Nick Reisman

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NY-22: Scalise Endorses Tenney

Republican former Rep. Claudia Tenney on Thursday announced the endorsement of a top member of the House GOP’s leadership team in her comeback bid for Congress.

Tenney was endorsed by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise as she seeks the Republican nomination for the 22nd congressional district.

“I am excited to endorse my friend Claudia Tenney for Congress in 2020. Having had the privilege of working alongside Claudia last cycle, I witnessed just how much she genuinely cares for the people of NY-22,” Scalise said.

“This district is her home; it’s where she spent her life, raised her Marine son as a single mom, and I know she’ll go to bat for each and every one of her constituents as their Congresswoman. Claudia has been a tireless advocate for families, veterans, farmers, and small business owners. Now, more than ever, Upstate New York needs a fighter like Claudia back in Congress, that is why I am proud to endorse her.”

Tenney was unseated last year by Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi. She is expected to face a Republican primary in June. So far, Republicans Steve Cornwell, George Phillips and Franklin Sager have filed to run for the nomination.

“I am humbled to earn the endorsement of my friend House Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise in our run for Congress in NY-22,” Tenney said.

“Upstate New York has always been my home. It is where I raised my son, and it is where our family business was founded 73 years ago. Just like everyone here, I have a stake in our future. It’s why I have chosen to stand up for our community in both Albany and Washington. Once again, we need a representative who will advocate for our values and deliver real results for our community, not someone who succumbs to resistance, accomplishing nothing and pedaling non-stop impeachment. I will continue to fight to save our community and our nation, every single day.”

The Surprises Of 2019

From the Morning Memo:

In many ways, the past year was unchartered territory for New York’s state government.

Yes, Democrats had controlled the governor’s office and both houses of the Legislature in the recent past. But all-Democratic rule in Albany is coming amid the political crosscurrents of the Trump administration and a resurgence of progressive politics within the party here in this state and nationally.

A lot of what happened this year legislatively as well as politically was entirely predictable: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s often truculent relationship with Senate Democrats was sustained amid the collapse of the Amazon deal in Long Island City, long-expected measures for abortion rights, climate change and election and criminal justice law changes were rapidly approved after being bottled up for years.

But 2019 still offered a handful of things I failed to anticipate in politics and government. In many ways, it’s stuff I got wrong — or at least failed to predict correctly.

1. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s presidential flameout.

The anticipation: Gillibrand’s potential White House candidacy, on paper, seemed like an almost logical thing. She is a prodigious fundraiser, adept at navigating Congress and has seeded campaigns around the country in a bid to elect more Democratic women to office. She has had to contend with better-known men in statewide office, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. She’s embraced issues before they were of national prominence, like combatting sexual assault and rape on college campuses and in the military, years before the national reckoning of the #MeToo movement. The ingredients were there for a potentially successful campaign.

What happened: Success in New York often doesn’t translate to the national stage. The presidential Democratic primary field is a crowded one, with few lanes to maneuver in. Gillibrand struggled to gain any real momentum in fundraising or in public polling. I also didn’t have a deeper appreciation for how some Democrats in the party’s base would be skeptical of her previous, more moderate stances held while a member of the House of Representatives on guns, spending and immigration.

2. A big deal on rent control.

The anticipation: The real estate industry exerts a lot of influence in Albany and in statewide politics as a whole. There’s a tremendous amount of money at stake, money that’s distorted the cost of using the limited space available in New York City for both housing and at the retail level. Rent control regulations — essentially emergency rules in place since the post-war era began — for years had been extended under Republican rule and barely altered since the end of vacancy decontrol. Consider it a form of muscle memory at the Capitol. Of course rent control wouldn’t die, but it would simply stagnate.

What happened: Well, only one of the most sweeping deals of the decade struck between the Assembly and state Senate. The rent package approved in June swept away a generation or so of housing policy that was largely seen as tilting the balance back to tenants. The legislation even allowed for similar measures to be put in place in other cities outside of New York City, making it truly a statewide issue. I failed to grasp the importance Democratic lawmakers in both chambers were about to place on housing affordability in 2019 and how much of a touchstone issue it is for many of their constituents.

3. The school aid fight.

The anticipation: Newly elected Democrats, especially in the state Senate, have molded their careers around more money for high-needs schools. Sen. Robert Jackson was a key player in a school funding lawsuit in the previous decade and now he’s in a position to cast a vote on the budget funding education statewide. Hey, maybe even the budget will be held up past the March 31 deadline to boost school spending by more than $1 billion in increases.

What happened: Well, the budget was approved by the start of the fiscal year. And Jackson and his fellow Democrats made a push for more spending. Education money did of course increase in the state spending plan, but not to the extent education advocates have sought over the years. Perhaps lawmakers were waiting to place all of their chips on a big rent control package. At the same time, education funding writ large is a tougher nut to crack: Changing foundation aid formula, as some lawmakers are now discussing, is needle that needs to be carefully threaded in order to avoid alienating suburban lawmakers while also aiding poorer districts. Next year, money is going to be even more scarce with a $6.1 billion budget gap.

Already next year we’re seeing fights shaping up over the gig economy, the budget gap and Medicaid spending and, of course, an election year in which progressives will try to primary incumbent lawmakers once again. What am I missing now that, in December 2020, I’ll wish I thought of today?

Cuomo Calls Trump Admin’s SNAP Changes ‘Cruel’

From the Morning Memo:

New work requirements for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program by President Donald Trump’s administration were blasted on Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as “cold” and “heartless.”

The rule change for food stamp recipients could lead to as many as 688,000 people losing the benefit.

About three-quarters of the four million people receiving food stamps under the SNAP program did not work in 2016.

“Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream.”

The rule is aimed at making it more difficult for states to waive the requirement that childless adults who are able to work must work 20 hours a week to qualify for SNAP benefits.

“With this rule change, President Trump is using a federal agency he controls to continue his egregious assault on those Americans most in need,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This action circumvents both the will of Congress and the flexibility that was historically afforded to states to administer nutrition assistance, and it will cause added hardship for tens of thousands of New Yorkers who are already struggling to make ends meet.”

Cuomo added, “Let’s be clear: This rule change is cold, heartless and despicable – and sadly unsurprising from a federal administration that gives tax cuts and other giveaways to millionaires, billionaires and corporations while continuing to chip away at the social safety net for the most vulnerable among us.”

Here And Now

Good morning and happy Thursday to one and all. Here’s the news.

Happening today:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

At 9:30 a.m., Sen. Betty Little will reveal her plans for seeking another term, City Hall, Glens Falls.

At 10 a.m., First Lady Chirlane McCray will make an announcement. Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Road, the Bronx.

Also at 10 a.m., a joint legislative hearing will be held on gig economy workers. Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will hold a media availability. New Settlement Community Center. 1501 Jerome Ave., the Bronx.

At 7 p.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will speak at the PUSH Buffalo climate justice summit. 429 Plymouth Ave., Buffalo.

Headlines:

The MTA has reached a deal on a new contract with TWU Local 100, the MTA’s largest workers’ union, representatives from both sides confirmed on Wednesday.

Once created as a home for the non-partisan voter, New York’s Independence Party may soon have to be fighting for its life.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he spoke with the chamber’s other appointee on JCOPE after a January meeting that considered investigating Joe Percoco, but did not discuss matters related to the commission.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has dropped its lobbying investigation against rape survivor Kat Sullivan, but she says she’ll keep fighting.

The last time hate crime statistics were officially reported by the state was in 2016 and some lawmakers are pushing for an update.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is backing a $15 minimum wage for small business workers in New York City.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is backing legislation in Congress meant to reduce the number of suicides in the military.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are both backing a measure that would allow parents to borrow for paid leave and child care.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi said he was “troubled” by the allegations against President Trump raised by his fellow House Democrats in a 300-page impeachment report.

The U.S. Senate has backed the federal judicial nomination of John Sinatra for the bench in western New York.

Congress is backing $75 million in funding for the cleanup of West Valley through 2026.

New York lawmakers are considering how to revise foundation aid for schools in next year’s state budget.

Various brands of children’s toys, clothes, and car seats that are available for purchase at local and national retail chains contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, arsenic, and asbestos. A bill to address the issue that environmental advocates have been working on for 10 years, called the Child Safe Products Act, was finally passed in Albany last April.

ACCO brands is moving 54 manufacturing jobs from upstate New York to a facility in Mississippi.

A review of how cops in New York City use Tasers has found discrepancies in their deployment.

The NYPD has named its first black officer to become chief of detectives.

With a little more than two years left in Mayor de Blasio’s administration, housing activists, former allies and even those setting their sights on City Hall are railing against his affordable housing agenda.

Richard Malone is no longer bishop of Buffalo’s Catholic diocese, and Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger will take over as administrator of the diocese until a permanent replacement is found.

Buffalo Democrats Assemblyman Pat Burke and Rep. Brian Higgins were among the first lawmakers to call for Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation in August 2018.

Western New York Catholics have a new, if only temporary, spiritual leader.

It’s one of the holiest times of the year for the Catholic Church. But it’s also the close of a difficult year for dioceses across New York state — one filled with scandal, shortcomings and subtraction.

Catholics in the Rochester-area are reacting to the news of Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation from the Diocese of Buffalo.

A member of the New York City Council is facing backlash after criticizing a parental advisory board member for calling Asians “yellow folks.”

New York City Councilman Andy King is yet to pay his $15,000 fine after his return from a sexual harassment suspension.

Congestion on New York City streets, particularly in Manhattan, is worse than ever. And primary culprits are delivery vehicles. But what if you could replace them with cargo bikes like these?

A bill approved by Mayor de Blasio is meant to increase access to Hart Island and overhaul the city’s management of it.

After weeks of protest from Syracuse University students, the administration is promoting peace.

Oneida County’s opioid task force is undergoing a restructuring.

The leaders of some Monroe County enforcement agencies are saying their departments will not make arrests for violations to the controversial harassment law that was passed last week.

Records show Suffolk County police unions spent $830,000 backing the re-election bid of County Executive Steve Bellone.

National Grid says the agreement with New York regulators to end the natural gas moratorium won’t lead to significant rate hikes.

Unless delayed by a court challenge, New York’s law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses is soon to go into effect.

Yonkers, the city of hills, is ranked as the second safest city in America.

In national news:

The Trump administration is considering an additional 14,000 troops for deployment in the Mideast.

It was the House Judiciary Committee’s turn in the impeachment inquiry, complete with all the expected lawmaker theatrics.

The White House signaled it plans to mount a vigorous defense of the president.

President Trump is back in the United States after a bumpy European trip amid the impeachment drive.

Amid scrutiny for his role in the mess, Rudy Giuliani is traveling to Europe to interview Ukrainians.

A handpicked prosecutor of Attorney General Bill Barr can’t back the debunked claim that Ukraine sought to interfere in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

Democrats, meanwhile, are signaling the impeachment of the president could go beyond the allegations raised against him stemming from pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

From the editorial pages:

The Buffalo News calls the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone a “welcome transition” for the diocese.

The Times Union says a plan to turn the Central Warehouse — an enduring eyesore for the city — seems to have stalled.

The New York Post criticized the call for raising revenue by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in order to close a $6.1 billion budget gap.

The Daily News writes a ban by Catholic schools on natural black hairstyles a relic from another time that should go.

From the sports pages:

The Mets’s Zack Wheeler is joining the Phillies in a five-year, $118 million deal.

Steve Cohen is in the midst of finalizing a deal to gain majority control of the New York Mets that could make the team competitive with the Yankees’s spending.

The Brooklyn Nets beat the Atlanta Hawks 130-118.

Ethics Commission Drops Lobbying Case Against Rape Survivor

The state’s top ethics regulator on Wednesday dropped its unregistered lobbying investigation against a rape survivor who had advocated for the Child Victims Act.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics in a letter to Kat Sullivan wrote it “will not take further action” in the case, which stemmed from her support for the measure that is meant to make it easier for rape victims and survivors to file lawsuits.

Sullivan had hired plane to fly a banner in support the law and paid for billboards.

The commission in its investigation sought to determine whether Sullivan spent more than $5,000 — the threshold that trigger’s state’s lobbying disclosure law. Sullivan faced a fine of at least $25,000 for failing to register as a lobbyist if the commission determined she had broken the law.

Sullivan is a rape survivor from her time as a student at Emma Willard, an all-girls school in Troy.

In the letter, JCOPE general counsel Monica Stamm criticized Sullivan for “increasingly profane” emails and creating an online lobbying profile calling herself “Kat Mother— Sullivan” as well as calling the commissioners “fascists.”

The commission also alleged Sullivan wrote several members “threatening that they will be forced to resign.”

“Notwithstanding your conduct, in a case such as this, the Commission can act through guidance and further regulatory clarification, or through continued investigation and enforcement,” the JCOPE letter states. “The Commission has elected to issue this guidance letter and to review the regulations in the coming months 17; it will not be taking any further action against you regarding your attempts to influence the CVA.”

The timing of the letter coincided with the commission coming under scrutiny for a separate matter in Albany: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s discussion with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie about the actions of an Assembly appointee on the commission as the panel considered an investigation of Joe Percoco, his disgraced former aide.

An investigation did not make clear who shared with Cuomo information surrounding the closed-door work of the commission. The inspector general’s office last week, a day before Thanksgiving, released a three-page report that concluded the review was unable to substantiate whether information was improperly disclosed.

2019 12 4 Sullivan Guidance FINAL by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Heastie Says Cost Savings Will Be There With Criminal Justice Law Changes

The coming implementation of criminal justice law changes will lead to a savings for local governments, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Tuesday said.

“I think that over time if there’s less people who are actually in jail then there’s less cost of supervising people in jail, so I think it will eventually lead to a cost savings,” Heastie said.

His comments line up largely with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s argument: Ending cash bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felonies will lead to a savings for local governments that they can put toward the costs of the changes, like making evidence available on a faster basis for the defense.

Law enforcement officials, local prosecutors and some state lawmakers have called for a delay in the implementation of the changes over both public safety and cost concerns.

But Heastie said the current system of letting some people free through paying bail and others remain in jail is unequal.

“We have to get back to a system that treats people equally and fairly,” he said.

Moody’s Says Medicaid Gap An ‘Achilles Heal’

Medicaid spending is threatening New York’s ability to close future state budget gaps in the coming years, making for an “Achilles heal” for its finances, Moody’s on Tuesday reported.

New York’s budget gap for the coming year stands at $6.1 billion, with much of that fueled by overspending in the state’s Medicaid program, the costliest in the country.

“For the current fiscal year, the state needs to take nearly $1.8 billion in budget-balancing actions, even after accounting for a $2.2 billion Medicaid spending deferral into next year,” Moody’s found. “The state’s ability to return to a sustainable and structurally balanced budget will significantly hinge on rekindling its previous commitment to control Medicaid costs.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has previously blamed a trio of issues facing Medicaid spending: An increase in the minimum wage, a phase out of federal funding and an aging population that has seen more people enroll in long-term care.

A mid-year budget update report released last month indicated the Department of Health and the governor’s budget office was working to devise a solution meant to stem costs.

The Empire Center in October noted the global cap imposed on Medicaid spending by Cuomo and the Legislature in 2011, tying it to the medical inflation rate, has faltered amid loopholes and compliance issues. The state has postponed more than $1 billion in payments into the 2020 fiscal year.

“As the Moody’s report shows, New York State has kept Medicaid spending growth to less than half the national average – saving taxpayers billions of dollars — and has been key to limiting overall State spending growth to below 2 percent annually as more New Yorkers have health care coverage than ever before,” said Division of Budget spokesman Freeman Klopott.

“While Medicaid spending is projected to grow at almost 6 percent annually nationally, we are developing a plan to be introduced in January that will once again limit New York State’s Medicaid spending growth and continue high quality care for six million New Yorkers.”

Where Albany Can Find Some ‘Revenue Raisers’

From the Morning Memo:

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie signaled Tuesday his Democratic conference next year will seek ways of raising more revenue for the state to close a $6.1 billion budget gap.

Heastie was careful not to say this would come in the form of a tax increase, which the conference has sought in the past in the form of taxing upper income earners in New York.

As a proposal, it could mean taxing the ultra wealthy, people who earn well into the millions of dollars.

Still, there are other options for lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to raise revenue short of a broad-based tax rate hike. Here are three of them.

Marijuana legalization:

The stalled proposal last year to legalize marijuana for commercial sale is expected to be debated again in the 2020 legislative session. The revenue from the proposal would come both in the form of licensing retail cannabis businesses in the state as well as from sales tax activity.

Officials have estimated the state could generate $300 million in revenue from legalization.

Doubts remain, however, over whether lawmakers and Cuomo can get the measure over the finish line. Suburban Democrats in the Legislature raised concerns with cannabis legalization stemming from traffic safety issues and whether kids would be able to gain access to retail purchases.

Casinos in New York City:

The commercial casinos have struggled in upstate New York as the northeastern market has reached something of a saturation point with gambling. But a the application process alone for winning the permit for a New York City-based casino alone could generate millions of dollars for the state.

Last year, casino interests — ranging from the Las Vegas Sands to MGM and Genting — sought to expedite the end to the upstate casino exclusivity set in law. They came up short, but are expected to try again next year.

An addendum to this: Allow for sports-related bets on smart devices like phones and tablets. Sports betting is currently allowed only in casinos and gambling interests have wanted to expand that, pointing to neighboring New Jersey allowing app-based bets.

Piede-a-terre:

Earlier this year, state lawmakers wanted to place an additional tax on multimillion-dollar second homes in New York City, a proposal that was sharply opposed by the real estate industry in New York. Ultimately, the plan was dropped amid the complexity of the plan.

But the real estate industry has an increasingly toxic place in the minds of state lawmakers and housing advocates. Add to that a budget crunch, and the tax could appear more attractive next year.

Does that get you to $6 billion?

No! Not even close. The marijuana legalization plan will take multiple years to get rolling. Casino applications and licensing can generate millions, but we’re talking billions of dollars the state needs to close the budget gap. The piede-a-terre tax could also make a distorted real estate market in New York City all the more distorted.

The budget gap is fueled in large part by a gap in the Medicaid program. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget office has previously indicated it is developing a plan with the Department of Health to find cost savings. These are structural problems the state will need to tackle.

Albany has historically loved “one-shot” revenue raisers. They are relatively politically painless, but are often akin to an artificial sugar high: Eventually you still need to find more money.

Here And Now

Good morning! It’s Wednesday and the week is already half over. Here’s the news.

Happening today:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany and New York City, he has a fundraiser later today in Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Sen. Brian Benjamin will host a roundtable discussion on taxing properties in New York City. 250 Broadway, 19th Floor, Senate Hearing Room, New York City.

At 10:30 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will sign legislation. The Blue Room, City Hall, New York City.

At 11 a.m., New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will appear at a rally in support of racial impact study legislation. City Hall steps, New York City.

At 3:30 p.m., Sen. Shelley Mayer and local officials will highlight state funding for local youth programming. 11 Amherst Place, White Plains.

At 9:45 p.m., Mayor de Blasio will participate in the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Plaza. 610 Fifth Ave., New York City.

Headlines:

After meeting at the Capitol for several hours on Tuesday, Assembly Democrats indicated they had little interest in overturning the public campaign financing recommendations of a commission made public this week.

Heastie indicated he would be taking a wait-and-see approach on the issue.

New York faces a $6.1 billion budget gap and Assembly Democrats are discussing ways of closing that gap with new revenue sources — potentially a tax increase.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has ordered a review of a staffer who had contacted a commissioner at the state’s ethics watchdog after she complained Gov. Cuomo got wind of her closed-door vote.

Protesters this evening plan to demonstrate at the governor’s birthday fundraiser to call for a tax increase on the rich.

Assemblyman Michael Blake, a Democrat running for Congress, used Giving Tuesday as a way to raise campaign cash.

More correction officers are accusing New York’s prison agency of discriminating when it comes to religious beards.

The State Police will absorb the state park police in a move that is being backed by the union.

As health officials scrutinize marijuana vaping, it’s increasingly on law enforcement’s radar, too.

A state-backed study is reviewing whether to expand the bottle bill.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says community health centers that provide services to the poor are in danger.

The MTA wants to crackdown on people who subway surf.

An MTA investigation found lax background checks have led to risky transit worker hires.

An effort to bolster flood prevention post-Sandy has been left adrift after a Brooklyn lawmaker’s corruption scandal.

New York is one of the last states to require their state Troopers to wear body cameras. But a bill just introduced this fall could change that.

Major changes are coming to New York’s elections and how people vote in 2020.

Starting Jan. 1, New York will begin requiring insurers to include IVF coverage.

The New York City Council is not expected to take up a bill mandating two weeks paid vacation for workers despite Mayor de Blasio’s assurances.

Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday was again in the South, in a city where the vast majority of residents are African American. He once again was talking about stop-and-frisk.

Bloomberg is backing an end to cash bail for many non-violent crimes, similar to what is coming into effect statewide in New York.

A coalition of business groups and firms, including Uber and Lyft, are launching a campaign to oppose efforts to provide benefits and labor protections to workers in the so-called “gig” economy. The groups say it could hurt the flexibility of the work.

New York lawmakers may seek to ban a so-called “virginity test” that was highlighted by hip hop artist T.I.

A guard at Rikers Island purportedly stood by for seven minutes while an inmate there tried to hang himself.

Rikers Island correction officers have started arrested visitors who come in with books allegedly used to hide drugs — and the arrests are now the subject of a lawsuit.

The cop convicted in the notorious Abner Louima police brutality case is back on the public payroll as a carpenter for the New York City Housing Authority.

Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation is expected to be announced Wednesday.

Gov. Cuomo, jokingly, suggested Republicans upset with the likely April 28th special election for the 27th congressional district can pay for an earlier vote themselves.

For over a decade, a Hudson Valley farm has participated in Trees for Troops, a nationwide program that provides free, farm grown Christmas trees to active duty military and their families.

The packages ordered on Cyber Monday will start arriving this week, which means the so-called porch pirates may also be out and about.

In national news:

The Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee released a report finding President trump abused his office when seeking an investigation of is political rivals by a foreign government.

In a sweeping impeachment report, the House on Tuesday outlined evidence of “significant misconduct” by President Donald Trump toward Ukraine, findings that will now underscore a debate over whether the 45th president should be removed from office.

Here is a rundown of the key takeaways from the report.

Republican lawmakers have embraced a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election when defending President Trump.

After a highly anticipate start to her campaign, Sen. Kamala Harris has pulled the plug on her presidential bid.

President Trump indicated a trade deal with China would wait until after the election next year.

A witness with ties to President Trump in Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election has been charged with illegally funneling money to Hillary Clinton.

From the editorial pages:

Newsday writes the House Intelligence Committee report outlines a “disturbing defiance” of the Constitution by President Trump.

The New York Post writes the controversy surrounding the leaking of a closed-door vote by the state’s ethics commission is another “pathetic” example of how the watchdog doesn’t work.

The Buffalo News decried the budget gimmickry that led to a $6.1 billion budget gap fueled by problems with the Medicaid program.

From the sports pages:

The Yankees are meeting with two of Major League Baseball’s top aces to bolster their pitching staff.

Cuomo: Lawmakers Would ‘Accomplish Nothing’ If Public Campaign Finance Recommendations Are Rejected

Overturning the recommendations of the public campaign financing commission would result in nothing getting accomplished, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said during a stop in western New York.

Cuomo called the provisions backed by the commission — establishing a system of taxpayer matching funds, lowered maximum limits on campaign contributions and a higher threshold for ballot qualification for political parties — the “most aggressive, positive reform for money in politics.”

Lawmakers can move to overturn the recommendations, though would likely need Cuomo’s approval to do so.

“Then they accomplish nothing,” Cuomo said when asked if lawmakers rejected the changes.

The commission, Cuomo said, was needed in order to make the process “one-step removed” from the negotiations.

“It’s very hard because everyone has their own opinion and everyone has their own vested interest,” he said. “We tried to do it in a legislative session and we were unsuccessful.”

At the same time, Cuomo said efforts to reject pieces of the recommendations — like the higher party ballot qualification threshold the Working Families Party has opposed.

“You can’t pull out one piece of the system and expect the system to work,” he said. “They’re interconnected.”