Nick Reisman

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Posts by Nick Reisman

Hochul Knocks Corwin For A ‘Stunning Lack Of Honesty’

Kathy Hochul is out with a new ad slamming her Republican opponent Jane Corwin for what she says is a “stunning lack of honesty” in the race for the 26th Congressional District.

Hochul, the Democratic Erie County clerk, used the ad to respond to this spot in support of Corwin that attacks her opponent over taxes.

The 30-second ad also takes Corwin to task for stating her support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget cuts, but then voting against some of the budget bills.

Jane Corwin applauded the Cuomo budget cuts then she played politics and voted against almost every cut. No wonder Jane Corwin was named an enemy of reform in Albany.

Skelos Holds Tongue On Tax Cap

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos seems to be under increasing pressure to negotiate with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on a property tax cap.

But the Long Island Republican said in a radio interview today that he would wait and see if the governor proposed a compromise bill later this year.

“I’d like to see what the governor would propose, so I’m going to hold my comments until the governor says what is acceptable,” Skelos told the Post’s Fred Dicker on Talk 1300 AM this morning.

Dicker mentioned the open speculation that Senate Republicans are balking at approving anything other than the 2 percent cap, which the chamber already did on Jan. 31.

It is highly unlikely a 2 percent cap as proposed by Cuomo would pass the Democratic-led Assembly, and, as often happens in Albany, a compromise bill would have to be negotiated. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, has said he would support a cap on local property taxes, but has not indicated if he would support the 2 percent or rate of inflation cap.

The governor himself does not have the same leverage he did on the budget or on a potential ethics bill, where he has suggested he would use a Moreland Commission to investigate legislators if a reform bill doesn’t pass. More >

Conservative Party: Hydrofracking Means Jobs

Approving a controversial method of extracting natural gas could mean a big boost for jobs, the state Conservative Party said today in a memo of support on the issue.

From the memorandum:

Simply put: Hydraulic fracturing means jobs and energy for New Yorkers.
It is time to put people back to work and to become less dependent on others for our energy needs. Hydraulic fracturing is certainly not a new concept and the newest technology has made it possible for the relatively safe extraction of natural gas.

The method, also known as hydrofracking, uses a mixture of chemicals and water to blast through rock and access the natural gas underneath. The amount of gas believed to be underneath the Marcellus Shale region of the Southern Tier is believed to be plentiful and potentially lucrative, especially for the economically troubled region that has lost industry and jobs over the years.

But environmental groups believe the process could create a hazard to the water trouble and say the natural gas companies have understated the risks.

Still, it is interesting, if not wholly unsurprising that the Conservative Party is weighing in on the issue. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose 2 percent cap on property taxes recently receive a boost from the party as well, has said the state should wait for the Department of Environmental Conservation’s review of the process before making a decision as to whether the state should issue any permits.

The full memo is after the jump: More >

A New Indictment For Kruger, Boyland Et Al

Federal officials today released an 11-count superseding indictment of Sen. Carl Kruger and Assemblyman William Boyland, along with those in what law enforcement has described as “broad-based bribery ring.”

New indictments for lobbyist Richard Lipsky, real estate developer Aaron Malinsky, health care consultant Solomon Kalish, former Chief Executive Officer of Parkway Hospital, Robert Aquino, and Michael Turano, a Manhattan-based gynecologist were also issued.

Kruger, Boyland and the others were charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office last month in a bribery scheme that involved allegedly accepting illicit payments in exchange for favors. Kruger himself was accused of accepting cash in exchange for streamlining hospital mergers that allowed him to live a lavish, if not somewhat bizarre, lifestyle.

Those allegedly involved in what U.S. Attorney Preet Bhara said was a wake-up call for Albany on the need for ethics reform were initially charged under a three-county indictment. Under the indictment issued today all eight defendants are now charged in a single indictment.

Kruger and Boyland, both Brooklyn Democrats, are yet to resign their seats. All are due in federal court for an arraignment on April 11. More on the indictment after the jump.

More >

Silver, Unions, Chime In On Black And Steiner

The unions that represent teachers in New York praised outgoing Commissioner David Steiner’s tenure at the state Department of Education, while the United Federation of Teachers said Cathie Black’s resignation as city schools chancellor offered a chance to “rethink” the system.

First, from the state United Teachers union President Richard Ianuzzi:

“We have a great deal of respect for Commissioner Steiner as an educator and we wish him well. We are confident he will move into a position that is personally and professionally satisfying for him. We trust the state Education Department and Board of Regents will work on a good transition and search process during this very critical time, when the department must make monumental decisions that will impact education in New York state for decades. There must be no break in the state’s efforts to concentrate on the needs of students and the needs of schools. That’s what we will be looking for.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of Manhattan also complimented Steiner’s 2 years at the department, who he called a “terrific leader.” More >

In Bid For Peace, Farm Bureau Holds Veggie Vote

As close followers of state politics are aware, the contentious, passionate debate over designating an official state vegetable blew up this week, with even Gov. Andrew Cuomo being forced to weigh in on the matter.

Though the governor declined to give his preference, the Farm Bureau has stepped in to make the decision easier for New York officials caught between the onion and the sweet corn.

The Farm Bureau, which is the state’s largest agriculture lobby, is holding a vote on the issue via a Facebook page.

“Picking an official vegetable is a tough choice,” said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau, in a statement. “As we do with all of our Farm Bureau policy positions, we are soliciting a consensus opinion from our members, and others interested in agriculture throughout New York.”

Democratic Sen. David Carlucci is backing the onion, while Sen. Michael Nozzolio, a Republican, is in favor of sweet corn.

Possibly throwing a monkey wrench into this debate, however, is the bureau’s suggestion of the pumpkin (quick aside: isn’t that gourd?)

From the bureau:

New York should also be considering the pumpkin as an official vegetable since it ranks first in the nation in crop value, according to the statistics service.

Pumpkins showed a value of $35.1 million last year, first in the nation. There were 6,800 acres harvested. Value of production in 2010 increased 61 percent from 2009.

Koch On Black’s Ouster: ‘Shock And Awe’

Asked about the ouster of city schools chancellor Cathie Black, former Mayor Ed Koch said the situation inspired “shock and awe.”

But he didn’t criticize Mayor Michael Bloomberg for appointing Black, a former publishing executive who had no educational administrative experience.

“Look, the mayor has to be given credit for bringing the education jurisdiction under that every other mayor including David Dinkins and Giuliani failed. I think the mayor if he is held responsible should be given every opportunity and right to appoint whoever he feels is capable, so I’m not going to second guess him.”

Sen. Kevin Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat, was willing to offer his critique of Bloomberg’s failed pick, saying the mayor was essentially admitting he made a mistake : “Whether she resigned or she stepped down, I think they do realize, the administration does realize they made a mistake. I think the mayor comes in with a particular perspective. He believes what’s good for Wall Street is what’s good for America. He’s more concerned about balancing the budget and test scores than what’s good for our young people.”

DiNapoli To Open Charter Schools’ Books

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will pry open the books of charter schools around the state after a new state law gave his office auditing powers over the independent, taxpayer-funded schools.

“A change in state Education Law gives my office the authority to audit charter schools,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “These schools are supported by taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers have the right to know how their money is being spent.”

First up on the auditing block are schools in Brooklyn, Albany and Buffalo: Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School in New York City, the Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys in Albany and the South Buffalo Charter School.

DiNapoli is seizing on an amendment to a new law that created 260 new charter schools, which was passed as part of New York’s effort to receive federal Race to the Top funding. The 171 charter schools operating currently in the state receive more than $570 million in taxpayer money.

School districts of residence for students enrolled in charter schools contribute a “basic tuition” to the charter school. The district also pays the federal or state aid that might be due a student with disability.

Koch Vows Robocalls On ‘Enemies’ (Video Added)

Some New York voters should expect a call next week from former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.

Koch, in Albany today to meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, promised that senators who signed onto his reform agenda, but have so far failed to co-sponsor legislation that would create an independent redistricting commission, will be targeted.

“They’re very cheap and we’re going to distribute them amongst a number of districts, we’re not going to do it across the state in order to have maximum effect. It will be on the basis of are you with us or against it,” Koch said after meeting with the governor.

“Are you an enemy of reform? Sooner or later you’ll hear my voice on the phone.”

The calls are timed for when legislators will be back in their home districts. A formal announcement, along with which lawmakers will be hit with the calls, will come Tuesday.

Asked if the pressure campaign is coming early – legislators aren’t up for re-election until November 2012 – Koch said it was important to tell voters they elected a politician of “dishonor.”

“We want to tell people you elected a person who violated their pledge – a man or woman of dishonor,” the former mayor said.

In the meeting, Koch said the governor reaffirmed that he would veto legislative boundaries redraw by lawmakers and not an independent commission.

More >

Silver: Extenders Got Lawmakers Moving

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s threat to use extenders did the trick in moving the Legislature on the budget, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a radio interview set to first air Friday.

Speaking on WAMC’s Capitol Connection with Alan Chartock, the powerful speaker said his 99-member Democratic conference felt there was no money to fight over this year.

But he also said Cuomo’s vow to use the emergency appropriations to pass much of his budget if the Legislature wouldn’t bend to his cuts had the impact of giving the state its first on-time budget in five years.

“Obviously, you had less money to fight about, that might have cut down the fighting,” the Manhattan Democrat said. “You had a leader in Gov. Cuomo who was able to channel that passion and find that consensus and bring about an early agreement.”

“The governor put a sense of reality, of – ‘Look here’s the reality, here’s how much we can spend. This is all we can and if we do more than this, I’m not going to agree with it, I’m not going to accept it, and if you don’t I’m going to send you my emergency bills which will incorporate everything I want in the budget.'”

This is something of a reversal for Silver, who said during the budget process that the extender threat wasn’t playing a role in the negotiations.

The Assembly agreed to Cuomo’s deep cuts in education, health care and social services, areas that have been traditionally off-limits for the chamber. And Democrats failed to pass a tax on those making more than $1 million, which the governor and Senate GOP opposed.

The use of the extenders themselves, which Gov. David Paterson successfully used during the 2010-11 budget battle, are in a legal “gray area.”

“There’s a lot of gray area in that,” Silver said. “But the Court of Appeals basically ruled the governor has a right to define his appropriations.”

Silver was on the losing end of Silver V. Pataki, the 2004 case that reaffirmed the governor had the power to use the extenders when the budget was late.

There’s been some rumblings that legislators may again challenge the governor’s power to use extenders, especially if non-budget policy proposal, such as reinstating the death penalty, is rammed through via emergency appropriations.

“That might be an extreme position if that could happen that way,” Silver said.

The full interview airs Friday at 10:30 pm and Saturday at 1 p.m.