Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Plans Yonkers Fundraiser

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will hold a high-dollar fundraiser in Yonkers, with contributors being asked to donate or help raise as much as $25,000 to attend.

The event scheduled for Oct. 7, will be held at Fortina Restaurant in Yonkers and is being thrown by Westchester For Cuomo.

There’s a wide dollar range for tickets to event: Younger donors are being asked to give $150, with individual support tickets running as much as $5,000.

For large donors, who also help raise money, contributions range from $10,000 to $25,000 with the perk of a host committee reception.

Cuomo last year won re-election to a third term and continued a solid fundraising push in the first half of 2019, raising $4.5 million.

His campaign, which began the year with $4.7 million in the bank, now has $8.4 million in cash on hand.

NY & CT Becoming Fishing Buddies And More

From the Morning Memo:

Two governors take a fishing trip on Lake Ontario…

It sounds like a set up for a joke but that’s actually what happened Tuesday as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo hosted Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont in Niagara County. After a couple of hours on the lake, Cuomo presented Lamont with a pole and a tackle box and the two showed off their catches of the day.

However, the Democrats insisted they talked business as well in what could be a burgeoning partnership for the neighboring states. They said there a number of issues and resources the states could benefit from if they worked more cooperatively.

“First thing I’ve learned though is that these state borders are pretty artificial and we have a lot of overlap there,” said Lamont, who’s been on the job for eight months.

The governors pointed to interconnected transportation systems, tourism and security as issues the states could work together better on. They also announced a new mutual aid emergency management compact, allowing police and EMA staff from New York and Connecticut to train together and share best practices.

“The most important issue we can collaborate on is the safety of our residents which is why this emergency management partnership is so crucial,” Cuomo said. “Today’s agreement is about ensuring our two states have the resources we need during difficult times, and that’s what neighboring states do.”

In fact, the northeastern states have been working together even before the governors started sharing fish stories. Earlier this month, for instance, Connecticut gave notice of its intention to file an amicus brief supporting New York State in a lawsuit challenging the new Green Light Law.

“New York-Connecticut, our region is a global center and people from around the world we welcome here. We’re a much stronger state and a much stronger region when we welcome people and that’s not the message they’re always getting out of Washington, D.C. right now. So whether it comes to driver’s licenses and tuition and just really treating people with respect, I think that’s something where New York and Connecticut are aligned and I think our region is aligned so I’m proud to stand next to Governor Cuomo on the driver’s license issue,” Lamont said.

Connecticut has been granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants for more than four years.

New Law Expands Employment Protections For Domestic Violence Victims

A measure meant to expand protections against discrimination in employment for domestic violence survivors and victims was signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Victims of domestic violence are forced to deal with far-reaching, lasting ramifications that can understandably interfere with their work schedules,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“By signing this measure into law we are strengthening our nation-leading domestic violence protection laws and ensuring survivors never have to fear losing their job as they deal with the aftermath of these unthinkable traumas.”

Previously law did not explicitly define protections and accommodations that an employer must provide to domestic violence victims. The measure would list reasons for an employer to allow a victim to take time off, including for services like medical attention, victim services or rape crisis and counseling, as well as safety planning and relocation.

“My mother dedicated her life to helping survivors of domestic violence, and her work has inspired me to be a voice for our most vulnerable populations during my time in public service,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“This legislation continues our efforts to combat domestic violence and ensure survivors are supported in every way possible, and that includes protecting their ability to earn a paycheck and achieve financial independence. New York is leading the way with our Women’s Justice Agenda, advancing gender equality, protecting all New Yorkers, and strengthening our society.”

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Roxanne Persaud and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein.

Cuomo Says New Plates Are Needed For Cashless Tolling

New license plates are needed for cashless tolling cameras to read them, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters at Lake Ontario on Tuesday as state lawmakers are pushing back against the change.

“Nobody wants to pay any money for anything,” Cuomo said. “I don’t want to buy new plates, either. It’s 10 years. You need a plate that works with E-Z Pass.”

Cashless tolling is already available in parts of the state Thruway system.

Motorists who have the blue-and-white plates, issued more than a decade ago, will beginning in April be required to purchase new plates for $25, along with a $20 fee if they want to keep the current license plate number.

The state estimated there are three million blue-and-white plates in circulation, which could lead to $75 million in revenue for the state in the initial changeover.

The proposal drew comparisons to a broader plan later withdrawn by then-Gov. David Paterson in 2009 that would have required all motorists switch their plates to the current gold-and-blue design.

Republicans and Democrats alike on Tuesday blasted the plan.

“This is a regurgitation of the same, uninspired idea that Governor David Paterson proposed a decade ago, one that failed thanks to strong opposition from County Clerks and Republicans in the state Legislature,” said Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan. “It’s also the latest example of Albany’s nickel-and-diming of hardworking middle-class taxpayers.”

Democratic Sen. David Carluccci also knocked the proposal.

“Hardworking New Yorkers should not be burdened with this unnecessary cash grab by the State,” he said. “A required fee to replace old license plates is arbitrary and does not in any way benefit drivers.”

New Law Waives Marriage License Fee For Active Duty Members

A law approved Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will waive the state fee for marriage licenses for active duty members of the armed forces and their spouses.

The new measure will also allow local governments to waive their fees for marriage certificates for service members or spouses.

“These brave men and women leave their loved ones behind and risk their lives to protect the freedoms and values that this nation and this state were founded upon,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Waiving this fee is one small way to thank these valiant New Yorkers for their service.”

The bill was sponsored in the Legislature by Sen. Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman David Buchwald.

“On the happy occasions when a member of our armed forces gets married in New York, we as a society should be doing everything we can to say thank you and congratulations,” Buchwald said. “This is but a small gesture to show our gratitude to the men and women who protect our freedoms every day.”

Cuomo Signs Bill Restricting ‘Floating’ Billboards

Electronic and digital billboards attached to vessels in navigable waters are being restricted in New York based on a bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The measure gives local governments the ability to ban vessels with these billboards — which contain flashing, intermittent or moving lights — from operating, anchoring or mooring within 1,500 feet of its shore.

“These floating billboards are a nuisance that blight our shores and distract from the great natural beauty of our waterways,” Cuomo said. “This action will help make our waters more enjoyable and safer for everyone.”

Lawmakers supportive of the legislation say the boats aren’t just an eyesore, but also a potential distraction, creating a public safety problem.

“Billboards belong in Times Square, not in the middle of the Hudson and East Rivers. These floating billboards are a dangerous distraction to drivers, boaters, and pedestrians, not to mention an eyesore,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman. “New Yorkers deserve to have a respite on our waterfront from the barrage of modern life.”

Mandatory License Plate Fee Rankles

From the Morning Memo:

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s couched the new license plate plan in a fun way: New Yorkers can choose from a variety of plate designs that feature the Statue of Liberty, the statue’s torch, Niagara Falls and the New York City skyline, or the bridge named after his late father.

And the replacement will be mandatory for the roughly three million drivers who continue to have the blue-and-white license plates, the youngest of which will turn 10 years old next year.

With the current $25 fee, the plan could generate about $75 million for the state, not counting the $20 cost for keeping a person’s current plate number.

A Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman confirmed Monday the blue plates will have to be turned in starting April 2020 in favor of the new plates when a registration is being renewed.

The DMV pointed to the blue-and-white plates in need of replacement given many are old, damaged and peeling, making it difficult to identify their numbers.

Republican Sen. Jim Tedisco, however, blasted the fee in a statement.

“The state’s new $25 ‘license plate replacement fee’ and the $20 fee for people to keep their current license plate number is the latest example of the nickel and diming of taxpayers that has caused New York State to consistently be ranked number one for highest taxes in the nation, first for places where millennials are fleeing from, and on the list as one of the worst places to retire,” Tedisco said.

“More than 189,000 people escaped from New York over the last year and one million over the past decade. These new DMV plate fees will certainly accomplish one goal: getting more New Yorkers to hit the road – permanently!”

Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara also blasted the proposal.

“The Governor’s license plate replacement program announced today amounts to nothing more than more of our hard earned money going to the state,” he said.

“On April 1st, 2020, if your plates are 10 years old it will cost you $25 MORE for new plates, regardless of their condition. Seems like the state just keeps finding new reasons to issue new plates and take more of our hard-earned money. Enough is enough; if these plates are necessary the state should provide the replacements at NO COST.”

Nine years ago, then-Gov. David Paterson launched an effort to replace the state’s blue-and-white license plates with gold-and-blue plates.

Purchasing the new plates, with the $25 fee, would have been mandatory, generating $129 million to close a budget gap as the state deal with the fallout of the nationwide recession. An uproar from state lawmakers and locally elected officials ensued over the plate plan as a backdoor tax hike.

Paterson ultimately backed off.

New York Launches Vote For New License Plate

New York will begin phasing out the peeling blue and gold license plates and is launching a vote for the next license plate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced Monday.

New Yorkers will be able to vote for their favorite license plate design starting today, ending Sept. 2 and can choose among five proposed designs on the governor’s website and at the governor’s exhibit at the state Fair starting Wednesday.

The new license plate will be available starting April 2020.

“License plates are a symbol of who we are as a state and New Yorkers should have a voice and a vote in its final design,” Cuomo said.

“As the life span of the old plates comes to an end and we develop new ones that are as easy to read as possible, I encourage all residents to take part in choosing this piece of our state’s history and the State Fair is a perfect place to do that.”

The new plates will replace both the blue and white plates, which were issued more than a decade ago, and the Department of Motor Vehicles will end the issuance of the gold and blue plates.

The change in plates will also mean revenue for the state: A $25 fee tacked on for approximately three million blue and white plates still on cars next year.

“The time has come for New York to have a new license plate, which is why we worked hard to create design options that not only capture the heart of the Empire State, but also that our customers will be proud to put on their vehicles,” said DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder. “I hope everyone across the state will take a few minutes to view the options and vote for their top pick.”

The selection will start a 10-year license plate replacement program meant to ensure license plates on the roadways are reflective and easy to read. There more than three million plates that have been issued that are a decade or older. Many of them have started to peel, become damaged, which has made it difficult to read the plate number.

Cuomo Says Anti-Italian Stereotypes ‘Hurt’ And ‘Scarred’ His Father

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday in a radio interview addressed at length the heated exchange his brother Chris had with a man who called him “Fredo” — a reference to The Godfather he said was demeaning to people with Italian heritage.

In the video, the CNN anchor says the label is an “aspersion” to Italians, a reference to a character from The Godfather, and likened it to calling a black person “the N-word.”

Chris Cuomo acknowledged later in a tweet “I should be better than the guys baiting me.”

His brother the governor, in an interview on WAMC, blasted a column by Times Union managing editor Casey Seiler for what he saw as downplaying ethnic slurs like “dago.”

His father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, battled anti-discrimination and baseless rumors he had ties to organized crime.

“They hurt him, they scarred him. Every Italian lives with it,” Andrew Cuomo said. “Don’t you glorify it and don’t you repeat it and don’t you institutionalize it.”

Cuomo repeatedly blasted the Seiler column, calling it “garbage” and at one point seemingly conflated it with a New York Post front page last week that depicted Mario, Andrew and Chris Cuomo as characters from The Godfather.

“At this time in American society where you have Jewish people being shot in a synagogue and Latinos being shot in El Paso, there has to be more sensitivity to these stereotypes and discrimination,” Andrew Cuomo said. “It fuels the hate. Italian-Americans are not Mafia. Don’t you dare liken my family to the family in The Godfather or The Sopranos.”

Seiler, in a tweet, said he denounced The Post’s frontpage.

“Can someone offer a sense of what in my column is objectionable vis a vis the Cuomos?” he posted.

Cuomo Says Wrecked Economy Would Send Trump Packing

A recession would spell the end of President Donald Trump’s administration, Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicted in a radio interview on Monday.

“If the economy tanks and this recession comes true, he may as well as start packing his bags now, because I think if there’s only one redeeming rationale is it’s, well, Trump is a businessman and the economy is doing well,” Cuomo said on WAMC. “​He flags on the economy — especially if he flags on the economy out of his petulance and arrogance and trade relations — just start packing, Donald.”

New York, of course, would not be immune to the effect of a recession, either. The state relies heavily on the personal income tax for nearly half of its overall revenue. The PIT can be volatile even in relatively smooth economic times.

But Democrats running for president, Cuomo added, said the party needs to take a broader focus on the direction the country is taking under Trump.

“I think the Democrats have to draw a sharper distinction,” he said. “The Democrats have to step up and understand what it is. The issue is, what do you think America is? Who are we? What is the soul of America?”

Cuomo, who has said former Vice President Joe Biden is best positioned to defeat President Trump, dismissed the possibility that he would serve in a Biden administration as chief of staff.

“I have no plans to leave as governor of New York,” he said. “I think I’m doing a good job. I hope the people of the state believe that.”