Tax Foundation: NY Ranks 49th In Biz Tax Climate (Updated)

New York ranks at the bottom when it comes to its business tax climate, according to an annual report released on Wednesday by the Tax Foundation.

The report ranked New York 49th overall in business taxes, sandwiched between two other notoriously high-tax states, California (48th) and New Jersey (50th). For what it’s worth, the states with the best tax climate for businesses are Wyoming, South Dakota and Alaska.

The ranking comes after years of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration pushing to reshape the image of the state as having a high-tax climate or being generally hostile to businesses.

“The states in the bottom 10 tend to have a number of shortcomings in common: complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates,” the foundation wrote in its report. “New Jersey, for example, is hampered by some of the highest property tax burdens in the country, is one of just two states to levy both an inheritance tax and an estate tax, and maintains some of the worst-structured individual income taxes in the country.”

Business groups, meanwhile, lamented the development.

“The Tax Foundation has released its annual State Business Tax Climate Index and the results are troubling and frustrating,” said Greg Biryla of Unshackle Upstate. New York State has the second-worst business tax climate in the nation. That’s simply unacceptable. If a well-respected research organization published a report that had similar findings about our educational or health care systems, the outcry would be deafening and Albany would go to great lengths to address the situation.”

Updated: The Cuomo administration responds.

“New York has a fair and progressive income tax structure that this conservative leaning organization fundamentally disagrees with,” said spokesman Rich Azzopardi.

“Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s reforms, we also have the lowest middle class tax rates in 70 years, the lowest manufacturing tax rate since 1917 and the lowest corporate tax rate since 1968, and a tax cap that broke the cycle of skyrocketing property tax hikes on businesses and property taxpayers alike.”

Senate Dem Candidates Push Rivals To Return Contributions Linked To Scandal

Two Democratic candidates for state Senate on Wednesday called on their Republican opponents to return campaign cash linked to developers who have been charged in the sweeping bribery and pay-to-play scandal that has engulfed a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Democrat Sara Niccoli, running to unseat incumbent Sen. George Amedore in the 46th Senate district, is pushing him to return $30,000 in contributions from Albany-based developer Joseph Nicolla.

Nicolla was among those who face state charges in an alleged bid-rigging scheme that has ensnared the head of SUNY Polytechnic, Alain Kaloyeros.

“George Amedore has a pattern of accepting money from shady, corrupt and even indicted individuals and it has to end,” Niccoli said.

“Not only was George hand-picked to run for the Senate by convicted felon Dean Skelos, he was even drawn his own special district and lavished with millions of dollars from downstate party bosses. George has also received millions from New York City real estate developers and from Leonard Litwin, who was at the very core of the Dean Skelos corruption scandal. The Nicolla donations are simply the latest example of Senator Amedore being funded by corrupt special interests, and I urge George to do the right thing and return these tainted dollars.”

Meanwhile, Democrat Amber Small also on Wednesday made a similar call for Republican Chris Jacobs to return his donations he’s received from LP Ciminelli executives and members of the Ciminelli family. Ciminelli is among the upstate developers who has been charged in the federal case, whose company has played a prominent role in the Buffalo Billion economic development program.

The calls come as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign on Tuesday signaled it would set aside the thousands of dollars he’s received from the developers linked to the corruption cases should prosecutors seek to clawback those funds.

At the same time, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli had previously said he would return then $20,000 in contributions he’s received from Ciminelli.

TWC News To Host NY-21 Debate

____debateTime Warner Cable News will host a debate for the 21st Congressional district race.

The debate will be held on October 3rd between incumbent Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, Green candidate Matt Funiciello and Democrat Mike Derrick.

 

It will air at 7 p.m. with an encore presentation at 10 p.m.

Capital Tonight host Liz Benjamin will serve as moderator.

Cuomo To Attend Peres Funeral In Israel

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will represent New York at the funeral of the late former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, according to a source familiar with the plans.

Cuomo is flying to Israel on Thursday to attend the service scheduled for Friday.

Peres, who died on Wednesday, twice served as the prime minister of the Jewish State and twice as interim prime minister and served in various top-level posts in the Israeli government.

Both Cuomo and Peres had known each other for several years and were said to have a warm relationship.

During his trip to Israel in 2014, Cuomo met with Peres.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former President and Prime Minister of Israel Shimon Peres,” Cuomo said in a statement. “He was not only a great leader for his country, but one of the most profound statesmen our world has ever known.”

NY GOP House Delegation Fundraises For Martins

The Republican members of the New York congressional delegation will hold a fundraiser today for Jack Martins, the state senator running for an open House seat on Long Island.

Tickets for the event, being held at 5 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C., range from $500 to $2,500.

Billed as special guests to the event include Reps. Peter King, Tom Reed, Elise Stefanik, Chris Gibson, John Katko, Lee Zeldin and Dan Donovan.

Martins is running for the third congressional district, which is being vacated by Democratic Rep. Steve Israel. It’s seen as a top pickup opportunity for Republicans this year.

He faces Democratic former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi.

Invitation – 9 28 16 – Martins Reception by Nick Reisman on Scribd

NY-19: Faso Gets Nod From Primary Foe

From the Morning Memo:

Andrew Heaney, the Republican who unsuccessfully challenged John Faso in June in a GOP primary, has endorsed his bid in the general election in the battleground race for the 19th congressional district.

The endorsement, made public in an email Heaney sent to supporters on Tuesday afternoon, comes as Faso faces stiff competition for holding the Hudson Valley in GOP hands.

A Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll found Faso and his Democratic rival, Zephyr Teachout, locked in a dead heat. Faso, a former Assembly minority leader, drew 43 percent of the vote compared to 42 percent for Teachout.

In the email endorsement, Heaney knocked Teachout as an “extreme far-left candidate” whose ties to the district are tenuous.

“We fell for the promises of a double-talking, liberal opportunist once before when Hillary Clinton promised to create 200,000 jobs in Upstate,” Heaney wrote in the email. “Let’s not make that mistake again.”

Much of the criticism Teachout, a Fordham Law school professor, has leveled at Faso echoed the attacks of Heaney during the primary season, namely the knock that he is a lobbyist too close to Albany power brokers.

Heaney had also claimed he would have made a more effective general election candidate against Teachout, burnishing his credentials as an outside running in an anti-incumbent year.

But Heaney suggests in the email the stakes are higher for the general election.

“That is why all concerned citizens, whether they are Republican, Democrat or Independent – should vote for John Faso,” Heaney wrote. “John has served the people of the 19th District in his work as an Assemblyman for almost two decades. He knows the District and its people, and knows that the economy and jobs is the number one issue we need to address here, and across our nation.”

And he put in a fundraising pitch for his former rival.

“John is in a tough fight. His opponent has access to the organized, national Bernie Sanders/ Elizabeth Warren liberal money machine that has provided her with an ample war chest,” he wrote. “I urge you to learn more about John, and to help him get the word out by visiting his website or by making a donation to him today.”

State Dem Chairman Brown Gets Front Row Seat For Debate

From the Morning Memo:

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown didn’t just get an invite to Monday’s presidential debate at Hofstra University. As the new chair of the state Democratic party, Brown was in the front row, and from where he was sitting, he said Hillary Clinton clearly beat Donald Trump.

“She had excellent moments all throughout the entire debate, so it would be hard to pick just one moment that was best,” he said.

As the head of New York’s second largest city, Brown said Clinton’s comments on police and race relations specifically resonated with him.

“I thought that was a very strong moment,” the mayor recalled. “It reflected that she had thought about that issue a lot and that she had been involved in that issue and traveled to different parts of the country to talk to both police officers and residents.”

Brown was sitting with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, with whom the mayor said he has built a relationship over the years. Brown said he enjoyed being able to discuss his impressions about the debate with a man he deemed one of the “most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement in this nation.”

After the debate, Jackson also joined Brown in the Spin Room, where thousands of reporters were trolling the aisle, seeking comment. The chairman said it was his first time in that environment.

“It’s a huge room with media from all across the country and across the world, many people talking in different sections of the room. It was a very interesting experience, seeing a room like that and having questions fired at you from a lot of different quarters,” Brown said.

One person who did not make a post-debate Spin Room appearance – Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who tapped Brown to serve as party chair. The governor did, however, attend the event with his longtime girlfriend, Sandra Lee, and also headlined a local rally for Clinton after the debate.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Onondaga County and New York City.

At 8:30 a.m., the MTA Safety Committee meets, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th Floor, Manhattan. (The full board meets at 10 a.m.)

At 10 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, 4341 State Street Rd., Skaneateles Falls.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., musician Common and others march to double NYC charter school sector to 200,000 Children by 2020, Prospect Park, Captain Vincent E. Brunton Way and Prospect Park Southwest, Brooklyn.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show and take questions from listeners.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, the Women’s Prison Association and others celebrate the anticipated passage of Int. 899-A to establish clear procedures around admittance and record keeping for the Rikers Island nursery, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio will host a press conference to make an announcement regarding NYC’s Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise program, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 92, 4th floor, Brooklyn.

At noon, NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams announces his intention to continue his protest during the Pledge of Allegiance that he began two weeks ago, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:45 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul will address the Power of the Latino Voice Conference, Desmond Hotel, 660 Albany Shaker Rd., Colonie.

At 1 p.m., NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres and others address the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule that could increase rents for Section 8 households, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council holds a stated meeting, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 1:15 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, P.S. 059 Beekman Hill International, 231-249 East 56th St., Manhattan.

At 3:15 p.m., Hochul visits the West Point Military Academy, West Point.

At 3:30 p.m., de Blasio holds public hearings for and Signs Intros. 923-A, 976-A, 981-B, 1005-A, 1019-A, 1020-A, 405-A, 695-A, 795-A, 997-A, 948-A, 961-A and 968-A, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio participates in a town hall, Southern Queens Park Association, 177-01 Baisley Blvd., Queens.

Headlines…

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara delivered a keynote address yesterday before some of the city’s top politicians, where he was presented with City & State’s “Newsmaker of the Decade” award and praised the media for putting issues in the spotlight – like the Buffalo Billion corruption case he brought last week involving some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aides.

Former Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, who was one of nine people arrested on corruption charges last week, works for a potential stakeholder in the governor’s latest deal to transform he former Farley Post Office on Manhattan’s West Side to a first-class rail facility.

When a staffer wanted to leave the team before Cuomo wanted him or her to leave, it was Percoco’s task to block, or delay, an exit. He played that role even after he left Cuomo’s payroll last January to join Madison Square Garden Co.

There’s division over how close former lobbyist Todd Howe, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is assisting Bharara in his ongoing investigation, is to Cuomo. Those currently close to the governor insist Howe was not influential, others who have been around Albany a long time beg to differ.

City of Rensselaer officials said they rejected a $4,000 per month contract proposal from Howe as they waited for SUNY Polytechnic Institute to push ahead with a $12.5 million high-tech development plan for the city’s riverfront.

Cuomo’s campaign will set aside the donations from two recently arrested Syracuse-area development executives in case the funds are seized as part of the criminal case.

That announcement followed pledges by the state’s two other top elected officials – state AG Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli – to divest themselves of political donations tied to Cuomo’s allegedly graft-riddled “Buffalo Billion” revitalization project.

In the wake of the scandal, JCOPE staffers will be paying “closer attention” to financial disclosures, though officials for the watchdog agency declined to say how it missed crucial information in Bharara’s case against Percoco.

The governor is expected to announce the creation of new jobs at Welch Allyn during a visit to the medical equipment maker in Skaneateles this morning.

The plan calls for Related Companies and Vornado Realty — the same two development companies that tried to turn the old post office into a train hall last time around — to join forces with construction giant Skanska to take another go at it.

NYPD detectives are investigating as a crime scene a Bronx home that exploded yesterday morning, killing a firefighter and injuring more than a dozen others. Chief Michael Fahy was killed when he was struck on the head and elsewhere by part of the building’s roof.

Early this morning, police had a person of interest in the Bronx home explosion case in custody.

New York City has agreed to pay $5.75 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the 2013 death of a mentally ill inmate, Bradley Ballard, who was found naked and covered in urine and feces after being locked in a cell at Rikers Island for six days.

State Senate candidate and Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs’ own money and Albany contributions establish him as the financial favorite in the 60th SD race at this point. But questions still surround what, if any, outside dollars may assist his Democratic opponent, Amber Small.

David Wildstein, the mastermind behind the George Washington Bridge lane closings in the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal, testified that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was informed of the lane closings the week they were happening, and recalled how Christie reacted with laughter.

A pair of clips teasing Mary J. Blige’s interview with Hillary Clinton on her upcoming Apple Music show The 411 isn’t winning over social media users.

After refraining from calling Clinton names at the first presidential debate, Donald Trump took the stage at a rally in a Florida
airplane hangar night and declared: “Almost every single poll had us winning the debate against ‘Crooked Hillary Clinton’ big league. Big league. She is as crooked as they come.”

Trump also lashed out in the aftermath of a disappointing first debate with Clinton, scolding the moderator, NBC’s Lester Holt; criticizing a beauty pageant winner for her physique and raising the prospect of an all-out attack on Bill Clinton’s marital infidelities in the final stretch of the campaign.

More >

TWC News/Siena College Poll: Dead Heat In NY-19

Republican John Faso and Democrat Zephyr Teachout are in a virtual tie in the race for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley, a Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll found.

The poll released Tuesday night shows Faso, a former Assembly minority leader, drawing 43 percent of the vote, with Teachout receiving 42 percent of support.

The results are not wholly unexpected: The 19th congressional district is considered one of the key battleground House races in New York and already is drawing a heavy rotation in television advertising for both candidates.

But the poll results underscore the unsettled nature of the race an open congressional seat that’s being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican.

Both Faso and Teachout are known quantities in some regard.

Faso, a longtime state lawmaker turned lobbyist, ran for governor as the Republican nominee in 2006. The poll found 32 percent of voters hold a favorable view of him, while 30 percent do not. Teachout, who ran for the Democratic nomination for governor against incumbent Andrew Cuomo in 2014, has a 36 percent to 25 percent favorable rating.

But a large swath of voters — nearly 40 percent — have not heard enough about either candidate to form an opinion with six weeks to go before Election Day.

Though the race is considered a tossup, Republicans fare better in other races.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton in the district by 5 percentage points, 43 percent to 38 percent.

And while Sen. Chuck Schumer holds a comfortable lead over his little known Republican challenger Wendy Long, it is more narrow in the 19th district than in broader statewide polls.

At the same time, most voters in the district by a margin of 46 percent to 41 percent want Republicans to retain control of the House of Representatives this November.

So, why does Faso still struggle to overcome Teachout in the race?

The answer lies with independent voters: Faso and Teachout are tied with those not registered as Democrats or Republicans, 42 percent to 41 percent, the poll found.

At the same time, the poll shows these voters lean conservative. Among the independent voters polled, 66 percent support Second Amendment rights, 56 percent back repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, and on the role of the federal government, 53 percent believe it should less its burden on businesses.

The poll of 678 likely voters was conducted from Sept. 20 through Sept. 22. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

CD190916 Crosstabs938 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Contributions To Cuomo Tied To Corruption Case Will Be ‘Set Aside’

Contributions donated to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election bid will be “set aside” and potentially subject to forfeiture efforts by prosecutors, a top New York Democrat on Tuesday evening said.

“Given the serious nature of the allegations made last week, the campaign contributions given by the defendants will be set aside in a separate account to be made available for any forfeiture recoveries pursued by law enforcement upon case disposition, rather than returning the funds to the defendants,” said Basil Smikle, the executive director of the state Democratic Committee in an email statement. “The US Attorney’s office has been made aware of this action.”

A Cuomo campaign source later explained why the money was being put in a separate account and not returned to the donors: “It’s not our intention to fund anyone’s legal defense.”

The statement comes hours after the campaign of Comptroller Tom DiNapoli indicated on Tuesday he would return donations received from developers linked to the sweeping bribery and bid-rigging case that has also ensnared a former top aide and confidant to the governor, Joe Percoco.

DiNapoli is returning the money from LP Ciminelli CEO Louis Ciminelli and Steven Aiello, the top executive COR Development, whose contributions to DiNapoli account for more than $40,000 combined.

Cuomo, who is running for a third term in 2018, has received a combined $350,000 from developer Ciminelli, as well as the developer’s family members. Aiello, meanwhile, has contributed $10,000 to Cuomo.

Both Ciminelli and Aiello are among those charged in the case.

It’s unclear from the statement released Tuesday how much of the money will be entered into a separate account pending the developments in the corruption case.