard tax cap in January, we brought ourselves in a position that will have a good, workable tax cap,” he said in a brief scrum with reporters.

Pressed further on the expiration date, a provision that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office initally rejected, Skelos said the door was still open to neogitaitons.

“We have three weeks to go, so discussions will be on, there’s no conclusion as to the expiration date. If there is an expiration date, but the positive is we’re going to have a tax cap in New York state.”

Hochul Thanks Supporters

Democrat Kathy Hochul is not allowed to vote in the special election she is running for today, so instead she spent the morning thanking supporters in Amherst (7am) and in Greece (9am).

The Erie County Clerk is leading in two recent polls, but not by much. Everyone agrees that this election has become about who is better at getting out the vote. Which is why the appearance in Greece makes sense. it is the 2nd biggest town in the district behind Amherst.

Both Hochul and Republican Jane Corwin are from Erie County. Hochul is expected to beat Corwin there. But the rest of the district leans Republican, so Corwin is hoping to run up the score in the rural areas, and in the Rochester suburbs, specifically Greece.

Here is some video from Hochul’s Amherst appearance.

Cuomo On Assembly Tax Cap: ‘Best In The Nation’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo just gave a full-throated endorsement to the tax cap plan unveiled this morning by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, insisting it is “right in line with every piece” of his original proposal and should come as no surprise to the Senate Republicans.

Speaking with The Post’s Fred Dicker on TALK 1300, Cuomo applauded Silver for putting the cap bill forward and said that even with the exemptions and sunset clause it will be the “tightest cap in the country, tighter than New Jersey, tighter than Massachusetts, tighter than any cap we’ve come across.”

“You put this cap together with the budget that we just passed, it would help turn this state around,” said the governor, who later added that he believes the cap is perhaps even “more important” than the on-time budget deal he pushed through the Legislature in late March.

“…I think this is the single most important development for the economy of the state of New York,” the governor said…I think if you put the budget together with the tax cap, it changes the trajectory of the state of New York.”

Cuomo said he’s waiting to hear the response from the other legislative leaders – particularly Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who only recently backed off his insistence that he would not accept the “watering down” of the 2 percent hard cap Cuomo proposals – and the Senate passed – earlier this year.

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Business Council Applauds Tax Cap Movement

The Assembly’s property tax cap plan is receiving praise from the state’s biggest business advocacy group. The state Business Council just released a statement saying they are happy that both the Senate and Assembly are backing a hard cap.

“The new property tax cap proposal moves New York closer to an economic recovery. Now both houses of the legislature have agreed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo that New York needs to implement a hard tax cap in order protect taxpayers and businesses. A cap will help bring fiscal discipline to government and dramatically improve the business climate in the state. Businesses will not come, stay, and grow in New York unless we get control of property taxes and this cap will do just that,” said Heather Briccetti, acting-president & CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

The Assembly’s cap does have some carve outs, but not as many as some had excepted. Senate Republicans say the proposal is under review.

Senate GOP: Cap Proposal ‘Positive Development’

The Assembly proposal for the 2 percent cap on local property taxes is close to what Senate Republicans already approved, spokesman Scott Reif said in a statement.

“We’re reviewing the bill now and will formally conference it later today, but it includes many of the things Senate Republicans have been pushing for three years, since we first passed a property tax cap,” he said.

The Senate approved the bill on Jan. 31, but the Assembly has yet to take up the proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a “hard” 2 percent cap.

The Assembly proposal unveiled today exempts the cap from the growth in pensions and allows for unexpected growth in the tax base.

“Senator Skelos has insisted on a strong cap and elevated the property tax cap as a post-budget issue this year,” Reif sad. “We view this as a positive development in our efforts to enact a property tax cap.”

Krueger Raising For ‘No Bad Apples’ PAC (Updated)

Sen. Liz Krueger is moving ahead with the creation of her NBA, or “No Bad Apples”, PAC, scheduling its first fundraiser and hiring a staffer to run the operation.


The Manhattan Democrat, who has long been an outspoken voice for reform, unveiled her new PAC in a City Room report (second item) last week, saying she hoped to raise $300,000 that will be used to assist candidates who embrace a good government platform.

The idea, according to Krueger, is to recruit “progressive” candidates and improve the Democratic ranks as the party prepares to try to win back the majority from the GOP next year.

During a CapTon interview last night, Krueger assured me she doesn’t plan to primary any of her fellow Democrats, with the exception of scandal-scarred Brooklyn Sen. Carl Kruger – if he runs.

(Krueger has a track record here, remember. She endorsed now-Sen. Gustavo Rivera in 2010 against another corruption-tainted Democrat, then-Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., helping the first-time candidate oust the veteran Bronx senator in a primary).

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Assembly Unveils Its Tax Cap, Includes Pensions Exemption

As promised, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today unveiled a 2 percent cap on local and school property taxes that excludes the growth of pensions.

Other differences from the plan backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo include providing for unexpected growth in the property base, allowing a “carryover’ provision of up to 1.5 percent from one yeat to the next, and allows for any increase in the full value of taxable property.

The measure would also allow 60 percent of voters to override the cap for a special project, a provision that was included in the Cuomo proposal whichy passed the Republican-led Senate Jan. 31.

Included in the Assembly proposal is an expiration date for the cap, which woulde be tied to rent control laws. Recall that after the idea was floated, it was quickly shot down by Cuomo’s office.

“This property tax cap proposal is designed to save money for the working families across the state struggling during these difficult economic times, while ensuring that our school districts and local governments are not denied the ability to deliver critical services,” Silver said in a statement.

“This model will allow for adequate growth, without shortchanging our schools and communities.”

The Cuomo proposal was unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Assembly. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos in recent days has signaled a willingness to at least look at the Assembly cap proposal.

Dialing For Jane? (Updated)

Trust the Green Party’s Ian Murphy to end his extremely odd (not to mention longshot) NY-26 campaign with a bang.

Murphy may be barely registering in the polls, garnering somewhere between 1 and 2 percent of the vote, but he nevertheless is doing everything he can to make this race interesting – and tweak his Republican opponent, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, as much as possible in the process. (If you don’t believe me, consider Exhibit A: The fake Corwin campaign Website Murphy admitted to setting up).

According to the Buffalo Beast Website, which Murphy edits, the candidate crashed a Corwin phone bank, changing his appearance by buzzing and dying his hair and donning thick-framed reading glasses and posing as “Steve Smith, eager Republican wanker.”

UPDATE: Corwin spokesman Matthew Harakel sent this statement on Murphy’s account: “All of the quotes are made up. This is completely ridiculous. We’re trying to have a serious discussion on the issue.”

Murphy, who is perhaps best known for a prank phone call to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during which he pretended to be Tea Party-funding billionaire David Koch, used his telephone skills (or whatever it is you want to call them) to inflict some damage on Corwin. Here’s an excerpt from the blog about his experience:

“I actually spoke with roughly 100 people, and the majority of them were extremely upset with the harassment by phone.”

“Unless they immediately relented and said they were voting for Jane, their name went back into the system, and we’d call them until their spirits were thoroughly crushed. It’s an odd campaigning strategy — one that is no doubt backfiring.”

“People are sick of the media saturation–the constant lies spewing from camp Corwin. These calls seemed to represent the last straw for a lot of folks.”

“‘Um, Bob?’ I beckon the supervisor.”

“‘Yeah, Steve, what is it?’”

“‘Some of these people are saying that Jane is going to end Medicare–just because that’s what the Wall Street Journal wrote. What should I tell them–should I lie?’”

“‘Hmm…’ Bob thinks about this for a few seconds. “They’ve been asking about Medicare?’”

“‘Yeah.’ And they were.”

“‘Shit,’ he mumbles under his breath. ‘Don’t lie. Tell them that, if they’re 55 or over, Jane’s plan won’t change their Medicare. And if they’re 54 or under tell them that Jane’s plan will…um…make things…better.’ He walks away.”

I can’t vouch for the veracity of Murphy’s account, although The NY Observer’s Azi Paybarah Tweeted yesterday that the Green Party candidate had pulled this stunt, I was alerted by Jack Davis’ campaign manager Curtis Ellis. Considering the fact that Davis’ has been siphoning votes from Corwin, that’s pretty noteworthy.

A Good Day For Voting

Western NY residents are no strangers to bad weather, so it’s hard to say whether rain would have (ahem) dampened turnout in NY-26. Still, a bad forecast is something the candidates don’t have to worry about any more, according to anyway.



Here And Now

Polls are open in NY-26.

Politico will be watching for 5 things in the race tonight.

In DC, Republicans and Democrats are still fighting over what tonight’s outcome may mean for healthcare reform.

You can bet a lot of members of Congress will be watching the results closely tonight.

Washington Post thinks Kathy Hochul might just be a better candidate, and all this talk of medicare is just noise.

Jane Corwin admits that she made mistakes during the campaign when it comes to Medicare.

If you live in NY-26, expect a phone call or two today.

Kathy Hochul won’t be heading to the polls today, because she lives just outside the district she is seeking to represent.

Jane Corwin is voting at Clarence Fire Hall at 9am. (no link)

No word yet on where Jack Davis is voting. My apologies, Jack Davis voted at 7am this morning at the Clarence Senior Center. (no link)

Speaker Silver briefed his conference on their tax cap proposal Monday.

As we reported on SOP, we could see the bill as soon as today.

The yet unseen ethics bill will reportedly not contain campaign finance reform.

The debate over teacher evaluations raged on at the Capitol on Monday.

UB2020 is still being held up over tuition.

Gov. Cuomo is going to listen to a presentation on NYSUNY2020 today at 11:30am. (no link)

State Legislators in both houses are pushing a package of bills that could increase paydays for medical malpractice attorneys.

NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn is in Albany today to push for rent regulation laws.

Advocates for strengthening the laws are setting up tent cities throughout NYC this week.

Cuomo is getting mixed reviews on his rent regulation message.

President Obama will tour the tornado damage in Joplin, Mo. this weekend.

Rep. Pete King is telling people that Rudy Giuliani is very close to jumping into the 2012 race.

Biden 2016?

Sarah Palin’s Arizona?
More >