"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

GOP Amendments

The Senate GOP amendments in short form for budget votes.


1. STAR rebate – restores STAR rebates removed from the budget by Democrats, saving $1.5 billion for homeowners. Flat education aid will compound the problem and will result in sticker shock for homeowners when they get their tax bills this fall. The double Democratic Senate whammy better known from here forward as the DD Whammmmmy - lose your rebate and get socked on your school property taxes - guaranteed! 
 
2. Spending cap – limits spending growth to an multiple of inflation. This budget hikes in spending by 7x the inflation rate in the midst of a recession. Worse, it commits stimulus funds for recurring costs, guaranteeing problems in out years.
 
3. No PIT – rejects the new PIT hike, which will give NY the trophy for the highest income tax rate in the country – nearly 10%. The so-called “millionaires tax” kicks in at $200,000, and will impact families, small business owners and farmers.
 
4. Mandate relief – no unfunded mandates and an effort to eliminate existing mandates on school districts and local governments - uh hum - something the Senate Democrats campaigned on. 
 
5. Libraries – restores an $8 million cut to public libraries, increasingly used by families as a form of low-cost entertainment, information and job searches for the newly unemployed. Ask a library and they will tell you that they see greater use during high unemployment. 
 
6. Higher Ed – Returns SUNY tuition hike funds to the university for use in the classroom. Democrats voted to use 95% of the $600 hike for budget relief. They did not approve a similar sweep for CUNY. Where are the Upstate 5 (the only majority representation we have in the downstate senate)?
 
7. Environment – Restores the $80 million cut to the EPF for farmland and open space preservation, clean water, zoos and others.
 
8. NYPA energy – Returns money swept from NYPA to be used for rate reduction and economic development. Eliminates new energy taxes that will cost average household $100 a year.
 
9. Drug reform – rejects drug law reforms that will spring up to 5,000 convicts already serving time and divert thousands more, including repeat offenders. The changes were adopted without public hearings and with little understanding of their full impact on public safety.
 
10. Jobs – a comprehensive plan including small business tax cuts and expanded access to subsidized health insurance programs to help businesses weather the downturn.
 
11. Agriculture – restores cuts to important farm programs and directs stimulus funds to be used to provide relief to struggling dairy farmers. (more on this coming)
 
12. Health tax – rejects a tax on health plans that adds $200-$300 to the annual cost.
 
13. Other taxes rejected
 
14. Prison closures
 
15. Schools reform

Watertown Chamber Chimes In

Darrel and Addie are you listening to your constituents?

Here is what some are saying. A memo from Karen Delmonico, executive director of the Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce.
--------------------------------------------------

Dear GWNC Chamber Member:

We need your immediate help to stop the NYS Legislature from adopting a new state budget that will seriously harm Upstate.

Facing a budget shortfall of $16 billion and a profound economic crisis, the Governor and legislature have proposed a budget that ignores economic common sense, crushes New Yorkers with $7 billion in new taxes, $9 billion in new spending, and slams the brakes on our hopes for recovery. Their budget included:
  • A three-year income tax surcharge on small businesses;
  • An additional $230M in new taxes on health insurance on top of over $500M added in February's deficit-reduction package;
  • Surcharges on gas and electric utility companies that the industry says will end up costing consumers at least $500 million. 
We need your immediate help to stop this onerous budget from becoming a reality.

Upstate New York currently has five representatives in the Senate MajorityTogether, they can STOP the other 27 members of their party - all of whom hail from downstate - from passing a budget that has negative economic implications for Upstate residents. But only if they hear it from all of us that live in Upstate New York.

Senator Aubertine: PH: 518-455-2761  FX: 518-426-6946  Email: Aubertine@senate.state.ny.us 
Senator Valesky: 518-455-2838
Senator Breslin: 518-455-2225
Senator Thompson: 518-455-3371
Senator Stachowski: 518-455-2426

Our Assembly representatives contact information is: 
Assemblywoman Jenne-Russell: PH: 518-455-4100          FX:  518-455-5751
Assemblywoman Scozzafava:     PH: 518-455-5797          FX: 518-455-5289

Please contact them now. They will be voting tomorrow!

Karen K. Delmonico
President & CEO
Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce
1241 Coffeen St
Watertown, NY 13601
Ph: 315-788-4400
Fx: 315-788-3369
Email: karen@watertownny.com


Or perhaps you want to read Empire Center for New York State Policy's "A Job-Killing Budget" 

School Aid Run

School aid is essentially flat, which means you can expect a school tax increase. This is another of this gem of this bad budget.

Percent Increase from last year.
South Jefferson 1.58%
Alexandria Bay (0.47)
Indian River 0.70
General Brown 3.93
Thousand Islands 1.53
Belleville Henderson 2.2
Sackets Harbor 1.17
Lyme 3.51
LaFargeville 0.96
Watertown 0.36
Carthage -0.47

Can It Get Any Worse

It is a bad budget!

There are no tough choices in this budget, it is just bad policy.

Read Daily News' Bill Hammond's piece here

"Gov. Paterson and his fellow Democrats are confirming everyone's worst fears about Albany becoming a one-party town. Instead of demonstrating that they can be fiscally responsible in a crisis, they are acting just like stereotypical, out-of-control, big-government liberals.
"They're using their newfound dominance of state government to tax and spend with abandon, shaft the middle class, let criminals out of jail and cozy up to labor."
"When push came to shove, though, they caved to pressure from the special interests and produced a lazy, business-as-usual budget. And, quite possibly, signed their political death warrants."
The Republican Senators would serve New York residents well if they continue to sit this out and prevent the 38 member quorum needed, until they are ready to vote. Ready - meaning they have had proper time to digest this budget mess and propose amendments.

The so called snag that prevented any budget votes so far today (they are now being called back at 5:30) was supposedly due to an illness of a Democrat in the razor thin majority, which means they could not pass this budget without a Republican. But, the inside scoop is that some rank and file Democrat Senators know just how bad this is and wanted off the reservation.

There will be more to come on the loss of STAR rebate, school runs, etc.

Where is our representation on this budget - Darrel Aubertine and Addie Jenne Russell?



The Pulse

Checking the pulse of the chattering class and oddly enough there is not a hint or even a mention of the disastrous state budget. Not a whisper on the antithesis blogs such as;

Jefferson Leaning Left
Danger Democrat Jefferson Democrat
St Lawrence Democrat (the second leg of the rubber trio of propaganda blogs)

And not a thing from the blowhard troll blogger, who is at the epicenter of the disaster in Albany.


DuhBrinker

That my friends is an acceptance for the tax and spend policies of New York State and why some have removed the comment section from their blogs. 

What A Bunch Of Clowns

Albany and the Democrats running our state are disgraceful. This is the worse process in years and sadly for New Yorker's the most expensive ever and our Senator Darrel Aubertine is a non-factor in Albany.

The new budget hammered out by state Democrats behind closed doors was derided as “staggering” for the size of its increased spending, and “disgraceful” for the way it was secretly negotiated. The plan hikes taxes by $8 billion, and spending by $12 billion. It eliminates STAR tax rebates in the mail, expands the bottle deposit, and increases fees on licenses that will hit Upstate particularly hard. 
 
But Democrats made sure to keep nearly $200 million in “pork” barrel funding to spread around their districts. This is how the Aubertine and the bunch will attempt to make you forget poor process and lack of any reform in Albany, they will spread money around and make announcements.
 
"One Senate Democrat compared the situation to leaving a bucket of dead fish to rot on a sun-soaked dock."
 
It is not the same old - same old in Albany, it is far worse.
 
Read more here - NY Times or NY Post
 
 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Newsworthy

Democrat-led Albany is a disgrace!

State Democrats have abandoned their pledge to bring openness, transparency and reform to scandal-scarred and special interest-dominated Albany, and reverted to more secretive and exclusionary state government than ever.

The NY Daily News kicked off a multi-part series of reports on dysfunctional Albany, titles "State of Shame," with an in-depth look at corruption, secrecy and ineffectiveness of the state's Democrat-led government.

"This year, reformers hoped the legislative gridlock would be broken when Democrats took control of the Senate, giving the party control of the governor's mansion and both houses of the Legislature for the first time since the New Deal.  Instead, the situation in the Senate has been worse than ever."

"Who pays for all this? We do: with sky-high taxes, expensive policy, bad laws and laughably ineffective public servants."

Read the first part of the series at: NY Daily News 

Albany 'of the people?' No, it's 'Damn the people!'

The News follows the first installment of the series with a stinging editorial on Democrat-led Albany dysfunction.

"The rot emanates from a Legislature whose ways and procedures bear no resemblance to anything ever written in a handbook on US civics."

"Sure as night follows day when politicians operate without public accountability, Albany has descended into a culture of chiseling and outright crime. New York deserves much better."

Read more at: NY Daily News 

And Upstate papers agree ...

So much for openess'

"Because both houses are now Democratic, the process can be called "three Democratic men in a room." Now, not only the public and rank-and-file legislators are left out of the discussion. An entire political party is on the sideline."

"Sure, it must be difficult to oppose lobbyists' requests for money. But that's what politicians are elected to do. And they are elected to do it in public."

Read more at: Syracuse.Com 

Dem control in Albany fails to get results

The Auburn Citizen complains about the lack of openness in the current budget negiotiations.

"When the Democrats finally do emerge from their hole and proclaim the great achievement of having reached a budget agreement this year, they should explain why they couldn't get this done sooner and with significantly more public discussion."

"For a party that has full control of the Legislature for the first time since the 1930s, the Democrats sure are blowing the opportunity."

Read more at: Auburn Pub 

Budget crisis? Senate Democrats give 'lavish' staff raises

Despite a budget crisis that's leading to higher taxes, cuts in education and health care, and possible layoffs of state employees, State Senate Democrats are handing out double-digit staff raises—at taxpayer expense, of course.

Buffalo Sen. Bill Stachowski handed out whopping raises of 40 to 55 percent, while some aides to Sen. Antoine Thompson have doubled their pay.

"We don't buy 'To the victor goes the spoils,' " said a good-government advocate, referring to Democrats arguments that the raises are warranted because they took control of state government last year. "Taxpayers pay for the service. And they all deserve the same service."

Read more at: Buffalo News 

1,000 join taxpayer 'revolt'

Over 1,000 Upstate taxpayers turned out on the shores of Lake Erie to protest higher taxes in the state budget and gripe about secretive Albany government.

Angry taxpayers at the "Tea Bag Party" protest handed over wads of cash to organizers to help fight what they said is an Albany government that has lost touch with Upstate.

"We got to let people know what the hell is going on. It's got to start somewhere. It should have started a while ago. Look what we got in New York, three men in a room!" said one protester.

"I don't like the fact that upstate New York has almost no representation. They're talking about new fees. They're just getting into our pockets for everything and driving away business," said another.

Read more at:  Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Saturday, March 28, 2009

BRB

BRB

Temporarily off duty for Sweet 16 weekend.

Be back on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Weak Link


Healthcare Association of New York State is targeting certain Senators with robocalls and ads. HANYS presumes these members to be weak or marginal and in an effort to find the weakest link in the chain and break the back of the state budget negotiations they are on the charge.

Read here, the piece offers a good perspective on why even rank and file Senate Democrats are out of touch with the state budget process.


HANYS is illustrating the impact to local hospitals. Help Your Hospital

Your hospital cuts

These are the hospitals closest to your ZIP code and how much they stand to lose from the Governor's Budget:
Samaritan Medical Center ($1,306,000)
Carthage Area Hospital ($394,000)
Lewis County General Hospital ($629,000)
Total ($2,329,000)
*Based on initial analysis. This information may change.

Guest Voice of Mayor Jeff Graham

The question has been raised. Do I think Political IV threw me under the bus by forwarding an email I wrote to the Watertown Daily Times.
 
Given the Times has long sought to out the person (s) behind IV, I wondered why the blog would try to curry favor with persons hostile to it.
 
 Maybe it was to placate them, but in any event I am not angered at my fellow members of Watertown's political chattering class.
 
Blogs and talk shows serve as forums for subjects not fully developed or considered not to meet the high threshold of credibility demanded by "old media"
 
In the case of County Clerk , it is only natural those interested in politics would muse and speculate about possible aspirants. Sometimes it is just idle chatter , sometimes news breaks here such as the race for County Judge that is underway.
 
I do question some of the blogger personal attacks done with a cloak of anonymity. Such attacks are not the norm for IV, but I do think one way we judge material is by knowing who the author is.
 
That is why I use my real name on the local web board and gladly sign this tome.
 
Jeff Graham
 
(This Note Added By PIV regarding personal attacks as referenced by the mayor. PIV refrains from personal attacks, PIV will take issue with policy decisions or the politics of someone, but this is no place for personal attacks.)

A Skeleton of Danger Dem

Jeff Democrat, formerly known as Danger Democrat is only a skeleton of it's former self. Once upon a time it was regarded as a must read, cutting edge blog, but now it has faded into never never land. The same writer is still there in part with others, but it has obviously lost it's appeal by the numbers posted above.

Sing It Now - Dink Donk...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Public Safety Officer?

These little tidbits of information keep coming by the doorstep, so they are picked up and pushed out to you folks to hash over.

Here is the newest piece of information today specific to the residents in the City of Watertown. Often unfortunate situations bring about opportunity and with the departure of Fire Chief Gaumont, it is just that situation.

His departure is unfortunate, he has done an admirable job of providing emergency services to the residents of the city and he will be missed. The morale at the fire department seems good these days and the equipment all appears to have been upgraded and in good condition. Chief Gaumont leaves the department in good shape.

The Mayor, City Council and City Manager seem to view this situation as an opportunity as these folks consider a restructuring in leadership of the police and fire units with a combined Public Safety Officer Joe Goss.

Intriguing idea to say the least, but without further details it is difficult to give it a thumbs up or down.

Joe Goss is another exception leader within the City organization. Goss possesses a very understated demeanor and has lead the department in providing good old fashion police work without all the glitz that has sometimes surrounded this police force in the past. The police department seems focused on their work at hand and not all the bells, whistles and trappings to make it just a big show.

Joe Goss as Public Safety Officer is a thought worth exploring.


County Court Judge Race

 
Yesterday the county clerk's race had some twists and turns and today the County Court Judge race enters the market.  Sitting Judge Kim Martusewicz has a unveiled a website and Attorney John Hallett is making the circuit recruiting support for a run at the position. If the above is any indication, then it is safe to say he is serious about running. 

Change We Can Believe In

President Obama vs. Candidate Obama

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is He Doomed?


Amid sagging poll numbers (here, here and here) and secretive budget negotiations Governor Paterson (along with other Democrat leaders) is hopelessly looking to solve the state's fiscal woes, which just got worse (here and here).

State officials attribute the problem largely to declining tax revenues of about $2.8 billion. The state is receiving less personal income taxes due to job losses and declining wages, less sales tax due to declining consumption, and less business taxes “due to reduced economic activity and profitability.”
But their answer - pass tax increases in both sales and personal income categories, which will most certainly exacerbate the problem and not help their poll numbers.

The Governor has called for an immediate furlough of 8,900 state employees after unions rejected any concessions (here, here and here).

It is safe to say his back is to the wall.  

Outrage!

Erie County Executive Chris Collins is so outraged over the NYPA rate hikes, the  $500,000 sweep of funds to balance the state budget and the staff bonuses that he has created a website for the public's assistance.

There is an online petition to sign, although it states Western NY, it is applicable to Northern NY also. 

stopnypa.org

There is an online petition form, although it states Western NY it is applicable to Northern New York also. Sign Away.


For too long, the career politicians and bureaucracy in Albany have protected the status quo and hampered Western New York economic development efforts.

NYPA's recent actions to raid economic development funds from Western New York to balance Albany's mismanagement, its proposal to raise rates and fund bonuses to state employees are no exception. Their actions are costing jobs and sabotaging our road to a bright future.

Enough is enough. Join Erie County Executive Chris Collins and sign the petition below to ask Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate this unaccountable authority and stop NYPA's plan to rob Western New York of even more economic development dollars.

Flirting


Hizzoner Jeff Graham is flirting with a run for county clerk. Graham has the capabilities to make a good county clerk.

Graham, a journalist by profession, is well read and when focused is a very knowledgeable person who is able to grasp and solve issues with a common sense approach. When Graham is not off the reservation with some idea, he has provided good leadership to the community and possesses a no frills approach to what confronts him. Jeff Graham would bring a consumer first approach to the county clerk's office.

Graham is serving his fourth term as Mayor of Watertown, interrupted in between by one term out of office.  

Here are some attributes he brings to the position.

1. A true independent not tied to a major party and able to work with all.
2. Business and management skills honed over his lifetime.
3. Experience in elected office and a working knowledge of state and local government.
4. Knowledge of the car industry and its relationship to DMV.
5. Public relations and retail skills conducive to running an agency dealing with the public.
Could we see a Graham for County Clerk sign soon?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Give and Take or Maybe Take and Give


Under a plan to balance this year's budget the Democrats in the New York State Legislature voted February 3rd to sweep $500 miilion from NYPA (New York Power Authority). At the time, many legislators rightfully cried foul, Senator Joe Griffo included. They felt the raid on NYPA funds was at the expense of rate payers and economic development projects in Northern and Western New York where the Authority generates it's revenue and that money should be used in those local areas not to balance the statewide budget.

They are right in both cases!

NYPA is now considering bonuses to all 1,500 employess, a rate hike of 12.1% and the swept money, which could be used for job creation/economic development is being used to balance a bloated state budget as an easy fix.

The increase affects 2.3 million residential households served by National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas & Electric and residential and business customers of 51 municipal and rural electric cooperative systems, in areas such as Jamestown and Akron. ... Downstate customers, with the exception of three Long Island towns, are unaffected.

Erie County Executive Chris Collins wrote a letter to AG Cuomo and in part he says:

“The decision to invoke what is essentially an upstate only tax on one of our key job creation resources, and then to turn around and issue bonuses to state employees, is not only an egregious abdication of NYPA’s responsibility to its rate-payers, but a direct blow to the economic development efforts of our region. I simply will not allow such abhorrent actions to go unchallenged.”
“The Niagara Power Project was historically intended to support economic development and job creation in Western New York,” Collins said. “The actions of this unelected, unaccountable authority have robbed our region of critical economic development funds at a time when we can least afford to lose them.”
Read here, here, here

Joe Griffo, a Republican Senator from Utica and Western New York Assembly and Senate members are raising the roof in a rage over this and yet we have not heard a word on it from Addie Jenne Russell, Dede Scozzafava or Senator Darrel Aubertine.  Are they fighting for us as their campaign commercials state?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

'Atta Boy Johnny Mac

Congressman John McHugh took a bi-partisan vote the other day to go after the greedy bastards on Wall St and in particular AIG. Keep fighting John even though you are up against the likes of people like Geithner and company.

He voted to support the measure (HR 1586) which would impose an additional tax on bonuses for companies who are receiving taxpayer money. This applies only to companies who receive $5 billion or more of taxpayer money. The measure was supported by 243 Democrats and 85 Republicans.

Secretary Tim Geithner is a central figure in the latest debacle in Washington. Geithner, who clearly has a problem with numbers; such as taxes and dates, knew about these bonuses and along with Geithner, Senator Chris Dodd and the rest of the Obama Administration allowed this by removing a provision in the stimulus bill that would have prevented this from happening.

If you need more proof that TurboTax Tim is misleading people read and watch here, which demonstrates he knew about the bonuses on March 3 and yet claimed a week after this hearing to know nothing about them.




Here is the key part; House Ways And Means Committee Hearing, 3/3/09:

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY): "For example, just last month, AIG paid 343 employees of AIG FP -- their Financial Products division that created the financial hole that AIG is in, and in turn a multibillion-dollar bill for American taxpayers -- $56 million in bonuses and are slated to pay an additional $162 million in bonuses to 393 participants in the coming weeks. And there's more. Further bonus payments totaling approximately 230 million (dollars) are due to 407 participants at AIG's Financial Products division in March 2010."

And the Geithner response (in part)

"Now, it's very important that we make sure that we're providing exceptional assistance to these firms, that that assistance is going, again, to achieve the objectives of these programs, not to reward the kind of executives that got us in this mess. I'm deeply committed to that objective."

Whooossshh!

From candidate to Hypocrite in Chief, the AP does an analytical piece on the campaign promises and where they have all gone.

Change, what change Obama is just another politician who makes promises he cannot fulfill. It would be nice if he really just started to taking the job serious and skip the late night comedy acts. Said it once and will say it again, he is caught in the elevated trappings of being President, like a kid in a candy store with $5 to burn, he should govern instead.


Read AP: Analysis: Obama rhetoric, reality clash


Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh NO - Stop

Our good buddy at JR's wine and liquor will appreciate this ad because it supports his cause and so does PIV. JR is a hard working guy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

$100,000 Quid Pro Quo

AIG, the large too big to let fail insurance company, who is on the public dole while at the same time handing out big bonuses to their top executives is in the back pocket of the Queen, June O'Neill and the State Democratic Committee.

Yes, they donated $100,000 to her royalty and the State Democratic Committee and days later they get repaid in a quid pro quo from the Governor.

Read more here and here

While all the Democrats in Washington continue to scramble for the scapegoat on who to blame for the provision that would have limited these bonuses but somehow dissappeared from the final stimulus plan and thus allowed these bonuses to continue. (Here is a hint - Dodd, the largest taker of AIG money)

Will Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner take a fall over this?

Wham 'Bam-a

Obama received the verbal equivalent of a cuff side the head today from Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.


The coach says Obama should spend his time on the economy not the final four.  It probably doesn't help that Bama picked Duke rival North Carolina to win the tournament.


Coach - "Really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets."

OUCH!


Read it here

Who will win and how far do you think Syracuse will go in the tournament?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Livin' Well (& Major Staff Changes)

The Democrats are livin' well (News10Now) in their new digs as the majority members and there are no exceptions locally. Senator Aubertine saw his salary increase roughly 14% while his staffers saw even greater increases.

Along with substantial increases in pay comes a major staff duty change - Ed Gaffney is out as the Senator's Chief of Staff and Lee Willbanks is in as the new Chief of Staff for the Senator.


Staff Name          Title on 12/24/08          Salary          Title on 2/18          New salary      % Change In Pay

Drew Mangione   Comm Director            33,000         same                      40,000            21%

Lee Willbanks      Legislative Director      38,000         Chief of Staff        75,000            97%

Ed Gaffney           Chief of Staff             30,000         District Director      30,000         0
(Mr. Gaffney cannot earn any more and still double dip with his state pension from working at DOT)

Diane Baker         Constituent Liaison       32,000         Constituent Liaison    38,000        19%

Kathleen Funicane Constituent Liaison      37,000         Project coordinator   43,000        16%

Suzanne Donnelly   Executive Assistant     25,000         same                         25,000        0

Kathleen Doe        Administrative Assistant 9,630         same                         12,000        25%

Jannifer Isberner    Constituent Liaison       30,000        same                         33,000        10%

Jill Joanette            Legislative aide            28,900        Legislative analyst      37,000        28%

Loren Mortimer     Central Staff Regional coordinator 35,000 Community Liaison 40,000 14%

Kathryn White       Constituent Liaison      30,000         same                         38,000        27%


As unemployment soars, local companies cut back and the local economy slips deeper into recession, at least there's some good news--if you happen to work for Senator Aubertine and the New York State Senate Majority.

The raises were implemented before they even passed a single piece of legislation in their new role as majority members.

No need to worry about the 2.5% the city of Watertown gave the CSEA, that is small potatoes compared to New York State raises. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Same Old, Same Old - Empty Promises

The Republicans when they were in the State Senate majority were not exactly fair to their counterparts in the minority and they have their comeuppance coming to them, but the Senate Democrats promised the voters more - an accountable, transparent, fair and equitable system.

It all ended when Malcolm Smith was voted in as majority leader, the promises were left at the campaign doorstep only to be picked up on the way out the door for next year's election.The promises have been flying out the door ever since his leadership took over. Staffing budgets for Senator who represent like number of constituents are reduced, no consultation with minority counterparts in order to get buy in on legislation and the list goes on and on.

Here is how The Daily News writer Bill Hammond describes it - here


Smith would have been better off telling the amigos to take a hike in the first place and instead recruiting Senate Republicans to join a bipartisan leadership team.

He would have been keeping a campaign promise to rule the Senate in a more open, democratic and bipartisan fashion. And he was going to need their votes, anyway. 

When this session is over and a budget comes out from behind closed doors, the Democrats own every bit of it. The own the cuts, the tax increases and the shortcomings of it. They had and possibly still have the opportunity to cut through the partisan past and forge new ground. But, Malcolm Smith is not competent enough to see through to the solutions.

So New Yorkers still long for the day when partisan politics will be set aside for governing. 

Tainted Campaign Contributions

The New York Times did a piece today on illegal campaign contributions from non-profit 501 (c) (3) charities.

The Times looked at lawmakers campaign filings back to 2005 and uncovered 81 such illegal gifts.

“While the amounts were not eye-popping, the contributions often flowed to lawmakers who helped the charities secure state money.”

North Country Senator Darrel Aubertine received a contribution last June from the Jefferson County Children's Home for $375, which would qualify as an illegal contribution.

Should non-profits such as the Children's Home which utilizes taxpayer's money from the state and county sources, be using YOUR money for campaign contributions?

Here is hoping Darrel returns the money or will that take another political campaign with a TV ad in order to entice the Senator to exercise proper judgment.

(Disclaimer - this has occurred on both sides of the aisle - it is wrong either way)

Another 1 Year Lookback - Senator Aubertine

Along with the Governor having served 1 year, Senator Aubertine has wrapped up 1 year (actually slightly more) as Senator.

Here is a chance to share your thoughts on the job he has done in that first year. There is little to no learning curve for him as he has served in Albany for 5 years before becoming Senator.

Tell everyone what community or state issues he has taken the leadership role on, what he has confronted and how he has handled it.  What impact he has had in his first year, or to the contrary where you think he has failed.

Happy 1 Year Governor

Here it is, an open forum of sorts.

Governor David Paterson has been in office for a year now and he certainly has had his share of bumps in the road. Here is a chance to share your thoughts on his first year, have at it.
Happy St. Patrick's Day 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ready, Aim...

Senator Schumer Jr Gillibrand, who was a blug dog of sorts trying to turn left as fast as she can, continues to be on the firing squad of Democrats looking to oust her from her hand picked Senator seat.

Auntie June is in the scope of the squad also, her hands off this Juny or else they say.

June

Saturday, March 14, 2009

No Shortage Here


The Governor and the other Democrat leaders in the state are intent on using the federal stimulus money to prop up their spending habits and prolong the agony for New York residents by pushing deficits created by that spending out further.

But, the Governor, who has real issues with credibility between his actions and his words, continues to spend lavishly on himself. Paterson has now treated himself to some new patio furniture.

And the price tag - a whopping $14,188.00, but the frugal Governor gets a preferred customer discount so it ultimately only cost New York taxpayers $9095.00 to outfit his patio. What a bargain! He should be re-elected just on the basis of his thrifty shopping habits.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More Reform Reversals Yippee!

State Sen. Darrel Aubertine, who got himself in a twist a year ago over whether or not he supported Client #9’s plan to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, cast the deciding vote last night on a plan that makes it easier for aliens to get taxpayer-funded benefits from the state.

Aubertine went along with his fellow Democrats’ plan to upend a key welfare reform that requires single parents to have a valid child support order in order to qualify for certain taxpayer-subsidized programs.

With such a narrow balance of power between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, a shift of just one vote would have sent the measure down to defeat, the measure past 32-30, with Aubertine voting aye and Senator Joe Griffo voting nay. 

It took a 2-1/2 hour debate over whether relieving deadbeat dads of their financial responsibility is a good idea. Much of that debate revolved around the issue of illegal immigrants, who Democrats contend won’t seek such support orders for fear they’ll be deported.

According to the sponsor’s memo filed with the bill, S.2091: “The process necessary to obtain a court order for child support can be stressful for families already struggling with issues including employment, housing, transportation and food security.

"Non-custodial immigrant parents with outstanding immigration status issues may also face a threat of deportation if they become involved in Family Court proceedings."

No one knows how much the change will cost taxpayers, but the bill is opposed by local governments, who feared their local taxpayers will get stuck with the bill, and even some welfare advocates, who don't like the idea of letting fathers abdicate responsibility for their kids.

Aubertine cast his vote in lockstep with the down state leaders of his party.

Read a memo of opposition - in additional post below

During last year’s special election, Aubertine sent at least four mailers to voters throughout the district to “clarify” his position, after originally saying he thought Spitzer’s plan to give licenses to illegal aliens was a good idea.

Updated: The is an email sent to PIV regarding this post.


Deadbeat Dads
I do not always agree with the Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos and his conference but I am 100% behind them on this issue. Yesterday, the Senate Republicans unanimously opposed a bill pushed through by the Senate Democrats that would protect deadbeat fathers.
The bill S2091 (you can look it up here!) protects deadbeat fathers from paying costs associated with their own children while requiring the state  and local taxpayers to automatically pick-up the additional costs. In lay terms, the bill is asking New York taxpayers to subsidize deadbeat parents.
Last year the Senate Republicans tried to communicate (poorly I might add) to New Yorkers what the Senate would do under Democratic control.  The NY Sun actually wrote an article about it. Ugly as it might be, they were right. So far the Senate Democrats have done very little in terms of governing. It seems lately they would rather smear Former Republican Majority Leader Joe Bruno and slap the hands of Dean Skelos then actually do the people’s business.
Here is the first example of what can be a very long 2 years for New York’s taxpayers. In an economy as bad as the one we are experiencing right now, our elected officials should be looking at cutting costs and stimulate the economy to get us out of the recession.  They should not be passing legislation that piles more on the already overburdened taxpayer.
When will New Yorkers finally stand up and say enough is enough?

Memo of Opposition to Welfare


New York Public Welfare Association

130 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210 (518) 465-9305
Sheila Harrigan, Executive Director www.nypwa.com

Memo in Opposition to S2091/A3657

"An act to amend the social services law, in relation to eligibility requirements
for child care assistance”

The New York Public Welfare Association strongly opposes this legislation
which would eliminate the requirement to pursue a child support order as a condition of
eligibility for child care assistance. The requirement to seek child support is a key
strategy for tackling child poverty and promoting child well-being in our state and should
not be rescinded. Child support is a conduit to providing economic stability and the
establishment of paternity ensures a child’s right to inheritance and other benefits.
Every opportunity to engage a parent in seeking child support is important.
Removing this requirement would eliminate a critical time to connect each parent to the
goal of involving non-custodial parents in supporting their children. Making the pursuit
of child support optional will not achieve the same results.
It is critical to note the flexibility that already exists under current rules.
Applicants only need to be seeking a child support order – they do not have to have one
in place. They have the right to establish good cause for not actively pursuing child
support and the policy (05-OCFS-ADM-03) identifies fourteen distinct reasons that
parents can use for this purpose including domestic violence concerns. We have
supported specific changes to the ADM which would simplify the process while still
retaining the requirement to seek a child support order as an important step in engaging
non-custodial parents in the support of their children.
There is intense competition for the limited pool of child care subsidies available
in New York State. The proposed change would expand eligibility without providing
additional resources. Instead, we need to maximize income to the family so that child
care is appropriately allocated to those in truest need.
The NYPWA opposes this legislation and recommends that it not be considered
for further action.
For information contact:
Sheila Harrigan, Executive Director

Reformers? Not in Albany


Where’s Senate reform guru Dave Valesky?

The head of the Democrat-led Senate’s reform caucus has been silent as the downstate triumvirate that controls legislation has reverted to secret, closed-door meetings on the budget.

Now, NYC Democrats Gov. Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Malcolm Smith—who have been holding secret budget meetings without informing the press and public—have announced they will hash out the state’s $121 billion budget entirely in private, in violation of the state's budget reform law.

Malcolm Smith and the Senate Democrats campaigned on reform yet they are moving state government backwards.

Senator Darrel Aubertine campaigned on a more open process that included conference committees but that has all been laid aside. 
Not holding the committees not only violate a 2007 law meant to open up the process, it also is "incredibly insensitive'' to make the decision on the eve of "Sunshine Week,'' said Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group.
"It's been the same old, same old negotiations behind closed doors," according to Susan Lerner, executive director of New York Common Cause.
Read the story at: Stargazette

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Madam Speaker - Air Pelosi


Yet another example of hypocrisy within the ranks for the Democrats and their leaders. Pelosi in 2007  claims she does not want a plane, yet her staff see it otherwise. Chariot Please





The documents also detail correspondence from intermediaries for Speaker Pelosi issuing demands for certain aircraft and expressing outrage when requested military planes were not available. “It is my understanding there are no G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable…The speaker will want to know where the planes are…” wrote Kay King, Director of the House Office of Interparliamentary Affairs. In a separate email, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King writes, “This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset [s]peaker.”
(read more here)

Madam fly commercial like you and the other Democrats in Congress expect of the corporate CEO's. If it is good enough for the average American citizen to fly commercial, then it is good enough for you to fly commercial back and forth via commercial air service.

Halftime

We are at the half way point of the first 100 days of Obama and Redstate has kept score.



  • 511 Campaign Promises
  • Promises Kept -17
  • Promises Compromised - 7
  • Promises Broken - 2
  • Promises Stalled on - 2
  • In the Works - 39
  • No Action - 446
Read the report card here
 

Practice What You Preach

After passing $1.2 trillion in spending plans that are loaded with earmarks; BO now decides he wants to get tough on the practice of earmarks.

Believe it when you see it, don't buy the talk.

Read BO's remarks here.

And yes, if we as American taxpayers are going to be shoulder to shoulder with everyone to foot the bill for this stuff, then McHugh has a right and job, to bring home as much as he can. The preference would be to elminate this practice, but absent of elmination we are paying equal to everyone else and deserve representation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flush

Another day and another $410 billion flushed down the drain with again a promise perhaps as empty as the first one that promised to put America back onto it's fiscal feet. A bill that again is filled to the rim with those "little porky amendments" that no one really cares about according to Chuck Schumer, all 8,000 of them. A week from now Obama will again declare the bill was free from earmarks like he did with the stimulus bill. So here we are; America is not progressing, BO, Pelosi and Reid have spent $1.2 trillion is the first quarter of the year with total Democratic control in Washington and everyone's pension or investments are in need of CPR.
 If all of this spending does not work, the Democrats are convinced it is because they are not spending enough and will consider another stimulus. 

Dan will know the correct answer to this question; has the two spending bills spent more than the Iraq war cost taxpayers?

New Era

Jefferson County enters a new era of accountability tonight as they will stream a meeting live across the internet. The good government types should like the new era of transparency in their local government. This is a good move for Jefferson County and their residents.

And the first order of business to be aired is the presentation of the new jail that has questionable need and will come at a great expense to taxpayers to fulfill a campaign promise made by the Sheriff.

Be sure to tune in live and hear the presentation albeit in a testing stage.

Here is the link (here) the meeting begins at 6:30 with the jail needs presentation.

PIV is working on getting the link to you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

No Stimulus Money Here

According to the Gouverneur Times website - here - there is no stimulus money headed for the north country yet. We just love paying more in taxes and getting the door slammed shut and Governor Paterson has shut us out so far. Where is our north country state delegation, they should be stamping the feet and reinforcing all those campaign ads that claim they are "fighting for us."

Our unemployment rate is escalating and this so called job creation plan is leaving the North Country in the dust. And if Paterson and the state Democrats pursue their promise to close more prisons we will certainly feel the pain twofold.

Contact Darrel Aubertine, Addie Jenne Russell and Dede Scozzafava and let them know this is not acceptable.

Charlie swears with a smile on his face

Now this is a true politician, telling someone to mind their own "g d business" while smiling at him.

Urine Test

I received this email from a friend and not sure if this is a true story, but the concept is worth debating. Take it away from here folks. The ACLU would lay down in front of this train if it was ever debated.

I work, they pay me.  I pay my taxes, and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit.  In order to earn that pay check, I work on a rig site for a Fort McMurray construction project.  At any time I am required to pass a random urine test, with which I have no problem.  HOWEVER, what I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.  Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?    Understand - I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do on the other hand have a problem with helping someone sit on their ass, drink beer and smoke dope.  Could you imagine how much money this country would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

BO Needs To Man Up

A British newspaper is reporting President Obama was too tired for Prime Minister Brown's visit last week.

Hey BO - man up, you wanted this job, you should have realized what comes with it. Obama seems to be giddy about all the trappings that come with being President, but behind all the pampering there is a job to do.

Barack Obama's offhand approach to Gordon Brown's Washington visit last week came about because the president was facing exhaustion over America's economic crisis and is unable to focus on foreign affairs, the Sunday Telegraph has been told.  ...

Allies of Mr Obama say his weary appearance in the Oval Office with Mr Brown illustrates the strain he is now under, and the president's surprise at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk.
and then
The real views of many in Obama administration were laid bare by a State Department official involved in planning the Brown visit, who reacted with fury when questioned by The Sunday Telegraph about why the event was so low-key.

The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment."

Much like the other side was not interested in excuses from the Bush administration or their supporters, we do not want to hear the constant whining from the Obama administration. 

Read the entire article here.



Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pelosi Reverses Obama On Earmarks

Watch this video if you think Obama, who campaigned against earmarks has any chance of standing up on that campaign promise. Actually these are BO's 9286 earmarks in his own budget bill.

Now for the record, PIV did not endorse earmarks when the GOP was loading bills with them. The GOP lost their way in fiscal responsibility, which is why they are where they are today in the minorities. If Republican's can find it in them to get back to their principles then maybe they would regain majorities.

Time will tell! Democrats are sure giving the GOP an opportunity to contrast their ideology, whether the GOP takes advantage is another issue.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Obambi's Market


BO is now the official owner of a bear market on Wall St.


With yesterday’s declines, we now have an “official” Obama bear market, defined as a 20% decline. The S&P 500 index closed at 850 on the last trading day before Obama’s inauguration, and now it’s at 682. And it barely took six weeks.

Don’t let ANYONE tell you that this is Bush’s fault, or that Obama inherited the decline. The stock market by definition is a leading indicator. It predicts the future for corporate earnings, not the present or the past.

The stock market is saying that with Obama in office, the outlook for business is poor. And with his promises of higher taxes and more regulation, Obama is doing his very considerable best to reinforce the negative perception.

Next time you open your 401(k) or mutual fund statement, try not to flinch at the thought that a great big bear with Obama’s face is looking over your shoulder.
Redstate

Poor or Wrong Priorities

FLOTUS visited a homeless shelter the other day and while serving up some vittles this homeless man snapped a picture of the First Lady with his cell phone camera. I do not deny anyone - anything and wish people work hard and achieve great success, but (exit question here) are priorities in the wrong place if someone cannot afford an apartment yet they walk around with a cell phone?

Say (dairy or non dairy) Cheese!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kudos To The DANC Board


Since when did a long successful career of public service become a noose around someone's neck?

According to the DANC's Board of Directors decision today, it hasn't. They looked beyond the repugnant chatter of the DUHBrinker blog who never put up a solid debate to answer; why not Jim Wright and the blog never advocated for another choice. The DANC's board made a decision based appropriately on the credentials of Jim Wright.

Wright served the public well in Oswego and Jefferson county governments before serving the broader region of Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties admirably in the New York State Senate. Wright has made a lot of policy decisions that have positively affected Northern New York and the voters of the region showed their approval by re-electing him time and again before he left office with a 75% approval rating.

Jim Wright has assisted Northern New York in numerous infrastructure improvements including roads, bridges, water, fiber optics and housing, just to name a few. Serving as Executive Director of the Development Authority of the North Country is a legitimate extension of a good career. Wright has dealt with many of the Fort Drum expansion issues and the service DANC provides to the community to meet that growth will be uninterrupted by his selection. Wright served as Energy and Telecommunications Chair in the New York State Senate and he understands the challenges of rural Northern New York where quality TV still remains a problem without an analog signal, not to mention quality internet service. And Wright understands the need for quality and affordable housing for the residents of Northern New York as well as good clean drinking water.

Finally, DANC needed a bit of shake up from their predominate top down isolated and arrogant management structure that currently exists and the organization needs to more responsive to the constituents it serves. Wright has answered to the public throughout his career, and no one should expect anything different from him now.

The selection of Jim Wright as Executive Director is a good and sound business decision by the DANC Board of Directors, the decision was based on his career and his credentials - it was a good decision.

Public service is a good thing and people should be encouraged to participate in public service. It is okay to disagree with someone's policy positions or decisions, but people should never be dragged down just for serving. Maybe the DuhBrinker Report will understand that concept someday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Democrat Blogger

The 'DUH" Brinker Report is attempting to antagonize Political IV, and we always like and welcome a challenge. So, PIV just wanted to send out a message to the blogger at the "DUH" Brinker report and tell them PIV has not forgotten about you. I realize you are longing for a response, but frankly it is just plain fun watching you twist yourself in a knot. 

Oh btw "Duh" Brinker, you ought to pay closer attention to your own issues, Paterson is in tank of public opinion, he cannot get his stories straight on any issue and the head Democratic Queen June O'Neill is headed for the door and she does even know it yet. Sounds like he is throwing her out in the media before he told her, i.e. Caroline Kennedy again.

OH and look, nothing on DUH Brinker about that issue! Hmmmm

Not Milk?

GNot Milk


Liberals had a field day when a bureaucrat in Ronald Reagan’s administration tried to redefine ketchup as a vegetable.

Now, state Senator Darrel Aubertine wants to redefine what milk is.
And, according to farmers, he definitely thinks that it ain’t cheese.
Aubertine says his effort will help rescue dairy farmers from the current milk price crisis.
But farmers say it could put them out of business for good.
According to the USDA, Jefferson County is hemorrhaging farms at a rate far higher than the rest of Upstate NY. In its most recent Census of Agriculture, the county lost 143 farms between 2002 and 2007. The economics of farming have gotten worse since (even Sen. Aubertine got out of the business).
Link: USDA
Aubertine’s bill, S.2365, which he voted for last week, would ban a common ingredient found in cheese from any product that is labeled as “dairy.”
The NY Farm Bureau, which represents farmers, used remarkably strong language to denounce Aubertine’s bill, saying it would decimate the cheese-making industry, and dry up what is now one of the bright spots for dairy farmers in finding markets for their milk.
“Our concern would be that if this were to become law, cheese in New York would not be considered a dairy product any longer,” said a spokesman.
The implications of the bill are far-reaching. If cheese isn’t dairy, then it wouldn’t qualify under the federally funded WIC program, which helps poor families, women and children buy healthy food.
Besides the risk to children’s health, that would mean the end of another lucrative market for dairy farmers.
Through his spokesman, Aubertine dismisses the farmers’ concerns, but they’re not buying his position.
“We respect the senator and feel his legislation is well intended but we would oppose it… This (law) would not be beneficial to the industry in New York State,” the farm spokesman said.
 
Valley News has the full scoop read here

Grade The President

If you want to grade President Obama, here is your chance.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hypocrisy - Take II

After sharp criticism over the one-sided fake newscast that forced red-faced Senate Democrats to pull their debut One New York faux "news" off the web, the program is back-- this time with cameos from three Republicans. Less than 30 seconds in a 17-minute "newscast."

This is slicker than anything the Republicans even thought about producing.

Exit question:  
Tell me this propaganda machine is something different than what the Democrats were criticizing the Senate Republicans for?

Hail the reformers!



One New York - Update from New York State Senate on Vimeo.

The Queen Of Conservatism

11:30 minutes of Anne Coulter, her speech was quite humorous, this is a good excerpt of the Q & A session. If you are a conservatives, you will laugh but, it will make the hair on the neck of liberals stand up.
 

Who Do Conservatives Want


A straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for who Conservatives prefer for their candidate in the 2012 election cycle.


Mitt Romney — 20 percent
Bobby Jindal — 14 percent
Sarah Palin — 13 percent
Ron Paul — 13 percent
Newt Gingrich — 10 percent
Mike Huckabee — 7 percent
Mark Sanford — 4 percent
Rudy Giuliani — 3 percent
Tim Pawlenty — 2 percent
Charlie Crist — 1 percent

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chalk Up One More To "Minor Tax Problems"

The Dallas Morning News reports.


Add former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to the list of Obama Cabinet picks with tax problems.
The Senate Finance Committee says he underpaid by $9,975 in the last three years.
Senate aides uncovered the shortfall during weeks of vetting, and Kirk – the administration’s designated point person on trade — has promised to pay the Internal Revenue Service in full.
The problems: Kirk deducted too much for season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks and too much for tax preparation fees, and failed to report as income speaking fees that he donated to his alma mater, Austin College.
The full political implications won’t be clear until at least next week.
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., is standing behind Kirk, though today he postponed a long-delayed confirmation hearing until Monday, four days later than planned, citing a conflict with the White House health care summit.
“Mayor Kirk is the right person for this job and I will work to move his nomination quickly. I am confident he can successfully restore the confidence of Congress and the American people in a balanced international trade agenda,” Baucus said in a statement.
The White House shrugged off Kirk’s tax problems as a “few minor issues” and said the nomination remains on track.
“We are confident that Mayor Kirk will be confirmed,” said White House spokesman Ben LaBolt.

Ah, what the heck, just say you're sorry, it has worked for just about the entire selection process, we can't be bothered anymore by Democrats who don't pay their taxes.

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