Sep 27th - 6:10 pm
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign remains mum on the issue, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s re-election campaign has said it will return campaign funds tied to developers who are being charged in a bribery and bid-rigging case.
Though Albany is reeling from yet another corruption scandal, the ethics and lobbying regulators at the Joint Commission on Public Ethics didn’t discuss the case at their meeting.
Even as he seeks to move forward with economic development projects after the high-profile arrests, questions remain over whether Cuomo has done enough to address bid rigging in contracting.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has had a well-documented affair out of wedlock, said Hillary Clinton is “too stupid” to be president because she didn’t believe Monica Lewinsky’s claim of a relationship with her husband.
Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of a former Miss Universe winner, knocking her for gaining weight after winning the contest.
Pledging to revamp Penn Station, Cuomo told real estate leaders in New York City he is backing a plan that would bring 18-foot walls and sky-blue ceilings to the “decrepit” transit hub.
The clean energy standard as backed the Public Service Commission will cost more than the $2 surcharge as claimed by state regulators, an analysis by the Empire Center found.
The deputy mayor of Williamsville is taking a leave of “an indefinite” leave of absence after he was charged with a DWI.
Deaprtment of Transportation officials say Syracuse residents will have another chance to weigh in on the I-81 project in the city.
Capt. David Little, the son of state Sen. Betty Little, toured the Capitol with a group of younger sailors, and his mother led them through the chamber.
An ally of New Jersey Gov. Christie testified the governor reportedly laughed at the news of the George Washington Bridge lane closures in Fort Lee.
After 13 years, police in Rochester have finally made an arrest in a notorious 2003 robbery at the Xerox Federal Credit Union.
A 17-year veteran of the FDNY was killed when a grow house for marijuana exploded in the Bronx.
Sep 27th - 4:52 pm
The long-simmering feud between Republican Claudia Tenney and the leader of the Oneida Indian Nation continued on Tuesday as the congressional candidate released a TV ad rebutting commercials fueled by Democrats and Ray Halbritter.
The ad itself doesn’t reference Halbritter, who Tenney has long criticized, but a press release announcing the spot does.
“The millions in attack ads show just how terrified the Washington political class is of Claudia’s record of standing up to political insiders, fighting corruption and putting the people of upstate New York first. This ad sets the record straight on Claudia’s attendance record, while showing a clear contrast between her experience as a small business owner and her liberal millionaire opponents’ records of enriching themselves, killing New York jobs and hurting middle class families,” said Ryan Rhodes, Tenney’s campaign manager.
In the ad, Tenney also takes swipes at Democratic opponent Kim Myers and independent Martin Babinec in the three-way — a similar tactic taken by the National Republican Congressional Committee in a separate ad also released today.
Sep 27th - 3:47 pm
The ad is more like a “scared straight” after school special than a political commercial: Commit a crime in public office and lose your pension.
That’s the message from Republican Sen. George Amedore, who touts pension forfeiture issue in his latest TV spot. The ad is also unique for referencing Amedore’s former leader in the Senate, Republican Dean Skelos, who along with ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted of federal corruption charges.
State lawmakers haven’t put the finishing touches in pension forfeiture just yet. The Legislature must still approve the second passage of a constitutional amendment that would require those convicted of corruption to lose their pension benefits. The provision doesn’t take effect until voters approve it in a referendum.
Lawmakers had differed over the issue, with the GOP-led Senate and Democratic-led Assembly approving competing versions of the amendment. Ultimately this past session they agreed to amendment language as part of a broader ethics package.
Amedore is running for re-election in the 46th Senate district against Democrat Sara Niccoli.
Sep 27th - 3:03 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to be a “guest of honor” at a fundraiser for the Queens Democratic committee on Oct. 27 billed as “pre-election cocktail party.”
Tickets to the event, to be held at Antun’s in Queens Village, cost $350, according to an email released on Tuesday and obtained by Capital Tonight.
The event is being announced days after a former top aide to Cuomo, Joe Percoco, was charged with bribery and fraud in connection to a wide-ranging bid-rigging corruption case being brought by federal prosecutors.
Cuomo in April distanced himself from Percoco after his administration received a subpoena from the U.S. attorney’s office as part of its investigation. Acknowledging the investigation, Cuomo hired an investigator to review contracting in the economic development programs that have come under scrutiny by federal prosecutors.
One observer notes that Cuomo’s appearance at the fundraiser suggests he’s not altering his political activities ahead of the November general election because of the corruption case.
Sep 27th - 2:22 pm
Republican congressional candidate John Faso on Tuesday criticized his Democratic opponent for opposing the state’s tax cap on property.
The Faso campaign released a 3-second video featuring Teachout at an undated forum saying she opposes the cap.
The measure, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2011, limits the amount of money local taxing entities — including schools, counties and other local governments — can raise each year through their levy. The cap has typically stood below 2 percent increases given the low rate of inflation.
“It’s easy to oppose a property tax cap when you’ve never had to pay property taxes,” Faso said in a statement, referring to a 2014 story in which Teachout acknowledged an error in her property taxes.
“Her radical vision and view that if property owners would just pay a little more, government could solve any number of problems is simply out of touch. High taxes are part of the problem. Professor Teachout is clueless about living in Upstate New York and the burden property taxes impose on homeowners and small businesses.”
Though popular with property owners who face the country’s highest property taxes in New York, the cap itself has been controversial for schools and local governments, who have pushed for changes to the law, such as eliminating the rate of inflation provision.
Teachout challenged Cuomo for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.
Given the cap is a state law, however, it’s unlikely a member of Congress would have much practical power in overturning or changing the cap.
Sep 27th - 1:27 pm
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office on Tuesday announced 40 municipal governments are facing financial strains and persistent budgetary woes.
The breakdown includes 10 counties, 10 cities and 20 towns who are determined to be under some form of fiscal stress, based on a formula followed by the comptroller’s office that assesses a range of budget concerns include fund balance, budget gaps and other fiscal measurements.
“The challenges facing local governments across the state are real,” said DiNapoli. “Our monitoring system has shown that for those localities experiencing financial hardship, it can be difficult to overcome challenges that have been years in the making. Local officials should be carefully examining their scores and using this system to determine how they can budget prudently and develop realistic long-term financial plans.”
Of the 40 communities under fiscal duress, eight local governments are under “significant” stress including Monroe, Franklin Broome and Rockland counties. The cities of Albany, Port Jervis and the towns of Tuxedo and Parish are also on that list.
The designation is based on local governments’ 2015 financial statements.
Local governments have generally faced an array of financial and budgetary challenges in recent years, including high pension costs, shrinking tax bases and, most recently, a cap on property tax increases that constrains their ability to raise new revenue.
Sep 27th - 1:13 pm
The latest TV ad from Republican Sen. Terrence Murphy highlights his efforts to combat heroin abuse.
The topic is a politically middle of the road issue, but of vital importance in communities that have been ravaged by heroin abuse.
State lawmakers have passed multiple packages of legislation designed to curb addiction and promote treatment options.
In the ad, titled “Persistence”, Murphy is praised by two families who have been impacted by heroin addiction.
“I admire Senator Murphy’s persistence in getting the job done,” says one of the women in the ad, while her husband ads, “We’ve gotten a lot done, and there is more to do, but we know we can get it done with him in the Senate.”
First elected in 2014, Murphy is running for a second term against Democrat Allison Boak.
Sep 27th - 1:02 pm
The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund gave U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long an “A” (Q) rating Tuesday. It’s the highest possible rating the New York Republican could receive.
The (Q) means her rating was based off her answers on the NRA questionnaire. Long has never held political office and therefore has no voting record on Second Amendment issues.
Her opponent, incumbent Democrat Chuck Schumer, received an “F” grade from the political action committee.
“My opponent is the biggest enemy of the Second Amendment in the entire Congress,” said Long. “And he has stated that his goal is to stack the Supreme Court with liberal Justices who will drive a stake through the heart of our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, if he is re-elected.”
Long has the NRA’s endorsement this fall. She said she has a conceal carry permit in Utah, and her permit in New York is pending.
“I have pledged to the people that I will defend their Second Amendment rights, which come from God and not from government,” Long said.
Some notable grades in New York’s congressional races:
- Rep. Chris Collins, R-27th Congressional District, is the only candidate who received an “A+” grade
- Incumbent Republicans Lee Zeldin, Elise Stefanik, Tom Reed, and John Katko each got an “A”
- Incumbent Republicans Peter King and Dan Donovan each got an “F”
- In the open races for Congressional Districts 19 and 21, Republican candidates John Faso and Claudia Tenney each received an “A” grade. Both have voting records on gun legislation as members of the New York State Legislature.
- Faso’s opponent, Democrat Zephy Teachout, got an “F” grade, while Tenny’s opponent, Democrat Kim Myers, received a “D”
And in the New York State Legislature:
- Candidate Gregory-John Fischer was far and away the highest-graded Democrat in the state Senate. He received an A “Q” while his opponent in SD-1, incumbent Republican Kenneth LaValle, got a “D”
- A handful of Democrats in the state Assembly received high grades
Sep 27th - 12:51 pm
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in a lengthy statement on Tuesday urged the proposed pay increase for state lawmakers under consideration by a state commission should stand alone for any ethics reform legislation.
The statement comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the wake of corruption charges being filed against his former top aide, the leader of the state’s nanotechnology development efforts and prominent developers, publicly suggested the commission may not approve a pay increase for the Assembly and Senate.
At the same time, a Cuomo administration source told The Daily News this week a pay increase may only come if lawmakers back more robust ethics laws changes in addition to what was agreed to earlier this year.
It’s also another sign of Heastie willing to break publicly with the governor, who he has been at odds with over a variety of issues, most recently this summer over his concerns the Assembly was being used in a tug of war in the feud between Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Making the pay raise commission’s decision on a pay hike — composed of gubernatorial and legislative appointees — subject to what amounts to horsetrading on a bill undermines the panel’s mission, Heastie said. The pay raise panel is also due to consider pay increases for members of the governor’s cabinet who lead state department and agencies.
“Last year, when judicial salaries were being considered, the decision to raise compensation was based primarily on economic factors and not by the testimony of judges or the number of judges who were represented during testimony,” Heastie said in a statement. “We should hold the Commission to that same standard in considering raises for statewide elected officials, commissioners, and legislators.”
But the pay raise issue has been a major sticking point for state lawmakers who have not received a salary hike from their base of $79,500 since 1999. Salary problems are particularly acute for lawmakers who live downstate, where the cost of living is generally higher.
“Given the recent investigations, it is understandable that there have been calls for stronger ethics laws in our state, but the issue of a pay increase should stand on its own merit and not be traded for any legislation,” Heastie said in the statement.
“In the Assembly, our door is always open to reforming government to be more open and transparent in order to restore faith to the people of New York. The work we do in the State Legislature is important – we have secured on time budgets, increased resources to education, helped low and middle income families climb the ladder of economic opportunity, and we are making the investments that are necessary to grow our economy.”
Sep 27th - 12:18 pm
The National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday released a TV ad knocking both the Democratic and independent candidates in the 22nd congressional district.
The ad knocks both Democrat Kim Myers and Martin Babinec as “multi-millionaires” who are out of touch with creating jobs in upstate New York.
The spot bolsters Republican candidate Claudia Tenney, who is running in a three-way race for the district being vacated by Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican.
“They both deserted New York workers, just to make a buck,” the ad states. “Kim Myers’ company abandoned their upstate New York headquarters in order to boost profits – taking good-paying jobs with them. And millionaire Martin Babinec? His company helps businesses replace American jobs with cheap foreign labor.”
Babinec, for what it is worth, has indicated he would caucus with House Republicans.