Republicans

NY-18: Farley To Seek Republican Nod For Congress

Chele Chiavacci Farley announced Tuesday she will run for the Republican nomination in the Hudson Valley’s 18th congressional district, seeking to challenge Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

“The 2018 election marked a radical shift left with some politicians like Sean Patrick Maloney embracing socialism. His agenda of government-run healthcare and the Green New Deal will result in much higher taxes and skyrocketing energy rates which will hurt families and small businesses,” Farley said in a statement.

“I’m running for Congress to find practical and workable solutions to our needs which embrace Hudson Valley values of hard work and living within our means.”

Farley had previously ran for the U.S. Senate last year unsuccessfully seeking to unseat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The 18th district in the Hudson Valley has been considered in the past a potential swing district, having been represented by Republican Nan Hayworth before Maloney won the district in 2012.

Republicans File Suit Over Outside Pay Cap

A group of Republican lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly on Friday announced a lawsuit challenging a cap on the amount of money they can earn outside of the Legislature.

The filing of the legal challenge in state Supreme Court is the latest effort to topple a decision by a compensation commission last year that increased the pay for the state’s 214 members of the Legislature as well as the governor, statewide elected officials like the attorney general and comptroller as well the governor’s cabinet.

But the agreement also limited the amount of money lawmakers can earn in the private sector to 15 percent of the public salary pay, effectively making the Legislature a full-time job.

The suit was filed by Sen. Tom O’Mara, a Republican from the Elmira area who is also an attorney.

The pay cap is set to take effect next year and, if it stands, could lead to a wave of resignations from the Legislature or force lawmakers to divest from their outside business interests.

The lawmakers claim in court documents the pay commission’s decision was “invalid, unconstitutional, and unenforceable.”

Campaign Finance Reform Supporters Tout Swing District Polls

From the Morning Memo:

A group that’s backing campaign finance law changes is touting a new poll of key House districts in New York that found support for creating a system of publicly financed campaigns.

The poll by Global Strategy Group found support for the proposal in the 11th House district on Staten Island, the 19th district in the Hudson Valley, both represented by Democrats, and the Republican-held 22nd district that stretches from the Southern Tier to western New York.

“Republican, Democratic, and independent voters in swing districts across the country, including in New York, want to get big money out of politics, and they support a publicly-fsWwdinanced small dollar matching system to make sure it happens,” said Tiffany Muller, the president of End Citizens United.

“In fact, 90 percent of these voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports clean elections, including small dollar matching, a remarkable consensus across party lines.”

The 11th, 19th and 22nd congressional districts were hotly contested House races last year, with Democrats Max Rose, Anthony Brindisi and Antonio Delgado defeating Republican incumbents.

The poll comes as state lawmakers in Albany are debating a public campaign financing program for New York elections. The proposal has hit a snag in the Democratic-led Assembly, however, after Speaker Carl Heastie said the measure lacks the necessary conference support to bring to the floor for a vote amid concerns over how the system would be regulated.

ECU Clean Elections Poll Memo – F03.18.18 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

NRCC Targets 4 NY Dems Over Impeachment Split

The race for 2020 is already well underway, and not only when it comes to the White House. The political machines on both sides of the congressional aisle are already ramping up and taking aim at their respective targets in the next election cycle.

The NRCC today announced a series of digital ads running in 55 target districts across the nation that highlight the division in the Democratic Party over the question of whether to pursue an effort to impeach President Donald Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week in an interview with the Washington Post Magazine that she is not in favor of impeachment because it’s too divisive, and, in her opinion, the president is “not worth it.”

This put the speaker at odds with more activist/progressive members of her conference, though the man in charge of the chamber’s Judiciary Committee, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, has also said he doesn’t want to make any moves in the impeachment direction unless there’s substantial Republican support to do so.

The NRCC has seized on this issue, pressuring marginal members to pick a side, or, as the committee’s chairman, Tom Emmer, put it in a press release:

“The socialist Democrats in Congress need to definitively state if they will stand up to the baseless attempts to impeach our president or if they will once again roll over for the extremists running their caucus.”

In New York, the ads, which will be running through the recess week while members are home in their districts, are directed at four members, three of whom are freshmen: Reps. Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Max Rose (NY-11) and Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18).

Here’s the Delgado ad, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, the script doesn’t differ.

Where Things Stand In The Budget

From the Morning Memo:

The state Assembly and state Senate today will unveil their one-house budget resolutions — essentially roadmaps for where state lawmakers want to take the negotiations with the governor over the spending plan due at the end of the month.

The proposals are aspirational documents that do not have the force of law. But in a process that can be opaque and lack transparency, it’s a public starting point for the Legislature, and act as a counterweight to what Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed.

And this is also a different kind of budget year under Cuomo, with lawmakers seeking to assert more authority over how money is spent.

Here’s a look at where things stand with three weeks to go until start of the new fiscal year:

Education

The education battles in the budget in recent years have been about policy: How teachers and principals should be evaluated, whether the cap on charter schools should be increased, how long to extend mayoral control of New York City schools. This year, the fight is primarily shaping up to be about money. Lawmakers, has they have typically done in the past, want to increase spending. But this year, many are newly emboldened to push for even more money than Cuomo has proposed. They’re backed by education advocates who have long called for adding $2 billion in spending in direct aid for schools. And those advocates have allies like Sen. Robert Jackson in office. Cuomo earlier this year countered with a proposal that would change the state’s funding formula, seeking to help poor, underfunded schools within districts.

Health care

The governor all but dared lawmakers to pass a single-payer health care bill when speaking to The Atlantic. Cuomo has said he would support a single-payer bill on the federal level, but is skeptical how it would work for New York, which is increasingly becoming cash-strapped. The bill’s sponsors insist a single-payer program for the state would ultimately save money by reducing a costly private insurance bureaucracy. Amendments to Cuomo’s budget last month included proposals to slow the growth of spending under Medicaid. And Cuomo wants to bolster the Affordable Care Act by enshrining the measure into state law, such as the state’s health insurance marketplace.

Property tax cap

The state Senate last month passed a standalone bill that would make the cap on property tax increases a permanent one. The provision does not expire this year, but has historically been linked to rent control regulations for New York City. Those are set to sunset, and Cuomo has signaled he wants to include both in a final budget agreement. The Assembly is yet to take up a tax cap bill and the chamber has in the past included members supportive of making changes, such as no longer capping increases at the rate of inflation. Those changes have been sought by teachers unions and local government advocates. Nevertheless, the vast majority of school districts and local municipalities have been able to budget within the cap since it was first approved in 2011.

Marijuana

The issue is increasingly becoming a cross section of the budget: Health, criminal justice reform, local control, even mass transit, are being effected by it. Both legislative budget proposals are expected to include a version of a program that would legalize marijuana. Lawmakers want to allow people to be able to grow small amounts of the plant; Cuomo envisions a plan that would create a commercial retail structure regulated similarly to alcohol. Cuomo also wants local governments to be able to opt out of marijuana retail and use some of the sales tax revenue generated to pay for mass transit in New York City. Lawmakers have said they want the money to be prioritized for communities effected by stiff drug laws.

The MTA

A congestion pricing plan is increasingly becoming just one component of a very complex plan that could also include marijuana sales tax revenue, collecting sales tax on out-of-state online purchases, and even a tax on second homes worth more than $5 million, as well as tolls below 61st Street in Manhattan. At stake is finding a dedicated funding source for mass transit and the MTA in New York City in order to begin the costly process of fixing and improving the city’s subways while also reducing the glut of car traffic. Suburban lawmakers, as they have done in previous congestion pricing iterations, have raised concerns with impact of the proposal on their constituents and want some form of buy-in, such as more money for commuter rail services like the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North.

Campaign finance

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie last week announced the votes aren’t there in his chamber just yet for the public financing of campaigns. This led to something of an outcry from the progressive advocates, including Zephyr Teachout, who had hoped an all-Democratic Legislature would lead to the program’s approval. The Senate is expected to include public financing in its budget plan. Cuomo wants public financing, along with lower donor limits and a ban on corporate contributions in the final budget agreement.

The legislative dynamic

It’s very different this year with a large Democratic majority in the state Senate. A lot of policy that would still be left outstanding — gun control, abortion rights, LGBT issues — have already been take up. Meanwhile, the relationship between lawmakers and Cuomo has been an increasingly truculent one given the fallout of the failed Amazon project in Queens and the lingering discontent over the results of a pay raise commission. Cuomo’s ace in the hole for resolving the budget remains the phase in of a pay increase that would not go into effect if the budget goes past the April 1 due date. Lawmakers, however, insist this isn’t a factor in the budget talks.

Zeldin Fundraises Off NY’s ‘Socialist Wave’

Long Island Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, a close ally of President Trump, is seeking to capitalize on the rise of New York’s liberal star, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the role she played in the death of the Amazon HQ2 project.

Zeldin sent out an email fundraising blast last night with the subject line: “The Socialist Wave.” In it, he decried Ocasio-Cortez for blocking “25,000 good-paying jobs from coming to Long Island City,” and also said she’s “trying to force the entire country onto her terrible “Green New Deal” that could cost taxpayers $93 TRILLION.”

The congressman then went on to name check another infamous Democratic socialist, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who recently launched his second bid at the White House, raising a significant amount of campaign cash in a very short period of time.

“If this isn’t scary enough,” Zeldin wrote of Ocasio-Cortez’s efforts, “Bernie Sanders’ socialist base is fired up. He raised nearly $6 MILLION in less than 24 hours one day last week. It’s URGENT that we get your help to fight back!”

“…Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are determined to takeover control of the entire federal government in 2020. Their efforts could empty the wallets of American taxpayers, and their open border policies would abolish vital agencies like ICE and leave our borders open to criminals,” the congressman continued.”

“This isn’t about politics; this is about a threat to our core American values. We can NEVER let America become a socialist country.”

Zeldin last November defeated Democratic newcomer Perry Gershon, who, like many first-time candidates, said he was motivated to run out of a disillusionment with the broken and polarized political system. This is Zeldin’s third term in Congress, and his first as a member of the minority.

During his victory speech and election night, Zeldin spoke of the importance of “uniting” the country, and said he believed he had an “important role to play” in that effort.

This email, however, demonstrates that sentiment was fairly short lived. There’s a fairly robust conservative moment on Long Island that Zeldin is clearly playing here.

The death of the Amazon deal has been a significant issue on Long Island, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo taking the suburban Democratic state Senate members there to task for failing to prevent their conference from opposing, and in his eyes, eventually helping to scuttle, the project.

Zeldin isn’t the first GOP lawmaker to seek to make political hay from the demise of the Amazon project. The Senate GOP recently purchased Facebook ads highlighting the role their Democratic colleagues played in killing the deal.

What Assembly Republicans Want

Republicans in the state Assembly on Wednesday unveiled their agenda that includes making the state’s cap on property taxes permanent and opposing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to close three prisons.

“The first rule of creating a budget should be ‘do no harm;’ however, recently history has shown lawmakers are too willing to disregard basic, sound accounting in order to advance their political agendas. New York has a serious problem wasting money. Taxpayer bank accounts are not a bottomless piggy bank, and for too long they have been treated as such,” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said.

“Our budget priorities reflect the reality that New Yorkers are leaving in droves because they simply cannot afford to live here. If you’re not thriving, you’re dying; and New York definitely isn’t thriving.”

The agenda also includes backing a living wage for direct-care workers, support for the phase in of a tax cut aimed at middle-income earners and reducing mandated state spending for local governemtns.

The Republican conference also wants to boost the tuition assistance program and keep the aid to municipalities program intact.

At the same time, the conference’s plan includes support for increasing spending for the Street and Highway Improvement Program by $100 million.

“Our conference is committed to protecting small businesses, middle-class taxpayers and homeowners. Local governments are being crushed by mandates, taxes are through the roof and Gov. Cuomo is brazenly proposing to cut critical funding to municipalities already under severe stress,” said Assemblyman Will Barclay.

“There is something very wrong with this picture. New Yorkers can only take so much more abuse at the hands of spend-happy lawmakers.”

Republicans Push Back Against $3 Minimum Wage For Prison Inmates

Democratic state lawmakers earlier this week proposed lifting the minimum wage inmates in New York prisons earn from in some instances less than $1 to $3.

The move would put New York in line with several other states, but their Republican counterparts called the move “outrageous” and poorly timed, given the $2.3 billion shortfall due to flagging tax revenue.

“At a time when everyday New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet, when our direct care workers who provide care for the most vulnerable aren’t making a living wage, and towns and villages throughout the state are having critical funding stripped, to say this idea is misguided in an understatement,” said Sen. George Amedore, a Republican from the Capital Region.

“It’s time for the new Majority in the State Senate to get their priorities straight and address the real issues that are facing New Yorkers. I will continue to stand against these irresponsible policies and on the side of law-abiding, over-burdened taxpayers.”

Inmates in prison are required to work five days a week for six hours a day. In many instances, they perform janitorial work in the prison or manufacture goods.

But some Republicans likened the idea to previous proposals, such as providing inmates with college-level courses and computer tablets. Both ideas were meant to reduce recidivism among inmates once they are released.

“Individuals don’t end up in prison for first-time minor offenses. These are serious offenders and they should face harsh consequences for their transgressions,” Assemblyman Steve Hawley said. “The far left, realizing their message no longer appeals to middle-America, is now courting the votes of anyone who will listen, including criminals – this is the new New York.”

State Senator Jacobs Will Not Run For Erie County Executive

State Senator Chris Jacobs, R-Buffalo, confirmed Tuesday he will not run for Erie County Executive.

Many Republicans in Western New York believed Jacobs would be the front runner to challenge incumbent Democrat Mark Poloncarz. The legislator contemplated his options for several weeks but ultimately said the decision was not too difficult to make.

“We’re just celebrating the one month birthday of my new daughter Anna and really decided it’s just not the right time for myself and my family,” he said.

Jacobs said his position in the state Senate didn’t really factor into the choice. He just began his second term in the 60th district but now is in the minority conference.

If anything, he said that shift is a reason to return to Albany. The lawmaker pointed out he’s already run two countywide campaigns and it’s not easy.

“I know it’s a time consuming and all-consuming task and right now I just didn’t think it was the right time,” he said. “So I’m very much enjoying my role as senator representing the 60th district and I also think it’s a very important time to be up here to make sure Western New York’s voice is heard.”

Jacobs has developed a number of buildings in the Buffalo-area but he said impending limits on outside income in the Legislature were not a factor either. He said it is his understanding, with “soft income,” he will not be impacted by the new rules.

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw was once considered the defacto candidate to challenge Poloncarz. However, after Republican Rep. Chris Collins was indicted on federal insider trading charges, Mychajliw appeared to severe from the local party a bit. He now appears to have turned his attention to the 27th Congressional District, whenever the incumbent’s tenure is up.

Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said the candidates currently in consideration for county executive are County Legislators Lynne Dixon, Joe Lorigo, and Ed Rath, as well as County Clerk Mickey Kearns. He said there are no “rankings” as to which candidate might be preferred.

Republican analyst Vic Martucci said any of the four would be good choices his gut feeling is Dixon will be the favorite.

“I would think that the Republican party will want to try and run a female candidate if they can,” Martucci said. “Again, just looking at the political landscape, Republicans lost a lot of races last year because they couldn’t appeal to middle class suburban women and that’s going to be a key voting block in this county executive’s race.”

Of the four candidates in consideration, only Rath is a registered Republican. Kearns is a Democrat, Lorigo a Conservative, and Dixon is registered to the Independence Party.

Martucci said the GOP has always needed candidates that can appeal to more than just party members because there is a heavy Democratic enrollment edge in Erie County. He said he believes voters care less about affiliation than they have in the past and there’s not necessarily a problem recruiting candidates.

He said regardless of who Reopublicans choose, the incumbent, Poloncarz, is formidable and will be difficult to beat.

Patience Named Senate GOP Chief of Staff

Longtime Republican aide Frank Patience was named chief of staff of the Senate Republican conference, Minority Leader John Flanagan on Monday said.

“Frank Patience is a skilled administrator with nearly 34 years in the New York State Senate,” Flanagan said. “He is liked and trusted by the members of our conference, and has proven time and time again that he possesses the leadership skills necessary to get things done. I am pleased that Frank has decided to rejoin us in this new and important role, and am excited about what lies ahead.”

Patience served as secretary of He Swnate during the Senate GOP’s 2011 to 2018 stint in the majority. He had previously served as director of administration the Senate GOP minority in 2009 and 2010.