Silver’s FMAP Plan: Include It Or Lose It

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver offered the following explanation for why the Assembly and Senate have included the FMAP cash in their two-way budget deal even though it appears at the moment that Congress is not going to pass legislation releasing it.

“If we would show the federal government that we don’t need the money, that we can deal with it, we can kiss that money goodbye,” the speaker reasoned.

“So, I think it’s important that we proceed budgeting that money, support the president in his request for that money from Congress, and then deal with it if we wind up with less or don’t wind up with anything.”

Silver also said it’s “responsible government” to include the FMAP money in the budget, noting Mayor Bloomberg has also done so.

The speaker said it’s the governor’s “perogative” to exercise his line item veto power, which he has threatened to do if the Legislature doesn’t include a contingency plan to deal with the loss of the $1 billion worth of FMAP cash should Congress fail to come through.

Senate Dems Lose A ‘Yes’

As I predicted earlier today, Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. is not at all happy about the language in the two-way legislative budget deal that expands same-sex marriage recognition under New York Tax Law.

“Stupid, stupid, stupid!” the senator fumed to reporters outside the Senate chamber.

“They now have 32 minus one.”

CapTon’s Kaitlyn Ross confirms the Bronx Democrat was asked – and confirmed – that his issue is indeed the provision that would allow gay couples married outside the state to file their state income tax returns as a married couple, regardless of whether or not they can file their federal returns in the same manner.

Diaz Sr. has made good on threats to vote “no” in the past. (Recall that he sided with the Republicans on a key extender vote).

A high-ranking Assembly source just called to question what all the fuss is about, noting the language isn’t new. It was included the Assembly’s one-house budget resolution and also, according to this source, in the governor’s budget. It’s unclear whether the Senate resolution also included it.

Also, remember that this issue is with the revenue bill that is not up for a vote today.

Monday Meeting Regulars Raise For Rand Paul

A reader forwarded this invite to an upcoming fundraiser being hosted at the Harvard Club by the founders of the conservative confab known as the Monday Meeting for Kentucky US Senate Republican nominee Rand Paul.

Oddly, the names of the hosts didn’t appear on the invite when it uploaded to Scribd. They are: Steve Forbes, Elizabeth and Mallory Factor, Lacy Herrmann, James Higgins, Mark Mix, O’Brien Murray, and the National Right to Work.

Factor and Higgins founded the Monday Meeting, which is modeled after Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist’s weekend Wednesday meetings in Washington, DC.

Tickets to the July 15 event start at $1,500, which earns guests entry to a cocktail reception. There’s also a dinner, for which attendees are being asked to raise of contribute $4,800 (the maximum allowable contribution).

Paul, the son of Texas Rep. (and 2008 presidential contender) Ron Paul, won a May primary riding a wave of Tea Party support to defeat the establishment GOP candidate, Secretary of State Trey Grayson.
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Late-Night Property Tax Changes

With Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson struggling to keep all 32 members of his conference in the “yes” column on the two-way budget deal, some change have been made to the education portion of the agreement that would address suburban lawmakers’ concerns about property tax relief.

A chapter amendment submitted late last night repeal language that would have allowed wealthy and middle-income school districts the option of using some of the additional state aid provided in the two-way deal for either tax relief or restoration of programs.

The new version of the bill now requires that low and middle needs districts use 100 percent of their restored aid to provide property tax relief. High needs (low-income) districts still have the ability to choose how to use their cash.

“The chapter amendment was introduced last night and it directs more of the money from the education restoration to be used for property tax relief in sububran and rural areas,” Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran confirmed.

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Same-Sex Marriage Issue In Budget Fight

The state Conservative Party and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms are crying foul over language in the legislative revenue bill that would expand same-sex marriage recognition under New York Tax Law.

In short, the provision would allow gay couples married outside the state to file their state income tax returns as a married couple, regardless of whether or not they can file their federal returns in the same manner. (The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act does not permit federal recognition of same-sex marriages).

Here’s the language in question (it’s in Part M of the bill, and appears in all caps because it’s an addition to the governor’s original bill):

“TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUALS IN ANY STATE RECOGNIZED MARRIAGE. (A) FOR PURPOSES OF THIS CHAPTER, INDIVIDUALS IN ANY STATE RECOGNIZED MARRIAGE SHALL BE TREATED AS MARRIED, AND THEIR STATUS AS “HUSBAND,” “WIFE,” “SPOUSE,” “WIDOW” OR OTHER SIMILAR TERM INDICATING MARITAL STATUS AS USED IN THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE THAT OF SIMILARLY-SITUATED INDIVIDUALS IN ANY OTHER MARRIAGE RECOGNIZED UNDER FEDERAL AND STATE TAX LAW, NOTWITHSTANDING THE TREATMENT AFFORDED SUCH INDIVIDUALS UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES.

(B) TAX LIABILITY UNDER ARTICLES TWENTY-TWO, TWENTY-SIX, TWENTY-SIX-B, THIRTY, THIRTY-A, AND THIRTY-B OF THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE COMPUTED FOR ANY STATE RECOGNIZED MARRIAGE IN THE SAME WAY LIABILITY WOULD BE COMPUTED IN ANY OTHER MARRIAGE RECOGNIZED UNDER FEDERAL AND STATE TAX LAW.

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Senate, Assembly Dems To Gov: Thanks, But No Thanks (Updated)

We are now officially one step closer to the two-way budget deal.

The Senate and Assembly have jointly rejected the governor’s extender bills, which, as I understood it, sought to amend the amended budget bills the Legislature submitted last week.

Here’s the statement released on Senate Majority Conference letterhead from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson. (UPDATE1: Silver just released an identical statement on his own letterhead):

“Article VII section 3 of the New York State Constitution empowers the Governor to submit bills amending portions of the budget bills within 30 days after his budget is submitted.”

“Thereafter, the Legislature is empowered to consent or not consent to the receipt of any bill from the Governor which would amend any portion of his budget submission in any manner. We have not acceded to the receipt of any such bills today.”

UPDATE2: DN Capitol Bureau Chief Ken Lovett has more details, noting that this is actually the second time lawmakers have rejected Paterson’s extender. The first time was late last night.

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Coffey Threatens Lawsuit Over Upstate Elex Access

Democratic AG hopeful Sean Coffey is calling on two of his primary opponents, Sen. Eric Schneiderman and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, to pass legislation that would keep upstate polling places open longer and threatens to sue if they fail to do so.

In a press release, Coffey notes that upstate polling sites are generally open only from noon to 9 p.m., while downstate sites start admitting voters at 6 a.m.

“As I travel throughout out State and talk to upstate New Yorkers, I have become even more aware of the drastic economic plight of the cities and rural areas of upstate,” Coffey said.

“The loss of jobs over the past two decades, and the impact of that job loss on families and the quality of life in towns and cities, is shocking.”

“A recurrent theme I hear is that New York State government has not delivered on promises of making job creation in upstate New York a number one priority.”

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Long To Lorigo: Stop Running Or Resign

State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long today sent a sharply-worded letter to Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo, calling on him to publicly announce he’s not a serious gubernatorial candidate or resign his post as regional vice chairman.

Long, who has been a key ally of GOP/Conservative gubernatorial designee Rick Lazio, asserts Lorigo is little more than a stalking horse for Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who is trying to petition his way on to the GOP primary ballot.

The state chairman claims Lorigo made it “perfectly clear” he had “no personal interest” in running for governor, and would step aside if Long agreed to put Paladino on Row D.

“I told you over and over that was not going to happen and it did not,” Long wrote.

“I also told you that a Paladino candidacy would be detrimental to the Conservative Party because of his participation in emails that were both pornographic and racist. When we discussed the impact of the emails, clearly, you did not think they were as harmful as I did.”

“…”Ralph, to allow Carl Paladino to use you as a stalking horse or an obstructionist is not good for the future of the Party. Carl received no votes, nor was he even nominated, at our convention.”

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Cuomo Gets Involved In Mott’s Strike

More proof that not all labor is created equal in the eyes of AG Andrew Cuomo…

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum this morning released a letter from the Democratic gubernatorial candidate that deems it of the “utmost importance” that Dr. Pepper Snapple “comes back to the negotiating table, bargains in good faith and reaches a fair and equitable solution for the workers, the company and the state.”

“I am deeply concerned about the impact this strike could have locally in Wayne County and across New York State,” Cuomo wrote.

“…It is in the best interest of all involved that this strike be settled as quickly as possible. New York needs the high-skill good paying jobs this plant provides. The upstate economy needs this plant to be working at full capacity, producing quality product for consumers across the country.”

This comes on the heels of a visit to the striking workers by Cuomo’s LG running mate, Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy.

Cuomo has gone out of his way to make clear where his loyalties lie within the labor community, and they are decidedly not with the public employees unions, whose wages the AG has proposed freezing.

RWDSU’s Appelbaum has long been a Cuomo ally. He was the first labor leader to publicly call for Gov. David Paterson not to run this fall to clear the field for the AG.
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Here And Now

RIP Sen. Robert Byrd.

Gov. David Paterson threatened to “veto everything” if state lawmakers go their own way on a budget.

Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson acknowledged some of his members “have some concerns” with the deal he cut with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. He’s still trying for a three-way agreement.

Several Senate Democrats, including Deputy Majority Leader Jeff Klein, Bill Stachowski and Craig Johnson, reportedly might buck Sampson and refuse to support his two-way deal.

Sampson insisted he’ll “deal with” whatever issues his members have if his efforts to land a three-way deal fall short.

Expect state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a Silver ally, to come under intense pressure when it comes to certifying whatever budget gets passed is indeed in balance. (Remember: He’s facing a tough challenge from Republican Harry Wilson).

The Senate and Assembly are due in session today at noon. The bills they introduced shortly before midnight Friday night will be sufficiently aged for passage. The revenue bill won’t be ready for voting until 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

“Check,” says Tom Precious.

The governor and legislative leaders are at odds over how much money separates them. Silver says it’s $200 million; Paterson pegs the figure at $400 million, $500 million or more.

(Much depends on that $1 billion worth of FMAP money and whether some or all of it comes through for NY).

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