54 minutes ago
"A government big enough to give you everything you want,
is big enough to take away everything you have"
"The annual battle over the issue kicks off today, when the Assembly — as it has done for several years — is expected to pass several measures that would tighten restrictions on gun ownership....Once those bills pass in the Assembly, gun control advocates will set their sights on the Senate and the Democrats' newly minted two-seat majority (32 to 30).It is so nice to see the liberal agenda march by 32 soldiers at a time, but far be it for anyone to say 'We told you so.'
"We are hoping for progress in the Senate," said Jackie Hilly, executive director of New Yorkers for Gun Control."
"Nearly a full month after the Legislature’s adoption of the 2009-10 state budget, Governor David Paterson’s Division of the Budget (DOB) today issued its first official financial plan update since January. The bottom line: New York State’s long-term financial outlook has significantly deteriorated since Paterson unveiled his Executive Budget a little over four months ago. Due to a combination of falling revenues and added spending approved as part of the 2009-10 budget deal, the state’s out-year budget gaps are more than twice as large as those the governor originally projected in his Executive Budget proposal."Stimulus money masked the real problems and created more.
"The stimulus funds are slated to expire after 2010-11. As a result, the official projection of State Operating Funds disbursements takes a sharp jump of $9.4 billion, or 11 percent, in 2011-12 – which, as it happens, is also the first fiscal year of the next gubernatorial term. At that point, spending paid for in part with federal stimulus funds in 2009-10 and 2010-11 will have to be either cut or financed with the state’s own revenues."Read More
"I hope that this disappointment will cause the Republican Party leaders to change how we select our candidates and how we run our campaigns," said Dan Gale, a member of the Saratoga County GOP executive committee and chairman of the Northumberland town party.Share your thoughts of the race and the aftermath!
Asked by a reporter whether he was fiddling while Rome burned, the clueless Smith asked, "First of all, where is Rome burning?"Need anything else be said about the Majority Leader Smith and the Senate Democrat majority?
North Country State Sen. Darrel Aubertine got caught plagiarizing another Senator's legislation. Aubertine twice denied knowing that another Senator had introduced the exact same bill a month earlier than his bill. Aubertine altered just one sentence in the bill--changing the effective date if the bill were ever to become law--and claimed it for his own. See Senate bills 276 and 1677.
|03/06/09||REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION|
|03/30/09||MOTION TO DISCHARGE FILED|
|04/21/09||MOTION TO DISCHARGE - LOST - ROLL CALL VOTE|
|04/21/09||REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION|
The plan includes reviving taxes on sugary drinks -- a proposal Gov. Paterson considered and said could bring $400 million in revenue -- and an increased gasoline tax, with the proceeds going to both the MTA and upstate roads and bridges, the sources said. It's unclear if there are other elements.
There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations; there is simply engagement based on mutual respect and common interests and shared values. So I’m here to launch a new chapter of engagement that will be sustained throughout my administration.But behind those smiles are dictators with horrible records of human rights in their own countries. It is the "shared values" part that Obama will have a problem defining to the citizens of the US.
A major Democratic lobbyist predicts in a confidential memo that Gov. David A. Paterson - barring a miraculous popularity surge - will step aside and yield to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo the top spot on next year's ticket.
"It is perfectly possible that President (Barack) Obama offers Paterson a key national post as a face-saving move for the governor to exit the state political ring," states the veteran lobbyist, who asked to remain unidentified for business reasons.
Paterson says he will run again. But the fact that the veteran lobbyist, with no evident ax to grind, circulated this speculation privately to paying clients last week shows the risky position that Paterson's low survey ratings leave him in.
The lobbyist cites concerns that a Paterson loss could drag down the ticket, causing the state Senate Democrats to also lose an election that will be key for redistricting - and thus let Republicans again shape district lines for the state's congressional and legislative seats.
"The congressional delegation will . . . weigh in strongly to ease Paterson aside if they perceive him as a loser," the lobbyist says in the missive. "My prediction: Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in Paterson's poll numbers by the early fall, he will not run for re-election."
I have the perfect nominee to run State Senate Democrats’ new, expanded office in Buffalo: Rick Wagoner.
Not since the former GM head accompanied his Ford and Chrysler buddies to D. C. on private jets has anyone been so out of touch with angry and financially drained taxpayers.
The Dems’ excuse for expanding the size and number of regional offices here and across the state? They want to bring their “message” to constituents.
News flash: The budget they just passed did a pretty good job of that.
Imposing $8.3 billion in tax and fee hikes while making virtually no structural reforms and living temporarily on federal stimulus money says all we need to know about their “agenda.”
Bringing more bureaucrats here merely adds insult to the financial injury.
If their budget has enough money for extra people, downsize the political operation and put the funds into effective programs such as “Read to Succeed” and others outlined in The Buffalo News’ “Children of Poverty” series last year.
Any such use would be better than more patronage in the midst of a recession, whether here or the other places the new or expanded offices are planned: Rochester, Syracuse, New York City, Long Island and—get this—Albany.
That’s right, Albany is planning a branch office in Albany.
Of course, it’s no shock that one of our senators, Bill Stachowski, could say only that he had nothing to do with the expanded Buffalo office, that it all emanated from the Capitol.
A Western New York representative having nothing to do with what happens in Western New York?
Gee, what a surprise. Antoine Thompson, our other senator, refused to comment, apparently following the dictum, “If you can’t say something good about something, . . .” Or, more likely, he was following that other famous dictum, “If the press isn’t going to say something good about you, hide.”
This is shameful. Things aren’t going to change in Albany if stuff like this is allowed to continue. Let’s hope the Democrat and Chronicle reorts on this. It really is too bad that we have to find out about stuff like this happening in Rochester from the Buffalo newspaper.
"Any Senate Democrat could have upended this train wreck of a budget, so closely is the Senate divided. If only one Democrat had placed the needs of his constituents above his own political needs, Albany might have been able to craft a more responsible spending plan—one that bluntly acknowledges the fact of this recession by restraining spending."
"It was 'business as usual in Albany,' as Gov. David Paterson and legislative leaders did not show the political courage to make tough decisions, voters say 65 - 26 percent."They continue to put the "fun" in our dysfunctional government.
"Voters agree 71 - 23 percent that New York State government is dysfunctional."This will be their new line of defense. We elected Senators last year that require on the job training, despite some who previously served in the Assembly.
"Only in Albany would spending more count as responsible in the face of an almost $18 billion deficit."
"They're in a psychotic fugue or something,' says Elizabeth Lynam of the nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission. "They've completely gone into their own world. To be selling this as hard as they are, as some kind of major breakthrough, seems to me to be completely out of touch with reality."
"This year there will most likely be a big geographic shift in member-item spending. With both chambers now controlled by New York City Democrats, the biggest losers could be upstate community groups."Rest assured, someone will be tracking the money spent upstate and compare it to the year's past to illustrate the inequity of regional distribution now that downstate Democrats control the entire process.
"There were two reasons why," Stirpe explained. "First of all, I was opposed to the utility assessment increase and the second thing was the bottle bill." Stirpe opposed a last-minute change in the bottle bill that took a portion of unclaimed deposits away from distributors.
"In budgets past, I could say I did the right thing" by voting 'yes,' " Christensen said. "This year, I didn't have that feeling. . . . What an opportunity we missed. We didn't have enough in there that reformed government, cut spending, shared services. I worried about some of the taxes.
"The other overwhelming reason was that my constituents were calling up, and they didn't like what was happening to Upstate in the budget," Christensen continued. "I knew the budget was going to pass, but at least it didn't pass with my support. Sometimes you have to vote symbolically to let people know somebody is listening."So the sad reality is Assemblywoman Russell and Senator Aubertine supported a budget that others (in their own party) recognized as no good for upstate. Aubertine's defense of this mess is a joke and Russell continues to be absent on the issue.
They set up a rapid-response team in their communications office on the third floor of the Capitol to monitor debates on the floor, sent out e-mail blasts and reached out to sympathetic bloggers in cities like Watertown and Rochester.Sympathetic - perhaps, but more correctly stated would be adamantly opposed to one party rule as very unhealthy for democracy and the results of that are crystal clear now after this budget.
In our 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index, New York rated as having the second-worst tax climate for business in the country, with New Jersey taking top honors. However, once this plan is enacted, New York will leapfrog New Jersey to claim the mantle of America's worst tax code for business.And on the elimination of STAR Rebate and other hidden tax and fee increases.
As I've written before, that program is flawed and its elimination is probably a relatively good way to raise revenue; however, it is still extra money out of New Yorkers' pockets next year. Finally, the plan imposes sundry tax and fee increases, including higher taxes on utilities, car rentals, beer, wine, and cigars; higher tuition at state universities; and increased fees for things like hunting and driver's licenses.
This tax increase would be less annoying if it were truly necessary to produce a balanced budget. However, as the New York Times noted in a news analysis piece yesterday, the budget's 8.7% spending increase "could hardly be called austere."If you are looking for a list of 3,558 pork projects included in this budget then click here, hardly anything that represents the severe times that we face.