Albany

Cuomo To Rally With Mangano On Tax Cap

AG Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic gubernatorial designee, is scheduled to appear today with Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to call for passage in Albany of the statewide property tax cap Cuomo proposed in his “New New York Agenda.”

(For the uninitiated, Cuomo’s cap would limit increases in property taxes, both for local government and schools, to two percent annually or the rate of inflation – whichever is lower. This is more stringent that the cap proposed by Gov. David Paterson, which would be 4 percent and exempt the so-called “Big Five” cities and NYC).

Where to start?

First: Mangano, as you’ll recall, was one of the surprise winners of the 2009 election cycle. He ousted Democratic incumbent Tom Suozzi, who was viewed as a rising star in the party – possibly even a gubernatorial contender (ahem) or a running mate for Gov. David Paterson.

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Leaders Meet, But Do They Play Ball?

Gov. David Paterson was less than optimistic about the possibility of any deals in Albany later this week after meeting at his Manhattan office with legislative leaders this afternoon.

After the get-together, Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook sent out a copy of the proclamation officially declaring Wednesday’s 6 p.m. extraordinary session, so it can’t have gone all that well….

Paterson said the leaders “came by with some proposals” that require “analysis,” so he wasn’t immediately after to say whether he would be accepting them or not.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver departed the meeting and told NY1 Capitol reporter Erin Billups that the ball in now in the governor’s court, to which Paterson replied:

“What I would say is there is something they threw in my court. If it’s a ball, then it works. If it’s not, then we had an afternoon that was unproductive. What we need right now in this state are real and recurring reductions that put our economic picture back in balance.”

“… The Senate hasn’t been in Albany for a month, so any number of them that shows up I think is progress. What’s important is they recognize the magnitude of the problem and the urgency of the situation. If we can come to an agreement it doesn’t matter what day we vote on it. We can certainly wait for them to get 32 votes.”

Gov: Legislative Inaction ‘Slap In The Face’ Of NYers

Here’s Gov. David Paterson earlier today lambasting the Legislature for its continued failure to finish the budget and act on his policy proposals.

The governor rejected the suggestion that it would be a personal slight to him if the Assembly and Senate heed his call to return to Albany (not that they have much choice in the matter) only to ignore the agenda he has set out, which includes many unpopular ideas like wine in grocery stores, the soda tax and the a property tax cap.

“It’s already a slap in the face, but it’s not personal,” the governor said. “It’s not my face they’re slapping, tt’s the faces of the people of the state of New York.

“It’s the people who unfortunately are becoming angrier and angrier because we keep cutting services and we keep delaying payments, and that’s because we have made people feel that we were more able to provide resources than we actually could…and there’s a great deal of disappointment, and I think what will vanquish that, what will rehabilitate us, is a little honesty.”

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Paterson’s Extraordinary Session Agenda (WIGS And The Fat Tax Return)

Gov. David Paterson today announced his agenda for the Wednesday extraordinary session for which plans to issue a proclamation tomorrow calling state lawmakers back to Albany at the height of their summer vacation – and campaign season.

The governor’s agenda includes 10 bills that will be delivered to the Legislature later this week.

Atop the list is the revised revenue legislation that he tried to send to the Assembly and Senate – and saw summarily rejected – after the Senate departed the Capitol for the July 4th holiday weekend without passing the final piece of the two-way legislative budget deal.

Also on the list, which, as you’ll recall, the governor cannot force the Legislature to take up after he forces them back to work this week, are the following:

– A property tax cap. (Also delivered along with the revenue bill on July 13 and rejected by the Legislature). The measure would establish a school district and local government property tax levy cap that would limit tax levy growth to the lesser of four percent or 120 percent of the annual increase in the consumer price index.

The tax cap would apply to all school districts other than the “Big Five,” and to all counties, cities (other than New York City), towns, villages, special districts and fire districts.

– An amendment version of Paterson’s SUNY empowerment plan (also rejected on July 13) that would would allow differential tuition for certain doctoral campuses at a maximum of seven percent, annual general tuition increases at a maximum of four percent, and increase the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) ceiling starting in State Fiscal Year 2011-12 to $5,000 plus 60 percent of the difference between $5,000 and the maximum resident undergraduate SUNY/CUNY tuition.

– An FMAP contingency plan that would reduce state agency undisbursed appropriations by up to $1.085 billion in a uniform manner and placing these savings in a contingency fund “lock box”.

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Megna: Too Early To Talk About Layoffs

In case you missed it….here’s my interview from “Capital Tonight” yesterday in which state Budget Director Robert Megna walked back his previous statement about planning for public employee layoffs being right around the corner – as in: Next month.

Megna was reluctant to even discuss layoffs, saying the administration wants to wait and see how the latest round of retirement incentives is received in hopes of reaching the $250 million in workforce savings included in the budget.

However, he did allow that only two weeks remain before that savings needs to be realized. If it’s not, then layoffs would seem to be the only viable option, but one that won’t really be put into practice until the next governor takes office.

“Any layoff plan that we would consider – and again, we’re really not considering one until we see how the early retirement works out – would take time to implemen,” Megna said.

“So, if we were going to sit down and say: You know, we’re far short of our $250 million goal, we have to look at all other alternatives, we would have to start planning for that right away.”

“…Even this early retirement plan takes a long time to put into effect. Any kind of layoff plan if we were contemplating one would take months to put into effect as well…But I would say, right now, we haven’t gotten to that point yet.”

Sampson Raises For Diaz Sr. (Updated)

Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson is standing by incumbent members of his conference who are facing primary challenges, including Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., who is the target of pro-gay marriage advocates this fall.

2010 Ruben Diaz for State Senate Committe 2010

The outspoken senator sent out this invite to an upcoming fundraiser ($250 to $2,500 per person) that is being hosted for him by Sampson and his son, Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr.

Diaz Sr. is being challenged by Charlie Ramos, who has the support of the Marriage Equality New York PAC.

Fight Back PAC, another entity created to bounce the eight Democrats who joined the Republicans in voting “no” on marriage last year, has also targeted Diaz Sr.

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Silver: More Than The Legislature Is Broken In Albany

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver insists Democratic gubernatorial designee Andrew Cuomo isn’t running against the Legislature, but rather against Albany, writ large, and a general feeling of frustration with state government as a whole.

During an interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock that will air at 10:30 p.m. tonight on “The Capitol Conection”, Silver said:

“Look, Andrew Cuomo is running for governor. He is talking about fixing Albany. Let’s be very clear: Fixing Albany is not just the Legislature.”

“It’s the executive branch. It’s the commissioners. It’s the regulation. It’s the things that frustrate the people in their day-to-day interactions with the state government….It is an overall frustration with – and I put it in quotes, ‘Albany’ – it is not just the Legislature.

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Koch Fires Back

In response to the snarky statements released yesterday by legislative leaders who landed on his “enemies of reform” list – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson – former NYC Mayor Ed Koch had this to say:

“Chasing headlines, no. Dreaming yes. Dreaming of headlines like ‘Albany No Longer Corrupt’ and ‘New York No Longer Dysfunctional’.

“Unfortunately, until New York has new leadership more interested in helping the people and less interested in helping themselves and their cronies, that dream will remain a nightmare.”

I’m sure there will be lots more where this came from when Koch embarks on his upstate tour in early August to build support for his PAC, New York Uprising.

It will be his first campaign north of NYC since his failed bid for governor in 1982 in which some disparaging remarks in a Playboy magazine interview about people who live in what my colleague Jimmy Vielkind refers to as “Upstate America” helped seal his primary loss to Mario Cuomo.

Silver, Sampson Question Koch

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson aren’t taking kindly to being called “enemies of reform” by former NYC Mayor Ed Koch.

Both Democratic legislative leaders issued statements casting doubt on the campaign being run by Koch’s PAC, New York Uprising, which today dubbed a number of incumbents and candidates enemies after they failed to meet a midnight deadline for signing his trio of pledges on budget, ethics and redistricting reform.

Unsurprisingly, given the fact that he hasn’t been shy about saying he wouldn’t be signing any pledges any time soon, Silver’s statement is the stronger of the two.

“For decades, Republicans controlled the State Senate and blocked every single piece of reform legislation proposed by the Assembly and Democrats in the Senate – campaign finance reform, election reform, ethics reform and budget reform,” the speaker said.

“For Ed Koch to call Senate Republicans ‘reformers’ and ignore our record undermines the credibility of the pledge and his entire campaign.”

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Scozzafava For Cuomo (Updated)

Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, whose name has become synonymous with moderate Republicanism since the NY-23 special election that became a battle for the heart of the national GOP, has again crossed party lines to endorse a Democrat, announcing her support of AG Andrew Cuomo for governor.

“The most important election we have this year is to elect Andrew Cuomo Governor of the State of New York,” Scozzafava said in a statement released by the Cuomo campaign.

“He has the message that can resonate across party lines because it’s about the future of this state, it’s about the people that live here, it’s about making our quality of life better and having this state turn the corner and come back to the prosperity that we know is there.”

UPDATE: Here’s some video of the endorsement today, compliments of The Watertown Times’ Judge Seymour. Scozzafava apparently joined Cuomo at the Lewis County Fair today.

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