Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 8 a.m., Rep. Chris Gibson tours UPS’ Kingston operations, UPS Customer Center, 300 Memorial Dr., Kingston.

At 8:30 a.m., NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council members hand out fliers encouraging parents to sign up their kids for pre-K, (the deadline for enrollment is 4/23), 116th Street and Third Avenue, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer joins a rally announcing Sen. Daniel Squadron’s fair wage bill, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., EPA regional administrator Judith Enck leads a discussion about women in environmental politics, Bush Memorial Center, Sage College, Troy.

Also at 1 p.m., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will hold an economic development roundtable, SUNY Adirondack, Scoville Learning Center, Bishop Conference Room, Room 305, 640 Bay Rd., Queensbury.

At 5:30 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña delivers keynote speech at St. John’s University Carol Gresser Forum. The Great Hall, The Cooper Union, 7 East 7th St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Capital Gaming LLC holds a public meeting to discuss a proposed casino, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, 274 South Pearl St., Albany.

At 8 p.m., GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino speaks at the Northeast Queens Republican Club’s April general meeting, Clearview Golf Course Clubhouse, 202-12 Willets Point Blvd., Queens.

At 8:45 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at 2014 Carwash Assembly, Guttman Community College – Auditorium, 50 West 40th St., Manhattan.

Headlines…

Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots gun control network to rival the NRA.

Bloomberg: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

The Pine Bush schools chief told state officials that fundraising for her district’s summer enrichment program is down $30-$40,000 over last year — because of negative publicity over a still unproven lawsuit charging the district tolerated anti-Semitism.

Former LG Richard Ravitch’s memoir paints a picture of Albany that includes political back-stabbing that undermined the Paterson administration and then-AG Cuomo working behind the scenes on his way to becoming governor.

Cuomo nearly doubled his income in 2013 after receiving a $188,333 book advance, according to tax returns his office made available to reporters. The book, for which the governor has no ghost writer, is due out in August.

The publication date of the unauthorized biography of Cuomo that Vanity Fair scribe Michael Shnayerson is writing for the Hachette Book Group has been pushed back several months until after the November election. The tome also now has a new title.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made $165,047 last year, including $52,200 in rental income from property he owns in Brooklyn, according to his 2013 tax filings.

De Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, gave over $5,500 to charity last year.

The de Blasios’ income is set to go up: Mr. de Blasio will be paid a $225,000 salary as mayor.

Cuomo signed legislation to enter New York in an interstate agreement to award its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the majority of the popular vote.

Juan Gonzalez: “Legendary Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel is nearing the end of his political career.” Also, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer is expected to join the Democrats abandoning Rangel for his primary opponent, Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

The $1 million sale of the Yonkers City Jail to a NYC couple well known in the art world is part of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s ambitious plans to develop the waterfront and make it a place where young people want to live.

The NYPD has abandoned its controversial and secretive surveillance program that sent plainclothes police officers into Muslim neighborhoods for the purposes of gathering information on possible terrorist plots. More here.

More >

Extras

Bill Samuels says the governor has lost many liberal supporters “permanently,” adding: “I don’t have one friend who is a Cuomo supporter.”

The New York Observer says Cuomo “clearly over promised” when he created the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.

Oliver Koppell is still not quite ready to decide whether he’ll challenge IDC Leader Jeff Klein, but he says he’ll know for sure after Easter Sunday.

Former Gov. David Paterson will be director of community at iFunding – a real estate crowdfunding platform.

State Conservative Chairman Michael Long says his party is prepared to run its own candidate for state comptroller against incumbent Tom DiNapoli if the Republicans can’t find someone.

The NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct released its 2014 annual report.

Another Hillary Clinton book is in the works.

James Carville says the GOP will be “extinct” if it loses the 2016 presidential election against “presumptive” Democratic nominee Clinton.

Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy reported earnig $262,180 in 2013, including his $70,000 police pension.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, reported $52,000 in rental income.

Campaign finance filings show Rep. Charlie Rangel holds a slight edge over his Democratic primary challengers.

Republican congressional candidate Matt Doheny says aspects of the Paul Ryan budget plan are “concerning.”

New Census figures show a population decline in the Southern Tier region.

New York collected $3.9 billion from tax scofflaws in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer says $6.7 million in funding is needed to restore the Troy seawall.

Eldridge Raises $520K, Gibson $459K

Democratic House hopeful Sean Eldridge raised $520,943, spending just over $200,000 through this reporting period.

Eldridge, the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, has contributed $965,000 of his own money to the effort so far, and has $1.58 million in cash on hand.

Though he’s received high-profile support from wealthy contributors, Eldridge has been touting the small-dollar donations he’s received and itemized each contribution in his filings.

“The support we’re getting from across the district shows that New Yorkers want new leadership, and I’m proud that we’re running a different kind of campaign. Unlike Congressman Chris Gibson, we publicly disclose every contribution we receive and we refuse to accept money from corporate PACs that have too much power in Washington already,” Eldridge said in a statement

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson reported $459,000 and has $1.2 million in cash on hand, his campaign announced in a news release.

“While we know our opponent will continue to use his billion dollar fortune to try and buy this election, our strong local support cannot be matched. Our campaign gathered 5,000 more signatures than our opponent to appear on the ballot and has raised more local money,” said Stephanie Valle, spokeswoman for the Congressman. “This is reflective of Chris’s record of service and putting Upstate New York first in every action he takes. Though we expect we’ll be outspent, we’re confident we will have the resources we need to win decisively once again.”

Cuomo’s Book Nets Him An Initial $188K Advance

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s forthcoming book “All Things Possible” has netted him an initial advance payment of $188,333 from publisher HarperCollins, his 2013 income tax filing shows.

Cuomo made his federal and state tax filings public on Tuesday — a traditional, but not required, public disclosure for statewide elected officials.

The filings show Cuomo also spent $35,127 on legal fees associated with the book. Cuomo last year was represented by Washington lawyer and power broker Robert Barnett when it came to negotiating the book deal.

The book, a memoir of Cuomo’s political and personal life, is due out in August.

Because of the advance, his total income grew last year to $358,448, and he paid $96,302 in federal taxes, an effective tax rate of 26.8 percent. Cuomo’s salary as governor is $175,277.

Cuomo gave $16,000 to HELP USA charity he founded and is now run by his sister.

Paladino Drops Draft Trump Movement

The Draft Trump movement as led by Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino is officially over.

Paladino, the 2010 Republican nominee for governor, had carried the Trump-for-governor banner even as the mogul and reality-show host said he would not seek the GOP nomination this year to take on Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Paladino had gone as far as distributing flyers at an anti-SAFE Act rally calling for a Trump candidacy.

But on Tuesday in an open strategy memorandum addressed to Republican Chairman Ed Cox, Paladino said he is dropping the pro-Trump effort and pledged to help Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s campaign.

“Rob convinced me that to further support a draft Trump campaign while saying that Rob can’t raise money and doesn’t have the name recognition was hurting him, so I am dropping the Trump initiative and I will be quiet on and support Rob’s ability to raise money,” Paladino wrote in the email.

Trump had spent a good portion of early 2014 traveling the state and appearing at a variety of county Republican fundraisers, usually drawing record crowds, but always stopped short of formally announcing his candidacy.

In the end, he chose to focus on other endeavors, he announced via Twitter. Trump is reportedly interested now in purchasing the Buffalo Bills.

Paladino added in the memo to Cox he hopes Astorino takes a harder line on Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, who he has blasted for being a “Republican In Name Only.”

“Denouncing Skelos and the RINOs, will establish Rob as a leader of Republican/Conservative principles and values for the future,” Paladino said. “It will give the ranks a reason to rally behind him as a leader who will be different and clean up the Albany cesspool.”

Maloney Outraises Hayworth

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney continued to bring in more campaign cash than his rival Nan Hayworth.

According to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission, Maloney raised a little more than $472,000 this past quarter. After expenses, Maloney was left with about $1.5 million in the bank.

Hayworth raised nearly $282,000. She has about $663,000 cash on hand.

Maloney and Hayworth are locked in a contentious battle this election season, as Hayworth tries to regain the congressional seat she lost to Maloney in 2012.

Maloney’s haul included a little more than $113,000 from political action committees. About $56,000 of Hayworth’s total contributions came from PACs, including $5,000 from Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Prosperity PAC.”

You can bet the Maloney campaign is going to seize on that fact, as they try to attach Hayworth to Ryan’s budget proposal, which calls for drastic cuts to government spending.

Hayworth did not report loaning her campaign any of her personal fortune in the period ending March 31.

 

 

Once A ‘Right-Wing Think Tank’ Cuomo Praises The Tax Foundation

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has certainly had a hot and cold relationship with the Tax Foundation, the Washington, D.C.-based organization that tracks the tax climate across the country.

Back in October 2012 his top aide blasted the Tax Foundation in a radio interview after New York was ranked dead last in terms of its tax climate.

“They basically took data and manipulated them to fit their world view,” Schwartz said. “They support a flax tax, not the progressive tax we have.”

This raised some eyebrows at the time, considering the governor’s own election campaign cited the Tax Foundation in its policy books when it came to high taxes in New York.

But today, things have changed, apparently both tax-wise in New York and the administration’s engagement of the foundation.

The Tax Foundation in a report released earlier found the changes to New York’s corporate tax structure warranted its ranking from 50th to 48th nationally.

Cuomo, in a statement, said the analysis showed the state was moving in the right direction.

“This year’s budget builds on positive reforms included in our three prior budgets, which have greatly improved the business and tax climate in the state and changed the trajectory of New York’s economic standing,” Cuomo said. “This dramatic improvement, demonstrated by the upward progress in today’s Tax Foundation report, serves as further proof that after decades of decline, New York is reclaiming its reputation as a great place to do business. My administration has placed a premium on making it as easy as possible to start or expand businesses in the Empire State, creating jobs and stimulating the economy, and the 2014-2015 budget continues that progress by providing tax cuts for manufacturers throughout the state, lowering the corporate tax rate to the lowest rate since 1968 and reforming the estate tax – all while holding spending growth below two percent.”

As Jimmy Vielkind reported in March, Schwartz had reached out to and consulted the Tax Foundation as the budget process was underway.

Grisanti’s First TV Spot Takes Anti-Dream Act Stance

It’s only April, but Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti is already airing his first TV ad, a 30-second spot that highlights the Buffalo lawmaker’s opposition to the Dream Act, public financing of political campaigns and using tax dollars to fund college classes for prison inmates.

“He led the fight to block taxpayer funded tuition for illegal immigrants and he won,” the ad’s narrator says. “He’ll keep fighting the New York City liberals — opposing their plans to use tax dollars to pay for college for prison inmates and political campaigns.”

Grisanti is typically considered one of the more moderate members of the Senate Republican conference, a reputation earned by his support for same-sex marriage as well as the gun control measure known as the SAFE Act.

He faced a Republican primary in 2012 that was backed by Carl Paladino, the Buffalo businessman who ran for governor on the GOP line in 2010.

He won re-election in a crowded three-way race that included Democratic and Conservative Party candidates.

This ad may be early in the political season, but could head of any potential challenge.

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick is considering a challenge to Grisanti for the Republican line.

Senate Reconciliation?

It was a tough budget process this year. And it was particularly tough in the State Senate which has two ideologically opposite conferences locked in a power sharing arrangement to form the majority. The coalition has come close to falling apart before, and this year was no exception, this time over the issue of campaign finance reform. Republicans oppose it, the breakaway IDC favors it. In the end, they went with a pilot program just for the Comptroller’s race that just about everybody hates.

So could reconciliation be on the horizon between the IDC and the mainline Democrats? Sources say Democrat Mike Gianaris of Queens was poised to meet with IDC Leader Jeff Klein Wednesday to discuss a co-leadership which would bring the IDC back into the Democratic fold and terminate the experimental government in the Senate. The meeting was canceled, but clearly these kinds of conversations are now happening.

Gianaris did not deny the meeting was supposed to take place, but declined to comment further noting the “sensitivity” of this subject. He and Klein have not met face to face in years. Gianaris has said previously that the Mainline Democratic position has been that they want the IDC back, and they are eager to work with them. But Gianaris has also said previously that should the IDC come back, they would have as much power in the Democratic conference as any five members ( or actually he had said four, since this was a couple of years ago and there were four not five IDC-ers ).

So what has changed? Well, there is a growing feeling within the Mainline Democratic Conference that enough is enough already. Senators Diaz, Espaillat ans others have been vocal during conference meetings about how it is time to reconcile and give Klein “what he wants” in order to bring him back. There is a feeling among some that if they don’t bring Klein back soon his power only grows, setting up the possibility that he could run primaries against guys like Senator Tim Kennedy ( D – Buffalo ) this year and win. One source says there is also a concern that Gustavo Rivera ( D- Bronx ) might be vulnerable as well.

Lining up against this reconciliation idea are Liz Krueger ( D – Manhattan ), Gustavo Rivera, Andrea Stewart-Cousins ( D-Yonkers ) and Bill Perkins ( D – Harlem ).

Tax Foundation: Corporate Tax Reform ‘Impressive’

An analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation found the corporate tax overhaul in the approved $138 billion budget is “impressive” given that it reduces complexity, broadens the base and lowers rates.

Had the changes been in effect in July of last year, the state’s tax rank would have approved from dead last to 48th nationally among the states, while the state’s corporate tax rank would have improved from 25th to fourth.

The foundation’s report, however, cautions that New York is still not considered a low-tax state despite the changes. Nevertheless, the changes to the corporate tax, which was reduced from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent, is considered “an impressive first step.”

From the report:

New York is not a low-tax state, and its economic success is because of strengths that overcome a challenging tax environment, with recent tax commission reports recommending many of the changes incorporated in the bill. High taxes need not also be complex or poorly structured taxes, however, and removing these obstacles will encourage job creation and economic activity. New York’s 2014 corporate tax reform is an impressive first step toward tackling this problem by broadening bases, lowering rates, reducing burdens, and eliminating needless complexity.

The Tax Foundation also singles out changes to the bank tax that was merged into the corporate tax system, as well as the recoupling of the estate tax.

Of course, not everyone is pleased with the tax actions taken in the budget, which were proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Progressive groups and labor unions have blasted the approved budget for the business tax approach that Cuomo has embraced.

SR217_0 by Nick Reisman