Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Albany Budget, Ethics, Pay Raise, Three Men in the Room, Pork, Campaign $$$ #580


More Pots of $$$ That the Governor Controls 
Cuomo sitting on nearly $1.4B in state money, polseye how to spend it (NYDN) Even as he warns the upcoming state budget will be tight, Gov. Cuomo is sitting on $1.4 billion in unallocated funds that lawmakers say could be used to help boost funding for their different priorities.  Of the $9.4 billion in money the state has received since 2014 from legal settlements with financial institutions, $1.37 billion remains unallocated, according to the state controller’s office.  “There’s $1.4 billion just sitting there,” said one legislative source. “We need to have a plan to allocate it. There’s a lot of priorities that need funding, clearly.”  On top of that, legislative sources say, Cuomo is sitting on billions of dollars — some say as much as $20 billion — in additional money that has been allocated in previous budgets but has not yet gone out the door.  On potentially repurposing committed resources, a Cuomo aide said the money is earmarked for projects like upstate roads and bridges and statewide environmental and housing-related capital projects.  “A member of the Legislature is really suggesting they should undo these worthy statewide projects that they themselves enacted?” the aide asked.  He added that the Legislature itself has about $700 million in unallocated capital money.

















Cuomo's Budget Millionaires Tax Stays Cuts for the Middle Class Start 

Cuomo’s budget: The good, the bad and the ugly (NYP Rd) Cuomo claims his “prime focus this year” is “addressing the problems of the middle class.” To that end, he says,“we want to cut income taxes for the middle class.”  Want to? Albany already did — it passed that tax cut into law last year. Cuomo will now just implement it. (If that president thing doesn’t work out, at least he has a future selling used cars.) And plenty of other budget pain hits nonmillionaires. Cuomo’s pushing $160 million worth of “loophole” closers and hikes on taxes and fees that affect everything from e-cigs to online sales to motor-vehicle titles, as The Post noted Thursday.  Some of this new revenue will go to shower another $1 billion on schools, never mind that New York already spends more per student than nearly every other state.   He’d also shell out billions for “economic development” — $650 million for the life-sciences sector, another $500 million for Buffalo, $420 million for the film-industry glitterati (which, c’mon, hardly needs it). Never mind that such programs have failed to produce many long-term jobs. Then there’s his $100 billion-plus program for big public projects (like an overhaul of JFK Airport) — paid for with money that apparently grows on trees, given that Cuomo offers no other solid funding sources. But clearly New York’s politically ambitious gov is looking to take up the Bernie Sanders-Zephyr Teachout brand of spread-the-wealth class warfare, socking millionaires for spite and pretending to deliver “new” tax cuts for the middle class. All this may help his election prospects in 2018 and maybe even set him up for a 2020 presidential run. But it’s sure to cost New Yorkers a bundle — for years to come.

de Blasio on Shifting Costs to the City
De Blasio suggests state is pulling a fast one on city budget (NYP) de Blasio says there are “real questions” about whether the state budget shifts millions of dollars in costs to the city — and even that some of the budget maneuvers might be “covert” actions on the part of Gov. Cuomo.  * Cuomo seeks unilateral power to make mid-year budget changes (PoliticoNY) * Mayorde Blasio's preliminary budget full of guesswork pending 'unknowns' brought onby President Trump (NYDN)

Cuomo’s budget gives NYC over $400M in funding increases (NYP) Cuomo’s new state budget shifts at least $56 million in costs to New York City — but also includes more than $400 million in funding increases for the city, say governor’s aides.   Reimbursements to city agencies for placement of special-education students and foster-care kids is being slashed by $42 million.  Other cuts include $11 million for city public-health programs. Increases include $295 million more for education, $129 million extra for Medicaid and $55 million for other programs.*   New York Budget Hinges on Contentious Tax on the Rich (NYT) * Cuomo wants to rename, tweak Start-Up NY program 

Cuomo slapping millionaires with additional income tax (NYP) Cuomo plans to extend an income tax surcharge on millionaires to help balance his state budget for the upcoming year, a lawmaker said following a closed door briefing at the executive mansion. “We’re going to have to be battling over the tax that’s going to come out, the so-called millionaires tax,” said state Sen. James Tedisco (R-Schenectady). “I don’t agree with him on that. The one thing he said there’s going to be consternation about [the millionaire’s tax) and he knows that . . .We’re not going to support taxes in the senate.* LoomingExpiration of New York Millionaire’s Tax Presents a Dilemma for Gov. Cuomo (WSJ)  Governor’s move toward liberal leadership position clashes with push for fiscal restraint and tax cuts* Cuomo Takes a New Approach in Unveiling His 2017 State Budget Proposal (NYT)  Instead of giving a traditional address to the State Legislature, the governor held a series of closed-door meetings with legislators on his $152 billion plan.* Cuomo #nybudget offers free #SUNY tuition to some & allows for up to $250 increase for everyone else. #TuitionFreeNY * Cuomo's budget proposal includes policies ranging from ride hailing in upstate NY to marijuana decriminalization

INBOX: Cuomo has $21.9 million cash on hand, raised $4.4 million in last filing period* Tedisco: Cuomo joked to Senate GOP about how little hecampaigned for Dems (TU)


.@NYGovCuomo gives budget briefing at Executive Mansion Says $152 billion budget is "best of his administration"  Cuomo’s agenda has the word “middle class” in it five times. Here it is:  Cuomo's middle class agenda: cut income taxes, reduce property taxes, college affordability, more jobs, reduce prescription drug costs  Going down bullet points of #nysbudget @NYGovCuomo including clean water $2b over 5 years & college affordability $153b  Budget deficit: $3.5 Billion. Education: $1 Billion K – 12 * Cuomo notes he’s increased school aid, “been exceedingly generous,” in hiking school aid by 4% a year. Except 2011, when he cut it. * So called millionaire's tax would be extended. 45,000 New Yorkers impacted. Loss of that revenue would be $4 Billion over two years * Cuomo on mil tax continuation. "# 1, we don't cut taxes for millionaires. #2 we do cut taxes for the middle tax." * State facing budget deficit 3.5m and the money from millionaires tax will go to middle class tax cut for 6m NYers. Also 1m education boost. * Cuomo looking at extending the millionaires tax for three years. Says with deficit the state can't afford to lose revs from that tax Liz Benjamin ‏@CTLizB   Going unasked: how to close the darn 3.5m deficit?! Millionaires tax doesn't seem to generate enough* Andrew Cuomo breaks his tax pledge yet again (NYP Ed) Cuomo kept his new budget hush-hush all Tuesday, and one reason is obvious: His call to extend the millionaires tax (again) shows his rank hypocrisy. Again. “No new taxes.... $1BN Education, $2BN Clean Water, $500MM Buff Bill II, $550MM Airports, $10BN JFK, $240MM Lawyers for Poor...* Klein Thinks Senate GOP Will Come Around On Millionaires Tax(YNN) * NY Gov. Cuomo’sBudget Extend State’s Film Incentives Program $400 Million A Year (Hollywood Reporter) * Asmblymn Babenec"unorthodox &self-serving manner..Cuomo rolled out..Budget&SoS insulting to foundations of open government&transparency.." * Advocates Say Education Spending Falls Short (YNN) * Cuomo looks to enforce tax laws on out-of-state Web sales (NYP) * NEEDLING DE BLASIO - POLITICONY Cuomo's proposed budget would cut $50 million in Medicaid funding from New York City unless the de Blasio administration comes up with a plan in the next five months to receive $100 million more in federal Medicaid dollars for preschool and school supportive health services. The city has until June 30 to come up with a plan, which must be approved the state's health commissioner, and the incoming Trump administration. The ambitious plan, and even more ambitious timeline, must explain to the state health commissioner's satisfaction how the city will identify preschool and school-aged children who are receiving preschool and school supportive health services, and how the plan will generate $100 million in savings, according to Cuomo's budget, which was released Tuesday.

More on Cuomo
Cuomo AnnouncesSteps to Address Corruption In State Contracting After Scandal (NYO)
Cuomo reports$22M in 2018 campaign coffers as potential challengers lag behind (NYDN)
Cuomo doubles down on his failed corporate-welfare agenda (NYP)




Daily News to Cuomo Pass Albany Ethics First  Yea Fat Chance 
Pass ethicsreform first: Cuomo must push hard to clean up the Capitol (NYDN Ed) Cuomo’s 380-page book accompanying his six State of the State speeches is overflowing with 149 prposals, from closing nuclear plants to rebuilding airports to free college tuition.  Good or bad, and plenty of it is good, all of it is secondary to an ethical, functioning government in Albany free of taint, which we do not have.  Last legislative session saw Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara haul away in handcuffs the leaders, Democrat and Republican, of the Assembly and Senate, plus one of Cuomo’s closest aides.  Ethical reform for a corrupt Capitol has to be this year’s top priority. Not like last year, when Cuomo pushed a good-government package on June 8, a week before the session ended.

What Ethics are Needed From Albany 
1.  Unlimited outside income for lawmakers, a root cause of so much double dealing, must be eliminated. Legislators either work for the public or for private clients. They cannot have two masters. 2.  Also on the money front, New York’s loosest-in-the-nation campaign finance laws must be tightened radically. Close the LLC loophole, which allows big players to funnel unlimited cash to pols through anonymous shell corporations.  
3. At the same time, sharply reduce the largest-in-the-nation contribution caps. A donor can give Cuomo’s campaign $65,100 but only $5,400 to a presidential campaign. How dumb is that?  4. And abolish campaign “housekeeping” accounts, which allow for unlimited donations to committees under the thumb of party bosses.  5. Term limits for legislators, 6. plus public financing of campaigns. The latter could actually make matters worse if it happens without ethics controls in place first.


In Albany No Ethics Bill, Even After 30+ Members Jailed Pay to Play, Lobbyists and Big Money Still Lives 
Pay-to-play isn’t going away anytime soon (NYP) Albany’s notorious pay-to-play culture is alive and well, despite corruption indictments and convictions that have rocked both houses of the Legislature and Gov. Cuomo’s office.  At least 20 legislative campaign fund-raisers are already scheduled just blocks from the state Capitol building in the coming weeks, with dozens more being planned. And that’s just two months after incumbents were re-elected.  The lawmakers are fattening their campaign wallets by discussing government business with lobbyists and donors during the day and then schmoozing with them at night — for a campaign check.  That’s pay to play, government watchdog groups say. A disgusted Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group added of Albany, “It’s like what Willie Sutton said about robbing banks — you go where the money is.’’  The fund-raisers include a $1,000-per-person bash for Deputy GOP state Senate Majority Leader John De Francisco of Syracuse.  Majority Leader John Flanagan of Long Island, whose name is being floated to run for governor in 2018, has already held a $1,000-per-head fund-raiser, even though he has $643,000 in his campaign kitty.  “It wasn’t like this when I started lobbying in the 1980s,’’ Horner noted.  “It’s turned into a Frankenstein of special-interest fund-raising.”  Given New York state’s high donation limits, the same donors will get hit up for more checks throughout the two-year election cycle.  For state Senate races, donors can give a maximum of $7,000 for party primaries and $11,000 for the general election.  For the Assembly, donors can give up to $4,440 for primary and general-election contests alike.  But the watchdogs said New York should do what about half of the states already do and restrict or ban contributions from lobbyists and corporations — particularly during the legislative session.



70% Against Albany Pay Hike Unless Ethics Reforems As JCOPE Kills Outside Income Ethics Reforms 

Raise for state lawmakers opposed by whopping 70% of NewYork voters, poll shows (NYDN) New Yorkers overwhelmingly oppose a pay raise for state lawmakers unless they limit their outside income and accept eight-year term limits, a new poll found. The Quinnipiac University poll shows that 70% of those surveyed oppose the idea of a legislative pay raise with nothing in return. But voters by a 56% to 36% margin say they support a pay raise if lawmakers agree to limit outside income and accept the term limits.  Corruption continues to also be an issue, with 83% of those surveyed calling it very or somewhat serious. But voters were split 43% to 43% on whether Cuomo is part of the problem or the solution. No Ethics  Lawmakers create loophole. JCOPE legitimizes it. Statelawmakers can remain exempt from listing legal clients.  *The New York state's ethics and lobbying watchdog decided state officials who claim exemptions from a new income disclosure law won't have to reveal that privacy protection on their annual financial disclosure forms, the Times Union reports.   * As discussions continue about whether there will be a special session of the state Legislature this year, a group of homeless advocates urged the signing of a memorandum of understanding that would free up money for supportive housing, the Times Union writes.

Albany Pay Raise Ethics Reforms, Special Session?
We Don't Need A Stinking Commission NYS Exposed: Could pay raise still be coming forlawmakers? (WHEC)
Cuomo’s commissioners could see pay hike, too (poughkeepsie journal)
A pay raise for state legislators to $116,000 or more has been taken off the table as the Senate’s GOP majority opposes limits on outside income and the Assembly’s Democratic majority opposes term limits, Newsday reports.
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said he was in the Capitol to do the “people’s business” and offered little new information about whether there would be a special legislative session, the Times Union reports.







Heastie has privately raised the specter of the Legislature end-running Gov. Andrew Cuomo by passing its own bill to enact its first pay raise since 1999
Carl Heastiemulls overriding Cuomo to push lawmakers pay raise bill (NYDN) Heastie has privately raised the spectre of the Legislature end-running Gov. Cuomo by passing its own bill to enact its first pay raise since 1999, sources told the Daily News. Doing so would force Cuomo to either grudgingly sign the bill or veto it, which could raise the ire of lawmakers and potentially threaten the governor’s legislative agenda heading into 2017, the sources said. Heastie recently discussed the idea with Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan, who said he was “potentially open” to it even while warning that an override vote could face significant hurdles in his chamber, the insiders said. Many upstate Republicans are on record publicly of opposing a pay raise, meaning the GOP would have to turn to the Senate Democrats for help with any possible over override vote, which carries its own challenges. Legislators on both sides of the aisle are livid with Cuomo after his representatives on a commission recently blocked a move to hike their $79,500 base pay. Several accused Cuomo of only pushing reforms to deflect attention from the fact a former top aide and other associates were recently indicted on federal corruption charges. A pay raise must be approved by the end of December or lawmakers will have to wait another two years before trying again. With two Senate races still being recounted on Long Island, it appears the Democrats are set to have a numerical majority. But the Republicans are expected to maintain Senate control thanks to eight breakaway Democrats who likely will align themselves with the GOP. One of those dissidents, Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who also ran on the Republican line, said Sunday there is nothing Cuomo can say to him to keep him from continuing to sit with the GOP conference. A Cuomo official last week called it “preposterous” to ask the governor to get involved “in an intramural Senate fight.”* In light of the accusations of horse trading around the decision on a pay raise for state legislators, The Buffalo News’ Tom Precious explores the art of making deals in Albany and the lengths that lawmakers go to to deny that any such behind-the-scenes trading happens.* Morelle: Term Limits Not On The Table



Albany Try Sneak Pay Raise Without Real Ethics 

Reform Blows Up? NOTHING FOR ALBANY BUMS 

Nothing for nothing as Albany bums get no pay raise (NYDN)  Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s cynical gamble failed. A special state commission he set up to deliver pay raises to legislators in the most corrupt state Capitol in America came up snake eyes. It was the only principled answer after months in which elected officials tried to get a big something — long-awaited salary hikes — for giving absolutely nothing in return. Neither Democrat Heastie nor his Senate counterpart, Republican John Flanagan, agreed to limit by as much as a dollar the outside income legislators are allowed to earn.  That, despite the fact that there are only a dozen assemblymembers and six senators with substantial outside income. To protect those few, the many must now pay a hefty price. Nor would they agree to nix the corrupting extra cash payments, called lulus, used to keep rank-and-file representatives in line, which are banned in every other statehouse in America, not to mention Congress and the City Council. Common decency also required Heastie and Flanagan to actually ask the panel for raises. Never happened. Lawmakers didn’t even have the class to let the panel finish its work before the November election — which meant taxpaying voters had no opportunity to weigh in on the raises they’d be paying for before going to the polls.  In short, they tried to play the people for fools and wound up getting caught. If elected officials really want more take-home pay, they have the power to pass a law. They’ve had that power since the beginning. The only problem is they have to live with the political consequences of voting themselves a raise. Which requires backbone they almost certainly don’t have. We note that many of the pay panel’s sessions, including the final one, took place in a room at the New York City Bar Association named for Henry L. Stimson. Stimson was an esteemed New York lawyer who served as secretary of war and secretary of state for Republican Presidents and again as secretary of war for FDR, when he planned, prosecuted and prevailed in WWII. He was a giant of American history, in stark contrast to very small people now occupying leadership in the New York Legislature.* Cuomo’s appointees on a state compensation commission declined to recommend a pay raise for Albany lawmakers, laying the groundwork for a battle over legislators’ outside income in the months ahead, The Wall Street Journal reports. BREAKING: no legislative pay raise today. Legislature must first pass serious ethics reform according to three Governor appointees * Days of whine and no raises for New York lawmakers (NYP)




Pay Raise Update
Upsetting the state Capitol’s usual rhythms of activity, the state Legislature is contemplating an unusual December special session, with a glittering prize as motivation: a pay raise, The New York Times reports.
* Cuomo is right to demand that any pay increases require state legislators to work full time and accept a tight limit on outside income, but some of the other items on his laundry list of demands shouldn’t be tied to raises, such as the the renewal of 421-a, Newsday writes. *   Term limits appears, LLC loophole closure vanishes (TU) Cuomo's list of possible special session items includes surprising choices

Pay Raise vs Cuomo's Ethics Reforms Push 
Albany Rats Will Go for the $$$ and Water Down Reforms

Cuomo’s war with the Legislature is getting close to nuclear (NYP)  Cuomo’s war of passive-aggressive slaps with the Legislature escalated further this week. How long before it goes nuclear?  In the runup to Thanksgiving, Cuomo’s pawns on a special committee dashed lawmakers’ hopes of getting a raise. In response, the Legislature’s leaders aimed to ruin the gov’s holiday, by sending him 136 ills to sign or veto over the long weekend.  On Wednesday, Cuomo replied in kind — by suggesting lawmakers drop everything to go back to Albany for a special session to pass a horde of bills in just a day or two.  Some of it’s standard legislative stuff: releasing money for the homeless, creating new watchdogs for SUNY and CUNY, funding a new state hate-crimes unit. Cuomo also wants action to restore the 421-a tax credit for residential buildings in the city — a credit that he blew up last year. Yet he’s also pushing constitutional changes — making legislators’ jobs officially full-time, with higher pay and low caps on outside income. Plus, he wants their time in office limited to two four-year terms. * N.Y. Dems urge Gov. Cuomo to reinstate breakaway membersin fight to regain Senate control (NYDN)

Albany Rats Try to Snake A Pay Raise
State lawmakers could vote on pay raises in special session (NYP) * The prospect of a pay raise for state lawmakers has been revived as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are said to be discussing an array of issues that could bring lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session this month, the Times Union writes.  * A pay raise for state lawmakers cannot happen without some basic concessions, including a cap on outside pay, which is now unlimited, and a ban on lulus, the payments legislative leaders use to reward allies and withhold from foes, the Daily News writes.  The Times Union questions why the public should have any confidence in an ethics system in which lawmakers built their own loopholes, including one to avoid scrutiny by their own ethics watchdog, and seem not to trust the very ethics agency they created.

Silly: Law Makers Protest Cuomo Blocking Their Pay Raise
Albany pols seekvengeance against Cuomo over pay raises by flooding his office with billsduring Thanksgiving (NYDN) Angry that the governor’s appointees to a commission last week blocked the first legislative pay raise since 1999, leaders of the Senate and Assembly sought a bit of vengeance. The two chambers sent the governor 133 of the remaining 158 bills that were passed during this year’s legislative session. By law, he has until Nov. 28 to sign or veto them.  “Won’t be a fun Thanksgiving week for some people,” one political consultant said of the governor’s counsel office that is charged with reviewing the bills.  Typically, bills are sent down in much smaller batches, often at the urging of the governor




Heastie Says the State Legislators Deserve A Pay Raise Regardless of If They Don't Take Action to Strengthen Ethics Laws
Ethics Reform Before Pay Raises Cuomo Cuomo wants more ethics reforms in exchange for Legislative pay raises (NYDN) * Heastie: Pay raise issue should be considered on its own (TU) * While Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign remains mum on the issue, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s re-election campaign has said it will return campaign funds tied to developers who are being charged in a bribery and bid-rigging case. * With the latest corruption case hanging over Albany, the prospects of a pay raise for lawmakers and members of the governor’s administration appear less likely.* Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said state legislators deserve a pay raise regardless of whether they take action to strengthen ethics laws and that the salaries should be determined by economic factors, the Daily News reports. * Carl Heastie: Keep pay hikes for legislators out of ethics reforms


Pay raise showdown:No reform, no raise  (NYDN) Tuesday, 533 days after it was set up, the special commission on Albany pay raises concludes its business. The panel should expire without recommending raises for recalcitrant lawmakers. After a late start — thanks to a five-month delay in appointment of its members — the panel did the first thing on its checklist expeditiously, recommending a sane pay raise for judges a week before a legal deadline. Then came the hard part: boosts for the state Legislature, where salaries have been frozen at $79,500 since 1999. A raise roughly consistent with inflation, or 47%, has always been in the public interest, provided a few basic conditions were met. In a capital rotting from the inside out, ethics reforms were a must, limiting outside income and at the very least eliminating the corrupting outside payments, or lulus, handed to loyalists. A lower bar still: Legislators had to show their faces to make the case for a raise. None of which happened. Since all commission members agree that statewide elected officials and agency chiefs are deserving, their hikes should get approved. But assemblymembers and senators will have to wait until they show a healthier respect for the public they serve. Or they can vote themselves a raise — and let voters render judgment in 2018.* A commission studying whether state lawmakers should get their first pay raise in nearly two decades is expected to announce its decision Tuesday, and any pay increase would take effect automatically unless opposed by the Legislature, The Associated Press reports.  The Daily News writes that the special commission set up to consider pay raises in Albany should expire without recommending raises for “recalcitrant lawmakers” who would not show their faces to make the case for a raise.* Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ, writes in the Times Union that he supports giving state senators and Assembly members a long-denied and decent wage, and that paying enough to attract qualified people is more important following the presidential election.* Albany lawmakers aren’t getting the pay hikes they hoped for (NYP) * New York Lawmakers Will Not Get Raise, Commission Decides (NYT) The legislators have not had a pay increase since 1999, and now three appointees of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declined to back one without new ethics laws.* * The Daily News writes that Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and others gambled on the Legislature’s pay-raise commission, but lost after seeking the pay bump without offering any concessions or making the case to taxpayers prior to election day.
Now Corrupt Albany Ties to Sneak A Pay Raise


 Even as Americans across the country voted for change, in Albany, precisely gerrymandered districts produced more of the same. The ratification of the status quo was a depressing capstone after a session in which the leaders of both legislative chambers were convicted following successful prosecutions by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. With Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democratic crook, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican crook, headed to federal prison, their successors now continue the bad old ways of boss rule. New Speaker Carl Heastie, the Democrat who runs a body that routinely circumvents hearings and honest deliberations, padded his majority to 107 of 150 members. Down the hall, Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan picked up a seat, dashing Gov. Cuomo’s effort to wrest away control of the Senate.   * Pay Commission is postponed again and Megna poised to join (WSJ) A meeting of the State Commission on Legislative Judicial and Executive Compensation has for the second time in recent weeks been postponed from Thursday until Nov. 15, which is the date by which they are required to issue recommendations on whether lawmakers should get a pay raise and if so, how much that raise should be. The postponement came at the request of Fran Reiter, one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s three representatives on the seven-member panel. It also comes as one of those gubernatorial appointees, Gary Johnson,has resigned, saying he has other work commitments to attend to.


Albany Pay Raise Update
The Daily News criticizes Albany lawmakers for attempting to postpone the legislative pay raise decision until after the election and writes that if lawmakers want a raise, they should pass real ethics reform and publically make the case for the raise.







Look for A Deal Between Cuomo and Lawmakers to Raise Pay and Pass Another Weak Ethics Bill

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his first priority when lawmakers return to Albany in January will be to pass additional ethics reforms, particularly ones limiting the outside income of state lawmakers,the Times Union reports.



Assembly Lawmakers Angry At Cuomo for Trying to Tie Ethics Reforms to Pay Raise  
Cuomo Triangulation Demand Lawmakers Tie Ethics Reforms As the Buffalo Billion Criminal Investigations Gets to Door Steps 
  UPDATE: Politicians, don't spend your pay raise yet... (NYDN)

Democrats can’t stand Cuomo’s meddling in pay raise talks (NYT) An ugly behind-the-scenes fight is simmering between Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature over pay raises and a push for stricter measures to combat Albany’s pay-to-play corruption crimes, The Post has learned.  Assembly Democrats are fuming that fellow Democrat Cuomo is meddling in the deliberations of a state commission deciding on whether to give a raise to state lawmakers – and if so, how big. Tensions exploded during a conference call Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie had with fellow Democrats last Thursday, which turned into a gripe session about Cuomo’s attempt at horse trading for other measures he wants, including anti-corruption legislation.  Cuomo and the Legislature created the compensation commission to address raising salaries for legislators, the executive branch and judges.  The governor has three appointees to the seven-member panel, the chief judge has two and legislative leaders have two. “The commission was supposed to take politics out of it. The governor is trying to throw extraneous things into the mix,” Westchester Assemblyman Gary Pretlow told The Post.  “It wasn’t supposed to be a quid pro quo. A quid pro quo is unethical. You can’t do that.* Lobbyist Todd Howe:$85,000 from Cor Development was a bribe, not a loan (Syracuse) Former lobbyist Todd Howe says he does not have to repay $85,000 to client Cor Development Co., because the money was a bribe, not a loan. The money was actually "part of an illegal conspiracy'' to bribe a state official, lawyers for Howe allege. Cor officials said Howe is lying and that the debt is legitimate.* Cuomo’s financial regulator rips DiNapoli for investing in hedge funds  (NYP) Lobbyist Todd Howe: $85,000 from Cor Development was a bribe, not a loan (Syracuse) Former lobbyist Todd Howe says he does not have to repay $85,000 to client Cor Development Co., because the money was a bribe, not a loan. The money was actually "part of an illegal conspiracy'' to bribe a state official, lawyers for Howe allege. Cor officials said Howe is lying and that the debt is legitimate.

Lawmakers Make No Case For A Pay Raise

With no lawmakers signing up to testify, pay raise hearing is canceled (TU) Gov. Cuomo has said lawmakers should make the case if they want a raise





Daily News Albany Lawmakers Have Not Made the Case for A Pay Raise 
Keep waiting forthat pay raise: State legislators needs to explain what salary increase theythink they deserve (NYDN Ed)  At long last, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie summoned the courage to tell a special state pay raise commission that he believes legislators deserve their first salary hike since 1999.  The speaker submitted a five-page letter whose last sentence obliquely asked for a 47% hike, which sounds high but is in line with 17 years of inflation.  A lawmaker’s annual salary would climb from $79,500 to $116,900.  Legislators have feared they would face public wrath for raising their pay — while mired in dysfunction and corruption. Their out was to give the panel power to recommended hikes for state elected officials, judges and commissioners.  At long last, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie summoned the courage to tell a special state pay raise commission that he believes legislators deserve their first salary hike since 1999.  The speaker submitted a five-page letter whose last sentence obliquely asked for a 47% hike, which sounds high but is in line with 17 years of inflation.  A lawmaker’s annual salary would climb from $79,500 to $116,900.  Legislators have feared they would face public wrath for raising their pay — while mired in dysfunction and corruption. Their out was to give the panel power to recommended hikes for state elected officials, judges and commissioners.  The recommendations will take effect unless voted down by the Legislature — thus allowing lawmakers to weasel that they were bystanders to actions of an obscure commission.  Heastie took a stand only after gubernatorial appointee Fran Reiter said she would refuse any raise unless legislative leaders spoke up to be held accountable.  The speaker stopped his knees from knocking long enough to draft his letter. But he fell short of earning the raise by failing to offer ethics reform.  Even more cowardly, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan stands mum.  Since it is doubtful the commission can condition raises on later passage of reform measures, the panel must turn thumbs down.  At the very least, it must decree that all lawmakers receive identical amounts, thereby barring the bosses from granting stipends, called lulus, on top of the standard paycheck.




Sign A Petition to Stop Pay Raises to Lawmakers Until They Pass an Ethics Bill


Post reader starts petition to stop lawmakers’ 47 percent raise (NYP) A Post reader, spurred to action by a report about state lawmakers possibly getting a 47 percent raise, has started an online petition opposing the hike that has drawn more than 7,000 signatures in less than a week.

 (NYT) * 

Gov. Cuomo 'cautiously optimistic' New York State budget deal will be set by Friday (NYDN) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters he remains “cautiously optimistic” about completing a state budget by the March 31 deadline, but did not deny that a regional split on a minimum wage increase may be included in the final deal, Politico New York reports: * With the budget deadline looming, many legislators are already looking toward the June end of the legislative session, when mayoral control of New York City schools, a replacement for the 421-a real estate tax break and an ethics reform package could all be in play, Crain’s report The Assembly has proposed Medicaid coverage for “high needs” state prison and local jail inmates starting 30 days before their release, the Daily News reports:

 A reform of New York’s antiquated and nationally out-of-step statutes of limitations on sex crimes against minors must be sweeping and fair, with consistency between criminal and civil court and perpetrators and enablers, theDaily News writes:  * Criminal Justice Reform Again Given Little Attention inBudget Negotiations

While a six-year timeline for a $15 minimum wage upstate is understandable and a part of political compromise, Cuomo’s recent suggestion that an increase could be phased in over nearly a decade is intolerable and makes a mockery of the much-needed wage hike, the Times Union writes * Cuomo and de Blasio agree on one thing when it comes to New York’s $2.5 billion in debt obligations: They’d much rather dig the debt hole deeper –even as they fight over who gets to hold the shovel, the Postwrites: * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said yesterday he is “cautiously optimistic” a budget deal will be in place by Friday’s deadline that will include a hike to the minimum wage, the creation of a state paid family leave program, and a significant boost in education aid.* Cuomo did not deny a lower rate for upstate is part of the minimum wage discussions, saying: “We anticipate a different rate to get to $15, then obviously there’s a variety of ways that can get there. But our point is the highest rate that can be done efficiently and effectively and within that economy and keep that economy growing.” 

One thing the budget deal definitely won’t address: Ethics reform.*Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to shift some state costs for the Medicaid health care system to New York City is one of the last and thorniest issues being debated behind closed doors.*  Heastie: ‘Albany Is The Art Of The Compromise’(YNN) Tuesday Budget Update Cuomo has proposeda “$100 billion investment in transformative projects statewide,” but experts warn such projects can fall prey to multibillion-dollar cost overruns, blown deadlines and even what prosecutors call criminal behavior: * Cuomo’s proposal to shift some state costs for the Medicaid health care system to New York City is one of the last and thorniest issues surrounding the state budget being debated behind closed doors, Newsday reports:  New York lawmakers were haggling over the possible centerpiece of this year’s budget deal – a $15 statewide minimum wage – when their talks were overshadowed by California doing it first, The Wall Street Journal reports: * The goal of transparency in the state budget process came and went Monday as lawmakers and Cuomo instead kept their eyes on another ambition: meeting Thursday’s deadline, The Buffalo News writes:* Assembly Democrats from north of the New York City region are concerned a potential minimum wage compromise could fall short for upstate, with a possible raise to $12.50 or $13 for the region, State of Politicsreports * While Cuomo should be praised for reversing decades of neglect and sticking to state budget deadlines, he should be more open about the dealings, even if it means missing the deadline by a few days, so it’s clear what being voting on, the Post writes: * Cuomo may not like New York City’s mayor, but he must keep his promise not to shift $800 million in CUNY and medicaid costs to the city in the state budget,the Daily News writes: * The “rational tuition policy” adopted by SUNY five years ago, which has caused tuition to increase by 25 percent over the past five years, needs to be restructured and restrained, and Albany needs to help close the system’s budget gap, the Buffalo News writes: New York doesn’t need another ‘secret’ budget (NYP Ed)  * A penny promise to keep: Cuomo can’t cut Medicaid or CUNY (NYDN Ed) * State lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are yet to come to an agreement on key issues in the 2016-17 state budget, including a 12-week paid family leave program and a $15 minimum wage. * Lawmakers and Cuomo continued to negotiate on Monday the possibility of a slower minimum wage increase north of the New York City area that may or may not get to $15.  * Other issues at play in the budget talks include SUNY 2020, medical malpractice and, of course, education funding as lawmakers blow first deadline to avoid a message of necessity. * In typical Albany fashion, the details of various plans being floated for the budget in private are shifting day by day at the Capitol. * Union leaders are slamming Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget for shifting Medicaid costsonto New York City, which remains one of the sticking points in the budget talks. * Six activists for AIDs funding were arrested at the Capitol after they were disappointed with Cuomo’s proposed executive budget. * As that protest was going on near his office, Cuomo banned non-essential state travel to North Carolina over a new law that has been deemed discriminatory toward LGBT individuals. * New York City, too, is putting in place a non-essential travel ban to North Carolina over the law.* The Buffalo News editorial board urges SUNY to take a look at its own operations amid fast-rising tuition costs.* One of the Long Island businesses supporting Cuomo’s $15 minimum wage push moved jobs to Mexico, saying labor costs there are cheaper.* Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli of the Syracuse area says he’s confident the $15 minimum wage proposal won’t fall out of the state budget. * Ditto Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who told reporters on Monday the budget deal in Albany is all part of the art of the compromise. * Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan: “Clearly we have our differences that I think at the end of the day will be resolved.”* New York Post: It’s better the state budget be “a bit late than opaque.” * The state budget is likely to see increased funding for addiction services as state officials seek to combat the state’s growing heroin epidemic.*  Budget Holdup * Legislative Leaders Say Budget Bills Could Come Tonight (YNN) 


Cuomo vs de Blasio War: Affordable Housing Poison Pill Football 
Mayor de Blasio's housing commissioner says Gov. Cuomo's affordable housing budget is a 'poison pill' (NYDN) Cuomo’s budget is a “poison pill” for city affordable housing, Mayor de Blasio’s housing commissioner said Thursday. When the state didn’t come through with about $160 million the city was expecting in tax exempt bonds, that halted the production of 1,200 affordable apartments, said Vicki Been, commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. And new rules inserted into Cuomo’s proposed budget will “make it even worse,” she said. Under Cuomo’s plan, any project funded with the bonds would have to be approved by the Public Authorities Control Board — a panel with appointees by the governor, Assembly, and Senate, where any one of the three can scuttle a deal.*NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing Commissioner Vicki Been called Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed executive budget a “poison pill” for the city’s affordable housing plan. Education The Daily News writes that Cuomo’s use of CUNY as a bargaining chip in his ongoing fued with de Blasio is not fair to the students who rely on the system for an affordable education:




Cuomo Squeezes de Blasio's Budget
BUDGET WARNING -- Council urges City Hall to prepare for state cuts -- POLITICONY The specter of Andrew Cuomo's executive budget loomed large over the first day of hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio's preliminary budget at City Hall Tuesday, as City Council members expressed repeated concerns that the city isn't prepared to fill the possible giant hole in its budget that would be created if Cuomo's proposals to cut city funding are enacted. De Blasio's top budget official told council members that he and his staff have yet to hold any conversations with Cuomo's administration over how to mitigate any of the state budget proposals that would cost the city almost $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2017, and more in the next several years. "I have been told by the governor's staff they will be reaching out to me soon," City budget director Dean Fuleihan told council members, when asked what the city was doing to prepare for the possibility that some or all of Cuomo's proposed cuts could end up in the final state budget, which is due April 1. "Clearly from our perspective, the fact that we've engaged in very little conversations and they may be passing this budget by April 1st, in 30 days, does that bring concern to you, as a director, that they haven't engaged you as of yet?" City Council Finance chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland asked. "Yes." Fuleihan replied.*  Name the issue – charter schools, taxes, public housing, law enforcement, regulation of car-sharing services – and Cuomo has gone out of his way to step on de Blasio’s plans and sometimes humiliate him.”* Tight squeeze forBill (NYDN Ed) On Monday, city budget director Dean Fuleihan alerted agency commissioners that they must generate “significant new savings,” starting in the coming spending plan. During the Bloomberg administration, City Hall steadily required agency heads to meet specific targets for saving money through increased efficiency without cutting services. De Blasio abandoned the discipline in his first two budgets, to fiscal watchdogs’ distress. Now, his order tightens the belt partially: He has yet to present commissioners with actual benchmarks. Fuleihan attributed the stepped-up caution to an increasing danger that “volatile” world stock markets and a slowing U.S. economy could reduce city revenue. But events within the mayor’s control are more immediately threatening. Spending on homeless services and prevention is up 46% from just two years ago, to $1.7 billion. The tab to keep the public hospital system in business amid Obamacare cuts amounts to more than $1.3 billion. The police department is growing by 1,300 officers. Pension costs have leaped by a sudden $600 million a year because retirees are living longer. Underperforming pension fund investments may force further calls on the budget. The mayor’s generous labor settlements gave city workers raises at the same time that City Hall has helped the unions to largely fake their way out of delivering health-care avings. Still coming due are pledges to rebuild the city Housing Authority and help fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital plan. How to pay for it all? Troublingly, de Blasio counts on a teeth-grinding 6.5% average annual rise in property tax collections through 2020. Now, go tell it all to the state Legislature and Gov. Cuomo — from whom de Blasio is asking big bucks while the Senate wants the city to live within the 2% cap on property taxes that covers the rest of New York. Further hanging over de Blasio is the governor’s ill-founded plan to unload onto the city $800 million in costs for City University and Medicaid. Cuomo’s rationale for the Medicaid hit is that the state should subsidize increased costs only for localities that abide by the 2% tax cap.* Cuomo has enjoyed a windfall from bank settlements, but budget analysts and experts are concerned about how the state will handle the loss of such funds, which they predict the will begin to taper off in coming years: (City and State)
 * The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, now re-branded as NYC Health + Hospitals, is facing a tidal wave of red ink that’s only projected to grow, posing perhaps the greatest financial crisis of its existence: (City and State)Cuomo Says Proposed Cuts to City University Won't Hurt Students, Administrator Says It Would Be 'Crushing' to the System (NY1)* CUNY official: State cuts could require sharp tuition hike (PoliticoNY)


The Albany Budget

The April 1 budget deadline is looming, could an early deal be in the cards, a result in part of the early Easter holiday?* New York is poised to end its ban on professional mixed martial arts, the last state to prohibit the combat sport. *  EJ McMahon: “Three years ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo blew a rare opportunity to fundamentally reform one of the most costly provisions of the New York State law regulating public-sector collective bargaining. Now he’s about to blow it again.” * Heastie: Pay Panel Wasn’t Meant To Decide Full-Time Legislature (YNN) * State republicans poised to pass minimum wage hike (NYP) * State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said his colleagues could be open to the $15 minimum wage, with several caveats such as lowering workers compensation  and unemployment expenses for businesses,The Buffalo News reports: * Under the latest proposal, New York City would see a $15 wage after three years, suburban counties on Long Island and Westchester would see $15 after four years and upstate would get an increase to perhaps $13, sources tellTime Warner Cable News:  * Amid criticism over rising tuition, SUNY officials said they would impose a tuition freeze next year if the Legislature commits $73 million in direct state investment to SUNY in the 2016-17 budget, the TimesUnion reports: *  The Post writes that unions do not mind that a $15 minimum wage would kill 200,000 to 600,000 jobs because their retirement funds are low and employers pay into the funds based on payroll:* CUNY advocates target Cuomo, legislature in funding push (NYDN) * A compromise on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $15-an-hour minimum wage push could be in the offing. *  Under the latest proposal, sources say New York City would see a $15 wage after three years, the neighboring suburban counties, including those on Long Island and Westchester, would see $15 after four years and upstate New York would get an increase to $13 or another number less than 15. * GOP senators want a number of issues to be part of any minimum wage package, including lowering workers compensation and unemployment expenses for business, providing tax breaks for small companies and excluding some kinds of employers from the wage increase mandates, said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. * The wage deal is likely to come with an exemption for farmers and a measure that would freeze the minimum wage in case of an economic downturn. The Senate GOP is also pushing for elimination of Cuomo’s wage board, which has the power to set salaries for certain industries. * On both sides of the minimum wage battle, the ties between researchers and those pushing a political agenda can create a thick data fog, and a perception that truly independent research is elusive in the nationally uncharted waters of the $15-an-hour boost.* Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Cathy Nolan said she’s willing to fight and even hold up the whole budget process to get more education funding. “We’re not going to be cooing doves here; we’re eagles for our kids,” she said. *  Top officials at SUNY broke with Cuomo over a proposed tuition increase at the state’s public universities, saying they’ll accept a one-year freeze in exchange for a $73 million boost in funding. * More than two dozen leaders of foundations that support schools in the City University system took out full page advertisements this week to urge Cuomo and the state Legislature to stop playing politics with the vital educational system.* The governor is facing a loud and well-organized backlash over his proposal to reduce state funding for CUNY by $485 million, with advocates painting that move as a stain on his liberal agenda.*  Cuomo Faces Loud Backlash Over Push to Cut State’s CUNY Funding (NYT)   Friday CUNY Protest Arrests Two Council membersamong 41 arrested at CUNY protest (NYP) Council members Inez Barron of Brooklyn and I. Daneek Miller of Queens were charged with disorderly conduct for staging a “die-in” outside the building, according to police.* Cuomo Faces Loud Backlash Over Push to Cut State’s CUNY Funding (NYT) * In the twilight hours of Albany budget negotiations, legislators are hashing out the specifics of a paid family leave bill that would offer New Yorkers time off to care for new or ailing loved ones.*  A lot of confusion remains over the $485 million state-to-NYC cost shift Cuomo has proposed for CUNY, which he insists is not a cut and won’t hurt the system.* Two NYC Council members – Inez Barron of Brooklyn and I. Daneek Miller of Queens –were among 41 people arrested yesterday during an union protest against CUNY cuts outside Cuomo’s Midtown office.*  Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration said its proposal to offload CUNY costs on New York City had been nothing more than a negotiating tactic to force CUNY and the city to take reforms seriously, the Times reports:  * New York City Council members Inez Barron and I. Daneek Miller were among 41 people arrested during a union protest calling for full state funding of CUNY and a fair contract for its employees outside Cuomo’s office, the Post reports:  * Possible Compromise Deal on Raising State's Minimum Wage Being Rejected by Advocates on Both Sides of Issue (NY1) Saturday Exemptions May Color Deal to Lift New York State’s Minimum Wage (NYT)Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and lawmakers in Albany could soon announce an agreement to raise hourly pay to $15, but that minimum might not apply statewide.


Cuomo Back Down on CUNY Funding State Funding Cuts
CUNY OFF THE HOOK Daily News "Gov. Cuomo has backed off his push to shift $485 million in state CUNY costs on to the city. Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever Thursday said the state will foot the entire $1.6 billion in government operating costs for CUNY as long as the state Legislature agrees to hire a management efficiency expert to look for savings at the city and state university systems. Cuomo in his budget plan unveiled in January had proposed shifting a third of the state's CUNY costs on to the city. Originally, Cuomo aides argued that the city appoints a third of CUNY's board members so should pick up a third of the costs. But after being hit with criticism, Cuomo had said he would work with the city to find efficiencies at CUNY. He promised the plan 'won't cost New York City a penny.' ... James Malatras, Cuomo's state operations director, on Thursday said the point of the proposal all along was to get the city and CUNY to come to the table to find efficiencies." -- The change came as the Times published a major articleon the topic, asserting, "Mr. Cuomo has been playing fiscal defense, besieged by a well-orchestrated drive to paint his treatment of the university as a stain on his liberal agenda."  -- Police arrested dozens of members of the City University's faculty union Thursday evening outside Cuomo's Manhattan office. The union, the Professional Staff Congress, had staged a "die-in," linking arms and laying down in front of the entrance to 633 Third Avenue-- City Councilwoman Inez Barron was among those arrested. 






As Albany Hides From Pension Reforms Will Bharara Take Skelos $95,000 Pension Away?  
Corrupt Dean Skelos collects an annual pension of $95K (NYT) Disgraced former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is collecting an annual pension of $95,833, state Comptroller Thomas ­DiNapoli reported Wednesday. Skelos’ colleague-in-corruption, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,...* Disgraced former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is collecting an annual pension of $95,833, while his colleague-in-corruption, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, is getting $79,222 a year *  Cuomo: Lack Of Pension Forfeiture ‘Insult To Injury’ (YNN) Public officials convicted of corruption who still receive their pension benefits is “absurd” and an “insult to injury” to taxpayers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Long Island earlier on Thursday.* Skelos and Silver receiving state pensions adds "insultto injury," Cuomo says *  Why convicted politicians are still collecting a pension (NYP) Assembly Democrats say they want to take away pensions from lawmakers convicted of crimes or corruption, but they have a long list of reasons why it’s been so hard to accomplish. “I think there’s just differences of opinion in the Democratic conference. We have a lot of different opinions and a lot more people than the Senate does, also representing much more diversity, so it’s harder, ” Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) told The Post Thursday “There were outside influences saying it shouldn’t be applied to public employees making under a certain amount of money and what’s the impact on the families,” Galef said. She blamed members of both the Assembly and Senate for not reaching a compromise.*
Carl Heastie’s pension-protection racket (NYP) Cuomo is right that the enormous taxpayer-funded state pensions just granted to convicted felons Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos “add insult to injury” — and also to point the finger of blame squarely at Silver’s successor, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli confirmed Wednesday that Silver will be getting a $79,222 annual pension despite his conviction on public-corruption charges. Skelos, the equally guilty Senate ex-leader, will rake in even more — $95,831 a year. And they both have Heastie to thank for it. That’s because the speaker and his fellow Democrats have refused for well over a year to pass a measure — already approved by the GOP-controlled Senate — to retroactively strip corrupt pols of their pensions. Pols like Silver and Skelos. Because pensions are constitutionally guaranteed, voters have to approve a constitutional amendment after two successive Legislatures pass it. It’s a long process — and Heastie’s stalling will make it years longer.* In the face of little movement on ethics reform despite last year’s corruption convictions of two now former legislative leaders, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef is speaking up and introducing a package of bills backed by good government groups.



Little Talk of Ethic Reforms in Albany Because They Almost Never Work
State’s lawmakers have responded with a leisurely return to well-established habits, marked by two-day weeks in the capital, six-minute floor sessions and a collection of one-house bills with little chance of becoming law, The New York Times reports:    A month into this year’s legislative session — and two months after the corruption convictions of their erstwhile leaders – state lawmakers have responded with a leisurely return to well-established habits, marked by two-day weeks in the capital, six-minute floor sessions and a collection of one-house bills with little or no chance of becoming law.*  Assembly Democrats in their push to raise taxes on the wealthy aren’t helping their party’s effort to win control of the state Senate, Democratic insiders tell the DN



The Albany Ethics Dance: Delay, Distract and Pass Weak Ineffective Ethics Rules With Lots of PR 
And More Evidence How Shadow Govt PACs Have Empowered the Special Interests to Brain Wash the Public

Where the Passion for Ethics Reform: New Yorkers need Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bring the same passion for paid family leave and a higher minimum wage to the desperate need for ethics reform in state government this year, The Buffalo News writes: * The Buffalo News: “Cuomo has made efforts in the past to push for a more ethical Albany, but he never seemed willing to go to the mat for it, as he is now for higher wages and family leave. This is the year he must.”

Andrew Cuomo’s RV tour leaves ethics in the dust (NYP Ed) You don’t hear Andrew Cuomo talking very much these days about the urgent need for comprehensive ethics reform. For one thing, the gov is busy tooling around the state in his new RV, promoting a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave. Tossing government ethics into the mix “is not the most fluid transition,” Cuomo said this week. So it’s the back-burner for ethics reform — about which Cuomo seemed so passionate after Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos were convicted of corruption. But he might also be keeping mum because of that minimum-wage tour itself — and the ethical questions it’s raising. Like whether Cuomo is working for the public unions backing his drive — or the unions are working for Cuomo. Either way, it’s blurring ethical lines.  Running Cuomo’s tour is yet another “outside” lobbying giant, the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice. It’s a group exactly like Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York — or the Committee to Save New York, set up in 2011 as a pro-Cuomo lobbying giant. Only Cuomo’s old group used business community funding against the public unions. Now it’s the unions — SEIU and its health-care and building-trade affiliates — funding and organizing Cuomo’s minimum-wage campaign, Capital New York reports. Also kicking in are companies and groups that have business before the state.* Cuomo appointees outsource jobs, pay less than ‘living’ wage (NYP) Gov. Cuomo is stumping across New York pushing for a $15-an-hour minimum wage — but a state entity run by his appointees just slashed salaries below his proposed “living” wage, The Post has learned. The Battery Park City Authority booted its unionized park enforcement officers and outsourced the work to a private firm, AlliedBarton, which pays the nonunion security workers at the 92-acre mixed-use site along the lower Hudson a starting salary of $12.50. The city parks enforcement officers who had patrolled Battery Park City before they were replaced were making $17.50 an hour, sources said.* Cuomo uses his dad's famous 1984 speech to push $15 min wage (NYDN)


Albany Ethics Bill Delayed Again 
Thursday Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said ethics laws sought by the governor will not be included in the state budget, and neither would say if they committed to taking on ethics proposals before the end of session, Newsday reports: * Legislative leaders confirmed once and for all: There will be no ethics reform in this year’s budget.

Sunday  After Silver-Skelos scandals, Albany’s ethics Rx is: Nothing (NYP Ed) Felonious ex-legislative leaders Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos go before federal judges for sentencing April 13 — and a year-plus of truly eye-popping scandal may come to an end without state leaders doing a thing to stop it from happening again. It’s hard to imagine a more compelling case for revolutionary reform than the saga of Silver and Skelos: Two members of the troika that effectively ran state government brought low by a brilliant federal prosecutor after milking the public trust in exchange for huge sums — millions, in Silver’s case. High drama of that sort should make reform a slam-dunk — but not, it seems, in Albany. Gov. Cuomo has shown scant appetite for change. He’s clearly avoiding a leadership role after mishandling his own change for reform — indeed, he brought humiliating federal scrutiny on himself thanks to his abortion of the anti-corruption Moreland Commission. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who replaced Skelos and Silver, offer “reform” proposals that superficially address some symptoms of corruption, but utterly fail to address the institutional issues that make Albany such an incubator for scandal.* Song remains the same: Albany lawmakers punt on ethics (NYDN Ed)

Saturday: Despite corruption scandals, ethics reform on the back burner in Albany 
Cuomo admits Albany ethics reform is being delayed(NYP) Cuomo conceded Tuesday that his package of ethics reforms will probably have to wait until the state budget is ­adopted next month. “I was disappointed there were no ethics proposals in the Senate at all,” Cuomo said. “The Assembly has some ethics reforms that at least show they are attentive to the issue.” Cuomo’s reforms include yanking the pensions of elected officials convicted of corruption and limiting legislators’ outside income.* The Democratic Assembly passed an ethics bill that would allow legislators to earn nearly as much in outside income as their base salary of $79,500, far exceeding the the $11,925 proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, The New York Times writes:  * Cuomo said a $15 minimum wage should be included as part of the state budget that lawmakers must adopt before the end of the month, though he stopped short of threatening to veto a spending plan without the measure, the Daily News reports:  * Cuomo said that his ethics reforms, which includes pulling pensions from public officials convicted of corruption, will probably have to wait until the budget is ­adopted next month because the legislature has not made it a priority, the Post writes:  * The Democrat & Chronicle writes that the ethics debate in Albany and recent corruption convictions of former legislative leaders should give plenty of reason for state lawmakers to change the “three-men-in-a-room” style of budget negotiations: * Budget Now, Ethics Later (YNN)*  To do so, the Senate GOP is tapping into a climate change fund that’s reserved for cutting greenhouse emissions from power plants. * The Senate also backed in its budget the regulation of daily fantasy sports websites, which Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is challenging in court as a form of gambling.*  D&C editorial board calls for opening up the budget talks to some daylight: “It’s sunshine week, but you wouldn’t know it in Albany.” *  D&C editorial board calls for opening up the budget talks to some daylight: “It’s sunshine week, but you wouldn’t know it in Albany.” * The Assembly on Tuesday approved a package of ethics legislation outside of its budget resolution that included closing the so-called LLC loophole. * The Assembly’s measures also included a cap on outside income to nearly $70,000 — a figure Cuomo says is too high. * Cuomo, however, is prodding state lawmakers to pass stronger ethics measures in the wake of a series of corruption scandals. * Cuomo also acknowledged it’s likely those ethics provisions won’t be approved this month and will likely not be part of a budget agreement. *The Assembly’s measures also included a cap on outside income to nearly $70,000 — a figure Cuomo says is too high. * Cuomo, however, is prodding state lawmakers to pass stronger ethics measures in the wake of a series of corruption scandals. * Cuomo also acknowledged it’s likely those ethics provisions won’t be approved this month and will likely not be part of a budget agreement.







Albany Trying to Do All It Can to Keep Its Corrupt Culture While Good People In And Out of Albany Do Nothing
New York’s leaders need to stop talking and start cleaning (NYP Ed) When it comes to ethics reform, our state’s leaders talk a good game — period. The Legislature opened its 2016 session Wednesday absent the two men who were leading it just a year ago: Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, now both convicted felons ejected from office. As US Attorney Preet Bharara told Kentucky’s legislature Wed­nesday: “If you want to prevent corruption, don’t enable it.” The Post writes that New York’s legislative leaders need to stop talking about ethics reform and actually clean up Albany to show that elected officials really mean to change the culture of corruption that plagues the state Legislature:


Which is much what he said last year. How about some immediate action? Like:
  • Vote to strip pensions from all corrupt public officials — including Silver and Skelos, who filed for benefits after their convictions — not just those recently elected.
  • Heastie vowed to approve “something” by last summer, but never did. That’s because the public unions — who call the shots in the Assembly — demanded it not cover any felonious rank-and-file union members.
  • Fire Daniel Chill, who has been counsel to successive Assembly speakers for 40 years and who hooked Silver up with the doctor on the other end of his illegal trade of state grants for law-firm referrals.
  • Give back the $14 million that pols and political committees have pocketed in tainted campaign cash from Glenwood Management, the developer deeply involved in both Silver and Skelos crimes.  That doesn’t require any legislative action, just a personal decision that no one in Albany — from Gov. Cuomo on down — is willing to make.* Ethics reform and economic development must be the top two priorities of the state Legislature this year because they are of towering significance in a state that is one of the nation’s most expensive and most corrupt, The Buffalo news writes: 


NYP Goes After Heastie and de Blasio's Lobbyists
One of the recipients (Paid by the Mayor's PAC 1NY), the p.r./lobbying firm BerlinRosen, is practically a wing of City Hall

 The Post writes that despite tough talk from city and state politicians on ethics reforms, many are still engaging in questionable, if legal, practices and are not serious about real changes  On ethics, New Yorkpoliticians still won’t walk the walk (NYP Ed) State and city politicians are talking tough on ethics reform these days — but their actions tell a different tale. Consider two disclosures, each perfectly legal, that smell to high heaven. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is paying $4,000 a month to Patrick Jenkins, his former college roommate and current political consultant. Yet Jenkins is also a high-powered lobbyist. His clients include Uber, the Trial Lawyers Association and Genting, the casino giant — all with business of their own before the Legislature. Which raises questions about whether the Jenkins-Heastie relationship gives those clients special access to the powerful speaker. Again, this is legal. Still, Heastie became speaker only after Sheldon Silver’s arrest on corruption charges — and now Silver’s been convicted, as has former state Senate boss Dean Skelos. You’d think the new speaker would try to avoid any hint of back-room dealing. Jenkins and Heastie note that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics cleared their arrangement — which tells you all you need to know about that ethics “watchdog.” Meanwhile, at City Hall, Mayor de Blasio’s key political consultants — who also represent clients doing city business — were paid $500,000 in the last six months by the mayor’s campaign committee and his slush fund, the Campaign for One New York. There’s nothing new here: One of the recipients, the p.r./lobbying firm BerlinRosen, is practically a wing of City Hall. On the other hand, de Blasio is the guy who vowed to undo the “consultant class.” What What Ethics? The ethics panels in the state Assembly and Senate, where ethics reform could begin, have largely disappeared from Albany, holding few meetings in recent years and with little in the way of punishment doled out, the Times reports: * * Cuomo has taken in about $5 million over the past six months from contributors, continuing to advocate for stitching up the so-called "LLC loophole" in state election law while taking such donations in large quantities, the Times Union reports:



Albany is in Preet's Stay Tuned mode...frozen ... limbo in fact, not rhetoric
As lawmakers returned to the state Capitol for the first time since the convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, it was Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb who perhaps best summed up what 2015 did to the term “state legislator.” “I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be referred to as a bum,” he said in a speech from the Assembly floor.* There hasn’t been a lot of movement on ethics reform in Albany, as the legislative leaders remain at odds on key provisions like banning outside income and stripping pensions from convicted former public officials.* Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie insisted his house is “serious” about ethics reform, while Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan pledged to engage in “whatever discussions are necessary” on the subject.* @CarlEHeastieon seizing felons' pensions: "We have to take another look" (PoliticoNY) * .@CarlHeastie has no plans to change "3 men in a room" culture in albany. Says President, Speaker of House and Senate leader do it same way


While Cuomo’s budget proposal included the most aggressive set of climate policies he has introduced during his tenure as governor, some key details about two particularly significant climate and energy initiatives remained vague. *  The governor’s push for a state 12-week paid family leave law would only cover 35 percent of a person’s salary in the first year. The governor said it will take time to build up the payroll contribution fund so employees could be paid more. * While the governor’s previous five State of the State addresses were given from behind a simple, shoulder-width podium, Wednesday’s event at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center featured the first appearance of a mammoth wooden structure that resembled the rostrum of the Assembly chamber, where the speech had traditionally been given until Cuomo took office in 2011. * Cuomo’s speech also marked a departure from last year’s public deal-making stance, which involved ultimatums and his (not always successful) attempts to handcuff policies together.


In the name, and words, of his father(PoliticoNY) The governor made an unusually personal call for the passage of legislation that would ensure that state residents can take 12 weeks of paid family leave for a new child or a serious illness, remember his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and saying he has * “kicked myself every day” for not spending more time with him when he was sick. * Similarly, Cuomo praised girlfriend Sandra Lee’s fight against breast cancer last year as he proposed a $90 million expansion of screening programs. *For de Blasio, Cuomo’s State of the State Address Holds More Tough News (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo outlined budget cuts and spending initiatives for city programs that nearly guaranteed to extend the feud between him and Mayor Bill de Blasio.* Gov. Cuomo on the State of New York (NYT Ed) The governor lays out ambitious plans for 2016, including a big boost in the minimum * Cuomo reveals $20 billion affordable-housing plan(NYP)


 Even though Cuomohas rolled out his executive budget, it’s still not clear how he will pay for the $8.3 billion share of the five-year MTA capital plan he agreed to, and some * Cuomo’s budget set up a number of fronts with which to do battle with lawmakers and various special interest groups by proposing increases on infrastructure, less state aid for schools than education advocates want, and new restrictions on outside earnings by legislators.* Under the details of the governor’s proposal for the 2016-17 School yearaid would increase by $991 million, or 4.3 percent, to a total of $24.2 billion. Of that, $189 million is slated for the restoration of the GEA. That’s less than half of the $434 million that it would take to eliminate the GEA.* Proposing to address the challenges of homelessness and a lack of affordable housing, Cuomo called for a financial and spiritual commitment to rebuild the state’s social and physical infrastructure. He put forth a $20 billion plan to add 100,000 permanent housing units over five years, and thousands more units of housing that would offer shelter and social services across the state.



De Blasio Under Attack  The Daily News writes that Cuomo’s intentions to slam New York City with as much as $800 million more in expenses involves reneging on pledges to support CUNY and spare local governments from increases in Medicaid: *  The Post writes that Cuomo’s speech and budget plan is a “giant cry for attention” because it is impossible to know which ideas he plans to fight for and raises questions about whether he cares if his ideas work: *  Cuomo’s $145.3 billion budget proposal unveiled yesterday proposes spending the state’s $2.3 billion windfall from Court settlements to house the poor and homeless, freeze Thruway tolls and make large investments in public infrastructure.* “This is an ambitious agenda — what else did you think I was going to give to you?,” the governor said.* Hey, Blaz, hope you played Powerball! NYC may face $800M in new costs for CUNY, Medicaid under Cuomo’s latest budget plan(NYDN) * Cuomo met with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for 30 minutes before delivering his a big speech, and thanked him late in the address for his “help” on homelessness plans, but also jabbed at the mayor throughout his remarks.* The executive budget Cuomo has proposed will likely deal serious damage to New York City’s bottom line for years to come, analysts said. He wants to shift the way the City University of New York is funded, to end the state’s assumption of the local share of New York City’s Medicaid costs, and to change the way the state handles the city’s STAR Personal Income Tax rebate.*

Loyal NYT Tells Its Puppet Mayor to Shut Up 
One source said the city could be on the hook for about $800 million in new costs, which would amount to a large portion of the savings Cuomo has in his budget. * While de Blasio appeared calm during the speech, occasionally pecking out emails on his smartphone, it certainly seemed that the governor was once again seeking to outfox his fellow Democrat, with whom he has feuded for months. * Even if Cuomo and de Blasio have squabbled over policy and haven’t worked well together, several of the governor’s proposals and initiatives he touted Wednesday mirrored those the mayor had already undertaken in New York City. * The New York Times suggests de Blasio should “overlook the criticisms and take any money the state offers” to address the homelessness problem in the five boroughs.

Willie Cuomo Sutton's Robs de Blasio's NYC Piggy Bank
Handing Bill the bill (NYDN Ed) But nowhere in his roughly 90-minute peroration did Cuomo mention that he intended to slam the city with as much as $800 million in added expenses by shifting state responsibilities onto taxpayers in the five boroughs. Cuomo’s move entails reneging on Albany’s pledges to support the City University financially and to spare local governments for soaring increases in payments for Medicaid, the health insurance plan for the poor. Deep within his budget documents, the governor offered wholly unpersuasive rationales for grabbing the city’s money. They best way to understand what’ happening is to go back to Willie Sutton’s fabled reason for robbing banks: “Because that’s where the money is.”*Paid Family Leave and a push for a $15-an-hour statewide minimum wage are among the proposals Cuomo has made that are almost certain to run into trouble with the Legislature – namely, the Senate Republicans.* Newsday: “Cuomo finished by again invoking New York’s legacy of leading. By which he meant his own legacy. Now he can expand that. He put a lot on the table. It’s up to him to get it done.”





. Former Senator Lachman Author of Three Men in A Room Tells Us Why Albany is Still Corrupt
Political corruptionin the 
NewYork State Legislature: 
Will It ever end? (SI Advance)  Some call it the most dysfunctional in the nation. There is a complete lack of transparency: no one except for the speaker of the Assembly, the majority leader of the state Senate, and their senior staffs know what is going on. The two leaders decide which bills are permitted to go through the Legislature. They negotiate legislation and the budget with one another and with the governor. During my five terms in the state Senate, I do not recall any bill that passed both houses of the Legislature without the support of the speaker of the Assembly and the majority leader of the Senate, who most of the time happened to be of opposite parties. Even though the U.S. Congress has been criticized for corruption, it does not compare to the New York State Legislature, in part because power is not as concentrated. Speakers of the House and majority leaders of the Senate must be responsive to members of their own party conference and often do not get their way on leadership appointments and legislative actions. Consider the trouble that Senator Ted Cruz raised for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when he publicly called him both in and out of the Senate "a liar." That would never happen in the New York State Legislature. * Good government groups and legislators say that an Assembly working group tasked with reforming the chamber's rules to increase transparency and participation has operated in secret, been slow to move and rebuffed outside offers of help, Gotham Gazette reports: 






True News Reported Weeks Before WSJ That Albany Arrests Have No Effect On The Way They Handle Real Estate
New York City real-estate developers continued to exert their power in the state capital this year, even after their industry was associated with a series of political scandals, the Journal reports:  * Brushing aside criticism from tenant activists and fellow Democrats, Cuomo called a deal to extend rent regulations “the best rent reform package in history,” the Daily News reports:  * NYSUT: Education Reform is “Far From Over”(YNN)

Last Weeks True News Wags the WSJ
Not Even Preet, Killing Moreland Can Stop 3 Men in A Room And Big Ugly
Noon - Heastie holds two-way chat with Cuomo * Schneiderman Knocks ‘Opaque’ Albany Process (YNN) * Tax Credit, For Now, Remains Standalone In Senate(YNN) * No Stop-Gap Measure For Rent Control, Senators Say (YNN) * De Blasio: Rent Law Expiration Would be Worse Than AnyRecent Natural Disaster  * De Blasio: Rent Law Expiration Would be WorseThan Any Recent Natural Disaster(NYO) * It’s a game of hurry-up-and-wait at the state Capitol as the midnight expiration deadline for the NYC rent laws looms. So far, we have seen neither hide nor hair of the governor, though he is indeed in Albany (according to his public schedule, released this morning), and legislative leaders have yet to reach a rent-related deal. * The Assembly has approved a two-day extension to buy a bit more negotiating time, while the Senate passed its eight-year extension measure, which the Assembly has rejected.


Lawyers Representing Pols Make Big $$$
Lawyers of investigated city, state politicians enjoy big paydays  (NYP) Some of the biggest winners this campaign cycle aren’t candidates, but their lawyers. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s campaign spent more than $75,000 on legal fees over the last six months after questions were raised about irregularities in her bid to lead the council. The Conflicts of Interest Board is probing pro-bono work Mark-Viverito received in late 2013 from The Advance Group, despite rules barring her from accepting gifts or services valued above $50. Over the last filing period, more than half of Mark-Viverito’s $148,500 in total spending went to the legal firm, Ballard Spahr, connected to that probe. State Sen. George Maziarz of Buffalo, who didn’t run for re-election last year, spent $43,000 on lawyers amid an investigation by US Attorney Preet Bharara into his previous campaign spending. The Post earlier reported that Gov. Cuomo shelled out $100,000 as Bharara looked into his activities disbanding the graft-fighting Moreland
Commission.



Assembly Lawyers Outside Income $4.2 Million 
Report: Lawyer-Legislators Earned As Much As $4.2M Combined (YNN) An analysis released by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York on Tuesday found state lawmakers who are also practicing attorneys combined earned millions of dollars in outside income on top of their $79,500 base pay. The analysis, based on the recently filed annual income statements lawmakers and state elected officials are required to file with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, found the outside income could total as much as $4.2 million for lawmakers who are also attorneys.



Big Stuff Hides Albany Lawmakers Failure 
Riding Off Into Albany's Sunset (NY1)  Cuomo can thank the Supreme Court and an upstate manhunt for distracting New Yorkers from the end of the legislature's epically depressing session. Lawmakers did the absolutely bare minimum before heading for the hills – hoping that they can hide from their constituents longer than those two fugitives who were found by authorities over the weekend. The state flag should perhaps be replaced by a picture of someone from Long Island punching Mayor de Blasio in the stomach after lawmakers avoided doing anything substantial when it comes to mayoral control of city schools or dealing with a complicated tax abatement for developers.  The thumbing to Mayor de Blasio's eye by State Senatorscontinued even with his appointments made to the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which they refused to confirm before taking leave for the rest of the year. God forbid the city have any serious representation in an agency that runs the subways. *  Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino in the Post criticizes Albany and the just-ended 2015 legislative session and argues the state spends too much, taxes too much and regulates too much: * City Controller says Albany lawmakers 'failed miserably' when it comes to protecting tenants (NYDN) * Bill’s 177,000fixer-uppers: A NYCHA bill of repair (NYDN Ed) Mayor de Blasio would never allow his $4,975-a-month Park Slope tenants to live like so many in public housing do — cowering from leaks, crumbling plaster and pervasive mold.Whatever strides he and New York City Housing Authority Chair Shola Olatoye claim in advancing the turtle’s speed with which 400,000-plus housing-project residents can expect repairs — and however promising their plans to restore NYCHA to sound financial and physical footing — the day-to-night miseries of tenants cannot endure a minute or month more. * Cuomo was aligned policy-wise with Senate Republicans during the closed-door negotiations and moved to thwart Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposals during the talks, thePost’s Fred Dicker writes. * Capital New York’s Jimmy Vielkind: Despite kumbaya press conference with Cuomo and the legislative leaders “there were many other priorities, left unmentioned by the leaders, that weren’t acted on. And those unaddressed items say as much about the leaders’ abilities and approach as anything else.”* Rent control legislation approved last week in Albany ends the use of the so-called “poor door.” *  
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered a largely muted response to the end of the legislative session compared to other city officials. * Cuomo On The ‘Very Hectic’ Session (YNN) * Many state officials’ priorities were not acted on during the 2015 legislative session, which says as much about leaders’ abilities and approach as deals heralded by officials last week, Capital New York reports:  * Governor Returns to Familiar Ground After Shaky Legislative Session (NY1) * The Buffalo News on the Big Ugly: “How not to run a democracy in three easy steps: 1. Cram everything into one bill that almost no one reads. 2. Vote for it, anyway. 3. Get out of town.”




Update Big Ugly Lovely Albany Budget Passes and Cuomo Plans 4 SCOTUS Weddings

UPDATE: The Big Ugly bill has landed!! * Governor, Legislative Leaders Tout Final Details of Rent Regulations Deal (NY1) 'Big Ugly' legislative bill provides tax break, rent protection (Newsday) * The political implications of the Big Ugly's sunsets
Albany Times Union (blog) * Lawmakers set to pass 'Big Ugly' bill that extends rent regulation ... New York Daily News * He won’t get married, but Cuomo can now officiate your wedding (NYP) *Big Ugly’ bill finally passed – NY lawmakers can all go home (NYP) * De Blasio was on the phone several times during a press conference with Bratton learning the final details of Albany negotiations as they were announced, with many decisions working against the mayor, the Journal reports: * Albany adjourns after passing ‘the big whatever’ (Capital) * Members of the Assembly overwhelmingly approved the Big Ugly in a 122-13 vote, finishing up around midnight.

Back to the 60's Future? A Day & A Week Of A Social &Political Earthquakes That Rocked America
The measure passed the Senate a bit earlier in the evening, 47-12, with a number of Democrats dissenting. * The votes ended a session that will be remembered for for its corruption scandals and attendant upheaval rather than its legislative achievements – or lack thereof. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the agreement “a reasonable and intelligent compromise” in which “no one is exactly happy with everything.” * The details of the final deal were largely unchanged since Cuomo and legislative leaders announced a framework agreement earlier in the week. It extends NYC mayoral control for just one year, continues both rent control and the 421a program with what the governor deemed “historic” reforms (though advocates strongly disagree), extends the tax cap with minor modifications and creates a $1.3 billion property tax rebate program. * Contrary to lawmakers’ claims, the Big Ugly did not end the State Education Department’s so-called “gag order” policy that prevents administrators and teachers from discussing the contents of state exams. * As a result of the end of session deal, not only Cuomo, but former governors George Pataki, David Paterson and Eliot Spitzer now all have the power to perform marriages. The new law takes effect immediately – just in time for this weekend’s Gay Pride Parade in NYC. * State Senate Approves Session's Final 'Big Ugly' Legislative Package (NY1) * de Blasio scores last-minute changes to controversial property-tax... (CrainsNY) Mayor rethinks 421-a plan for Manhattan projects and gets Albany's OK, and also wins a partial exclusion of condos from the program. * The governor did not deny that he was the “top Cuomo administration official” quoted in the Daily News questioning NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s strategy as he pushed to renew his control of the city’s schools and restructure and reauthorize a real estate tax subsidy to help him build more affordable housing. (Cuomo’s spokeswoman on whether the governor had admitted he was the commentor: “Nope”). * De Blasio was on the downside of a difficult week, as he navigated the final hours of both the state legislative session and City Council budget talks. “Right now, we are focused on policy,” the mayor responded when asked about the tough comments from the governor’s camp.



Nobody Read the Budget Before Lawmakers Voted On It 
After a prolonged and vexing legislative session, state lawmakers passed a package of deals minutes before midnight by voting on a bill they hadn’t seen in final form by dinnertime that evening, The Wall StreetJournal reports:   421-a Rush The threatened expiration of the developers’ property-tax break known as 421-a triggered a rush to beat the deadline, creating the city’s biggest surge in building permits in seven years, the Journal reports: *Wide-Ranging Deal Approved as Albany Session Closes (NYT) The much-delayed deal includes a four-year extension of rental rules, funding for nonpublic schools and other matters.* Cuomo calls rent regulation extension deal 'the best reform package in history' as pols pass ‘Big Ugly’ bill (NYDN) The centerpiece of the rent deal is a provision to increase by $200 the current $2,500 monthly rent threshold at which a vacant city apartment can be placed into the open market - a process known as vacancy de-control. Future increases to the threshold would be automatically tied to the cost of housing as determined annually by the Rent Guidelines Board. “There are more protections in this law than ever in history,” Cuomo said. Tenant advocates and legislative Democrats had fought to eliminate vacancy decontrol, and the Alliance for Tenant Power called Cuomo’s claim “laughable.” "Close to 100,000 units of affordable housing will be lost because Gov. Cuomo failed to deliver stronger rent laws,” said Katie Goldstein, a ATP leader. * Schneiderman Calls Absence of Ethics Reform FromAlbany Deal ‘Incomprehensible’ (NYO) * Heastie Announces Off-Session Travel Reimbursement Policy (YNN) * Senate Holds Up de Blasio, Cuomo MTA Appointees (YNN) In yet another “screw you” to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Republican-controlled Senate departed Albany without acting on the mayor’s appointees to the MTA Board, multiple sources confirm. True News PM  The GOP-controlled state Senate left Albany without acting on any of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s three MTA board nominees, but it confirmed one of two put forth by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State of Politics reports:   * Under a new per diem policy in the Assembly, any lawmaker that wants to claim expenses for more than 30 trips when the chamber is not in session will need approval from Speaker Carl Heastie, State of Politicsreports: * Gannett Albany compiled a list of which state legislators voted for a package of bills that got jammed into one so-called big ugly, which shows 12 senators and 13 Assembly members voted against it:  * How they voted: “The Big Ugly” * Accord reached on 421-a program, rent law renewal (Capital) EJ McMahon takes a look at which pension sweeteners made the cut – and which fell short – in the Big Ugly. * Dan Janison: “Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan appears ready to come away with more political gains than losses from his first end-of-session deals as New York’s top elected Republican.”



How Albany Laws Are Made or Not Made Silver Skelos Arrested Still 3 Men in A Room
Leaders Meet With Cuomo, Say Virtually Nothing (YNN)  The state’s top legislative leaders met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo for about an hour on Thursday morning as the legislative session winds down. Here is a transcript of Speaker Carl Heastie answering questions from reporters:
Reporter: Mr. Speaker, there’s discussion of the 421a extension. The governor says he wants to do a straight extension. Is that something you can support?
Heastie: We just had a quick meeting. There was still a bunch of items on the list. Nothing definitive, nothing concrete. I need to go talk to the conference.
Reporter: Mr. Speaker, where you alarmed at all by the governor’s comments yesterday that there might be straight extenders?
Heastie: The governor has a right to say what he wants to say. You should ask him that question.
Reporter: Well, do you want extenders? Do you want these programs to expire? Or are we still in place where we’re still negotiating?
Heastie: There’s a whole lot of things on the table that have to be talked about before the end of session and I want to go upstairs and talk to the conference.
Reporter: Can you tell us about the rent laws and when the vote will come on that?
Heastie: There’s a whole lot of things on the list and I need to go talk to the conference.
Reporter: Are you going to be keeping members here through the weekend?
Heastie: I need to go upstairs and talk to the conference.

Thursday Albany Update* Wait Till Next Year, Maybe?

Update Big Ugly Passes 

WILL IT NEVER END?—Lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature adjourned Wednesday evening, more than 24 hours after Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announced a 'framework' on a half-dozen or more outstanding issues. Though lawmakers are scheduled to return to the Capitol Thursday morning, their departure Wednesday evening indicates their leaders are not close to a final deal and that no legislation will be printed before midnight. Wednesday saw conflicting accounts from lawmakers about how close they might be to finishing their work. The session was scheduled to end last week but went into overtime as several issues remain unresolved, including rent regulations, which expired nine days ago. Republican Senator John DeFrancisco said Wednesday afternoon that the printing of final bills was being held up amid discussions over “all the little details.” But shortly afterward, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said,“We’re not close.”

 In ‘Big Ugly’ deal, state lawmakers mostly kick the can (NYP Ed) Will Mayor de Blasio get to keep running the city’s schools? Yes — but just for a year; the fight continues in January. Tax breaks to boost apartment-building construction, including “affordable housing”? Renewed, but for just six months. The proposed tax credit to fuel donations to private- and parochial-school scholarship funds and so help poor and middle-class kids escape rotten traditional schools? Out entirely. As a booby prize, these schools get $250 million to help cover outlays the state orders them to make. And now all sides will prep for another battle over the issue next year. * Though their leaders had announced a framework end-of-session deal with the governor just over 24 hours earlier, rank-and-file lawmakers left the Capitol yesterday without a final agreement, and without passing any bills. They’re due back at work today. * The talks trying to turn the tentative agreement into a final agreement were reportedly not pretty. Cuomo and Senate Republicans had been convinced that omnibus legislation was to be given final approval Wednesday. But Assembly Democrats were holding out to bolster a law providing rent-control protections for some 2 million New York City apartment dwellers. * Instead of passing the so-called “Big Ugly,” the Assembly and Senate instead took up measures that while not trivial would be considered secondary to items such as New York City’s rent laws and the state’s 2 percent property tax cap – both of which are expected in the final package of bills. * The governor insisted the $250 million for nonpublic schools in the framework deal is “new money,” but several groups say the cash would simply repay long-standing debts that the state had owed to those schools anyway. * State lawmakers are still ironing out details of the “tentative” agreement announced Tuesday, with the Assembly pushing for a better deal on rent control, The Buffalo News writes:  * While Gov. Andrew Cuomo insists the $250 million secured for nonpublic schools is new money, advocates including Cardinal Timothy Dolan say the money had been owed for years, the Times Union reports: * * It is better than nothing, but Albany lawmakers don’t deserve applause for putting off the big decisions on rent regulations, the 421-a tax abatement and mayoral control of schools, amNewYork writes: * ICYMI: despite makings of bad Albany deal, @BilldeBlasio opts to pull his public punches - for now. (AP) * Cuomo's 'new' education money for non-public schools paysoff old debts  (TU) * Albany tries again to get a deal cemented  * Capital Education: De Blasio quiet on Albany education defeats (Capital) True News PM  New York lawmakers moved closer to finishing up this year’s legislative session, more than a week after they were scheduled to leave the capital, The New York Timeswrites * Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “premature” to comment on the framework deal reached by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders on the city’s rent laws, the 421-a tax credit and mayoral control of schools, the Observer writes:  * Flanagan said changes to the state’s education system are also included in a final deal between Cuomo and legislative leaders, but a later deadline for new teacher evaluation criteria won’t be one of them, Stateof Politicsreports: 





Avella Stop With BS Excuses, Give Back Your Ethics Committee Pay for Never Meeting
Head of Ethics Committee: I was booted after public meeting bid (NYP) A Queens lawmaker said Monday that he was replaced as head of the state Senate Ethics Committee shortly after attempting to convene its first public meeting in years. State Sen. Tony Avella said he was abruptly reassigned to a different committee in May following the arrest of then-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on corruption charges. Avella said he had been planning to hold a March hearing that would have marked the Ethics Committee’s first public meeting since 2009, according to the Senate Web site. “I was asked to not do it because of the budget. That hearing never occurred and all of a sudden I’m no longer chair of the committee,” Avella said. Avella said his planned hearing “was going to be really open-ended, because I wanted to hear everybody’s suggestions.”

Last month, Avella appeared as a prosecution witness against Skelos, a Long Island Republican, and his son, Adam, telling jurors that he scheduled the hearing upon learning that there was “no activity in the committee.” “Normally, when you become chair of a committee, you look at what bills are referred to the committee, what bills should be voted out,” he testified. “I quickly found out, once I became chair of the Ethics Committee of the Senate, that no bills had ever been referred to that committee and no bills had ever been voted out of that committee.” A state Senate spokesman said the Ethics Committee rarely holds public meetings because its main focus is conducting investigations, and that Avella was replaced as chairman in a “shuffle” prompted by Skelos’ resignation as majority leader.* Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat and IDC member, said he was replaced as head of the state Senate Ethics Committee shortly after attempting to convene its first public meeting in years. Avella claimed he was abruptly reassigned to a different committee in May following the arrest of Skelos on corruption charges.



Senator Avella Chairman of the Ethics Committee Testified That He Was Barred From Holding Any Committee Hearings
Mr. Bharara took special interest in the two trials, spending many days observing from the rear of the courtroom with several of his senior aides. In the interview, he recalled one piece of testimony that he had found particularly revelatory. State Senator Tony Avella, a Democrat from Queens and chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, testified that he had been barred from holding any committee hearings. “The idea that the chair of the ethics committee has never had the opportunity to mark up a bill, has never had the opportunity to hold a hearing,” Mr. Bharara said, “tells you everything you need to know about the enabling nature of all the people in the State Legislature who may not have been convicted of crimes, but seem not to care that they’re going on. I think that’s indisputable.”* The state Senate’s Ethics Committee doesn’t appear to have met or pondered a bill in at least five years, though other Capitol watchers say its inaction reaches back two decade


Fredric U. Dicker ‏@fud31  Bharara cites Queens Sen. Avella as Exhibit A of legislative cowardice:U.S. Atty Sees Lessons in Corruption Trials 





Heastie Not For Cutting Outside Jobs From Lawmakers Even As Two Former Leaders On Trial 
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said there’s no appetite in the Legislature to prohibit lawmakers from having outside jobs even as the body’s former leaders are being tried on corruption charges related to private-sector income and their public-sector work. Assembly Democrats aren`t looking for lessons from Silver`s trial.* Think Sheldon Silver's case will prompt change in Albany? Think again#nyassembly Dems, led by @CarlHeastieshrug * * Even as the two former leaders of the state Legislature are in the middle of corruption trials, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he has no plans for new ethics laws despite calls by good government groups,Gannett Albany reports:  * As ex-leaders on trial, no ethics reforms planned at Capitol (LOHud) * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said there’s no appetite in the Legislature to prohibit lawmakers from having outside jobs even as the body’s former leaders are being tried on corruption charges related to private-sector income and their public-sector work. *  No Ethics Reform, But How About A Pay Raise? (YNN)

At Least This Year Real Estate Has Cut Back the Money for the Pols
The wells of real estate company largesse are drying up for politicians and political organizations, following corruption allegations against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver involving bribery and kickback schemes.


Full Time Legislature Going to Cost NY Heastie
Heastie: Full-timelegislature would need hefty pay raise (NYP) Voters demanding that serving in the state Legislature be turned into a full-time job should be prepared to double lawmakers’ salaries, says Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Is the public ready to pay legislators $150,000-$160,000 a year?” Heastie (D-Bronx) said in a BronxNet cable-TV interview broadcast this week. “If you’re going to have people go full time, there’s going to have to be a hefty pay raise from $79,500.”* Voters demanding that serving in the state Legislature be turned into a full-time job should be prepared to double lawmakers’ salaries, says Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.* NY lawmakers are better educated, less Protestant, &more likely to be full-time than legislators nationally [$]


Wednesday Albany Update

@GormleyAlbany  Albany today: No bills, no details, no constitutional 3-day public review, lawmakers to be briefed in a.m, votes expected on big ugly Thurs* Cuomo and de Blasio’s Feud Is a Factor in an Anemic Legislative... (NYT) Two different personalities, conflict-based and conflict-averse, were unable to find common ground on major goals, and lawmakers adjourned with each man looking diminished. Mr. de Blasio was left without the reforms he wanted in New York City’s rent laws, and his control of the city’s public schools was extended by a mere 12 months (versus the six years last bestowed on his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg). Mr. Cuomo, his usual negotiating aura escaping him, could not find a final resolution on a program intended to encourage developers to create more affordable housing.

The never-ending session is still….never-ending. The catchphrase around the Capitol today is that the framework deal announced yesterday by the governor and legislative leaders was apparently more “frame” than “deal.” So far, nothing is in print, and no “Big Ugly” bills have been passed. We’ll keep you posted. Until then, bring on the headlines!! * Telling reporters that they were “royally screwed,” tenant activists and a Democratic NYC councilman blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo for failing to bolster rent regulations as much as they had hoped. *  After yesterday’s “deal that isn’t a deal” press conference, the governor got on the phoneto New York magazine’s Chris Smith to sell the “fantastic package” he had just announced.


Heastie: Yesterday’s Deal Was Really A Framework (YNN) * Royally Screwed': Activists Eviscerate AndrewCuomo After Rent Laws Deal (NYO) * * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the legislative deal announced yesterday has not been finalized, with language on a property tax rebate, a tax abatement and mayoral control still unfinished, State of Politics reports:  * * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is holding out hope for some of the changes he is seeking on rent regulation and the 421-a tax credit while negotiations are still open, State of Politics writes:  * Heastie: De Blasio’s Agenda ‘Comes Out Of This Fine’ (NYO) * De Blasio spx no comment on criticisms from top cuomoofficial: "this doesn’t merit one. And, that’s on the record.” (NYDN) * Assembly, Senate adjourn for the day without a final deal  (Capital) * The rocky relationship between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio played a significant role in this session. Rather than collaborate on mutual goals, like higher wages and immigrants’ rights, the state’s two most powerful Democrats spent much of the year at odds with one another, and – at various turns – with the Legislature. * An anonymous Cuomo administration official slammed de Blasio for failing to understand how Albany works, saying: “He is more politically oriented in terms of his approach…and then he makes it almost impossible for him to achieve success.” * De Blasio quietly rejected an offer from state Senate Republicans that would have boosted wages for the city’s lowest-paid workers in exchange for his support to increase cop and firefighter pensions. The deal would have hiked the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour in New York City. * NY1’s Bob Hardt writes that the Cuomo insider takingswipes at de Blasio in the press, likely with the blessing of the governor, is doing more damage than it’s worth in fanning the flames in the tension between the two:

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the legislative deal announced yesterday has not been finalized, with language on a property tax rebate, a tax abatement and mayoral control still unfinished, State of Politics reports:  * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was reportedly offered a deal by the Senate Republicans to raise the minimum wage for New York City in exchange for supporting a police pension proposal, but rejected the offer. * Assembly Democrats are still pushing for changes, including raising the rent threshold for vacancy decontrol to $3,000 a month, up from the negotiated level of $2,700, sources told Capital New York:
Cuomo and legislative leaders announced a “framework” deal to end the 2015 legislative session that extends the downstate rent laws and mayoral control (though only for one year), as well as the property tax cap (with some changes). Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, the former speaker, called the agreement “still fluid” last night, adding: “There are fine lines when you actually draft the bill.”  The mayoral control extension will only be for one year – a political blow to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who sought to make the law permanent. * Also in this year’s Big Ugly: A $1.3 billion property tax rebate program, with checks going out (conveniently) right before next year’s elections, $250 million for nonpublic schools (but not the education tax credit), a transparency requirement for the state Education Department on testing and teacher evaluations and a shuffling of charter schools, with more made available in NYC. *The 421a extension agreement includes significant changes to affordable housing requirements that are similar to those proposed by de Blasio and championed by REBNY, which represents major developers and is one of the state’s most powerful special interest groups. * Cuomo and lawmakers were unable to strike a deal on a pair of criminal-justice issues, including reforms to the state’s system for investigating and prosecuting incidents involving police officers and their use of force. Instead, the governor said he would follow through on his pledge to appoint a special prosecutor — AG Eric Schneiderman — for police-involved cases while he and lawmakers take another crack at the issue next year.* New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams joined tenant activists in blasting Gov. Andrew Cuomo for failing to bolster rent regulations as much as they had hoped, the Observer reports: * Heastie: ‘Framework’ is not a deal (Capital) * Albany'deal' leaves room for negotiating 

NYT: "Mr. de Blasio's camp was dismayed on Tuesday, and the frustration appeared to be reaching near-existential levels."
  Also not included in the Big Ugly: A proposal to revamp the disability pension system for NYC’s uniformed work force – a priority of police and fire unions, was omitted from the agreement. * Late-inning efforts by some lawmakers to change the SAFE Act also were unsuccessful, and the fate of a measure that would lift New York’s ban on MMA remains uncertain. * Through measures inserted into the state budget this spring, both the Assembly and state Senate are now set to dole out millions of extra dollars to schools worth of so-called “bullet aid” — outside the state’s normal education funding process. Most of the Assembly’s dollars will go upstate, while the bulk of the Senate’s cash will be targeted to NYC. * A group of 71 Assembly Democrats led by former Speaker Silver had complained in a letter to the Democratic National Committee that the April 26 primary fell during Passover week. Silver announced yesterday the date was changed to April 19. * Cuomo makes the most of it with last-minute deals (NYDN Ed) * * De Blasio said he needed more information before discussing his policy defeats in Albany, but a senior city official said state lawmakers “have no agenda or no vision” and the place is “broken,” The Wall Street Journal reports:  * Albany's results: * no min wage increase * no 421a reform * no end to vacancy decontrol * no campaign finance reform * etc * End of Albany session yield few wins for @BilldeBlasio - and further fraying of his relationship with @NYGovCuomo * On rent regs in Albany: the threshold for vacancy decontrol increases from $2500/month to $2700 * Rent regs deal is a guarantee of up to 90,000 units beinglost in the four-year extension period. (Capital)

Et Tu Dems Back the Big Ugly 




Monday Albany Update: Heastie No Juice
Heastie: ‘Nice Conversation’ With Cuomo, Flanagan(YNN) But agreements on an extension of rent control laws for New York City, as well as mayoral control of New York City schools and a real-estate tax abatement remain elusive. * Astorino Backs Mayoral Control For NYC (YNN)
Assembly Speaker Democrats rejected the latest rent regulation deal proposed by Senate Republicans, saying their concessions weren’t significant. But others close to the talks say new Assembly Speaker Carl Heatie has been unable to sell potential agreements to his members, who are newly emboldened after more than two decades of the autocratic leadership under now indicted Sheldon Silver.* Carl Heastie having trouble herding his members, sources say (NYDN) * Cuomo aide Mark Weprin hit for lobbying on Assembly floor  (NYDN) * Cuomo's invisible end of session  (Capital) * Assembly Counsel James Yates will retire later this year  (NYDN) * State Senate Republicans introduced bills that would extend New York City rent regulations another six years and increase by $100 the threshold at which vacant units return to the open market, the Daily News reports:  * Assembly Democrats dismissed offers by GOP senators for pro-tenant reforms as insufficient while Speaker Carl Heastie has been unable to line his members up behind deals, the Daily News’ reports:    * New state legislative leaders John Flanagan and Heastie are seeking to assert their might by representing their members, maintaining ties with financial backers and avenging perceived slights, The Wall Street Journal reports:  * The Daily News urges Cuomo to stand behind de Blasio on his pension plan for new firefighters and cops, which is “sensible” for curbing overly costly plans put forth by the unions: * Nicole Gelinas writes in the Post that the MTA’s budget woes are asimportant as rent regulation legislation and if Cuomo does not find money forthe agency, it will lead to delays and higher costs on megaprojects: 


 Cuomo’s invisible end of session (Capital) After more than a week without a public appearance, some Democrats are wondering whether the governor has their back in a fight to strengthen rent regulations for tenants. * With the legislative session now in overtime and lawmakers still at stalemate, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been at the Capitol, out of the public eye and out of the fray, present but unaccounted for. It's now been more than a week since the Democratic executive's last public appearance, at a press conference in Yonkers.He's held private negotiating sessions with both Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Republican leader John Flanagan, but has not emerged from his suite of offices to say anything about the status of talks. He even took the rare step last week of skipping a political fund-raiser for his re-election campaign. (The $2,500-a-head Cuomo event was not canceled,it just happened without Cuomo.) @NickReisman  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie met with Cuomo for about an hour this morning. Heastie says no agreement despite "nice conversation." @thomaskaplan  Albany's three men in a room met this morning, Carl Heastie says. He reported a "nice conversation" but no agreement.True News PM Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have continued talking, but agreements on key issues—rent control and mayoral control—remain elusive, State of Politics reports:   * Tenant advocates plan to camp out in Albany’s Academy Park tonight. * Assembly Counsel James Yates, a former judge who was hired by ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver in 2011 and asked to stay on by Silver’s replacement, Carl Heastie, is retiring later this year.

With the legislative session now in overtime and lawmakers still at a stalemate, Cuomo has been at the Capitol, but has remained out of the public eye and out of the fray, Capital New York writes:  * With state legislators in Albany still divided over changes to the law that governs rent-stabilized apartments, New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board is postponing its annual vote on new rent levels, theTimes reports  * Tenants who want stronger rent laws are planning to camp out in the capital’s Academy Parkthe Times Unionwrites:  * Flanagan said $2 billion is at risk because of the Assembly’s attempt to link sales tax levels with unrelated rent regulation legislation Assembly Democrats are seeking, The Buffalo News reports:   * Heastie said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio should be afforded the same respect that former mayor Michael Bloomberg was given on mayoral control of city schools, Capital New York writes:  * A Citizens Budget Commission report finds that four bills that would enhance public employee pension benefits have passed both the Assembly and the   Senate, and await a signature or veto from Cuomo, the Times Union writes:    * NY1’s Zack Fink writes for State of Politics that rookie mistakes and unreasonable expectations have added to the difficult legislative session, causing more gridlock than there has been in recent years:  * With state legislators still divided over changes to the law that governs rent-stabilized apartments, New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board is postponing its annual vote on new rent levels until next Monday. * Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s end-of-session absence has fueled suspicion among Democrats that he is siding more closely with Senate Republicans as lawmakers negotiate the renewal of rent regulations in New York City. * There’s a competition among states – including New York – to see who can give yachts a bigger tax break. * Cuomo’s new legislative liaison, Mark Weprin, has angered some with his frequent presence on the Assembly floor. While most lobbyists are barred from stepping foot there, Weprin is allowed the privilege as a former member of the chamber. * Leaders Meet For ‘Cordial Discussions’ (YNN) *Chalkbeat: Assembly members float alternative to tax creditsfor private schools  @UFT


Weekend Albany Update: Set Puts Prints Their Big Ugly End Game
Saturday Night: A One House Big Ugly A PR Move or A Starting Point?
State SenateRepublicans introduce bills to extend NYC’s rent regulation laws for six years,with some big changes  (NYDN) The Senate plan would increase by $100 the currently $2,500 monthly rent threshold in which a vacant apartment in New York City can be placed into the open market — a process known as vacancy de-control. Future increases to the threshold would be automatically tied to the cost of housing as determined annually by the Rent Guidelines Board. The Assembly Democrats want to do away with vacant decontrol entirely, saying it’s responsible for tens of thousands of affordable housing units coming out of the regulation system.

Why the Assembly Will Pass A New Law That Pushing the Middle Class & Poor Out of City 
The Senate plan would also require tenants in rent-regulated apartments to verify their income with the state and also ensure that tenants would not be able to rent their apartments at a profit. In an anti Airbnb measure, it would mandate that rent-regulated apartments be used as a primary residence, not as a hotel-like room.  The Assembly Democrats, who oppose many of the provisions sought by the Senate, have proposed a two-year extension of the rent law that does not make any changes.  The Senate bill would extend by six years the controversial but lucrative 421a affordable housing tax break for developers. The Assembly package would not extend the program. The Senate package would also continue mayoral control over the New York City schools for just a year. Mayor de Blasio and the Assembly Democrats want three years.  And the Senate Republicans would require the state to sign off on the city education department's budget plans, another non-starter for the mayor.  The proposal would weaken the city's authority over charter schools and make a change that would allow more charters to open in the city under the existing cap. Known as the "big ugly," because it includes a number of controversial but seemingly unrelated initiatives, the Senate package also includes changes to the Common Core curriculum, makes permanent an expiring law capping local property tax hikes at 2%, and authorizes state property tax rebate checks beginning next year - an election year for the Legislature.* Spokespeople in the #nyassembly insistthere's no agreement on this. Bill would extend rent regs by 6 years, index it  (Capital) * Senate proposal leaves distance from Cuomo,Assembly(Capital) The Senate's current proposal would increase vacancy decontrol, by which landlords are allowed to raise rent by an unlimited amount when the monthly charge reaches $2,500, by $100 and extend the 421-a tax abatement program for another six years. The Assembly, which passed its own tenant-friendly rent regulation measures in May, were seeking to end vacancy decontrol.  Despite Cuomo calling for more tenant-friendly regulations, he has not proposed his own legislation. * @NYGovCuomo 's failure to fund thesubways (& other MTA stuff) will cost riders more $ ... & soon. (NYP) * Albany Legislators Have Been Busy Passing Laws, Just Not New Rent Regulations (Gothamist)  They've pushed through more than 300.


Instead of Connecting the Corruption Dots to Save Democracy NYT Kisses Silver's Ass
Down, Maybe, but Out and About: Sheldon Silver’s Life After theSpeakership (NYT)   Since being arrested and indicted on federal corruption charges, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly has seen his influence wane. But that hasn’t sent him into hiding. * “(I)n many ways, Mr. Silver remains a presence unbowed, tackling favored causes and displaying no obvious reluctance about appearing in public at the Capitol or elsewhere.” (The former speaker says he doesn’t miss being in the headlines).


Sunday Update A better campus sexual assault bill for New York (NYDN Ed) The governor called for abandoning the no-means-no standard for judging assaults in favor of a so-called affirmative consent rule under which both student participants would have to explicitly say yes before initiating any level of sexual contact, whether a hug or intercourse. Unfortunately, requiring a verbal “Yes” each step of the way unworkably defied the realities of human conduct and was slated to inspire mockery and widespread rule violations, each of which would meet the definition of assault. * "That the Governor of NY...is more worried about nailsalons than the economy...tells all." Cuomo Nailed?  * IN THE HOLE: NYdoing little to keep businesses in state  * Senate Bills have been printed tonite to extend rent til 2019 @sarbetter   Senate has printed a series of bills tonite: S6009 deals w/ rent control; education standards; prop tax relief.* No more linkage: Cuomo spokesman says strengthening rentlaws "is independent of any other issue" (NYT) * The return of bad old Albany (CrainsNY)  As the state's legislative session drags on, it's clear that there is dysfunction.  Uncertainty Mounting as Little Progress Is Seen in Albany on Rent Regulations (NYT) The Assembly and Senate have agreed to extend the existing law, which had expired, until next Tuesday, but the chambers seem to be far apart on a long-term resolution. * Legislature to Reconvene Tuesday, Rent Regulation Laws Still on the Table (NY1) * Assembly floats more ‘mandated’ aid over tax credits forprivate schools  * Heastie on charters: Assembly Dems don’t like them (Capital) Heastie to be in Albany over weekend (Capital) * Part gridlock in Albany negotiations is a hold up on municipal sales taxes, with Assembly Democrats refusing to pass extenders for upstate communities and Senate Republicans doing the same for New York City,the Times Union reports:  Crain’s writes that there has been a return of the bad old Albanywith the loss of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gravitas leading to dysfunction, and that voters should show lawmakers the door in 2016 if they can’t get the job done: * As an alternative to the Education Investment Tax Credit, the Assembly has floated using existing programs to funnel money to private schools along with a tax break for families spending up to $3,000 on education expenses, Chalkbeat reports:  * State lawmakers did pass dozens of bills last week, including measures on Sandy relief and the lobster population, even though they didn’t reach a long-term deal on rent regulations and other key issues, theDaily News writes:

Friday Albany Update: Weekend Off
Lawmakers pass 5-day extension for rent-control regulations (NYP)  Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule. The Legislature has gone into super overtime, passing a five-day extension for the rent laws and 421a tax abatement program to buy themselves more negotiating room on the issues most responsible for holding up the end of session. The Assembly is expected to be at the Capitol today, while senators have departed and will return next week. * Tenant advocates protested outside a $2,500-a-head fundraiser held for Cuomo at the Plaza Hotel last night. The governor did not attend the event, which featured soul singer Aretha Franklin, opting to remain in Albany. * As policy negotiations came down to the wire at the Capitol, Democratic lawmakers said a campaign criticizing their positions on a tax credit was making it hard to reach a compromise. * Disillusioned business leader says Cuomo strayed from whatworked (CrainsNY) Democrats want stronger protections for tenants included in the laws, but upstate Senate Republicans are frustrated they are being asked to sign off on rent regulation, an affordable housing tax credit proposal for developers and continued mayoral control over the New York City schools while getting very little in return.

NYS Business Council President and CEO Heather Briccetti wants the old Cuomo back. “There was a feeling of confidence that he could govern and was in control,” she said. “I think people are less confident now.” * State Senate poised to OK 5-day rent regulation extension for city’s tenants (NYDN) * A BRIEF REPRIEVE: State lawmakers pass temporary five-day rent regulations extension as city receives calls from nervous tenants (NYDN) * Lawmakers And Cuomo Buy Breathing Room With Rent Control Agreement (YNN) * Senator: Republicans Are Telling NYC to ‘DropDead’ in Rent Law Negotiations (NYO) True News Friday PM Update  The Legislature isn’t scheduled to return to Albany until Tuesday, which gives the Assembly Democrats time to hold a fundraiser at Yankee Stadium on Monday. (Speaker Heastie took a page from the governor’s book and cancelled his appearance at this event) * Minimum Wage Hike For NYC Floated, But Rejected By Assembly Dems (YNN)* A minimum wage increase for New York City was put on the table in exchange for a compromise on rent control protections, but the move was rejected by Assembly Democrats, State of Politics reports: * NY's rent laws have been extended until Tuesday as anagreement in Albanyremains elusive:  (CurbedNY) * Education issues remain unresolved as Albany pushes past session’s officialend:  (UFT) * Assembly Dems introduce 2-year extensions for rent, mayoralcontrol of NYC schools & other laws  (NYDN) * Uncertainty Mounting as Little Progress Is Seen in Albany on Rent Regulations (NYT) The Assembly and Senate have agreed to extend the existing law, which had expired, until next Tuesday, but the chambers seem to be far apart on a long-term resolution.


Cuomo Caught In His Own Campaign Fund Raising Petard
Cuomo skips own fund-raiser amid rent control negotiations (NYP) All of G. Steven Pigeon’s recent political contributions – including those to Cuomo – are “fair game” in the probe of his fundraising activities, according to a source familiar with the state investigation. As the rent stalemate dragged on, a fund-raiser for Gov. Cuomo went on without him in the city Thursday night as the governor stayed in Albany. Heastie also plans to skip a $5,000-per-person fundraiser for the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee he heads that will take place at the Yankees-Phillies game at Yankee Stadium so he can be in Albany to continue the rent talks, a spokesman for the speaker said. * Steve Pigeon’s contributions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo—about $150,000 in recent years—are considered “fair game” by state investigators in the investigation into the political consultant’s dealings, The Buffalo News reports: 


Talk About Bad Timing Cuomo Fundraiser Tonight Update Canceled Appearance Fundraiser Goes On 
As the session continues past deadline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to host a fundraiser tonight in Manhattan, which some had hoped would force an end to negotiations over rent regulations,State of Politicsreports:  PM Update Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo was scheduled to appear at a fundraiser this evening in Manhattan, his office says he will stay in Albany to hash out end-of-session issues, State of Politicsreports:  * * Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said his chamber expected to be done after today—though he would be available to continue negotiating with Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the Times Unionreports:* Heastie did not rule out working over the weekend to achieve an agreement on multiple unresolved issues at the Capitol, State of Politics reports:  * The Assembly followed the Senate and passed legislation to prohibit workplace discrimination based on family status, intended to protect women from bias in employment, pay and advancement, the Times Union reports:  * A bill in the Senate would extend mayoral control of New York City schools for a year, but would eliminate charter school caps and require Mayor Bill de Blasio to submit his education budget to state leaders, State of Politicsreports:

De Blasio announced that cars would not be allowed in large parts of Central and Prospect parks, a move he said would make the parks safer for children, bikers and joggers, The New York Times writes:  * We’re now deep into overtime for the 2015 legislative session, and there are no final deals in sight on the big outstanding issues (mainly the expired NYC rent laws). * It remains unclear how much longer rank-and-file lawmakers will be sticking around Albany. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan says he’ll be sending his members home after their work – such as it is – is complete, but will stay at the Capitol himself to continue negotiating with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the governor. Heastie expects to have his members here through Friday, but will cut things short to allow for religious observances. (Shabbat).

 New York Legislature Agrees to 5-Day Extension of Rent Regulations (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders said they would extend the regulations — which cover about one million apartments in the city — to safeguard tenants who have been without such protections since Monday. * Senate passed bill to extend rent laws 8 days from Mon. 6/15 until midnight Tue. 6/23; we expect to pass it too. Still tough negotiations.


An albany insider: 'none of these three guys has an endgame'
  in the Assembly in which lawmakers are paying $1 to bet on the exact time the session will end. * Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous is “excited” for his upcoming trial on federal corruption charges, explaining: “I know I’m going to win.” * According to US Census data, enrollment at privately-run schools across New York has dropped by the tens of thousands in recent years – a major reason some religious groups are pushing for a new set of tax credits to reward tuition and donations. * State Senate poised to back 4-day rent regulationsextension  *Governor Cuomo's fundraising ticket $2500, ironically the same amount it takes to un-regulate an apt. #RentLaws #TenantEmergency * Senate to go home tonight, negotiations continue, rank-and-file return Tuesday to wrap up session, big issues like rent, 2 sources say.  * Dolan pushes de Blasio on funding for religious schools  (Capital) Cardinal wants administration to provide safety agents * Cuomo and leaders agree to five-day extension of rent regulations (Capital)


Wednesday Albany Update: Stay  
Councilman: We’re not in a rent control crisis — yet (NYP) * State Senate passes bill allowing MMA in New York(NYP)  * Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams said tenants should be “very concerned,” but added: “We haven’t quite reached a full crisis yet.”* ALBANY LAWMAKERS PLAN EXTENDED STAY— Capital’s Josefa Velasquez and Jimmy Vielkind: The legislative session is slated to end on Wednesday, but lawmakers are prepared to extend their stay in Albany until the end of the week. “Since the beginning of session when I saw the calendar, when it [had] an ending day of Wednesday, I knew we’d be out of here this week on Friday,” Republican Senator John DeFrancisco, one of the chamber’s highest-ranking members, told Capital on Tuesday afternoon. “And I haven’t changed my mind.”Emerging from a closed-door meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his members are prepared to stay beyond the scheduled end of session. “They are prepared to be here to do what has to be done for the conference, however long that may take,” the Bronx Democrat told reporters  * Keith Wright introduces bill to extend rent regulation lawsthrough feb. 1. (NYDN) * Assembly One-House Extends Rent To February(YNN) * Flanagan: Late Night Expected At The Capitol (YNN)
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NYP's Goodwin: De Blasio's rent-regulation scare tactics are all a hoax 
Bill de Blasio’s rent-control ‘nightmare’ nonsense (NYP Ed)  Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday rushed to calm New Yorkers’ fears over the sudden expiration of city rent regulations, with Cuomo saying, “There will be no short-term emergency.” Nice, but late. The two — especially de Blasio — incited the hysteria in the first place. The mayor had shrieked that the expiration of rent regulations would be a “nightmare scenario” resulting in “the beginning of the end of New York City as we know it.” Cuomo had predicted “pandemonium” and “chaos” if the laws lapsed. All nonsense on stilts.* State Senate duo puts landlords ahead of renters with votes that led rent regulations to expire (NYDN) * Rent regulations remain in limbo as state lawmakers fail again to agree on extending them (NYDN) * Bill Hammond: “When New York’s rent laws expired Monday night, something else died with them: the myth of Gov. Cuomo as the great and powerful wizard of Albany.” 


 A day after the rent laws expired, the governor and legislative leaders met behind closed doors to try and end the standoff but emerged with little visible progress. * Legislative leaders said they saw no “blueprint” for an overall deal. Assemblyman Keith Wright, a Harlem Democrat who chairs his chamber’s housing committee, issued a statement declaring “we’re getting nowhere fast” on rent negotiations.* The Post writes that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio need to have an honest debate on rent regulations and stop spreading fear in order to get what they want in the negotiations over the expired laws The Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez writes that state Sens.Simcha Felder and Martin Golden, both from Brooklyn, put landlords ahead of tenants in casting votes that led to the expiration of the rent control laws: The Times Union calls on the Legislature to confront theissues of corruption in state government this year, including addressing the LLC loophole, even if they have to call a special session later in the year * Lawmakers prepare for an extended stay (Capital) Albany girds for overtime * At end of session, upstate agenda is nearly invisible (Capital) * De Blasio Rails Against Rent Law That ‘Rewards’Vacancies (NYO)* * Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan predicted a lengthy session on Wednesday, but would not say whether he expects the Legislature to stay in Albany beyond the final scheduled day of the session, State of Politicswrites:   * After meeting with Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was vague about what deals are on the way before the end of the session, but seemed certain “we’ll be here tomorrow,” the Times-Union reports:  * Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Keith Wright introduced a bill to extend rent regulation laws until Feb. 1, though Heastie called that measure a “last resort,” State of Politics reports:
Thursday Albany Update:
State lawmakers moved to toughen penalties against subway grinders but stopped short of making the crime a felony. Under legislation expected to be approved in both the Assembly and Senate, anyone who “subjects another person to sexual contact” to gratify their “sexual desire” on a bus, train or subway would face up to a year in jail. * Assembly Housing Chairman Keith Wright discusses the expired rent regulations and why they are holding up the end of the legislative session, in an interview(City and State) * * The legislative session was scheduled to end Wednesday, but there was little to report from top-level meetings, and lawmakers were speculating how long the session would be extended, The New YorkTimes reports: * Democratic lawmakers blamed a campaign by the Coalition for Opportunity in Education that criticizes their positions on a controversial education tax credit for making it hard to reach a deal, The Wall Street Journal reports: * 

Union leaders optimistic on disability pensions (Capital) * The bill passed by a single vote, 32-31, with opposition coming from Democrats and Republicans alike.* As the session winds down, some major issues appear poised to be left on the table, including a minimum wage hike, the DREAM Act and criminal justice reform. * The governor and legislative leaders did manage to reach an agreement on a law that would more strictly regulate the state’s thousands of nail shops, an expanding industry in which paying far less than minimum wage and operating without licenses is commonplace. Lawmakers are expected to pass the measure today. * Union leaders representing New York City police officers and firefighters huddled privately yesterday with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and emerged saying they are pleased he’s working on a deal to increase disability pensions for newly hired members.* The Post cites six-figure FDNY pensions in arguing that de Blasio is right in opposing Cuomo and pushing for a firefighter pension system that puts less of a burden on taxpayers * As rent control dominates end-of-session talks, localgovernment advocates call for tax cap changes (TU) * Assembly Dems Believe Cuomo Is Behind Anti-Assembly PRCampaign On Education Tax Credit: There has been an agg... * With deals elusive, Albany’s session hits extra time (Capital) ‘See you Friday’ * Sleep-in Protesters Demand Action on Expired Rent Laws (NY1) * "We're getting rolled" is the way one NYSA described to @CityAndStateNY what's going to happen to end this legislative session. Stay tuned. * Inbox: "Tenants, Advocates and Elected Officials To Protest Inaction on Rent Laws Outside Fundraiser for Governor Cuomo"


Albany Overtime: Three Men in A Room and A Wood Frog
Legislature Goes Into Overtime(YNN) With a deal on a host of expired or soon-to-lapse measures not reached, the Legislature plans to remain in Albany beyond the final scheduled day of the session. The Republican-led Senate on Wednesday night ended its work for the evening around 9 p.m. and planned to return on Thursday at noon. * With deals on a host of major issues still unresolved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders, rank-and-file lawmakers were left to spend hours on the Senate and Assembly floors debating a hodgepodge of bills – including the Senate’s proposal to make the wood frog New York’s official amphibian, which has no Assembly sponsor. * Some lawmakers were furious the wood frog bill even came up for debate when the future of the rent laws remains an open question. Sen. Mike Gianaris called the measure “asinine,” adding: “We’re sitting here discussing what should be the official amphibian when two million people in New York City are not sure if they have a home.”*State lawmakers vote over wood frog instead of debating on extending rent regulation laws (NYDN) The bill’s sponsor, GOP Sen. John DeFrancisco, of Syracusedefended the proposal, which had come to him via a class of third graders in his district. “It’s a great educational opportunity for (the third-graders) to get involved in government,” he said. “To compare this to rent control is complete nonsense.”


Weekend Albany Update NOTHING

Sunday Update

Saturday 
De Blasio says expired rent regulations would be ‘nightmare’(NYP) * 'END OF NYC AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT': Mayor predicts 'nightmare' for residents if rent-regulation law allowed to expire (NYDN) * PUBLIC OBSTACLE NO. 1: Senate Majority leader John Flanagan stands in the way of Lavern's Law (NYDN Ed)   Albany’s abdication: Gov. Cuomo and the Legislatureare dropping the ball on crucial NYC issues (NYDN Ed) The governor and Legislature have known for years that rent regulations affecting 2.5 million New Yorkers would lapse on Monday. The 421-a tax break, key to building housing the city urgently needs, will run out that same day. And the law giving Mayor de Blasio control over schools — without which chaos would return — will die on June 30. * New York City’s union leadership is being tested as developers grow more willing to use nonunion labor on major, forcing labor bosses to work new angles at the negotiating table, the Wall Street Journal reports:  *  The Daily News writes that Cuomo and legislativeleadership need to stop blaming everyone else for their inability to get crucial legislation for New York City passed before the end of session and get the job done: * Bills: Senate's 421-a plan, Assembly's rent extender (Capital)* Assembly members: Let 421-a expire if rent reform fails (Capital)  40 Dem AMs write Heastie & Wright: they won't extend 421-a w/o strengthening of rent regs * .@NYGovCuomo: Ending #421a "would stop any production of #affordablehousing" (Capital) * New York'sGreat 421-a Debate: The Uncertain Future of Trading Affordable Housing for TaxBreaks:… (Capital) * Everything you need to know about the 421-a taxabatement & affordable housing in NYC: (Curbed) *  With rentregulation laws set to expire on Monday and no renewal deal in place, Gov.Andrew Cuomo is warning landlords in New York City not to take advantage of the situation, the Daily News reports: 




Friday Albany Update
Tenant Group Parodies Cuomo’s Ties toScandal-Scarred Glenwood (NYO) The Alliance for Tenant Power, a left-leaning pro-tenant group, is circulating a meme and quote parodying Mr. Cuomo’s ties to scandal-scarred Glenwood Management. The meme portrays Glenwood’s 100-year-old founder, Leonard Litwin, raising a martini glass and smiling like Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2013 film The Great Gatsby. Mr. Litwin is “thanking” Mr. Cuomo for calling for the straight renewal of a controversial real estate tax break known as 421a. Many progressives, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, want 421a reformed or scrapped altogether.* New YorkCongressmen pen letter supporting stronger rent regulations (NYDN) * Dog-Related Bills Flood Albany as Major Legislation Stalls (NYT) The canine subjects of dozens of measures awaiting passage are perennially popular with constituents, perhaps more so than the lawmakers themselves. * Legislature May Make Lunar New Year a School Holiday in New York City (NYT) Bills in Albany suggest that legislators do not want to wait for the de Blasio administration to reach its own decision on the issue.* Cuomo Seeks to Link Bills on Rent Regulation and Private School Tax Credits (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he was trying to play mediator by getting Assembly to approve the tax credits and the Senate to continue rent regulations.* Saying he’s playing a “mediation role” during the end of the legislative session, Gov.Andrew Cuomo revealed to the New York Times that he’s still trying to link renewal of NYC rent regulations to the education tax credit. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie again rejected the idea of linkage. *  Cuomo said he and legislative leaders in Albany are still discussing ways to overhaul the expiring 421-a tax abatement program, but indicated he remains skeptical anything substantial can be achieved before the session’s scheduled end next Wednesday.* Workers at a Midtown rally waiting to hear Cuomo promote his proposal to raise the minimum wage got a surprise when rocker Jon Bon Jovi also showed up. “Raising the wage is about fairness,” the singer, a Cuomo supporter, told about 150 cheering members of the hotel-workers union at their West 44th Street headquarters.* Cuomo is trying to get two contentious legislative issues, rent regulations and the education investment tax credit, approved by the Legislature by linking the fates of both, The New York Times reports:  * A renewed drive to overhaul New York’s statute of limitations forsexual-abuse cases involving minors appears to have stalled in the Legislature, despite attracting a record number of sponsors this year, the Journal reports: *Former Deputy Attorney General Avi Schick writes in theJournal that the education investment tax credit does not violate the separation of church and state and would help parochial schools that receive little from the state while having to abide by its regulations: * A renewed drive to overhaul New York’s statute of limitations for sexual-abuse cases involving minors appears to have stalled in the state Legislature, despite attracting a record number of sponsors this year, advocates said. * The Senate voted unanimously this week to make the first day of the Asian lunar calendar a school holiday in New York City, and the Assembly plans to consider a similar bill next week, suggesting that the Legislature does not want to wait for the de Blasio administration to reach its own decision on the issue.* As the session winds down, lawmakers aren't exactly beingall that forthcoming with what's being discussed  * No Firm Extension For Rent Control (YNN) *   With Rent And 421a Up In The Air, Assembly Plans Sunday Conference  (YNN) * Public Advocate’s Office Gears Up to Offer LegalHelp If Rent Regulations Expire  (NYO) * A Letter From Congress Gets A Snarky Reply From Cuomo Aide (NYO) A letter from members of the state’s Congressional delegation supporting stronger rent control protections garnered a sarcastic reply in response from an aide in the Cuomo administration’s Washington, D.C.-based office.True News Friday PM  De Blasio says NYC in for ‘real nightmare’ if law governingrent-regulated apartments is allowed to expire (NYDN) * With the 421-a tax abatement set to expire, Senate Republicans are making a last-ditch effort to overhaul the controversial development subsidy program before the legislative session ends next Wednesday, Capital New York reports:  * A coalition of business entities are pushing back against an effort to include a prevailing wage component in the renewal of the 421-a tax abatement, State of Politics reports:   * Assembly Democrats will convene on Sunday night in a closed-door conference as rent control regulations and a controversial and 421-a are due to lapse the next day, State of Politics writes  * New York City Public Advocate Letitia James announced her office was preparing to offer legal services to the tenants of apartments facing rent deregulation should Albany fail to hit the Monday deadline, the Observer reports:    * The state Senate has passed a measure that would increase penalties related to heroin, with a provision allowing authorities to charge dealers with murder if a user overdoses, Gannett Albany reports  * Cuomo spent much of the week dealing with the North Country prison break, but back in Albany, issues surrounding New York City housing stuck in legislative gridlock have persisted, the Times writes: * Wright vows to hold out against rent compromise (Capital) * Assembly Democrats to hold conference on Sunday (Capital) Rent regulation laws, 421-a are set to expire Monday * A fragile Sen. Tom Libous has been cleared to return to the Capitol for the final days of the 2015 session after spending months in Florida recuperating from a blood infection he developed after undergoing spinal surgery * NYC Public Advocate Tish James announced her office is preparing to offer legal services to the tenants of the more than one million apartments facing rent deregulation should Albany fail to renew the city’s rent laws by the expiration deadline on Monday. . * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio used an appearance today at the Islamic Center of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn to urge residents to lobby state lawmakers to strengthen rent regulations. * For some lawmakers extending and strengthening the rent laws is personal. Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, for example, regularly tangles with the “shitty landlord” who owns his rent-regulated Bronx apartment.*   An extension of the 421a tax abatement program — rather than the adoption of reforms proposed by de Blasio — could cost NYC roughly 1,300 affordable apartments, according to data from the city’s Independent Budget Office.


So, while we’re waiting around for something more to happen – or not – here are some headlines to consider: * Two days before the scheduled end of the 2015 legislative session, Gov. Andrew Cuomostill hasn’t put into print his criminal justice proposals – including one addressing grand jury action in police violence cases – leaving advocates uncertain about their chances of success.* AG Eric Schneiderman, a former state senator, implied that the deadlock on the rent laws, which expire at midnight, is symbolic of business as usual at a Capitol viewed as dysfunctional for much of the last decade.
Speaker Sheldon Silver, His Law Firm $$$
How Real Estate $$$ Corruption Government and Politics Silver Skelos Indictment
Did Silver Corrupt the Manhattan Court?
From Skelos to Flanagan, GOP and IDC Coalition
Gentrification and Race 


Daily News Calls the Rejected Pension Deal Typical Albany Quid-pro-quo But Says Nothing About the Big Ugly Way of Doing Business
Bill makes tough,right call: Mayor de Blasio correctly rejects an unsavory deal offered by Sen.John Flanagan (NYDN Ed) Flanagan put it this way: I give you a minimum-wage hike to $11.50 an hour for thousands of needy New Yorkers, in return you give young cops sweetened disability retirement benefits.
It's height of hypocrisy 4 some on Wall St earning zillions from managing $ 4 workers too call DB pensions 4 retirees too expensive






Smith the Ballot Fixer During His Final Campaign Took On The Serious Issue of Race and Gentrification to Win Reelection

I can’t tell you much, but I can tell you one thing: being an African-American who is from Queens, who is independent, who is ambitious, must have upset somebody,” Mr. Smith, whose opponents in the primary are both also black, said. “Be careful who you talk to, be careful what you say. Because they’ve got their eye on southeast Queens, they’re trying to shift it. The same way Harlem is no longer Harlem and Brooklyn is no longer Brooklyn.” “Don’t get caught up with the innuendos, don’t get caught up with the media spin, don’t get caught up with the false allegations. I can’t tell you much, but I can tell you one thing: being an African-American who is from  Queens, who is independent, who is ambitious, must have upset somebody,” Mr. Smith, whose opponents in the primary are both also black, said. “Be careful who you talk to, be careful what you say. Because they’ve got their eye on southeast Queens, they’re trying to shift it. The same way Harlem is no longer Harlem and Brooklyn is no longer Brooklyn.” “You will see my innocence is exactly what I say it is. You find out who is behind the attack on all the African-American leadership in this city, that will come out as well,” he said. “If you don’t believe southeast Queens gentrification is beginning to happen, look around. Sen. Malcolm Smith told a Queens audience that racially motivated forces of gentrification are behind his indictment on charges he tried to bribe his way onto the GOP line in the 2013 NYC mayor’s race. Mr. Smith warned the crowd that the accusations are part of a plot to eliminate a powerful black outer borough politician and target his district for real estate development and racial displacement. “Don’t get caught up with the innuendos, don’t get caught up with the media spin, don’t get caught up with the false allegations.* Smith claims federal bribery rap was a racist conspiracy(NYP)



Albany Cherry Picks Feel Good Laws
Albany Protects Dogs Ignores New Yorkers Right to A Decent Home
Dog-Related Bills Flood Albany as Major Legislation Stalls (NYT) With the legislative session down to its final days, New York legislators have dozens ofdog-related bills awaiting passage. Dozens of dog-related bills awaiting passage, including those addressing canine discrimination, adoption and curfews

Even NYT Says Housing Emergency Ignored By Albany Lawmakers
New York’s Housing Emergency (NYT Ed) The city housing issue is a politically complicated matter for state legislators, but not impossible. New York State’s lawmakers are scheduled to shut down their legislative work for the year next Wednesday. That is a meaningless, self-declared deadline, which means Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature have no excuse for failing to deal with some of the most urgent matters on their agenda, like housing in New York City. Two of the city’s major housing development laws expire on Monday. One law protects rent regulations for as many as two million people in lower-cost apartments. The other, called 421-a, gives a lucrative tax credit to developers, usually in return for building more affordable apartment units. The two laws have often been enacted together, making the housing issue a politically complicated matter for legislators in Albany. Complicated, however, should not mean impossible. But Mr. Cuomo said this Wednesday, referring to the developer tax credit, “you can’t come up with a resolution in these next few days, and I am not going to attempt to.”  Mr. Cuomo said Thursday that he is considering a short-term extension of the 421-a law. A better option would be to let that law expire, but there will no doubt be negotiations about keeping it in some form. As for extending the existing rent protection law without needed changes, that would result in the continued loss of thousands of rent-regulated apartments every year. . . . Mr. Cuomo has recognized that expiration of the rental law would create “mass mayhem.” Recently he promised to call the Legislature back “every day if necessary until tenants are protected with new regulations.” Governor Cuomo should follow through on that threat — not only to resolve the rent regulations but also to deal with 421-a.* The rent laws and 421a are scheduled to expire Monday, which the NYT calls a “meaningless, self-declared deadline,” adding: “which means (Cuomo) and the Legislature have no excuse for failing to deal with some of the most urgent matters on their agenda, like housing in New York City.”  ***  The Times writes that Cuomo needs to follow through on his threat to call state legislators back to session if the fail to pass several important housing related bills before the legislative session ends next week* Population of homeless adults in shelters will grow by 59% in 5 years if Gov. Cuomo doens't give more aid, report says (NYDN)




Albany Lawmakers Still Taking Money From Special Interests 
Yet now that they’re on the brink of blowing those deadlines, they bleat it’s de Blasio’s fault, or Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s. Particularly phony is the excuse that Bharara’s corruption charges against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos have put a kibosh on legislative negotiations. In fact, there’s plenty of talking going on. The true sin is that Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan have proven grossly incompetent at leading their chambers. *  Expiration of Rent Regulations Approaches as Tenants Mull Impact (NY1) * No Resolution in Sight Over Bill Proposing Pension Forfeiture for Convicted Officials (NY1) * As State Lawmakers Pack Up, Cuomo Issues Last Minute Push for Minimum Wage Raise (NYDN) * Albany Lawmakers Approve State Terrorist Registry (NY1)  * What will happen Monday if rent protections expire for 2million NYC tenants? 



Albany Lawmakers Protect Themselves Not the Tenants
Albany Lawmakers Take the Money and Do Nothing
Albany lawmakers work hard but fund-raise harder: study (NYP) They have a hard time passing legislation, but they’re world champs when it comes to fund-raising. By the time June ends, Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers will have held a total of 173 fund-raisers this year — matching 2014, which was an election year, according to an analysis released Thursday. But with just days to go before the legislative session is scheduled to close, several critical issues are still not resolved, including the extension of rent controls for more than 1 million New York City tenants. Most of the fund-raisers were held when lawmakers were negotiating the budget in March, and from mid-May through June, when they’re wrapping up. “It’s legislating by day and fundraising by night,” said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group, which conducted the analysis.* By the time June ends, Cuomo and state lawmakers will have held a total of 173 fund-raisers this year — matching 2014, which was an election year, according to a NYPIRG analysis.


Albany Cherry Picks Feel Good Laws
Albany Protects Dogs Ignores New Yorkers Right to A Decent Home
Dog-Related Bills Flood Albany as Major Legislation Stalls (NYT) With the legislative session down to its final days, New York legislators have dozens ofdog-related bills awaiting passage. Dozens of dog-related bills awaiting passage, including those addressing canine discrimination, adoption and curfews

Even NYT Says Housing Emergency Ignored By Albany Lawmakers
New York’s Housing Emergency (NYT Ed) The city housing issue is a politically complicated matter for state legislators, but not impossible. New York State’s lawmakers are scheduled to shut down their legislative work for the year next Wednesday. That is a meaningless, self-declared deadline, which means Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature have no excuse for failing to deal with some of the most urgent matters on their agenda, like housing in New York City. Two of the city’s major housing development laws expire on Monday. One law protects rent regulations for as many as two million people in lower-cost apartments. The other, called 421-a, gives a lucrative tax credit to developers, usually in return for building more affordable apartment units. The two laws have often been enacted together, making the housing issue a politically complicated matter for legislators in Albany. Complicated, however, should not mean impossible. But Mr. Cuomo said this Wednesday, referring to the developer tax credit, “you can’t come up with a resolution in these next few days, and I am not going to attempt to.”  Mr. Cuomo said Thursday that he is considering a short-term extension of the 421-a law. A better option would be to let that law expire, but there will no doubt be negotiations about keeping it in some form. As for extending the existing rent protection law without needed changes, that would result in the continued loss of thousands of rent-regulated apartments every year. . . . Mr. Cuomo has recognized that expiration of the rental law would create “mass mayhem.” Recently he promised to call the Legislature back “every day if necessary until tenants are protected with new regulations.” Governor Cuomo should follow through on that threat — not only to resolve the rent regulations but also to deal with 421-a.* The rent laws and 421a are scheduled to expire Monday, which the NYT calls a “meaningless, self-declared deadline,” adding: “which means (Cuomo) and the Legislature have no excuse for failing to deal with some of the most urgent matters on their agenda, like housing in New York City.”  ***  The Times writes that Cuomo needs to follow through on his threat to call state legislators back to session if the fail to pass several important housing related bills before the legislative session ends next week* Population of homeless adults in shelters will grow by 59% in 5 years if Gov. Cuomo doens't give more aid, report says (NYDN)

Thursday Albany Update
Cuomo Shuts Door on Part of Mayor de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Plan (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said time had run out to amend a state program giving developers generous tax breaks in exchange for creating low-cost housing. * Mayor, Governor at Odds Again Over Pensions, 421-a (NY1) * Cuomo nixes de Blasio’s affordable housing changes (NYP) * Cuomo warns against ‘pandemonium’ of letting rent control laws expire (NYDN) * Cuomo acknowledged that the cloud of corruption over the state Capitol is making it harder to achieve end of session deals – especially when it comes to the NYC tax abatement program known as 421a. * Cuomo dealt a serious blow to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan by saying time has run out in Albany to revise 421a. “You can’t come up with a resolution in these next few days, and I am not going to attempt to,” the governor told reporters. * De Blasio insisted Albany was given plenty of time to consider his proposed changes to the tax abatements, and said again that the entire program should end rather than continue as it exists today.*State Legislature is poised to approve “Amanda’s Law”, which makes it a felony, up from a misdemeanor, to dispose of a corpse without a burial or removal permit, or for seeking to conceal a corpse. * Cuomo blames Preet if rent regulations expire -  * A ‘MAYHEM’ SCENARIO FOR HOUSING—Capital’s Jimmy Vielkind: State lawmakers are starting to seriously contemplate the loss of two major housing programs, and suggested that federal prosecutors hamstrung their ability to otherwise cut a deal. With two scheduled session days remaining before the programs expire on Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and other legislators began speaking more openly about how the cloud of scandal—including the indictment of both legislative leaders—has made it more difficult to get things done. “If there was a different time and a different climate, I might just put everyone in a room and try to negotiate this myself. But with this climate in Albany, it's not conducive to that,” Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters after a rally. 


 As Capital had reported, Cuomo confirmed on Wednesday that he is now seeking a short-term, straight extension of the 421-a program. The governor told reporters after a rally that it was “under a microscope” and that any potential changes would “benefit some political interest” and “generate snarky news pieces.” Assemblyman Keith Wright, chair of the chamber’s housing committee, called a straight extension “unacceptable.” He added: “I’m very nervous.” * Mayhem:’ Albany gets pessimistic about housing deals (Capital) * NY1 ItCH: Everything Is Preet’s Fault But lawmakers’ fear of doing work is another kind of indictment; it’s a sorry statement about how most work in Albany resembles quid pro quos because of a myriad of murky campaign donations, opaque legislation that’s passed at the last minute, and closed-door meetings that are held instead of public hearings.  If legislators are worried that all this could be construed as illegal, then maybe they should start changing the rules of their dysfunctional game. * Cuomo: No Deals Just Yet (YNN) * In Albany Its All About Protecting Their Mob Leaders, Not the Public From Corruption  * Cuomo voiced support for extending the 421-a tax credit for developers for six months, rather than revamping it or permitting it to expire, as Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for, the Observer reports:  * After a three-hour debate, the Assembly approved a bill for a state monitor at the troubled East Ramapo school district, where many students attend private schools but Ultra-Orthodox Jews run the school board, Gannett Albany reports:  * The New York State AFL-CIO’s executive council adopted a resolution calling for prevailing wages in all 421-a projects, even though Cuomo said the program is unlikely to be changed meaningfully, State of Politics reports:  * Only two people have had their driver’s licenses suspended since Cooper’s law, a high-profile measure aimed at slowing pedestrian-traffic deaths in New York City, was signed into law last June, The Spirit reports  * Police arrested several protesters this morning outside Cuomo’s Manhattan office, where a group staged a rally demanding an extension to rent stabilization. * After a three-hour heated debate, the state Assembly today approved a bill that would install a state monitor at the troubled East Ramapo school district. The vote was 80-56. * Mayoral control of New York City schools might be extended for one, two or three years, Republican Sen. Marty Golden said.
More on the Albany Budget



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New FBI Tapes of Albany Pols and Their Lobbyists
New Targets for Bharara Stay Tuned
Sheldon Silver Probe Prompts Wiretaps on New Targets,Sources Say (DNAINFO) Federal investigators have begun wiretapping a new set of potential targets as a result of the probe that led to the indictment off former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, DNAinfo has learned. Investigators in the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI obtained court authorization to eavesdrop on an ever-expanding group of possible corrupt government officials and those who do business with them, including lawyers, lobbyists and contractors, sources said. The targets came to light during the two-year investigation of the powerful state Assembly leader — during which federal corruption fighters found “numerous new tentacles” to pursue, sources said.  Federal authorities were "already listening to numerous people in various places" on unrelated investigations before looking into Silver, and his "case provided a bunch of new places to wiretap,” a law enforcement source told "On The Inside."  The revelation that there is a new wave of federal eavesdropping from the speaker’s probe is certain to rattle an already-anxious Albany, where dozens of lawmakers have been convicted on corruption charges, many of them secretly caught on tape. In recent years, secret recordings and wiretaps have helped nail lawmakers on corruption-related charges including state Sen. Malcolm Smith, Councilman Daniel Halloran, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson and Assemblyman Nelson Castro. “Stay tuned,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara warned state legislators after announcing Silver’s indictment in February. * Federal investigators reportedly have begun wiretapping a new set of potential targets as a result of the probe that led to the indictment off former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.





Tuesday Albany Update: 
Blame Game . . .  A Bigger Ugly By Wednesday As Rent Laws Expire? 

As midnight approaches: NYC rent regulations for 2M tenantsto lapse if lawmakers don't act(AP) * Mayor de Blasio is urging lawmakers to act fast as rentprotections are set to expire at midnight.(NY1) * With Tom Libous absent, Senate GOP having trouble getting the needed 32-votes to pass 8-year rent extender opposed by Dems, source says ( NYC rent laws and the 421-a tax abatement program will expire at midnight. No immediate, practical impact. Two days until session ends.

Expired Rent Regulation Rules Would Cause More Anxiety Than Chaos, Officials Say (NYT)  Tenant advocates and officials note that the regulations for New York City have lapsed before, with no dire consequences. * City Rent Regulations Set to Expire at Midnight (NY1) *  Bills Sit on Lawmakers' Desks With Two Days Left of Session(NY1) * #421a expires tonight too, by the way.  * New York City,is how your rent regs expired. This is Albany,signing off. Good night!  (Capital)*Tenants worried as legislators fail to reach rent agreement (NYP) * New York Rent Regulation Laws Expire Amid Last-Minute Talks (NYT)  Rent regulations limiting how much landlords can charge for about one million apartments in New York City and its suburbs expired after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on how to extend them.* In the weeks leading up to the expiration of the 421-a tax abatement there has been a flurry of activity, with developers scrambling to get their projects in before the law lapsed, The Wall Street Journal writes: * Expired Rent Regulation Rules Would Cause More Anxiety Than Chaos, Officials Say (NYT) Tenant advocates and officials note that the regulations for New York City have lapsed before, with no dire consequences.* Assembly Democrats, under pressure from the Catholic Church to pass a tax break to help parochial schools, revived a bill that would allow lawsuits involving decades-old claims of sexual abuse by priests, thePost reports: The Post writes that Assembly Democrats are opposing the education investment tax credit bill because they are scared of the teachers’ union, but members of other unions are pushing for the bill to increase donations to their scholarship funds: * Senate majority leader John Flanagan just emerged from meeting w @NYGovCuomo. Discussions centering around rent regs, education tax credit * Senate GOP's prediciment on 421-a could have 2016implications (TU) * Building trades slam GOP allies (TU) Senate Republicans, construction workers at odds on prevailing wage on 421-a jobs*  Heastie adds, however, that while the tax credit bill remains a difficult one for his conference to pass, talks continue on it.* Heastie reiterates once again that rent control should be linked only to housing issues, not education tax credit.
True News Tuesday PM For Now, Senate Republicans Continue Negotiating On Rent (YNN) * Libous Returns To The Capitol (YNN) * Nolan: Concerns Remain Over Education Tax Credit (YNN) * Albany Bishop Pushes Tax Credit (YNN) * As Rent Control Expires, Tenant Advocates Point Finger At Cuomo (YNN) * New York City pensions could slide into ‘big ugly’ (Capital) * Leaders emerge, but there’s no deal yet (Capital) Senate sticks by income verification for rent-regulation * One sign of the death of the press conference in Albany: no existing pictures of Flanagan, Heastie and @NYGovCuomo in same frame. * Some actual news from this session: @NYGovCuomo and lawmakers reached adeal on a bill about college sex assault.   * "Albanyappears to be going through a collective nervous breakdown. Combined with atemper tantrum."  * Rent control expired, but both the #nyassembly and #nysenate passed abill allowing people to dine outside with dogs(Capital) True News 5PM JUSTICE REFORMS DIMMING: Lawmakers say passage of criminal justice reforms is looking increasingly unlikely, including allowing for a special prosecutor in cases of police violence and raising the age of criminal responsibility, City & State reports:  * THE BLAME GAME: After rent regulations expired last night, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, state Sen. Martin Golden and other lawmakers from both parties took aim at each other for the failure to reach a compromise, City & State reports:  * OPINION: Michael Benjamin in writes in City& State that if veteran lawmakers complain they can't get anything done due to recent indictments, they should retire from public office and take their warped sense of entitlement with them: * * New York City Council members joined tenants’ rights groups to attack what they saw as an anemic effort from Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the lead-up to the expiration of the city’s rent regulations, the Observerreports:   * Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urged tenants of rent-controlled dwellings who have trouble renewing their leases to contact his office, since landlords are still obligated to renew for 90 days, theTimes-Union writes:  *As lawmakers sort out an extension of the now-lapsed rent control laws in New York City, Senate Republicans say they have no plans to leave town after passing their own eight-year extension, State of Politicsreports: * Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced an agreement on legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses and establish a statewide definition of consent,Gannett Albany reports: * A bill permitting people to dine at restaurants with their dogs passed through both chambers of the state Legislature with bipartisan support, The Wall Street Journal reports: * Bill de Blasio’s rent-control ‘nightmare’ nonsense (NYP) * New York’s Lawmakers Agree on Campus Sexual Assault Laws (NYT) The deal was announced on what was thought to be the penultimate day of this year’s legislative session, but a number of other issues remained unresolved. * ‘No Blueprint’ To End The Legislative Session (YNN) * The 2015 session is technically scheduled to end tomorrow, but many things remain unresolved – including, most notably, the NYC rent regulations, which expired at midnight last night. With no rent deal in sight, lawmakers are preparing to remain in Albany at least through Thursday, and possibly later. Meanwhile, there are a lot of smaller bills in need of addressing, and so it could be a late-ish night for lawmakers tonight, with the Senate likely to be in session until 9 p.m., and the Assembly looking at 11 p.m. While the debates and the voting continue, here are some headlines to peruse: * Chris Smith: “(W)hatever the policy outcomes this week, this has been anything but a rational season in Albany.” * The expiration of rent regulations continues to be a major concern but has not presented the “nightmare scenario” he had warned of, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said. * A proposal to allow dogs to dine in outdoor cafes throughout New York is headed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk. * The uniform definition of affirmative consent contained in “Enough Is Enough” legislation agreed to by legislative leaders and Cuomo is almost a third as long as the language adopted by the SUNY system last fall. * The fate of the education tax credit bill may ultimately be decided in court. * Assemblyman Phil Ramos, a Long Island Democrat, sent a letter to constituents saying education tax-credit backers and parochial and charter school supporters are misleading the public with their widespread mail and phone campaign. *  Heastie: ‘Mixing And Matching’ Adds Complexity (YNN) * Renters Split on Whether Albany's Failure to Extend Protections Presents Real Threat (NY1) * State Lawmakers Miss Deadline to Extend City Rent Regulations (NY1)


Silver and Skelos' Arrests Have Not Changed the Corruption Culture of Albany . . .  Bharara Still Has Work to Do

Meet self-described family man and “institution guy” John Flanagan, the new Senate majority leader, as seen through the eyes of Tom Precious.



Wednesday - 
Prison break lets Cuomo divert attentionfrom capital corruption(NYP) * De Blasio seeks City Hall support for disability benefits hike (NYP) * Hope Fades That Albany Will Take Up M.T.A.’s Capital Budget This Session (NYT) The chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is sounding less optimistic that legislators will soon address a $14 billion gap to pay for numerous transit improvements. * A constitutional amendment for pension forfeiture -- agreedon in March -- has seemingly stalled   * Expiring state rent regulations are likely to be extended, but New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bid to end vacancy decontrol is not expected to be incorporated in the extensions, The Wall Street Journal reports:   * Forty-five non-profit organizations, including the YMCA and the Harlem’s Children Zone, sent a letter to state leaders urging them to permanently give the New York City mayor control over its schools, the Observer reports:  * As state lawmakers enter the final days of the legislative session in Albany with several pressing issues to resolve, one topic appears to be off the agenda: the MTA, said it needs to spend $32 billion over five years to address vital capital needs, but is $14 billion short of that figure. With just days until the controversial 421-a tax breaks expire, and no clear signs of an agreement, advocates on both sides of the issue are digging in. A coalition that includes REBNY is launching new advertising spots that will air on television and radio stations in New York City and Albany over the next week. * Emma Wolfe, a de Blasio aide, made the rounds at the state Capitol yesterday, as de Blasio’s prospects of getting what he wants on vacancy decontrol and 421-a dim. * The de Blasio administration is making nice with some of the city’s charter school leaders just in time to seek their support for a legislative priority that has so far eluded them: renewing mayoral control. * With a deal 421-a elusive, Cuomo now floating a straightextender lasting 3-6 mos (Capital) * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s use of his campaign account to pay for $30,000 in car services over nine years has raised concerns for advocates of government reform. But despite the questions, there’s a good chance that the spending could prove to be perfectly legal.* The Daily News urges the governor and Legislature to pass a bill that would ease statute of limitations currently preventing some victims of medical malpractice to sue hospitals: * “In addition, another proposal floated by Cuomo—one that would tie a renewal of rent regulations to passage of a tax credit that would benefit school donors—has no momentum, sources said. That idea, first reported by Capital on Monday, would have linked Cuomo’s new-found interest in strengthen the rent laws with a proposal for an education tax credit sought by religious organizations and Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the state’s top Roman Catholic prelate. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night * The End Of Session Dynamic Different Than Budget Squeeze (YNN) * Stewart-Cousins: 421a ‘Needs To Be Reformed’ (YNN) * Cuomo Backs Straight Extension Of 421a (YNN) * Budget Negotiations Enter Home Stretch(NY1) *After Year Plagued by Corruption Charges, State Lawmakers Wary of Deal-Making (NY1)* Concerns Intensify as Rent Protections Near Expiration (NY1) * Assembly Bill Would Clarify PAC And Housekeeping Roles In Campaigns (YNN) * De Blasio: Albany Had Ample Time To Consider 421a (YNN) * Agreement Nears On Campus Sexual Assault Bill (YNN) * * Albany has been so sleazy for so long that the people who work there have forgotten how to pass laws without breaking them, which is why lawmakers are having trouble getting anything done, writes the Daily News’ Bill Hammond: * NYC First lady Chirlane McCray made her first public pitch for mayoral control of city schools today, speaking at a parent forum on community schools in Brooklyn. * The lengthy end-of-session to-do list – with no significant agreements yet in sight, has not deterred lawmakers from introducing numerous pension sweeteners for state and local public employees. * More than a week after @BilldeBlasio and @NYGovCuomo buried the hatchet, theDemocrats are sparring again publicly. (NY1) * Assembly approves Lavern’s Law to help medical malpractice victims; Senate must now act on bill (NYDN) * State terrorist registry push not likely to pass inDemocrat-controlled Assembly (NYDN)

Tuesday Albany Update
Hints About the Big Ugly 
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the chamber’s Democratic conference does not want “some convoluted package,” when asked about plans to link rent regulation laws and an education tax credit, the Times Unionreports:   * The Post writes that de Blasio is “part of the problem” when it comes to a divided state Legislature and that it was unwise for him to oppose linking rent control laws with an education tax credit: * With the session clock ticking, the notorious Albany negotiating tactic of lumping together thorny items to get them all passed — in a measure sometimes labeled a “Big Ugly” — rather than holding individual up or down votes appears to be in play. * The state Senate approved a bill that would amend several elements of the SAFE Act gun control act — including changes long sought by conservatives who despise the 2013 legislation. Generally following party lines, the measure passed 35-26. It has dim prospects in the Democrat-led Assembly. * Rather than focus on affordable housing, education, MTA, etcstate Senate votes to weaken gun control laws. (TU) * De Blasio Opposes Linking Tax Credit, Rent Regulation in Albany (WSJ) * Corruption Probes Hamper Deal Making, DeFran Says (Albany has no idea whatcorruption is and isn't) (C&S) * After Year Plagued by Corruption Charges, State Lawmakers Wary of Deal-Making (Ny1) * Corruption Probes Hamper Deal Making, DeFran Says (Albany has no idea whatcorruption is and isn't) (YNN) *  De Blasio Opposes Linking Tax Credit, Rent Regulation in Albany * Assembly Republicans called for a vote on a constitutional amendment that would strip pension benefits from state officials convicted of corruption and called an alternate measure in the chamber “watered-down,” State of Politicsreports:   * Assembly Housing Committee Chair Keith Wright is not enthusiastic about the idea of linking the education investment tax credit to the extension of rent control laws, calling the two issues “apples and oranges,State of Politics reports:  * Assemblyman David Buchwald insists the revised pension forfeiture constitutional amendment is not “watered down” contra Assembly Republicans.
More on the Albany Budget





Puppet Council Budget Albany Dealing With Corruption No Deal
Andrew Suggest Carl Take the Big Ugly Path
Cuomo speaks to reporters Monday night - continue to push Edinvestment tax credit.  * Heastie: Education tax credit is likely off the table | Capital New York  * City agrees to federal reforms at Rikers (NYP) In his first public comments since June 14, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said lawmakers are “close” to an accord that could close out the legislative session, and outlined areas of disagreement between the Democrat-dominated Assembly and Republican-led Senate. * Concerned about a growing suspicion among Democrats and activists that he is siding more with the Republicans on rent than the party he leads, the governor placed a surprise personal call last week to Michael McKee, the dean of New York’s tenant advocates, whose commentary on Cuomo over the years has not always been kind. * McKee remained unmoved, saying: “There is no one in the tenant movement who believes Andrew Cuomo is on our side…They don’t call him the prince of darkness for nothing. I don’t dislike him as a person. I just think he’s crazy.”  * Cuomo Speaks, Reports Progress (YNN) Cuomo, in his first public comments since June 14, told reporters at the Capitol on Monday night, said he was still pushing for the education tax credit, even in the face of Democratic opposition in the Assembly.

Monday Albany Update
Stop trapping New York’s kids in failed schools (NYP Ed) * sources say the governor has linked his pushes for theeducation tax credit and rent laws  (Capital) * "Cuomo's political ploy to get more votes," @BrianLehrer caller says of Cuomo's education tax credit push * Newsday writes that families earning less than $60,000 annually should receive benefits included in the proposed education tax credit in Albany, but those earning up to $300,000 should not be eligible to receive financial aid: * Abbate Signals Support for EITC: From the Morning Memo:Assemblyman Peter Abbate, a Brooklyn Democratwith str...  * The Daily News writes that it would be “appalling” for state lawmakers to pass legislation protecting cheerleaders’ without doing the same for farmworkers in need of overtime, time off and collective bargaining rights:  * Abbate Signals Support for EITC (Updated) (YNN) *   Pro-EITC Mailer Gives A Supreme Court Example (YNN) * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he doesn’t supportlinking stronger rent regulations to new education tax credits in a compromise under in the final days of the state legislative session, the Journal reports * More than 60 Assembly members want a chance to vote on ChildVictims Act (Legislative Gazette) * Heastie Throws Cold Water On Rent-EITC Linkage (YNN) * Corruption Probes Hamper Deal Making, DeFran Says (YNN) * Cuomo, Flanagan push for college sexual assault policy  (LoHud)  *  In what some see as a direct shot at the governor, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Andy Hevesi that is moving through the Legislature would give state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli the power to more aggressively go after fraud, waste and abuse in state agencies. *  Pop star Lady Gaga and Cuomo co-wrote an op-ed in Billboard arguing for passage of the governor’s “Enough is Enough” anti-campus sexual assault bill currently before the state Legislature: * Bill Would Reclassify ‘Failing’ Schools To ‘Struggling’(YNN) * De Blasio Prods New York State on Housing Laws (NYT) With a deadline looming, the mayor called on lawmakers to approve two of his housing initiatives: strengthening rent regulations and revising a program that gives tax breaks for creating affordable units.



Weekend Albany Update

Control freaks: De Blasio and Cuomo overreach on rent-lawreforms (NYDN Ed) Rent laws have encouraged tenants in prime neighborhoods to cling to regulated apartments even after they’ve become empty nests or part-time residences. Lock in low rents, and that problem becomes permanent. Recalibrating the economics to reduce incentives for abuse makes sense. Beyond that, Cuomo and de Blasio should join forces to crack down on landlords who seek windfalls by denying tenants the basics of decent living. * Cuomo calls for protection of affordable housing (NYDN) * Mayor de Blasio turning to church in battle with Albany (NYDN) * 'CREATING INDEPENDENCE' Two Queens Dems crafting amendment to stop Cuomo from slashing AG, controller budgets (NYDN) * No Deal Yet to Raise the Age Teens Can Be Tried as Adults (NY1) * * U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he supported extending mayoral control of New York City public schools because the accountability forces them to put “political capital” behind improving schools, The Wall StreetJournal reports:   *  Cuomo writes in the Daily News the state shouldeliminate vacancy decontrol for rent-regulated apartments and prevent their landlords from permanently collecting major capital improvement costs in rent: * Transit advocates gird for bad news from Cuomo (Capital) No plans to add spending to close gap * De Blasio hints at compromise with Albany on 421-a (Capital) * Andrew Cuomo: My affordable housing agenda (NYDN) 
Sunday Update De Blasio to Cuomo: Renew rent laws (NYDN) * The Times Union writes that Cuomo and state legislatorshave seven days to demonstrate whether they are committed to improving the criminal justice system or whether their calls for reform were simply lip service amid a crisis: * 10 issues to watch in Albany * Mayoral Control, Rent Regulations Unresolved as Albany Session Winds Down(NY1)


6 Days Left
Thursday Albany Update

Cuomo Goes After AG
A Survey by Cuomo’s Office Points to a Rift (NYT). Cuomo has made no secret of his dislike for New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman. Now, Mr. Cuomo’s office has begun surveying state agencies on the subject. Cuomo’s legal department has distributed a five-page survey to state agencies asking them to evaluate the performance of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, Cuomo of New York has made no secret of his dislike for Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. Now, Mr. Cuomo’s office has begun to solicit the opinions of others. Friday Update  With the Cuomo administration surveying state agencies about the state attorney general, lawmakers are crafting a constitutional amendment to make it difficult for the governor to cut the attorney general’s and controller’s budgets, the Daily News reports: 

Mr. Cuomo’s legal department has taken the unusual step of distributing a five-page, 22-question survey to state agencies, asking them to evaluate the performance of Mr. Schneiderman’s office. The questionnaire leaves few stones unturned. It asks agency general counsels for feedback on what challenges, if any, they have had in dealing with the attorney general’s office, and to suggest ways to improve communication with the office. The governor’s office also wants to know how often agency lawyers hear from the attorney general’s staff, if Mr. Schneiderman’s office gives them adequate time to review legal briefs and what happens if the agency and attorney general have opposing legal theories on a case. Other questions are more procedural, asking, for example, if the agency has an electronic case-management system.” Cuomo probes agencies about Schneiderman’s performance(NYP)  Cuomo escalated tensions between himself and AG Eric Schneiderman by having his legal department take the unusual step of distributing a five-page, 22-question survey to state agencies, asking them to evaluate the performance of the AG’s office. The questionnaire leaves few stones unturned. Friday Schneiderman Update Schneiderman’s approval rating rose to 51 percent in that poll, while Cuomo’s rating fell to 44 percent and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli drew 43 percent. * AG Eric Schneiderman is pushing for sweeping ethics reforms. How he got to this point from his days as a state senator has been an evolution. *  Two Queens Democratic lawmakers – Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Sen. Mike Gianaris – are crafting a proposed state constitutional amendment that would make it difficult for the governor to slash the budgets of the state attorney general and comptroller’s offices.




Rent Protest Arrests and Cuomo Planned Rally in Support of Continuing Rent Regulations 

Assembly Housing Chair: No 421-a Renewal WithoutRent Regulation Reform (NYO)Cuomo cancelled a rally on rent regulations this afternoon after advocates lampooned his planned event, which few Democratic lawmakers intended to attend, Capital New Yorkreports

Pro-tenant rent law protestors arrested outside Cuomo’s office (NYP) * de Blasio signed rent-freeze legislation last year, some resident have filed a lawsuit claiming that people previously eligible for the protections were kicked out as a result, the Times writes:  * * Cuomo is planning a rally in support of tougher rent regulations, with aides reaching out to officials about attending the event even as tenant groups question his commitment to the issue, Capital New Yorkreports: * Several New York City lawmakers were arrested outside Cuomo’s office during a demonstration for stronger rent regulations in Albany where they blocked the entranceway to the governor’s office, the Journalreports:  * NYC Council Members Arrested at Albany Rent Protest - WSJ 

NY fast-food joints explain why Cuomo’s wage hike will kill jobs(NYP) * Albany’s plot to sock NY’s future taxpayers (NYP) * City borough presidents push state to renew mayoral control of schools (NYDN) * Q Poll: NYers Support EITC, Oppose NYC Mayoral Control (YNN) * Fifty-five demonstrators were arrested at the Capitol during a protest by tenants-rights groups calling for strengthening of New York City’s rent control laws. Those taken into custody for disorderly conduct included a number of Democratic lawmakers from the five boroughs, who sat peacefully with activists in a cluster outside the doors to Cuomo’s offices.Quinnipiac University poll found that New York voters support, by 66 percent to 30 percent, giving a $500 tax break for parents earning up to $60,000 who send their children to private schools * All five of the city’s borough presidents sent a letter to state leaders demanding they renew mayoral control of city schools and urging them to make the measure permanent, the Daily News writes  * The Post writes that several plans in the works in Albany, including a measure on local retiree health costs, will make politicians look good but will end up being very costly for taxpayers down the road:  *  The Times Union writes that Cuomo should be paying more attention to ethics reforms and spend less time pushing the Education Investment Tax Credit, which will benefit his donors, as session winds down: * Tenant Advocates To Target Flanagan (NYP) * State Sen. Andrew Lanza said he is confident mayoral control of New York City public schools will not lapse, and that the conference is discussing backing a one, two or three-year extension, State of Politics reports: * “Cuomo is signaling that he’s really struggling with things right now. It’s a cry for help.”


Albany Lawmakers Know If the Rent and Education Laws Die They Will All Be Blamed 
Three groups — the Coalition for Opportunity in Education, StudentsFirstNY and Families for Excellent Schools — have funded heavy-rotation television advertisements and direct-to-home mailers in recent weeks pushing the state Assembly to support a much-debated tax break proposal.  NYSUT, which has a team of paid lobbyists on staff, has countered with billboards, print and radio advertisements knocking the proposal. The groups and the union aren't required to disclose how much they spent on the advertisements until July.  

Last year, the state's top 10 lobbying entities — which includes non-education interests — spent $25 million, according to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which produces an annual report on lobbying spending in New York. Of those groups, education interests spent $15.6 million — including $9.6 million spent by Families for Excellent Schools, the tops in the state. "The 2014 top-spending lobbying entity, Families for Excellent Schools, reported $9.6 million, entirely within advertising and event-related expenses — which alone accounts for much of the aggregate increase in state and local lobbying spending from 2013 to 2014," according to the JCOPE report. "The next highest 2014 spending total for a single lobbying entity was $3.2 million by the New York State United Teachers."



The Assembly Spends Money In Secret
Assembly refuses to detail how it spends tax money: watchdog (NYP) Even with its former leader facing corruption charges, the state Assembly won’t disclose how its members are spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, a government watchdog charged on Friday. “The Legislature should be forthcoming with timely details of how it spends roughly $200 million in taxpayer money,” said Tim Hoefer, director of the Empire Center for Public Policy.Hoefer complained that the Assembly has not posted spending reports on its Web site since March 31, 2014, and said the Assembly has rebuffed repeated requests for the information.



Wednesday Albany Update
Ed tax credit pushed hardest by Cuomo, Sen GOP; better rent control law pushed by Assmb Dems, IDC, in closed-door negotiations w 7 days left Ethics, paid family leave, grand jury revamp after Eric Garner case, Raise the Age, off or falling off table

At Least An Extension of Rent-Regulations Will Pass . . .  The Rents Are Tied to How the 421-a Law Will Be Renewed 

Cuomo is planning a rally tomorrow in support tougher rent regulations, even as tenant groups question his commitment to the issue. * Roughly 60 advocates, legislators and New York City Council members were arrested after a staged sit-in in front of Cuomo’s office on the second floor of the Capitol to advocate for stronger rent control laws.

More than 100,000 rent-regulated apartments on the verge of higher rates due to state law loophole (NYDN) *   Pols, advocates to protest rent laws at Cuomo (NYDN)  * Don’t turn back the clock — renew mayoral control of NYC schools (NYP Ed) * A city analysis found that about 100,000 rent-regulated apartments are about to transition to market rate units because of a state provision that lets landlords charge more when tenants move out, the Daily Newsreports:  * New York City politicians and tenant advocates plan to rally for stronger rent regulation laws outside Cuomo’s Albany office and expect to get arrested for civil disobedience, the Daily Newsreports: * Republican State Sen. Jack Martins introduced a 421-a proposal that would require developers receiving the tax break to pay prevailing wage on some projects with more than 50 apartments, Capital New Yorkreports:  * Elected officials and advocates are ratcheting up the fight for stronger rent laws, targeting Cuomo with a protest at his office where demonstrators expect to get arrested for civil disobedience. 

“We want to let the governor know we’re very serious about this issue, and it’s not a plaything,” said Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams. “He’s been too quiet on the issue…He’s using it like a political game, and it’s not a game.” * A source said real estate executives “think it’s relevant” that the governor’s lead negotiator on 421-a is Bill Mulrow, who benefited handsomely from the New York City District Council of Carpenters’ war chest when he ran for state comptroller in 2002. * The Senate Republicans broke their silence on 421-a with a bill introduced by Sen. Jack Martins that mandates any developer receiving the abatement would have to pay workers the prevailing wage for projects with more than 50 units where less that 50 percent of the units are priced as affordable. 

Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Keith Wright simultaneously introduced 421-a legislation with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed reforms, and his own measure that would appeal to construction workers. * Wright joked in a recent speech to a predominantly African-American audience in Manhattan that black participants at an upcoming rally in Albany should be nervous about getting arrested because there are “not a lot of people that look like us up there.” * Cuomo Says He Wants To Strengthen Rent Control (YNN) * Cuomo said too many affordable housing units are being lost under current New York City rent regulations and that he will fight to improve and expand rent control laws, the Times Union reports:   * Zephyr Teachout, the Fordham Law professor who challenged Cuomo for the 2014 Democratic nomination, called the governor a “puppet” at a rally held by tenants’ rights advocates calling for stronger rent regulations, the Times Union writes * Real estate executives "think it’s relevant" that Cuomo’s lead negotiator on 421-a is Bill Mulrow, who benefited from the New York City District Council of Carpenters' war chest when he ran for state comptroller in 2002, sources tell Crain’s:   ** Construction workers on New York City’s public projects make up to 177 percent more than their private sector counterparts, according to a report from New York YIMBY: New York City’sIndependent Budget Office has issued a report estimating the cost in forgone tax revenue and affordable housing units created and preserved under de Blasio’s proposed 421-a tax exemption reforms:*  
.@QuinnipiacPoll: Just 5% of NY voters think USAttorney Bharara has gone too far in Albany corruption probes; 36% say hasn't gone far enuff

Mayoral Control of Schools Will Pass the Question is How Long . . .  The School Control is Tied to How Many New Charters and Tax Credits
Cuomo backs extension of de Blasio’s school control (NYP) Cardinal Timothy Dolan writes in the Daily News that the proposed education investment tax credit would ensure parents have a choice in their children’s education and self-sacrificing teachers are rewarded: 




Cuomo Calls de Blasio A Fake Progressive Giving Away Tax Payer Money to Developers
de Blasio Strikes Back Saturday
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued his harshest attack of Gov. Andrew Cuomo yet, saying Cuomo puts out distractions to stymie the city’s agenda and fails to show leadership, Newsday writes: * Cuomo said complicated issues cannot get done with “thisSenate and Assembly” in a matter of days, in response to de Blasio’s 421-a proposal and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s ethics plan, the Times Union reports: 

Cuomo raises the stakes in ongoing feud with de Blasio (NYP) Cuomo took his feud with Mayor de Blasio to a whole new level Thursday by accusing the ultra-progressive mayor of trying to engineer a “giveaway to developers.” A day after meeting with de Blasio, the governor charged that the deal the mayor made with the real-estate industry to extend the 421-a tax-abatement program to help produce more affordable housing was a windfall for developers. “A lot of people think the deal negotiated by the city is too rich for developers and not enough for workers,” Cuomo told reporters after touring the Greene County Correctional Facility near Albany on Thursday. Turning the tables on de Blasio, Cuomo said the mayor’s progressive agenda doesn’t give construction workers who build the housing “fair wages” and dismissed de Blasio’s comment that he was “frustrated” after a lobbying trip to Albany Wednesday. “

The mayor of New York is almost perpetually frustrated with Albany,” Cuomo said. “The city is a creature of the state, so the state Legislature passes laws that affect the city. So when the mayor wants to make a change, he has to go to Albany and ask Albany.” The body slams came as Cuomo supporters and labor-union leaders essentially called the mayor a hypocrite. * Cuomo suggested de Blasio waited too long to engage in the Legislature’s negotiations on the extension of mayoral control of city schools and rent regulations, the Daily News reports:  Another Clueless Story  Despite spending months trying to understand Cuomo, de Blasio’s aides concluded little that can be done to improve their relationship because of “fundamental power dynamics,” The Wall Street Journal reports:   * The Post writes that de Blasio’s cool reception in Albany shows making political speeches in Iowa and California and whining about New Yorkers not appreciating you is a poor way to get what you want from the state: “Mayor of the City of New York, frustrated with Albany?” Cuomo said, barely containing his laughter. “Now there’s a shocker.” * The latest flashpoint between the two top Democrats is 421a – the real estate development tax abatement program that expires next month. Cuomo stepped things up a notch by accusing the ultra-progressive mayor of trying to engineer a “giveaway to developers.” * Thirty-second ads slamming de Blasio for backing a rent freeze, paid for by the Rent Stabilization Association, have begun airing on NY1 and News12 in Brooklyn and the Bronx ahead of the June 24 Rent Guidelines Board vote.* Ad campaign charges de Blasio as hypocrite for backing arent freeze (NYDN) * "The UP4NYC and carpenters group statements camefrom the same email address at the PR firm, M Public Affairs." (YNN) * Labor Groups Push Cuomo’s 421a Plan (YNN) * Cuomo Digs at de Blasio on Real Estate Tax Plan,But Claims No ‘Clear Right or Wrong’ (NYO) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued to criticize de Blasio’s proposed changes to the state’s 421-a tax break for developers, even as he claimed to be undecided on how the program should be reformed, the Observer reports:  * Affordable housing advocates are urging Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to “stand strong” against a “straight extender” of current rent regulations, even as a June 15 expiration date for the laws looms, the Times Union reports * While the 421-a tax credit has bought great benefit tocondo owners in New York,its absence has not deterred buyers on several projects built )without thecredit, Crain’s writes:  * Cuomo: Questions remain on both sides 421-a debate (Capital) * De Blasio’s Office Touts Slights Against Cuomoin TV Interview (NYO)



Weaken de Blasio Losing Albany Pension Union Fight  
De Blasio’s pension opposition is about to blow up in his face (NYP) De Blasio’s pension opposition is about to blow up in his face (NYP) de Blasio is facing a humiliating defeat in Albany, with legislators threatening Friday to pass higher disability pensions for the city’s newly hired uniformed employees over his opposition. Normally, the Legislature waits for a “home rule” message from the City Council before taking action on a major pension change that would affect the city. But on Thursday, the state Senate voted unanimously to raise the disability pensions of cops, firefighters and other uniformed personnel to 75 percent of their final year’s salary, up from the 50 percent that kicked in for new hires starting in 2009. And on Friday, Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the Committee on Governmental Employees, warned he’s prepared to pass a companion measure in his body if the City Council and the mayor continue to stall.* Police Officers and Firefighters Rally Against City’s Disability Pay Proposal (NY1) * Top Democrats Join Critics of NYC Mayor’s Plan on Police, Firefighter Benefits(WSJ) * Senate Passes Bill To Restore Disability Pensions to NewNYPD Officers via @Dnainfo  *  New York City’s Public Advocate Letitia James and city Comptroller Scott Stringer joined police and firefighter unions to push for more generous disability benefits, The Wall Street Journal writes:



de Blasio Cuomo's Fuck You Meeting
Friday Update
New Round in a Rivalry for de Blasio and Cuomo (NYT) In the latest chapter of New York’s most passive-aggressive political relationship, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo are clashing, yet again, over a housing proposal.
FU Cuomo After Meeting With (Cuomo FU de Blasio to His Face)  Him De Blasio took a swipe at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying his friend of 20 years needs to step up and lead to ensure rent regulations are extended for 2 million New York City residents. Don’t get me wrong,” a Cuomo administration official responded to the mayor’s comments. “It was nice he showed up. But to appear in the Capitol a few days before the end of session with controversial and untested ideas that are opposed by significant groups such as the AFL-CIO is not how leaders get things done.” * Though it’s not looking good for him on the issue, de Blasio is still pushing for Albany to make mayoral control of the NYC school system permanent, launching an online petitionin hopes of pressuring lawmakers into seeing things his way. Renewal of the rent laws is tied to the 2 percent property tax cap, though it doesn’t sunset until next year. Senate Republicans want to make the cap permanent. Progressive advocates want to know what happened to the circuit breaker Cuomo unsuccessfully pushed in his executive budget. *  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reps criticized one another’s approaches after the mayor pushed for mayoral control of schools and his housing agenda in Albany, The Wall StreetJournal reports: * * De Blasio said he was “frustrated” with issues stalling, called on the governor to take action, commended the Assembly and described his meeting with state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan as “cordial,” the Postreports: * De Blasio pushing Cuomo to strengthen rent regulations, extend mayoral control of city schools (NYDN) * Mayoral correction? “I actually don’t remember,specifically, getting the finger."   * Gov. Andrew Cuomo brushed aside complaints from Mayor Bill de Blasio that New York City issues were not being taken seriously in Albany, noting the inherent tension between the city and state, Gannett Albany reports:  Battle Over RealEstate Tax Break Opens Another Rift Between Cuomo, de Blasio (NYO) * Cuomo Open To ‘Intelligent Suggestions’ On Education Changes (YNN) *   As Raise The Age Debate Continues, Cuomo Pushes For Alternative Housing (YNN) * Amid scandals, N.Y. legislative session nears end  * Exclu: @BilldeBlasio surprised at @NYGovCuomo. 1-on-1 w Hizzoner on UpClose.  (WABC)







With the Take Over Of Money and Election PAC of NY's Election Process Can Albany Compromise

New Yorks elected officials are no long chosen by the voters.  With Citizens United, Lobbyists and the Billions Real Estate Robber Barons are Making in the City Today's Elected Officials are Chosen by the Special Interests Not the People.  What the Special Interests are Looking for Are Weak Puppet Like Candidates Who Will Do What They Want and Not Try to Protect the Voters on Issues That Conflict With the Needs of the Special Interests.

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Or is The Bharara Albany Shadow Effect Blocking A Deal In Albany?
'Preet in the Seat'spotted lurking at Capitol (Channel 13)  'Preet in the Seat' has been spotted in the hall outside the Assembly chamber.  Peering from behind a red curtain.  And, as his name indicates, sitting comfortably in a chair.  He's a satirical reminder, courtesy of Assemblymember Steve McLaughlin, that the actual PreetU.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is concentrating on the Capitol. Joking aside, McLaughlin says Prosecutor Bharara's investigation into New York State government--several indictments with the hint that more will come--is being felt this session.

Closed door deals that were the norm in Albany aren't being made, McLaughlin feels, and Legislators are crossing their Ts and dotting their Is.  "He's having a huge impact this entire session, no doubt." Business isn't as usual, in the wake of a downed Leader and Speaker, and this end of Session is definitely weighing heavily on the remaining politicians, agrees Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters. "Those folks who have abused the ethics are looking over their shoulders and want nothing better than to get out of Albany, as quickly as they can," explains Bartoletti. "I respect, greatly, Preet Bharara and I applaud completely what he's doing.  It's a way to say his shadow really looms large over here and thank God for that," adds McLaughlin.
Soft Machine Puppets



 More On the Albany Budget
Greg David created a “score sheet” to calculate the winners and losers on end-of-session issues in Albany. * Newsday accuses the Assembly Democrats of pandering to the teachers union with its recently passed legislation on the evaluation system and tests. *  Assembly Introduces Alternate Pension Forfeiture Amendment(YNN)* Assemblyman Peter Abbate rips de Blasio for delaying pensionbill  (NYDN) * Assemblyman Peter Abbate Jr. accused de Blasio of strong-arming the City Council into not approving a request for Albany lawmakers to take up a bill to boost pension benefits for injured cops and firefighters, the Daily News writes: *  The Citizens Budget Commission released a report outlining five myths to consider regarding New York City's rental market before the laws are set to expire in Albanyon June 15:  * The Assembly is close to an agreement with Cuomo over his proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility, but its prospects in the Senate remain uncertain.* Cuomo Outlines Raise The Age Argument (YNN) In a Daily News op/ed published this morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on state lawmakers to adopt a measure designed to raise the age of criminal responsibility — a push he has backed for more than a year.* Senate Democrats unveiled their preferred vision for an extension and strengthening of rent control, saying the issue of affordable housing stretches statewide, State of Politicsreports:  *Tax Credit Mailers Target Assembly Dems (YNN)*Alix’s Law hits afamiliar roadblock in an Assembly Democrat leader (Buffalo News) A mother’s tears are the motivation. Common sense provides a push. The way it stands now, drunk drivers who kill or maim can escape the full force of the law if they flee. That needs to change. That ought to change. But it hasn’t changed. That is what Tammy Schueler doesn’t understand.Mom outraged after Assembly kills victims’ rights bill (NYP) Six years after an EMT posted a photo of a murdered woman’s body to Facebook, a Staten Island mom says lawmakers are still allowing the ghoulish practice to continue. “I wanted to go out and physically hurt him,” Marti Wimmer said, recalling when she learned EMT Mark Musarella had taken a picture of her daughter, Caroline, 26, who had been strangled in her home. Now she is outraged again after the Assembly killed a bill called Caroline’s Law, which would make it a misdemeanor for public servants to publish such images.* New York state lawmakers won't address MTA's plea for $14 billion as part of capital plan (NYDN)


Two Men In A Cell Room For One More?

With 2 of the 3 Men in the Room Going to Jail and Cheap Hard Drives Cuomo Holds A Email Summit? 
Cuomo sets date for e-mail rules ‘summit’ (NYP) Six weeks after promising to review the state’s e-mail-retention policy, Gov. Cuomo on Friday set the date for a “summit” to create new rules and slammed fellow elected officials for dragging their feet. “I write to once again coordinate a meeting to discuss creating one uniform policy for all e-mail retention and FOIL,” the governor said in a letter Friday to legislative leaders, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman, who abolished the 90-day period for his own office, declined to comment. * Andrew Cuomo dines with executive director for the Joint Commission of Public Ethics (NYDN)
Silver Smith Like Secret Pots of Budget $$$
State budget proposals earmark $2.6B for unitemized spending (NYP) State budget proposals by Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature contain up to $2.6 billion in unitemized spending — the type of money that led to a corruption indictment against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, ­according to a new report. Cuomo’s budget proposal includes some $2.4 billion in so-called “lump sums” for the executive branch, $902 million for the Senate and $775 million for the Assembly, Citizens Union said Thursday. The state Senate has proposed adding $83 million more for itself and the Assembly wants another $53 million, the government-watchdog group’s analysis found. The proposed capital budget lists $556.8 million in “miscellaneous” spending. There’s another $6.3 million in the same “miscellaneous” category in aid to localities. Nearly $288 million more is earmarked for the Urban ­Development Corp. and $292.4 million for the Department of Transportation. There’s no indication how any of those funds would be spent. About $1.5 billion is distributed through a “partially competitive” process, mostly large construction grants ­administered by the State University of New York, the report said. Still, the remaining $1.1 billion is distributed through legal agreements “that are not public” and “provide considerable discretion to elected officials,” the report said.

STATE BUDGET UPDATE: Wednesday was another day of closed-door negotiations, with the biggest news coming from Republican Senator John DeFrancisco. He’s been leading a group of lawyer-legislators from that chamber in negotiations with the Cuomo administration about the Democratic governor’s desire for lawmakers to publicly name their clients. Language was being drafted,DeFrancisco said. He and others were careful not to state any details, but DeFrancisco suggested that only clients with state interests would need to be disclosed. He drew a rebuke from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top spokeswoman, who said that was “not disclosure, it is current law.”* Skelos: ‘Tremendous Progress’ Toward Ethics Deal (YNN)


Even With Silver's Arrest Albany Ethics Reforms Limited 
Ethics-reform ‘history’ (NYP Ed) For the third time in the past four years, Gov. Cuomo has hailed the Legislature’s ethics-reform package as “historic,” “significant” and unprecedented. Also for the third time in the past four years, the reforms leave the governor plenty of room to make even more history. Yes, the new rules go farther than the old. But, like everything else that comes out of the Legislature, they have loopholes — ones that may prove wide enough to drive an 18-wheeler through. There are both income limits and full exemptions that at least partly eclipse the full sunlight we’d hoped for. And the new rules likely wouldn’t have caught the behavior for which Silver stands charged. Yes, the ball’s rolling on finally stripping corrupt officeholders of their pensions. But this must be done via constitutional amendment and so can’t take effect until at least 2017. Moreover, that will only cover those convicted of felonies — and many legislators forced to leave office don’t face felony charges. Plus, a convicted lawmaker’s wife and children would still be able to get part of that pension. NYP's Goodwin: In truth, his budget strategy was not realistic and, in policy terms, he aimed too low. His ethics reforms that focus on disclosure of legislators’ outside income are hardly groundbreaking, nor is their confidence they will stem the tide of Albany corruption. Yet that didn’t stop Cuomo from hailing them as a major breakthrough, the third time he has made that claim in four years. The first two claims are now “inoperative” and this one will also bite the dust with the next corruption bust. Maybe he’ll form another Moreland Commission — and then kill it, too. The governor did better on education, increasing from three years to four the time before teachers are eligible for tenure and adding money for charters. Teacher evaluations will be more closely linked to student performance, although murky details and loopholes sound like blasts from the past.


Lawmakers Have Money Parties Waiting on Ethics


 The New York Public Interest Research Group found state lawmakers are busy raising campaign cash this budget session, with some 118 fundraisers scheduled between January and March, State of Politics reports: * NY Dems made sure they can still "use campaign fundsfor dinners out & criminal defense attorneys" (Capital)



Goo Goos Say the Reforms Are Half Assed


Promising promises (NYP ED) * Eighty-four percent of New Yorkers say elected officials should disclose the source and amount of income from outside jobs and investments, and 64 percent say spouses and live-in partners should too, aQuinnipiac University poll finds: * The Times Union writes that state Senate Republicans should put forth a fuller ethics reform package that includes ending the LLC loophole and not risk being seen as obstructing smart reforms:  The Times Union compiles a summary of the various ethics reform packages proposed in Albany by the governor and Heastie, Senate Republicans, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and good government groups * The Post writes that it likes the ethics reform package presented by Cuomo and Heastie, which doesn’t include “bad ideas” such as limiting or banning legislators’ ability to earn outside income: * Newsday writes that the state Senate Republican majority “disturbingly” balked at the ethics package’s disclosure requirements for legislators earning outside income and that it prefers business as usual: * “Come clean, Dean,” The Daily News urges after writing the state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos “huffed and puffed and complained” that the proposal would not require disclosure of Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend * Editorial: Skelos can't hide from Cuomo's ethics cleanup (NYDN Ed) strong enforcement of the ethics reforms isn't there, but needs to be.* Capital Playbook: Cuomo book recaps DiNapoli spat Capital) * Albanyethics deal covers use of campaign funds -- but not for legal fees 


The Making of A New Smith or Silver: Pots of Gold in Budget for Personal Gain
Silver was indicted for tapping a secret health-related fund to steer $500,000 to a cancer doctor, who then referred patients to Silver’s law firm.  In return, Silver collected millions in referral fees, authorities allege.Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith of Queens was convicted last month for conspiring to funnel $500,000 from a transportation account to a developer, who promised to bribe Republican Party officials to deliver Smith the GOP line for mayor in 2013.* New Yorkers want Sandra Lee’s income made public: poll (NYP) * Comp-Stat At DOE AllAbout Controlling Info = Press  (NYP Ed) Even that rule will be a burden on some couples — why should she feel pressure to limit her much more successful career just so he won’t look bad? But the public’s right to know must come first.* The Daily News writes that state Senate Majority LeaderDean Skelos should stop harping about theoretical conflicts of interest in Cuomo and Lee’s relationship and focus on cleaning up his own act; State budget proposals by Cuomo and the Legislature contain up to $2.6 billion in unitemized spending — the type of money that led to a corruption indictment against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, ­according to a new report from Citizens Union. More here. * The ubiquitous Assemblyman Jose Rivera, and his ever-present video camera, captured footage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s St. Patrick’s Day reception for legislators at the executive mansion, where he invoked the late Gov. Al Smith while discussing ethics.* Bill O’Reilly doesn’t understand why the Senate Republicans didn’t go along with the “surprisingly good package of reforms” proposed by Cuomo and the Assembly Democrats.
Malcolm SmithCorrupt Trial
Albany Budget, Ethics, Pay Raise, Three Men in the Room




Albany going through a collective nervous breakdown. Combined with a temper tantrum”
What Did Trump Do to Daily News Owner Zuckerman?
 Juan Gaonzalez: “There should be wanted posters put up all over Brooklyn for Republican Martin Golden and Democrat Simcha Felder. The two provided the slim 32-30 margin in the Senate for what tenants’ advocates have labeled ‘dream legislation for landlords.'”* Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastiereached a three-way agreement on the provisions of legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses across the state. The full Legislature still has to vote on it. * The agreement would establish a statewide definition of “affirmative consent,” and define consent as a “knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity.” *  Cuomo’s definition of “affirmative consent” has changed significantly since he first proposed that colleges must use the “yes means yes” standard for adjudicating sexual assault allegations. * For the seventh time in the past six years and the second time this year, the state Senate passed a bill to lift the ban on MMA. Senators voted 49-13 in favor of a newly revamped bill that would legalize the violent combat sport while setting up a $50,000 accident insurance requirement for fight cards and allowing the state Athletic Commission to regulate amateur fights. *Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg grabbed the limelight from his successor ahead of yesterday’s Cornell Tech groundbreaking on Roosevelt Island — announcing a last-minute $100 million donation that dominated local news coverage.New York officials reached a deal on one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legislative priorities for 2015, with new laws intended to change the way sexual assaults on all college campuses in the state are handled, The New York Times writes:   * Michael Goodwin: “Welcome to the New New York, where even the so-called crises are phony. The politics are so distorted by the fun-house mirror that Trump actually injects a note of sincerity.”* Albany lawmakers passed so-called “dining with dogs” legislation, which sponsor Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal called “common sense” and a “feel-good bill.” * Former Gov. David Paterson, now Cuomo’s hand-picked state Democratic Party chairman,doesn’t believe the executive branch wields too much budget-writing power a decade after the groundbreaking Silver v. Pataki Court of Appeals decision. * Affirmative consent’ definition evolved over time (Capital)




Glenwood the Core of 3 Men In A Room 
Glenwood is the Real Producer of Three Men In the Room . . . Glenwood's Litwin Bought NY's Govt and These Guys Sold It To Him . . . Is Bharara Going After Cuomo? Connect the Dots
Glenwood is at the core of 3-men-in-room doing Glenwood's bidding, each for their own private bilateral reasons. If Gentling could "own" the 2012 State of the State Casino address with their late-2011 funds-infusion, one can only imagine what Leonard Litwin's Glenwood, a durable big money donor "owned"? Laws? * NYC development firmtied to Skelos, Silver affairs (TU)  Glenwood Management a top greaser of political wheels. Glenwood's payments to another top lawmaker, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, played a major role in this year's other major ethics scandal. As lawmakers deal with the renewal of rent laws and real estate tax breaks in the waning days of this year's legislative session, they may feel pressure to distance themselves from the powerful firm. The complaint revealed that Dorego began cooperating only last month. Glenwood has long been among the state's biggest political donors, and has taken advantage of a loophole in state election law that allows limited liability companies to donate as much as individual donors. In fact, the federal complaint released Monday says that Skelos asked Dorego to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations, even as Skelos was allegedly pressing Dorego to steer lucrative work to Skelos' son, Adam, who also was charged Monday. Glenwood is Gov. Andrew Cuomo's biggest campaign donor and a major part of two politically generous landlord groups, the Rent Stabilization Association and the Real Estate Board of New York. In 2013, former top Cuomo aide Larry Schwartz reportedly tried to stop a subpoena from theMoreland Commission, an investigative panel convened by Cuomo, for information about REBNY's political giving and a valuable tax break related to new housing. REBNY eventually provided the information voluntarily. After Cuomo shut down Moreland in 2014, Bharara's office picked up many of its investigations — while also probing potential Cuomo administration interference and the circumstances surrounding the panel's demise in March 2014. REBNY was also among the biggest players in the Committee to Save New York, a nonprofit that spent millions early in Cuomo's tenure to push through his legislative agenda. "I think it's astonishing that Glenwood is involved in the Sheldon Silver scandal, and the Dean Skelos scandal, and is the biggest single donor to Andrew Cuomo," said Michael McKee, treasurer of the group Tenants PAC, which is perpetually at odds with the real estate industry. "It's the perfect example of how corrupt the system really is." * Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos calls the criminalcomplaint against him "a glorified press release" (NYP) * Conservative Party head urges Skelos to step down (NYP) * Dean Skelos Thwarted Reform and Maintained Power, Despitethe Odds (Gotham Gazette) * Skelos, on his flock: “They know I'm innocent, just like Iknow I'm innocent, and now we're focused on governing."  (Capital) * Another Senate Republican Calls For Skelos To Step Down (YNN) * Skelos: Criminal Complaint A ‘Press Release’ (YNN) * Gianaris: ‘It’s A Mistake’ To Keep Skelos Leader (YNN) * Astorino Dings Senate Republicans (YNN) * For you Game of Thrones fans out there: “(US Attorney Preet) Bharara is going Lord Baelish in the Five Boroughs. He knows where the bodies are buried. He’s the one burying them.”* Activists rallied outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan offices and criticized his comments that corruption cases in Albany may make it difficult to push for serious rent regulation changes, the Observerreports


True News Wags the Daily News and NYP On Albany's Dogs Over Tenants Petting 
True News is Trans-Daily News, NYP, NYT

Friday's June 12th True News
Albany Protects Dogs Ignores New Yorkers Right to A Decent Home (True News)

Today's NY Post
Politicians focusing on critters instead of humans (NYP) If only Albany treated real people like animals. State lawmakers in the waning days of the annual legislative session are strangely fixated on hamsters, wood frogs, scup and other critters.   As for measures meaningful to human beings, like rent regulation, mayoral control of schools and subway funding — not so much.* Lawmakers pass NY lobster law while rent bill drags on (NYDN)

Wednesday's Daily News


Albany's Zombie Pots of Pork
Zombie pork (NYP Ed)The Legislature may have eliminated member items back in 2009 after an avalanche of corruption scandals, but that hardly leaves Albany pork-free today.  In fact, the latest state budget is loaded with millions in pork-barrel grants, nearly all added at the last minute without debate — or full disclosure of who inserted them. There’s $24,523 earmarked for ACORN, the hard-left activist group. Never mind that ACORN closed down five years ago. As its own general counsel told The Post: “ACORN is deader than a doornail. It doesn’t exist anymore.”* The Times Union writes that with another questionablepork-barrel grant showing up in the state budget, it’s past time for the state to put more sunlight on member items and the budget: 



"these lump-sum pots are pork by another name."Editorial: We need to know how state is spending every dollar: * On top of the ACORN funds, the Albany Times-Union reports, this year’s zombies include $505,000 for Relief Resources, a politically connected Brooklyn agency that was investigated by Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission, which raised questions about its mental-health referral operation. The group’s funding, said Moreland’s co-chair, “certainly didn’t go to improve the health of anybody in New York City.” But lawmakers have sent it millions over the years — plainly because it’s chaired by a powerful lobbyist for the Orthodox Jewish community. A later report by The Forward and WNYC said Relief Resources’ work was well-known and strongly defended by community leaders, but noted it had spent funds on lobbying apparently unrelated to its official activities.*  


 A coalition of groups is urging the state Board of Elections to prohibit the practice of individual donors giving unlimited campaign contributions through a network of limited liability corporations, State of Politicswrites: Cuomo cuts into pork * A Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll found most upstate voters do not believe the ethics reforms included in the state budget agreement go far enough or will help curtail corruption, State of Politics reports The state Business Council urged the state Board of Elections not to end a regulation that has allowed limited liability corporations to make unlimited political contributions* * Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, state Sen. Daniel Squadron and good-government groups, however, urged the board to close the so-called LLC loophole, which it is slated to discuss Thursday, the Times Union reports * * The eve of the state Board of Elections' consideration of the possible closure of the so-called LLC loophole brought a flurry of activity, including the board's Republican co-chair quietly getting replaced,the Times Union reports: * * The state Board of Elections can show who they work for and what they stand for by finally closing the LLC loophole, which allows wealthy donors to get around the caps on political contributions, the TimesUnion writes:   *According to Citizens Union, despite new pork-barrel spending being banished from the state budget since 2010, previously approved earmarks will be footed by taxpayers for years to come, the Times Union reports: * Elections Board Deadlocks On LLC Reclassification (YNN)* Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this so-called LLC loophole should be closed, either through the Board of Elections or by legislative action, : Gannett Albany reports * Cuomo Admin: ‘Incredibly Disappointed’ BoE Didn’t Act On LLCs (YNN) * New York State Elections Board Retains a Corporate Donation Loophole (NYT) The 1996 ruling, which was kept in place on a tie vote, exempted limited-liability companies from corporate campaign contribution limits, allowing wealthy donors to make huge multiple contributions.* The state Board of Elections declined to change a longstanding ruling that critics say has allowed millions of dollars to flow, virtually unchecked, into campaign coffers across New York. The board’s four commissioners deadlocked 2-to-2 on the issue of whether to rescind its own 1996 opinion that found limited-liability companies should be treated like individuals when it comes to contributions. * Emails between Sony executives and Cuomo’s campaign staff leaked as part of the Sony Pictures hack and published in full by WikiLeaks Thursday appear to show Sony executives believed donating to the governor was a good idea because he is a “strong protector” of New York’s film tax credit.* -- Cuomo reacts: “We commend Commissioners Kellner and Spano for advancing this reform and are incredibly disappointed their fellow commissioners did not follow suit,” administration spokeswoman Dani Lever stated. “The governor has repeatedly introduced legislation to close the LLC loophole and he will continue to fight to make it a reality.”-- Cuomo has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of donations from LLCs, and in the past, has hesitated to push for legal changes. In 2013, he told reporters that "it's not a loophole, it's the law." In February, Cuomo explained he left it out of his ethics reform package because he did not want to antagonize legislators. -- Good-government groups had agitated for the change, and were disappointed when the board deadlocked. Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, replied: “As soon as the so-called good government groups have anything to say about the unlimited money that unions pump into the coffers of Democrats or the dollars that Mayor de Blasio funnels to Upstate County Democrat Party Committees, we may start taking them seriously. Until then, they should get a life.”*  The good-government group Citizens Union found the recently passed state budget includes $2.9 billion in “opaque” lump sum funds, which is $303 million more than proposed in the executive budget* * A coalition of good-government groups urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to not pack a review panel for ethics regulators with commissioners who will rubberstamp any findings, State of Politics reports:  * * A report set to be released shows that political spending by the state's powerful trial lawyers jumped a hefty 27 percent in 2014 over the previous year, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports: 

Lobbyists Working for Glenwood Management
Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin Llc $150,000
Carl Andrews & Associates, Inc. $ 144,000
Empire Strategic Planning, Inc. $ 144,000
Meara, Brian R. Public Relations, Inc. $120,000
Lieberman, Mark L. $90,000
Sanzillo, Francis J. & Associates $90,000
Runes, Richard $60,000
Park Strategies $20,000



Skelos Facing Jail Makes Sure Dirty Loop-Hole Campaign Money Lives in Albany
Bending over backward for cash: With a dishonestmaneuver, Dean Skelos and the Senate GOP protect New York's most notorious campaign finance loophole (NYDN) Through it, an astonishing $25 million has flowed over the past decade into the coffers of Skelos’ Senate GOP, Gov. Cuomo and many other state politicians. The biggest exploiters of the loophole are LLCs linked to real estate developer Leonard Litwin and his Glenwood Management firm, which used it to pump $13.2 million into state politics since 2000. Litwin and his firm figure in two major scandals this year alone — the indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and the ongoing federal investigation of Skelos. Republicans clearly wanted to block reform — because they’re counting on LLC donations to help their majority survive the next election cycle in an increasingly blue state, the shadow over their leader notwitstanding. But they dared not defend that position to a voting public that’s sick to death of Albany corruption scandals. * “The capitol,” a Republican senator tells Chris Smith, “is the dome of gloom.”  Always Support the Family Dean, Silver: I am Stepping Down As Speaker to Preserve Our Institution




Budget Analysis and Spins After the Budget Passes 
Y-Y-Y-Yachts all, folks! (NYP Ed) The new state budget has managed to unite the free-market EmpireCenter and the far-left Working Families Party. This meeting of the minds came over a classic move: Lawmakers slipped in a provision granting a fat tax break on sales the of private planes and luxury yachts.* * State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said she wants to exempt high-performing school districts from new requirements in the overhaul of the teacher evaluation system, Capital New York reports: * The state budget deal agreed to by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature unraveled almost immediately after it was announced over education bill language, but things were put back together, the Journal writes: The Times Union writes that with the budget passed it’s time to make state policies work, not to keep tearing children and schools apart in an endless tug of war: Day After Budget Spins Cuomo said he wants the ethics and education reforms in the new budget to stand among his “greatest legacies.” * When combined with a big school funding increase, Cuomo insisted, the education reforms make this budget the “most pro-teacher” ever. The teachers unions disagree. * In the days leading up to the budget’s passage – but after a framework deal had been announced – UFT Mike Mulgrew’s premature spiking of the ball with a victory email infuriated Cuomo and led to a furious 48-hour jockeying session that impacted the language of the education bill.* Lawmakers approved a pay-raise commission as part of the 2015-16 state budget. Its creation likely paves the way for their first raise in the 21st century. Any increase would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2017.* Cuomo firmly believes in government by contest, which, he says, forces the good to be great. His love of government competitions dates back to his HUD days.* The ethics reforms included in the new budget do not close the infamous LLC loophole, which has enabled candidates – especially Cuomo – to circumvent contribution limits and rake in millions of dollars from the real estate industry.* Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon praised the first budget passed in Albany since he stepped down from his leadership perch after an arrest on federal corruption charges in January, the Observer writes: * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his chamber will approve first passage of a constitutional amendment that would strip public officials of their pensions upon felony conviction, State of Politics reports: Ghost pork: Budget steers $24K to long-defunct ACORN:  * New NY budget allocates cash for beer, onions, and pit bulls(NYT)* Assembly Fails to Pass Pension Forfeiture Bill Part of Ethics Legislation(NY1)  * The state budget contains plenty of pork, with allocations of $24,523 to the defunct group ACORN, $2.2 million to the Buffalo Bills and $200,000 for beer-making research, the Post reports:  * StudentFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis in the Post applauds Cuomo for the education reforms in the state budget and for taking on a challenge that most politicians shy away from:* * State Sen. John Flanagan, chair of the Education Committee, said 50 percent of the governor’s education reform agenda was stripped out of the budget, State of Politics reports:  * * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie won praise for his budget negotiation performance, but in the process he may have damaged his relationship with CuomoNew York State Public Radio’s Karen DeWittwrites  * Citizens Union released a “scorecard” of the latest state ethics laws, breaking down what was initially proposed by the governor and what ultimately became the final product, State of Politics reports:  * Freshman Assemblyman Charles Barron thinks Heastie has been “1,000 percent better” as speaker than his predecessor, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver. * There’s money in the budget for bullet-proof vests and glass for police patrol cars, and also for body cameras, but it’s tied to criminal justice reforms, which have not yet been achieved. * What Was Proposed, What Changed, In Ethics Deal (YNN) * The gov’s too-great expectations: Gov. Cuomo's budgetdeal doesn't measure up to his lofty goals (NYDN)* Under new campaign finance rules in the state budget, use of campaign funds for personal expenses is restricted and the use of the funds for memberships for things like country clubs is banned, the Times Unionreports * * Gov. Andrew Cuomo packed most of his agenda into the state budget this year, but some of the initiatives taken out leave key battles ahead during the legislative session, Gannett Albany reports: * State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins lost her fight to be included in the budget negotiations but won new respect from her colleagues for trying, the Journal writes: * Editorial: How about an honest pay raise panel?(NYDN ED)* State leaders agreed on a $142B spending plan. Winners: Carl Heastie and yacht dealers. Losers: Cuomo and the MTA  * “In a month of political machinations that ended with the passage of New York state’s $142 billion budget, Senate minority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins lost her fight to be included in the negotiations but won new respect from her colleagues for trying.”* The Staten Island Advance asks: “If the need for ethics reform is so profound, as we have been told it is by the governor and others, why not follow the lead of Washington and place a limit on outside income?”* The New York Times: “Cuomo bragged that it is a budget ‘that all New Yorkers can be proud of.’ Yet the details of this last-minute jumble of a budget yield very little for most people to celebrate.”*  Editorial: How about an honest pay raise panel? (NYDN Ed) * State leaders agreed on a $142B spending plan. Winners: CarlHeastie and yacht dealers. Losers: Cuomo and the MTA  As part of the state Legislature’s final catch-all budget bill, $90 million will be moved from NYPA’s budget to cover trade missions and advertising for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Start-Up NY and Global NY business-booster programs.* Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson tore into Cuomo for failing to pass criminal justice reforms in the budget, saying he failed to fight for the provision and should have allowed legislators to take it up and regular session. * Hazel Dukes, the head of the state’s NAACP charter, warned that Cuomo has to undertake criminal justice reform or face a backlash from black and Latino voters.* Wasting a $6 billion New York windfall (NYP Ed)* Cuomo has sent school leaders back to the negotiating table to come up with new agreements. This time, however, school administrators and union leaders will have far less discretion in deciding how teachers are rated. But they face the same threat: Get a deal done by November or risk losing state aid.* * Some questioned Cuomo’s tapping of the state Power Authority for  $90 million for job creation programs, with Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney saying the initiatives served as an ad campaign for the governor, the Post reports:  * What Does Cuomo Want? (YNN) * What Do Assembly Democrats Want? (YNN) * What Do Senate Republicans Want? (YNN) * In latest state budget, no shortage of pork (Capital) *   State politicians kick many cans down the road, via @GregDavidonNY (CrainsNY)
Education War: de Blasio vs Cuomo
Albany Budget, Ethics, Pay Raise, Three Men in the Room   




AG Goes After Corrupt Campaign Spending and Expense Accounts After Lunch With Bharara 
What About Closing Moreland and Berlin Rosen, Jennifer Cunningham
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman looking intolegislators’ expense accounts, campaign spending (NYDN)  At a time when U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has warned the public to “stay tuned” for more arrests from his office, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also been looking into the legislative expense account system and lawmaker campaign spending, the Daily News has learned. The revelation comes as the Democratic attorney general is set to deliver a major speech Monday evening on state government corruption — his first major comments on the issue since the indictment of Assemblyman Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). Schneiderman, with the aid of state Controller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, has been reviewing whether state lawmakers have legally put in for reimbursements for travel to Albany and meals, sources say. Schneiderman’s probe comes months after Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-Queens) was indicted on 11 federal charges that he cheated the state by submitting 174 vouchers for at least $40,000 in bogus travel and lodging expenses from 2009 through 2012. While the feds charged Scarborough with the per diem fraud, Schneiderman’s office at the same time hit the veteran assemblyman with 23 state charges that he used more than $38,000 in campaign funds for personal benefit.

His office also recently charged City Councilman Ruben Wills with stealing campaign funds. It’s unclear whether Schneiderman’s look into the per diem system and campaign spending are again in conjunction with the feds. During his speech Monday to the good-government group Citizens Union, Schneiderman — who took some heat for not being publicly critical of Gov. Cuomo’s handling of the now-defunct Moreland anti-corruption commission — is expected to rip past and current efforts at what he sees as incremental reform, said a source familiar with his plans.* State Sen. John Flanagan voted on a host of bills that benefited clients of a law firm where he works, and records show Cablevision, Chase Bank and other such clients lobbied in favor of bills he backed, theDaily News reports:  * State Thruway Authority being probed by AG in call-girl scandal, sources say (NYDN)

Albany Ethics Looks Like A Job for Superman
Stop Begging Daily News Go to Your Newsroom and Tell Clark Kent to Pass A Real Ethics Bill In Albany We Need Superman



Sunday Update 

The chief enemies of reform in Albany are Dean Skelos and fellow Republicansenators, who have the most to hide (NYDN) There’s no mystery as to why Republican state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is the last holdout against an ethics cleanup in Albany: He and fellow Republican senators have the most to hide. They collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from second jobs — doing who-knows-what for who-knows-whom — and hope to go on hiding as much as possible about their paymasters. Gov. Cuomo has said that, if Skelos & Co. continue to stonewall past Tuesday, he will put ethics reform in a budget extension, leaving them the choice of voting yes or shutting the government. Skelos reports collecting between $150,000 and $250,000 a year from Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, a Long Island law firm with a lobbying arm whose clients have secured millions in state grants, tax breaks and contracts. He refuses to name his clients or explain what services he provides. As did Silver. Rochester-area Republican Sen. Michael Nozzolio is paid up to $250,000 by the law firm Harris Beach while keeping his clients and the nature of his work secret. Gannett News reported that the firm’s clientele includes a mall developer who was awarded a state license to build a casino. Also in the six-figure club are Sens. Michael Ranzenhoffer of Erie County and Philip Boyle and John Flanagan of Long Island. Skelos on Friday promised to produce an ethics bill. Likely, his staff was hard at work on loopholes aimed at making a farce out of Cuomo’s plan — Enemies of Reform to a bitter dead end. * Time Running Out for On-Time StateBudget (NY1)

Gov Ducked At the End On Many of His No Budget Demands 

Gov Blink 
No game-changers (NYP Ed ) Gov. Cuomo got a lot less out of this year’s state budget than he started out asking for — that much is clear even before we get to see the fine print. There are no immediate game-changers here. The governor’s other big reform push was in education. Most of his goals — the Education Tax Credit, the DREAM Act, raising the cap on charter schools — got pushed out of the budget. Add to that, Cuomo’s people say, streamlined teacher-removal rules that will terminate proven incompetents within 90 days. But, at best, Cuomo’s new system will start getting bad teachers fired two years from now. That’s a win, but not a game-changer. The Education Tax Credit is the only issue still on the table that promises anything like that instant success. We hope the governor can deliver it.* The tentative budget deal agreed to by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers did not include policy changes he tried to tie to include, reflecting a changed dynamic in AlbanyThe New YorkTimes writes: * Schwartz: ‘I Would Bet Anything’ Cuomo Will Run Again(YNN)

Limp Ethics Reforms Update
Cuomo Focuses on Ethics Reform, Not on Funding It (NYT) Most of the agencies that concentrate on investigating ethical lapses have seen flat budgets or even cuts, though Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is pushing to increase enforcement.

Lawmakers Who Have Done Nothing to Clean-Up Albany Upset With the One Man Who Has

WHAT THE MUCK? Albany lawmakers cry foul over Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's tactics, say he's overstepping (NYDN)  More than a dozen state legislators, legislative officials and other insiders interviewed by the Daily News give credit to Preet Bharara for targeting Albany wrongdoing but are fuming over what they say is the powerful prosecutor’s publicity seeking, tarring of the entire Legislature, and wading into governance issues far beyond the scope of his office. 




Albany $$$ For Luxury Planes Luxury Boats But No Trains
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his members may have trouble accepting education reform measures in the budget, which unions have opposed, but he expects it to pass his chamber anyway, State of Politics reports  JCOPE Albany’s ethics reform plan includes $1.2 million to help the JCOPE enforce new disclosure regulations for lawmakers, but new information about lawmakers’ outside clients won’t be made public until 2017, Capital NewYork reports: Yachts and Plains Liberal groups such as Citizen Action and the Fiscal Policy Institute planned to gather at a Manhattan marina and protest tax breaks for the purchase of yachts and planes included in the state budget, Gannet Albany reports: 




After their Leaders are Arrested the Senate Protects the LLC Loophole 
A profile incowardice (TU) Now, Senate Republicans are using some legally suspect sleight-of-hand to weasel out of one of those very rules in order to avoid taking a stand on one of the most needed ethical reforms in Albany. It’s the worst of politics: cowardice, duplicity, greed and abuse of power. At issue is the notorious LLC loophole, a flaw in the state’s election rules that allows wealthy donors to get around New York’s already-high limits on political donations. Under a 1996 opinion by the state Board of Elections, limited liability companies are treated as individuals for the purposes of campaign contributions. So if a contributor has donated the legal limit to a candidate, all he or she needs to do is create an LLC, and donate to the limit again in the LLC’s name. And she or he can keep creating LLCs in order to donate even more – three, five, 10 times the limit. Really, there is no limit.



Albany Protects Their Corruption Pensions 
Not A Joke Assembly Blocks Corrupt Pols Pension Reform
Dragging its feet, Assembly protects felons’ pensions (NYP Ed)* The Post blaststhe state Assembly for dragging its feet when it comes to passing legislation to create a constitutional amendment to retroactively strip pensions from public officials, specifically attacking the notion that the change in policy should only be limited to elected officials* Newsday writes that there is a long to-do list before the end of the legislative session, but the one thing they’d really like to see passed is a constitutional amendment to strip pensions from public officials convicted of felonies*  Several historians who specialize in state government tellthe Times Union that corruption is not worse in Albany than in previous years, it just feels that way: * Bill on State Pension Forfeiture for Public Officials Convicted of Crime Seems Unlikely to Pass in Current Form (NY1)



Lawmakers Get 3 Hours to Read the Bill Before They Vote
The head of the state Marine Trades Association, however, said the incentive is aimed at helping boat dealers, since the industry loses customers to Florida and other states that cap the tax on yacht sales, Gannett Albany reports:  * Infrastructure shortchanged in $5.4b NY budget windfallallocation. (Empire Center) * What an absolute joke: Client Disclosure, But Only MovingForward (YNN) * New info re lawmakers’ outside clients won’t be made publictil 2017 via @capitalnewyork  Many will've retire by then..@DanielSquadron introducing hostile amendment that would close LLC loophole that allows unlimited donations from corps and individuals. *Cuomo Gets Deals on Tenure and Evaluations of Teachers (NYT) The final budget bill, to be voted on Tuesday, also includes new measures for improving chronically struggling schools. NYT Says Loophole Ethics  Loopholes Seen in New Ethics Disclosure Rules for New York Legislators (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said new ethics measures proposed in the state budget would go a long way to cleaning up Albany, but government watchdog groups denounced them as “incremental reform.”* Cuomo said in an interview on the Capitol Pressroom that he wants ethics and education reforms included in the state budget to be counted among his “greatest legacies,” Crain’s reports:   * State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, however, said the budget will not help struggling families or address scandals in the capitol and reiterated that she was left out of negotiations, GannettAlbany reports:  * The state Legislature passed a budget measure that calls for creating a commission to examine raising the state executive’s, lawmakers’ and commissioners’ compensation for the first time since 1999, Gannett Albanyreports:


Groundhog Albany Albany leaves us stuck in a rut — again (NYP Ed) Sadly, the state’s new $142 billion budget is more of the same. It spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much. It does nothing to change the downward... Fact is, we have major problems in New York, and this budget fails to address them in a transformative way. Nibbling at the edges is not “radical reform” or a “new approach,” as we were once promised. It’s simply more of the same and will do little to help the middle-class prosper and remain committed long-term to the state. * CUOMO WINS FOR THE KIDS: His budget deal includes important progress on teacher evaluations and other big education-reform priorities (NYDN) * An outline of education reform proposals in budget (Capital)* IT'S A DONE DEAL: State politicians adopt New York's $150 billion budget, after Assembly drags past deadline(NYDN) * More budget sleight of hand (NYDN) * Final budget bills pass after midnight (Capital) * New York State Passes $142 Billion Budget (WSJ) New  York state lawmakers approved a $142 billion state budget that increases funding for schools, revises teacher evaluations and enacts legislative disclosure rules intended to address Albany corruption. * Deal Includes Bonuses for Top Teachers (WSJ) * In budget, lawmakers pave way for pay raise (LoHud)

Avast, me hearties: TU edit board chides leaders for yachttax break, rushed budget passage Cuomo on ethics bill:"third time in 4 years that he hashailed what he called a significant breakthrough." (NYT) * Here and Now – The Budget Battle Is Over Edition(YNN) * Lawmakers Reluctantly Approved Education Budget Bill (YNN) * NYCHA Money…With Some New and Improved Strings (YNN) * SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher is happy with the support SUNY was given in the budget, even though the university system will have to pick up the tab for mandatory cost increases required by collectively bargained contracts. * * Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature compromised on education reforms, with the governor winning some changes in teachers evaluations and tenure, and in how the state deals with chronically struggling schools, The New York Times writes: * Bill Hammond: “Gov. Cuomo’s fifth budget feels like a letdown, and he has only himself to blame.” * Cuomo says he understands the trepidation of teachers who don’t like having their professional performance evaluated because he doesn’t like being evaluated by the voters during elections. * The Hedge Clippers identified seven wealthy hedge fund contributors to Cuomo and the Senate GOP who will benefit from the new yacht/private plane sales tax exemption.* Listen to the Chaos Behind the Albany Budget Negotiations (WNYC)

Lets Put the Homeless on the Boats
The New York City Housing Authority is getting $100 million from the state as part of the state budget, but will be audited by the City Comptroller Scott Stringer as part of the deal, the Daily News reports: * The Daily News writes that Cuomo emerged from this year’sbudget negotiations with legislation that can have a real impact, as long as education officials execute the reforms smartly:* Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who lost last year’s gubernatorial race to Cuomo, writes in the Post that the state’s new $142 billion budget spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much: * The Times Union writes that legislators should allow budget bills to be publicly vetted for three days, as is required in the state constitution, before voting on them to give time for debate:  * Cuomo’s fifth state budget feels like a letdown, and he has only himself to blame after committing the basic blunder of overselling and under-delivering, the News’ Bill Hammond writes: * Lawmakers in Assembly fail to meet midnight deadline, butSenate wraps early to party at Exec Mansion: (TU)* The Times Union’s Matthew Hamilton compiled a timeline detailing the evolution of the state budget from Cuomo’s second term inauguration and Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s arrest to budget bill votes * The minority conferences in the state Legislature largely voted against the education and labor budget bills, while those in power argued that the goal of perfection can’t overshadow good budgeting, State of Politics reports:  * Asked by a reporter about Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s budget leadership, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver politely declined to comment.


Litwin Gaming Government an the Election System, But to Big to Be Indicted? 


Nonprofit that helped Senate G.O.P. discloses ties to Litwin (Capital) A nonprofit group that helped State Senate Republicans cling to power in 2012 paid nearly $700,000 that year to two longtime associates of Leonard Litwin, a real estate magnate who is the state's largest campaign donor, records show. Common Sense Principles, a 501(c)(4) group that funded advertisements attacking marginal Democrats, paid $550,000 to Richard Runes for legal work and $140,000 to Frank Sanzillo, a lobbyist, for “consulting,” it stated on a 2012 I.R.S. filing. The group's advertisements never explicitly said voters should support or oppose a particular candidate, which under state law freed it from disclosing spending and fund-raising activity to the State Board of Elections. A separate disclosure indicated it spent over $1 million. *Nonprofit that helped Senate G.O.P. discloses ties to Litwin (Capital) A nonprofit group that helped State Senate Republicans cling to power in 2012 paid nearly $700,000 that year to two longtime associates of Leonard Litwin, a real estate magnate who is the state's largest campaign donor, records show. Common Sense Principles, a 501(c)(4) group that funded advertisements attacking marginal Democrats, paid $550,000 to Richard Runes for legal work and $140,000 to Frank Sanzillo, a lobbyist, for “consulting,” it stated on a 2012 I.R.S. filing. The group's advertisements never explicitly said voters should support or oppose a particular candidate, which under state law freed it from disclosing spending and fund-raising activity to the State Board of Elections. A separate disclosure indicated it spent over $1 million. Skelos, who reportedly could face indictment this week, acknowledged that federal investigators have been examining his business dealings. The New York Times reported that investigators have asked for details about Abtech, an Arizona-based company that employs the senator's son, won a $13 million contract from Nassau County. Glenwood executive vice president Charles Dorego signed public records from companies that invested in Abtech.


Real Estate Lobbyists PAC to Keep the GOP in Control of the Senate Hidden In Florida and Virginia 
Common Sense Principles disclosed some of its spending as lobbying. It listed a single donor, the Center for Common Sense L.L.C., which was traced to an accounting office in Florida. Late in 2013, Capital reported that a PAC run by New York City landlords, the Neighborhood Preservation PAF, declared a $10,000 contribution to an entity called Common Sense NY. Litwin is the vice chairman of the Rent Stabilization Association, an affiliate of the PAC. It was not possible to reach Common Sense Principles or its president, Chris LaCivita, for comment. He has never been interviewed about the group's spending. The organization is registered to a post office box in Virginia, and the number it lists on I.R.S. forms is the Warrenton, Virginia office of the law firm of Holtzman, Vogel Josefiak. A woman who answered the phone there Friday had no information about Common Sense Principles or any guidance on how to reach LaCivita. In a preliminary report, the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption expressed frustration with its inability to determine who funneled money into Common Sense Principles' attack efforts. “Service of the Commission’s subpoenas cannot be perfected on either the Virginia-based 501(c)(4) entity or the Florida companies,” commissioners wrote in December 2013. “This daisy chain of out-of-state corporations and 'ghost companies' appears to exist for one reason: to hide the source of money used to fund negative advertising and influence our local elections.





In Albany Its All About Protecting Their Mob Leaders, Not the Public From Corruption
Bharara has been on a crusade ever since Cuomo disbanded his own anti-corruption commission in March 2014. “Archimedes said to move Earth itself, all he needed was a long-enough lever and a place to stand,” Bharara recently told a ­forum at Fordham Law School.
The specific charges against Senator Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam, 32, were not immediately known, but were expected to be announced as early as Monday.* State Sen. Dean Skelos and son, Adam, likely to be arrestednext week, reports say (Newsday) * DEAN OF 'CORRUPTION': Prosecutors set to announce criminal charges against senate leader Skelos, son on Monday (NYDN) * Wall Street Journal, NY Times: Skelos, Son Could Be Arrested on Corruption Charges as Early as Monday (NY1) * Feds set to indict Dean Skelos on corruption charges * Feds set to indict Dean Skelos on corruption charges (NYP) The Democrats will unleash a “fierce campaign’’ to get Skelos to step down if the Long Island lawmaker is charged, The Post’s ­Fredric U. Dicker reported earlier this week. * SUCCEEDING SKELOS: PROS AND CONS OF POTENTIAL CANDIDATES (City and State)




On-time budgets are like NYS version of balanced budgets at federal level: valued for cosmetic reasons, not the implicit policy tradeoffs
Many school districts will have to quickly revise their evaluation agreements with teachers unions in order to get increased school aid as part of the state budget deal, The Wall Street Journal reports: * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is disappointed in some of the items left out of the state budget deal, such funding to fight homelessness that does not appear to have made the final plan, the Journalreports: The Times writes that Cuomo made too many concessions, with the minimum wage, campaign finance reform, mayoral control and the DREAM Act left out of the budget deal agreed to over the weekend: The Post writes that Cuomo has some real wins, such asdisclosure of outside income, but overall he got a lot less out of this year’s state budget than he started out asking for, with no “game-changers” included in the deal: Newsday writes that ethics reforms included in the state budget deal are a big step forward for Albany, but that it’s unclear how they will play out and how big of a raise lawmakers will get in return: 




Instead of Outrage and Condemnation of Albany On Day Tenants Screwed MSM Defends and Protect Them

On the Day the Albany Lawmakers Let Rent Laws Expire the Daily News Says Let Corrupt Pols Keep Their Pensions
Let crooked pols keep pensions: Stripping retirementaccounts is just cruel (NYDN) Daily News that stripping lawmakers convicted of corruption of their pensions is a step too far, as losing one’s job, honor and freedom are punishment enough.  True News Question: If the Daily News Thinks Losing One's Job and Freedom is Enough to Stop Corruption, Then Why Was the Arrests of 35 of Their Colleagues Not Enough to Stop the Corruption Over the Past 10 Years?


On the Day the Albany 3 Men in the Room Could Not Protect Tenants Newday Blames the Corruption Probes for Lack of Reforms
Newsday writes that recent Albany corruption probes are causing a paralysis in the capital that is preventing lawmakers from making much needed changes to laws and delaying progress in some areas: True News Question: Is Newsday Pro Pay to Play Corruption?  Does Newsday Think the Lobbyists and Special Interests Who Funded 174 Fund Raises for Lawmakers This Year Were Paying the $$$ to Reform the Laws?


The NYP Uses A Child Abuse Law Blocked By Former Speaker Silver to Blast the Assembly Democrats Who They Hate 

The Post Failed to Report The Child Abuse Bill That Has 61 Sponsors in the Assembly and Whose Supporters Has Led Protests for 6 Years All Over the City. The Post Also Failed to Report That Former Speaker Silver Urged On By the Catholic League and Agudath Israel and Other Orthodox Groups Who Opposed the Bill. The Bill That the NYP Reported Has Become Law in California and 6 Other States  Church blasts ‘retaliatory’ resurrection of sex abuse bill (NYP) Assembly Democrats, under pressure from the Catholic Church to pass a tax break to help parochial schools, on Monday revived a bill that would allow lawsuits involving decades-old claims of sexual abuse by priests. “This is a retaliatory strike against the church,” Dennis Poust, spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, told The Post. “We haven’t heard a whisper about this bill in six years. * THE BRIDGE MISSION TO ALBANY LOBBY DAY FIGHTING FOR SCHOOLTUITION TAX CREDITS AND PASSAGE OF "THE CHILD VICTIM ACT"


8 hours before budget deadline and neither he Assembly or Senate have passed any bills yet 
The Buffalo News writes that state leaders had a chance to enact serious ethical reforms in the budget agreement, but again fell woefully short:*  Tom Kaplan: “For all his aspirations, as the budget deadline neared, the governor blinked.” He abandoned most of the policy initiatives included in his initial spending proposal, and ended up with the fifth on-time budget in a row as a result – a move central to preserving the “core of his political brand.”* Legislation designed to expand transparency in government remained under wraps a day before it was scheduled to be passed as part of an on-time state budget. A Cuomo administration official recruited to provide the press with background information on the ethics fixes yesterday afternoon wouldn’t even confirm which of the still-gestating budget bills the reforms would be tucked into. The new ethics measures, which the governor has hailed as transformational, got a tepid response from lawmakers and government watchdogs. * The budget deal budget does include Cuomo’s proposal to send $1.3 billion to the Thruway Authority, with about $900 million expected to go toward the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project. 

That $1.3 billion will come from the $5.4 billion “windfall” cash realized from various settlements with financial institutions. Lawmakers and the governor also reached an agreement on how to spend the rest of the money, which will fund broadband access, an upstate economic development competition, and capital health care projects – among other things. * The final plan for a new statewide teacher evaluation system will require observations by an “independent” evaluator, according to a Cuomo administration official who briefed reporters in the absence of an introduced education budget bill.* The Cuomo administration said the increases in state aid funding of about $1.4 billion to districts will be linked to adoption of the new teacher evaluation program. Hours earlier, the head of the state’s big teachers union, NYSUT, called on parents to have their children opt out of taking the state’s Common Core-based standardized tests. * NYSUT President Karen Magee was making her opt-out call, the governor’s office was preparing school “runs,” or charts showing how much state aid the various school districts will receive under the final budget plan. To get that money, lawmakers would have to approve the new testing program. 

There’s no minimum wage hike or property tax relief in the final budget, but New York lawmakers did insert a tax cut for luxury yachts, which angered progressive advocates. * However, Jeff Strong, the president of Strong’s Marine on Long Island, said the creditwould create jobs and tax revenue in New York, with money that is currently flowing out of state. “It is a big deal because we have so many people with expensive boats that use them in New York and Florida,” he explained. * Meeting with Cuomo spurred boat / yacht show switch (CrainsNY) * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio described the tentative deal on the state budget as “reasonably good” for the Big Apple, but his aides said there was disappointment on homelessness funding and concern that action on many of City Hall’s priorities in Albany had been postponed. * De Blasio said he was relieved that the Albany budget deal lessened the threat of state takeover of struggling schools, though it does not remove it altogether. Under the agreement, localities will first have a chance to try their own turnaround plan. * The NY Post: “Cuomo got a lot less out of this year’s state budget than he started out asking for — that much is clear even before we get to see the fine print. There are no immediate game-changers here.”* How To Spend $5.4 Billion (YNN) * State teacher’s union chief calls for Common Core boycott * Lawmakers, Watchdogs Shrug at Ethics Package in Albany (WSJ)* TEACHER EVALUATIONS RE-LINKED—Capital School funding and teacher evaluations are linked after all, a top official with the state education department said late Monday. Cuomo and lawmakers are considering making an increase of at least $1.4 billion in school aid contingent on state approval of locally negotiated evaluation plans for teachers and principals by a mid-November deadline. Also, the final plan will require observations by an “independent” evaluator, a Cuomo administration official said, speaking on background, during a late Monday briefing with reporters.* NY state budget is done on time, but it's still done insecret (Editorial) * More budget sleight of hand (NYDN)


STATE BUDGET UPDATE: Wednesday was another day of closed-door negotiations, with the biggest news coming from Republican Senator John DeFrancisco. He’s been leading a group of lawyer-legislators from that chamber in negotiations with the Cuomo administration about the Democratic governor’s desire for lawmakers to publicly name their clients. Language was being drafted,DeFrancisco said. He and others were careful not to state any details, but DeFrancisco suggested that only clients with state interests would need to be disclosed. He drew a rebuke from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top spokeswoman, who said that was “not disclosure, it is current law.”* Skelos: ‘Tremendous Progress’ Toward Ethics Deal (YNN)

KNUCKLEHEAD AND BOBBLEHEADS: State lawmakers must give back Lou Gehrig dolls as they are deemed a gift violation (NYDN) In the latest sign of Albany ethics madness, lawmakers were forced to turn over Lou Gehrig bobblehead dolls given to them by the ALS Association this week because they’re deemed a violation of the Legislature’s gift ban.

Tax Credit Cardinal Dolan ‘discouraged’ tax credit may not make budget (NYDN) * Cuomo: Education And Ethics Remain The Top Priorities (YNN) * Skelos: ‘Tremendous Progress’ Toward Ethics Deal (YNN) * Heastie: Minimum Wage Hike Still Under Discussion (YNN)  * Cardinal Timothy Dolan says he’s looking to the Assembly for “leadership” on the Education Investment Tax Credit, though: “if this doesn’t work out, there’s a lot of blame to go around.” * Outside Income Disclosure the Final Barrier in State Budget Negotiations(NY1) * Campaign Finance Reform Turns to Reward and Punishment (NYT)

Senate Twisting de Blasio On Lifting Charter Cap
Senator: Mayoral school control requires raising charter cap (NYP) A key state senator says that if Mayor de Blasio wants Albany to ­extend mayoral control over the city’s public schools, he’s going to have to allow a lot more charter schools in the Big Apple. In fact, said state Sen. Simcha Felder, it might be time to lift the cap on charters entirely. At present, the maximum allowed statewide is 460, and the city’s remaining available allotment under the cap is 25. “Part of the discussion is that there should be no cap on children getting a better education. There should be no cap on children,” said Felder (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the Senate’s subcommittee on NYC schools. “Mayoral control works We have over a decade of evidence. It’s very very simple. There’s no debate here. . . . Albany should just act on it now.” But Felder said there’s no rush and suggested the issue be dealt with ­after the budget is adopted, along with charter expansion. As part of the process, he and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan (R-Suffolk) are planning public hearings to grill the mayor and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña about their plans to turn around failing public schools.*If de Blasio wants to see mayoral control renewed in the state Senate, he’s going to have to accept letting the charter cap rise, according to Sen. Simcha Felder.


CARL HEASTIE, DEAN SKELOS AND NEW YORK'S KIDS: Children trapped in failing schools stand no chance unless the Assembly shakes free of teachers unions’ grip (NYDN Ed) * The state budget is unlikely to delve into the charter school cap, mayoral control of schools and a measure barring minors from being tried as adults, but it may tackle the minimum wage, The Wall Street Journalreports: * Cuomo writes in the Daily News that he is “disappointed, but not surprised” that lawmakers cannot agree in budget negotiations on the Dream Act and a tax credit for those who donate to education * The Post writes that de Blasio is “getting off cheap” ifhe only has to commit to raising the cap on charter schools in exchange for retainingcontrol over the city’s public school system: * The Daily News writes that Assembly Speaker Carl Heastieand state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos “must wake up” and realize more education funding alone will not improve New York City’s failing schools:Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the chamber’s majority Democrats take “major issue” with Cuomo’s plan to withhold a boost in school funding until lawmakers agree to reforms to the state’s education system. Senate Republicans aren’t thrilled with the idea, either. * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio urged Cuomo and the Legislature to reauthorize mayoral control of New York City’s public schools, ratcheting up public pressure as his aides scrambled behind closed doors on several budget-related education issues.*Republicans Assembly members launched an online petition drive, urging New York parents to reject Common Core tests.



Eva Moskowitz criticizes Fariña’s charter claims (NYP) Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz fired off a stinging letter Wednesday accusing Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña of playing “fast and loose with the facts” to undercut charter schools. Moskowitz chided Fariña for saying charters have an easier job educating kids than regular public schools during Fariña’s visit to Harlem’s PS 123 this week. “Rather than celebrate the hard work of dedicated teachers and principals who have achieved remarkable results in a disadvantaged neighborhood, you instead disparaged their efforts — and the efforts of our hardworking children and parents — with accusations that have again and again been proven false,” Moskowitz wrote. On Tuesday at PS 123, Fariña said parents “have to go the extra mile” to apply for charters through a lottery system while public schools “take every child who lives in the neighborhood” no matter their abilities.*Students cry foul over distribution of school sports funds (NYDN)* Hundreds of public school teachers organized by NYSUT are expected to protest Cuomo’s education reform proposals at the Capitol today as closed-door budget negotiations continue.* The NYT hosted an online debate over whether spending more on education is the best way to improve schools.*Mayor Says His Plan to Fix Struggling Schools is Working as Governor Pushes Alternative (NY1)*In a letter sent to city principals, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña asked school leaders to discourage parents from opting out of state standardized exams later this month.

 De Blasio praises school despite woeful test scores (NYP) A Brooklyn high school where only 16 percent of the students passed the latest Regents exams was still hailed Wednesday by Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña as a shining example of improvement. “We are implementing real change at Automotive and every renewal school across the city — and we’re seeing real results,” Fariña said at Automotive HS. During their visit to the struggling Williamsburg school, neither Fariña nor the mayor mentioned the latest Regents exams in January, which only 16 percent of the students passed, according to a school source.*'IT'S TIME FOR ALBANY TO RENEW MAYORAL CONTROL': Bill de Blasio wants Andrew Cuomo, state legislators to stay out of New York City's education system (NYDN)

.







Albany Budget Agreement Details Secret 
In a joint statement, @NYGovCuomo and legislative leaders announce deal on #nybudget. Includes $23.5 B for school aid.

Cuomo Gets Timely New York Budget but Pays Price (NYT) The budget agreement between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and top lawmakers included changes to ethics rules and teacher tenure, but his goals regarding income inequality and criminal justice were nowhere to be found. Capital Tonight’s Liz Benjamin writes in Capital New York that Cuomo has exhibited a “tendency to cry wolf” by moving from absolutism to compromise, as shown in the state budget negotiations:  * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics is slated to gain responsibilities, including oversight of new disclosure requirements for lawmakers, but some say it is already struggling to meet its mandate, the TimesUnion reports: *Eric Schneiderman rips Cuomo’s ethics reforms (NYP) *Evaluation Criteria Would Put Testing Onus On Teachers Unions (YNN) * NYSUT Memo Outlines Education Budget Concerns (YNN)

The framework budget deal reached last night by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators clears a path for the governor to enact a spending plan before the April 1 start of the fiscal year for the fifth time in a row, though he will have to issue messages of necessity to circumvent the three-day bill aging requirement.

Cuomo announces tentative agreement on state budget (NYP) * How to decode the state budget even with the lack of details  * Deal Is Reached on New York State Budget; Ethics Measures Are Included (NYT) The agreement, reached by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders, includes several new ethics measures that the governor had proposed in response to corruption scandals in AlbanyThe state budget deal, which paves the way for the state’s fifth consecutive on-time budget, jettisoned a number of proposals but did include the doling out of the state’s $5.4 billion windfallCuomo, NYS legislative leaders make tentative state budgetdeal (NYDN) 


NYS budget transparency irony - ethics "disclosure" bill needs message of necessity to pass w/o 3 day req. No bill out to see what is in it
 NYCHA gets $100M as Cuomo, legislative leaders announce tentative state budget with ethics, education reforms (NYDN)  * State legislators will be required to use a swipe card to prove that they are in Albany to collect their $172-a-day per diem under the budget deal between the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Gannett Albany writes: * Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said the state should extend the expiring law giving de Blasio control over the city schools and not let politics influence the decision, the Daily News The Buffalo News writes that it is imperative that state legislators and the governor reconcile their differences on the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program and settle on a long-term extension:  The Buffalo News writes that the state’s highly politicaljudicial selection process, in which political donations seem to be as important as the ability of the nominee, needs to be reformed: * N.Y. pols reached a budget deal, agreeing to increase schoolaid by $1.6 billion (Newsday) * TU edit board: Movement to opt-out of Common Core testing isa bad answer:  * The agreement will make teachers wait an extra year (four, not three) to become eligible for tenure, establishes a state-imposed model for turning around struggling schools, and increases education spending (though by how much, it remains unclear, somewhere between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion).


Democrats made a stink as they debated the first budget bill, decrying its lack of details and complaining that Stewart-Cousins wasexcluded from negotiations. Even as lawmakers haggled, negotiations over spending $5.4 billion from a one-time windfall as well as school aid stretched on. Republicans revealed more details about new requirements to disclose law and business clients, but as of midnight, three budget bills had yet to be introduced, and four were left to be voted on by Tuesday’s midnight deadline.  Ethics Agreement Full of Holes The ethics deal is not anywhere near what watchdog groups say is needed to bolster Albany’s tattered image. It allows either of two state agencies to provide exemptions for a host of reasons, including keeping client information secret if disclosing the name of a client would amount to an “invasion of personal privacy” or if “undue harm” would be done to lawyer-client confidentiality.* For example, under the new ethics rules, legislators will be able to apply to the state’s Office of Court Administration for exceptions to disclosure of their law clients. Blanket exemptions are offered for clients on matrimonial cases, non-public criminal investigations, family court cases as well as wills and trusts. * Also new: A requirement that lawmakers swipe in to prove that they are in Albany to collect their $172 a day per diem. * This is the third ethics overhaul in the four years since Cuomo took office in January 2011. * One of the last sticking points resolved late Sunday was language forcing lawyer-legislators to disclose their clients. People briefed on the agreement said lawmakers (and executive branch “policymakers”) would be able to apply for an exemption for particular clients if their disclosure might cause “embarrassment.” The exemptions would be reviewed by the state’s Office of Court Administration, which would weigh whether the client in question had state contracts or was lobbying the government. * "legislators will have limited time to read thevoluminous budget bills before voting"  (WSJ) * UFT Declares Victory In Budget Battle (YNN) * NY budget leaves lawmakers with a long to-do list - Times Union * After @AndreaSCousins & minority leaders "began todemand entry to the meetings, Mr. Cuomo stopped holding them." (WSJ)* The Joint Commission on Public Ethics is slated to gain responsibilities, including oversight of new disclosure requirements for lawmakers, but some say it is already struggling to meet its mandate, the Times Union reports: * Capital Tonight’s Liz Benjamin writes in Capital New York that Cuomo has exhibited a “tendency to cry wolf” by moving from absolutism to compromise, as shown in the state budget negotiations:  * Shopping for Yacht? New York Budget Offers a Tax Break (NYT)  Of the thousands of items packed into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s $150 billion budget for New York State, one in particular seemed to float to the top: a tax credit for buyers of luxury boats.* New York’s budget would exempt boats that cost $230,000 from sales tax under a so-called yacht credit that appeared over the weekend in a revenue bill, Capital New Yorkreports: * Skelos said the measure to exempt expensive boats from sales tax and a similar break for private airplane purchases will create jobsand compared them to tax breaks for the film industry, State of Politics reports:* Schneiderman said the ethics reform deal in Albany won’t “get to the root of corruption” and described it as “more tinkering around the edges,” the Daily News reports: * The statewide teachers union is unhappy with several education policies tied to the state budget and union president Karen Magee said they are encouraging parents to opt children out of tests, Gannett Albany reports * State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos described his chamber’s negotiations on disclosure requirements for lawmakers who also work as attorneys as “member-driven,” Stateof Politicsreports:  * The state budget deal includes a reprieve until 2017 for NYDoctorProfile.com – a publicly-funded website that allows the public to look up licensed doctors and learn about their education and any legal actions taken against them.


Last Month True News' Political Cartoon Why Not A Women In the 3 Men Room

Friday's NYT Asks the 
Same Question
New York’s All-Male Oligarchy (NYT) The state’s budget decisions are made by four men in a back room. A woman deserves a seat at their table.* The Times’ Eleanor Randolph writes that Cuomo and the Legislature’s leadership should break up the “all-boy’s club” and allow state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins into negotiation sessions* Eleanor Randolph on the budget negotiation process: “The real mockery, of course, is that the insiders’ club can exclude even insiders. The four men in that back room should make room for two more, one of them a woman. Six people is not a crowd by anybody’s count.”Not to Much Men in the Room On The Same Page (YNN) For starters, there has not been the much-derided three-men-in-a-room meetings that have dominated the budget discussions and the incremental coverage of the negotiations. Instead, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has been shuttling back and forth between the governor’s office. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken the unusual step of pitching his disclosure measures to the Senate Republican conference in person and on their turf on the third floor. Cuomo has apparently been conducting some discussions over the phones as well and has spoken with individual lawmakers in person as well in breakfast sessions. * “There’s nothing good to come of a late budget,” said state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, though his office is prepared, should that scenario occur.* The post-budget fight over extending NYC mayoral control could get uglySaturday PM Albany Update .@NYGovCuomo left AlbanySaturday afternoon after legislative leaders failed to reach a deal on thestate budget.(NY1)

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Gianaris: Albany Water Down Ethics Deal?
Democratic Sen. Mike Gianaris says the potential ethics deal appears to be severely watered down. * State Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco said the GOP is close to an agreement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on new income disclosure requirements in the state budget, State of Politics reports: * State lawmakers said they oppose delaying the approval of increased school aid until later in the legislative session, even though Cuomo still insists on tying education aid to some reforms, State of Politics reports: * Assembly members accused Senate Republicans of reneging on an apparent understanding between the two chambers that education funding would not be contingent on reforms, Capital New York reports: * EXCLUSIVE: Lou Gehrig bobblehead dolls deemed gift violation (NYDN) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders appear close to an agreement on ethics policies that would increase what legislators have to disclose about the money they make on top of their government salaries. Cuomo said the effort made good on his pledge to bring more sunlight to Albany, but critics say what they’ve seen so far falls short of full disclosure.

Cuomo’s office is pushing back against Senate Republicans’ push to remove $5.4 billion in bank settlement funds from the $142 billion budget in order to deal with it after the budget deal is reached, GannettAlbany reports: * Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein said there is momentum behind a paid family leave plan in the Senate one-house budget resolution, but that it may be taken up post-budget, State of Politics reports * State budgets are divided into thirds: hard dollars and cents, policy wrangling and political theater—and they’re wrapped up when all sides can emerge with important wins, Newsday  * And we are back to where we were yesterday: Ethics and education remain key sticking points in the budget. * In Brooklyn, Mayor Bill de Blasio again pushes his alternative to Gov. Cuomo’s school receivership program. * Andrew Cuomo: Two education bills that demand votes (NYDN)  Under fire for letting the Education Investment Tax Credit and the DREAM Act fall off the budget table, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the Legislature in a Daily News OpEd to move forward with stand-alone votes on both bills.

I bet Cuomo wisheshe had: “I presume all of my colleagues are wearing wires all time,” O’Donnellsaid (NYDN) * Friday Update * Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campus sexual assault proposal now faces an uncertain future, with lawmakers from both parties saying it shouldn’t be included in the state budget, The Wall Street Journal reports:   * State leaders agreed on a package in the state budget to address homelessness crisis, including $440 million for anti-homeless services over the next four years, the Daily News writes: * The collapse earlier this week of a two-pronged plan to include in the state budget an education tax credit and the Dream Act, which extends tuition assistance programs to undocumented immigrants, has led to finger-pointing and a last-minute scramble for some kind of alternative plan before budget bills are signed on Saturday.* With legislators holding closed-door meetings on the new state budget, teachers ralliedagainst Cuomo at the state Capitol yesterday, stopping short of declaring victory in the fight with him over tenure and union rights. *  A plan to task the Board of Regents with developing a new teacher-evaluation system was a step in the right direction as Cuomo and lawmakers negotiate a series of education reforms, NYSUT President Karen Magee said.


Parents Rebel Against Cuomo Linking College Aide: 
to School Tax Credits and Aide to Illegal Immigrant Students 
Parents rebel against bid to deny state aid to college students (NYP) Parents are rebelling against Gov. Cuomo’s bare-knuckled strategy to deny state aid to nearly 400,000 “legal” college students if the Legislature refuses to provide tuition assistance to illegal immigrants or tax credits to supporters of parochial schools.


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Skelos Says Ethics Bill Almost Ready

Weak Ethics Bill  Cuomo and the Legislature appear to be close to an ethics agreement that would increase disclosure of lawmakers’ outside income, but critics say the proposed changes fall short, The New York Times writes
Cuomo and lawmakers are in talks to finalize the terms of what he has named as his top priority: a package of ethics overhauls designed to, among other things, shed more light on legislators’ outside income. Much of the rest of the governor’s agenda, as laid out in his executive budget and 30-day amendments, will now be addressed after the budget deal is reached. * Cuomo has highlighted of his inclusion in this year’s budget of a ban on the personal use of campaign funds, as he promotes his commitment to ethics reform. But it is difficult to identify a single currently legal expense made by a legislator in the past decade that would not still be allowed if governor’s proposal is approved. * Our view: State budget secrecy bad for New York: via @the_citizen  * CUOMO’S ETHICS ASTERISK—Capital  While the governor has insisted on including in this year’s budget a ban on the personal use of campaign funds, it is difficult to identify a single currently legal expense made by a legislator in the past decade that would not still be allowed should the governor’s proposal be approved. The proposal, which the Assembly has agreed to, does little beyond rephrasing existing law, codifying interpretations that have gone unchallanged for decades or bans campaign expenses that no legislator has ever been identified as paying: * Cuomo’s Second Term Blues (YNN) * Assembly, Senate Combine For Almost $1M In Legal Bills (YNN)


























Pressure to Put More Men In Albany's 3/4 Men Room ... Got Ethics Refor? 
What About A Women in the Room?

Tuesday 
Clergy and good government groups held a protest and delivered a petition to Cuomo’s office Monday, saying they support his ethics reform package, but believe it does not go far enough, the Post reports:


Friday

Thursday State lawmakers said suing Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his bullying budget tactics would be a “last resort,” but they did not rule out that option completely. * Testifying at the year’s first NYC Council budget hearing, de Blasio’s Budget Director (and former top Assembly staffer) Dean Fuleihan said the city would be hurt by deep cuts proposed by Cuomo in funding for homeless services and insufficient education funding. “It has an enormous impact on our budget,” he said. * The Assembly Republicans say term limits on legislative leadership posts would help clean up Albany corruption. They also want the Assembly to televise more meetings and guarantee that each member of the chamber can get a vote on at least one bill they have sponsored. * Former Sen. Seymour Lachman praised Cuomo in a NYT letter to the editor for using the budget to push for ethics reform.

Wednesday Update State Senate officials may legally challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s authority to link policy to appropriation bills amid friction over his ethics proposals and budget threats, The Wall Street Journal reports: The Daily News’ Bill Hammond writes that he supports nearly all of the policy initiatives Cuomo has tied to the budget, but that he is setting a dangerous precedent that could be abused by future governors The Post writes that education is the modern civil rightsissue and that it is a “travesty” children have to march in Albany to gain access to schools where they can learn, such as charter and parochial schools: * The Times’ Brent Staples writes that the closure of the United Federation of Teachers’ charter school in Brooklyn suggests that union did not take the project seriously or knows less aboutrunning schools than it thinks: * As Cuomo heads into a month of tense negotiations to hammer out a state budget, he is facing off with an emboldened Legislature. After four years of general goodwill between the Democratic governor and legislators, state lawmakers—frustrated by his ethics proposals and provoked by his budget threats—have in recent weeks introduced measures aimed at disrupting his agenda.* “We will review the proposal while keeping in mind that the governor, Senate and Assembly recently enacted a minimum wage increase that is still being phased in,” said Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif. * Astorino: Senate’s Term-Limit Bill A ‘Half-Measure’ (YNN) * Cuomo Expects Lawmakers Will Back Down On Amendments (YNN) * Assembly Republicans Unveil Ethics and Transparency Proposals (YNN) *Skelos: Lawsuit Over Amendments Not Necessary (YNN) * Cuomo said he does not expect a legal challenge to his 30-day budget amendments, which tie spending to his ethics proposals, and which Senate Republicans so far have not introduced in the Legislature, State of Politics writes: 

Tuesday Update The Push And Pull For Disclosure In The Post-Silver Era(YNN)* Cuomo, through his aides, has given a chilly response to Senate Republicans for proposing that some financial data regarding live-in girlfriends of elected officials – such as Cuomo’s girlfriend, Sandra Lee – be subject to the same ethics disclosures required for spouses of elected officials. But back in 2009, then-Attorney General Cuomo made that connection himself. * The state Senate voted to impose eight-year limits on the Senate leader, Assembly speaker and minority leaders and committee chairpersons in both chambers. Those individuals could keep their legislative seats but couldn’t continue in their leadership positions.
Friday Update More In the Room?   State legislators want Gov. Andrew
Cuomo to The Wall StreetJournal reports: * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he is disappointed Cuomo inserted ethics reforms into budget measures released last week because it “kind of ties the Legislature’s hands” in negotiations, the Daily Newsreports: * Low teacher ratings at New York City’s chronically troubled schools highlight the difficulty of turning around schools as de Blasio implements a new strategy for them and Cuomo seeks more power to take them over, the Journalreports: 
let minority legislative leaders join budget negotiations now that Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein is in the talks,
Klein To Be Included In Budget Talks (YNN) Independent Democratic Conferenceff Leader Jeff Klein will be included in the closed-door budget talks with the legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo made the announcement today at a cabinet meeting that he would include Klein, a Bronx Democrat, in the first leaders meeting scheduled for later this afternoon. Klein was included in the talks — colloquially called the “Three Men In A Room” talks — in the last two years after he was elevated to co-president of the state Senate under a power-sharing agreement with Senate Republicans. But Republicans last year gained full control of the chamber and Klein lost the title, plus the ability to have veto power over which bills come to the floor for a vote. Cuomo today said he discussed having Klein included in the talks with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who agreed Klein should be included. * After Silver arrest, Bharara mocks ‘three men in a room’(Capital) * Sen. Klein keeps his spot at the negotiating table (LoHud)* Cuomo said he hasn’t had any conversations with federal prosecutors investigating his office’s role in the activities and disbandment of his Moreland Commission, but declined to say whether his staff has, Gannett Albany reports: *Skelos: Disclosure For Cuomo, Too(YNN)

 Andrew Cuomo says he is not subpoenaed for handling MorelandCommission, does not rule out aides (NYDN) * Cuomo’s office said no employee of the executive chamber has been subpoenaed in connection with a federal investigation a few hours after the governor declined to say if staffers had been subpoenaed, GannettAlbany reports: *  The Times writes that Cuomo’s decision to tie ethicsreforms measures to the state budget makes it a powerful tool, but that whether this tactic works remains a question:* Cuomo: Governors don't have same 'opportunity for conflict'when moonlighting as NY lawmakers  * An Ethics Reform Blind Spot (YNN) Ethics reform is pretty much THE hot topic at the Capitol these days, thanks to Cuomo’s desire to extricate himself from the Moreland Commission mess and the Sheldon Silver corruption scandal. But while the governor is threatening to hold up the entire budget in order to see his reform proposals passed by the state Legislature, he has recommended no additional funding for the three existing ethics enforcement entities currently responsible for policing the three branches of government: JCOPE, the state inspector general and the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.

 A spokeswoman Cuomo said that “no employee of the executive chamber” has been subpoenaed in connection with a federal investigation, a few hours after the governor himself wouldn’t say whether they had.* The governor said only "a 'twisted mind' would assumehe was attempting to divert attention from the mayor's visit"(Capital) * DiNapoli Questions Cuomo Per Diem Reform Tactic(YNN) * Kolb: ‘Malarkey’ Cuomo Doesn’t Invite Leaders (YNN) *Senate Republicans Make An Ethics Target Of Sandra Lee (Updated) (YNN) * With Some Snark, Cuomo Administration Reacts To Senate GOP Ethics Proposal (YNN) ** Senate Republicans have made their opening salvo in negotiations over the state’s ethics laws, introducing a bill that would expand financial disclosure requirements to include lawmakers and officials’ household members including the governor’s girlfriend Sandra Lee, Gannett Albany reports: * While responding to the ethics reforms introduced into the state Senate, a Cuomo administration official violated the so-called “Bear Mountain Compact” that requires that anything that happens in Albany stays in Albany, be it extramarital affairs or drunkenness, State of Politicswrites:  *G.O.P. Plan Would Subject Sandra Lee, Cuomo’s Girlfriend, to Financial Disclosure Rules (NYT)  Legislation in the State Senate aims to expand reporting requirements to include anyone who lives with a public official, whether or not they are married.* Cuomo aides said "that if Ms. Lee had to reveal herincome, so should the paramours of married state legislators" (NYT)





Albany Delaying Ethics Agreement . . .  A View to A Kill? 
The Daily News writes there are “worrying signs” that Cuomo may not pass ethics and education reforms in his budget proposal, as he vowed, but he must “hold firm and deliver” on these pledges: *  WHEN PUSH COMES TO GOV: The state Constitution gives the governor enormous power over the Legislature in shaping a budget. Cuomo must use it. (NYDN) * Cuomo is quacking up (NYP) Close readers of Andrew Cuomo’s habits were not surprised by Monday’s retreat on education. A clear sign that collapse was near came in a Post report over the weekend. A poll had found that New Yorkers don’t like his proposals, with two-thirds opposing key elements and giving him his lowest approval rating yet. A Cuomo ally told The Post the governor was disappointed but wasn’t budging. “He’s serious as a heart attack about education reform,” the ally said.Ha, those are the magic words that signal doom. Cuomo once uttered the same phrase to me, vowing he was “as serious as a heart attack” about letting the Moreland Commission clean up corruption — not long before he pulled the plug on it. * Tom Precious: “Criminal justice, education, infrastructure, immigration and tax issues all started falling off the budget table as (Cuomo) and lawmakers erased their previous lines in the sand. It was a sure sign of a desperate push for an on-time state budget by next Wednesday.” 

Cuomo is doing more back pedaling on his budget demands than Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk Wednesday Update Cuomo may cut the Dream Act from the state budget  (NYT)  Dream Act, which would let undocumented students apply for college aid, and an education tax credit for donating to schools would be nixed from budget negotiations * Members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Latino and Asian Legislative Caucus and other lawmakers urged legislative leaders to increase funding for HIV and AIDS programs, the Times Union reports: Mayoral Control Despite recently calling mayoral control of public schools an “experiment” worthy of a three-year extension, Cuomo called it the ultimate form of accountability in 2010, the Post reports:  * The Times writes that one of state legislators’ most successful contributions to New York City education was granting mayoral control of schools in 2002, and that it needs to be renewed now while budget pressure is on: * Dolan to Cuomo: save schools tax credit (NYDN) Killing Tax Credits  Praise for Heastie for squashing Education investment TaxCredit. Gonzalez: Carl Heastie halts tax giveaway to rich  * Cuomo Drops Dream Act and Education Tax Credit From Budget  @nytimes * The New York Times calls mayoral control “among the most successful contributions the Legislature has made to education in New York City in recent history,” and says it needs to be extended – or “ideally” made permanent – now, “while the budget pressure is on, and not put off for another day.” Other issues of importance: ethics reform, the DREAM Act, EITC, raise the age, minimum wage and public campaign financing. * Nervous times for many in state gov't. including @NYGovCuomo. As #PreetBharara said; "stay tuned." (Buffalo)

The War to Win the Hearts and Minds On Lack of Transit Funding Both Right
Mayor de Cheapio: Stiffing poor of transit funds (NYP) With the opening of the No. 7 line extension just months away, Mayor de Blasio’s refusal to spend an extra dime of city funds to bolster the MTA’s capital budget...The Jewish community is ramping up pressure on Cuomo not to abandon the EITC, though he said yesterday that both the tax credit and the DREAM Act, which he had linked in his budget proposal, have been dropped from budget talks. * Michael Goodwin“The continuing Moreland fiasco and the education collapse are also linked in another way — they show his nightmare is coming true. Nobody in Albany is afraid of Andrew Cuomo anymore.”* Subway rider advocates rip MetroCard as the ‘Cuomo Card’ (NYP)* Transit advocate Gene Russianoff showed up at a MTA meeting carrying what appeared to be an oversized MetroCard. But instead, it read “Cuomo Card.” If the MTA is going to get the money it needs to improve the system, Cuomo must stand up for riders, Russianoff said

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has kept a lower profile in Albany this year, making few public trips to the state Capitol and working with his staff behind the scenes to advance his agenda. Cuomo Giving Ground Cuomo and legislative leaders are talking about creating a commission to craft a teacher evaluation system – a signal the governor is giving ground on another of his top budget priorities. The teachers unions are reserving judgment until they see the details. * Cuomo & Skelos tire of real democracy, proposeunworkable, bullshit education "reform" panel. (Albany Project) * NY state budget talks center on teacher evaluation panel (WSJ) * "By being so obsessed with getting a budget passed byApril First, Cuomo is effectively negotiating against himself” (NY1) * Heastie shrugs at Cuomo's hug (YNN)


So Much for Connecting Albany Pay Raises to Ethic Reform
Cuomo this week will propose a commission to consider a pay raise for state lawmakers and agency heads, the Daily News reports: *  Cuomo will urge panel on salary raises for state legislators(NYDN)A source says Gov. Cuomo's plan would set up a two-tier pay structure — one amount for lawmakers who don’t have outside income and a lower amount for those who do.* Cuomo wants commission to set lawmaker pay (Capital)  Two-tiered structure recommended depending on whether legislators have other jobs * Cuomo Unveils Pay Hike Panel For Lawmakers, Commissioners(YNN) * Gov. Cuomo sees no need to cap outside income forstatewide officials (NYDN) * The governor said the two-tier system would be tied to reforms he has been seeking, including “total disclosure” of where outside income is coming from. “You are making hundreds of thousands of dollars. Is it a conflict? Tell me who paid you,” he said. “The disclosure makes it better for everybody.”* The commission would also consider salary increases for other statewide elected officials and state agency commissioners.
Flashback  Cuomo: Pass Ethics Bill or No Raises(WSJ) * Cuomo Plans Panel on Legislative Pay and Restricting Outside Income (NYT)  The commission proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would be charged with creating a cap on the amount of income a New York State legislator could earn and greater disclosure on how it is earned. * Cuomo Questions Limits On Outside Income For Statewide Officials (YNN)

Lawmakers Who Blocked Ethics Reform Blame Cuomo For Blocking Pay Raise

Will Silver Boycott the Inauguration Because He Did Not Get A Pay Raise?
Members of the scandal-scarred state Legislature may boycott Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s inauguration this Thursday and his State of the State Address Jan. 7 in an angry protest over their failure to win a long-hoped-for pay raise, the New York Post’s FredDicker writes:  * Sen. Martin Goldenuses campaign funds on legal bills (NYDN) Under investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, state Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) has used more than $31,000 in campaign funds on legal fees to Gottlieb & Gordon LLP, records show. Golden confirmed Bharara is looking into his his campaign finances. He said he has not met with investigators, but his lawyers have sent paperwork to them.* Admitted felonMichael Grimm would be out of office if he was a state lawmaker(NYDN) * Several statelawmakers are reportedly planning to boycott @NYGovCuomo's inauguration. Double Dipping Lawmakers A new batch of 12 sitting state lawmakers have filed paperwork that will allow them to collect both their salary and retirement payments starting in 2015 despite remaining in office, Gannett Albany reports:  * Nine New York lawmakers willbe double-dipping in 2015 by collecting salary and pension(NYDN) No raise for Albany (NYP Ed) * Nine New York lawmakers will be double-dipping in 2015 by collecting salary and pension(NYDN) * NYC Democrats maintain wall of silence on police officers' de Blasio rebuke(NYDN)



Lawmaker Won't Even Pass Ethics for A Pay Raise . . .  Silvers Sex Deposition Postponed . . .  Settlement? 

Silver Accepts Harassment Findings Against Kellner((YNN)  Speaker Sheldon Silver accepted the findings of the chamber’s ethics commission on Friday that outgoing Assemblyman Micah Kellner created a “sexually hostile work environment” and upheld sanctions placed on his office.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's scheduled deposition in a federal lawsuit brought by two women who were sexually harassed by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez has been postponed—suggesting a looming settlement in the case, theDaily News reports:

Hundreds of Thousands to Defend Silver and Lopez Sexual Harassment Lawsuit  
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has approved hundreds of thousands of dollars in spending related to legal services for the Moreland Commission and for the Assembly to defend against sexual harassment lawsuits, State of Politics reports:


Yea the Assembly Just Gave Up A Pay Raise Because They Would Not Allow Silver's Private Law Clients to be Named
Thursday Update Cuomo No Raises Without Ethic Reform; Wednesday Update Killing Moreland Costs Over $1 Million So Far
Democrats in New York Assembly Say They Support Ethics Reform(NYT)  Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, said his Democratic caucus supported measures to close campaign finance loopholes, an assertion that came after lawmakers had unsuccessfully lobbied for a raise.* A new report released by the New York Public Interest Research Group found small local governments in New York require stronger ethics and lobbying disclosure laws, the Times Union writes: * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has used his clout to block any hope of tort reform in the state Legislature and to advance the careers of plaintiff-friendly judges, BillHammond writes in the Daily News:*Moreland Commission probe still generating big legal bills(NYDN)* Moreland defense fees set to top $1 million(Capital)*Cuomo: Lawmakers Have ‘Greatest Incentive’ On Pay Hike(YNN) * Gov. Cuomo grim on chances for ethics reforms(NYDN)* Cuomo: Pass Ethics Bill or No Raises(WSJ)* Catskills hang hopes of revival on new casino(WSJ)* For the second year in a row, Cuomo vetoed a bill that would establish a commission to recommend periodic pay increases for non-unionized “management/confidential” state employees. He noted he had approved 2 percent broad-based raises for M/Cs earlier this year and said other increases are planned for “the near future.”* Cuomo more or less announced the push for a legislative pay raise at a special session is dead, unless lawmakers agree at the last minute to a wide range of reforms he has proposed.* * A string of indictments of state legislators and Cuomo's scuttled Moreland Commission have been front-page news, but the state’s ethics organization—JCOPE—has hardly been noticed, Gotham Gazette writes: 
More on the Corrupt Albany Pols
More On Malcolm Smith Corruption
Albany's Vouchers Corruption 


63% Of the State is Against An Albany Pay Hike
Saturday
New York Voters Oppose Raise for State Legislators, Poll Finds(NYT)  Only 28 percent of voters who responded to a Siena College survey supported higher pay for state lawmakers, compared with 63 percent who opposed it.* New Yorkers Strongly Oppose Giving a Raise to State Legislators, Poll Says(WSJ)

Friday
Poll: New Yorkers Give Big Thumbs Down to Legislative Pay Hike(NYO)* A Siena poll finds that a majority of New York voters—63 percent—oppose a pay hike for state lawmakers, while 28 percent support raising legislators’ $79,500 base salary, The New York Times reports:

Tuesday Update

Monday Update
Chances for a controversial pay hike for state lawmakers dimmed over the weekend as “no progress” was reported in talks between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislative leaders.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Thursday that New York lawmakers had shown little interest in backing his call for substantial ethics reforms.*Bob Hardt: “(T)he second floor in the Capitol is starting to resemble the final days in Nixon’s bunker- with longtime Cuomo aide Joe Percoco playing the part of the ultimate loyalist, Al Haig.”* NYPIRG and Common Cause called for “decisive, comprehensive action” on a package of reforms should the Legislature convene for a special session.*Silver confirms private law clients, but won’t name them(Capital)Update Senate Republicans Back ‘Additional Reforms’(NYO)* Silver confirmed he’s running his own private law practice as part of his outside income that totaled as much as $750,000 in 2013.
Joseph Spector ‏@GannettAlbany 
"Even for the pay raise, they were unwilling to do public finance" and campaign-finance reform, Cuomo says of lawmakers


Charmian Neary ‏@CharmianNeary 
@GannettAlbany They all lawyered up when asked to reveal their sources of income, telling me that few aspire to actual ethical behavior.
NYT's Says Special Interests Controlled Albany Lawmakers Have A Lot of Nerve to Ask for Higher Pay 
Speaker Silver Rakes It In F Moreland
When Legislators Ask for a Raise(NYT Ed) It takes a lot of nerve for Albany lawmakers to suggest that their big salaries should get any fatter.The idea of rewarding this group is galling, given the general culture of corruption in Albany that allows special interests — which make huge campaign contributions to these politicians — to drive much of the agenda. While these lawmakers may complain about pay, they receive $172 per diem in addition to salary when they are in Albany. Many also get bonuses for holding even minor leadership posts that can drive up their total pay by as much as $40,000 a year. It is also unclear how some lawmakers make so much in outside jobs — an issue now reportedly being investigated by United States Attorney Preet Bharara. 

The personal injury firm Shelly Silver's long worked for is not his only source of legal income
As The Times’s Thomas Kaplan wrote in July, the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, reported earning $650,000 to $750,000 in 2013 from his law firm. The Senate leader, Dean Skelos, a lawyer, reported income of $150,000 to $250,000 last year. How they and others made that money or whom they and their firms represented is secret. Because of a technical rule, any pay increase for the next legislative session, which begins in January, would have to be passed by Albany lawmakers at the end of this year. Not all legislators have suspicious outside income, and many work hard to help their constituents. Still, only California and Pennsylvania lawmakers earn more — and both of those states have full-time legislatures. In neighboring states with a similar cost of living the pay is far more modest — $28,000 a year for Connecticut’s legislators and $49,000 a year in New Jersey. By comparison, New York’s Legislature is richly paid.* A guide to what the big Cuomo donors want in 2015(Capital) * Already on lifesupport, fate of legislative pay raise should be determined this week (NYDN)

 After Ethics Panel’s Shutdown, Loopholes Live On in Albany(NYT) So far, people with knowledge of the matter say, prosecutors have found that Sheldon Silver, the powerful Democratic speaker of the State Assembly, failed to disclose some of the income he earned in the private sector. While he has disclosed earnings from a major personal-injury law firm for years, prosecutors found other law-firm income that he did not detail as required. A spokesman for Mr. Silver said that he had disclosed all of his law-practice income, but declined to answer questions about its source. In Albany, some of the most questionable conduct by elected officials has long been perfectly legal, safeguarded by the only people who can outlaw it: the lawmakers themselves.

Albany Wants A Bigger Tin Cup to Go Along With Their Tin Boxes

Show us your money(NYP)  Sure, they’re whining they haven’t had a raise in years and their pay is a “measly” $79,500 a year. But they don’t talk about the $172-a-day “per diem” they get when they’re in Albany or their stipends for leadership roles. And they never mention their outside income: For example, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver raked in $650,000 to $750,000 last year just from his law firm, while Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos took in $150,000 to $250,000 from his. Their fight to keep these earnings secret is itself a strong argument against any raise. After all, the parade of lawmakers leaving office for new digs in the Big House continues apace. Often these pols are convicted for abuses involving outside income. The more troubling sources of money are those that are technically legal. No one knows, for instance, whose bidding Silver or Skelos may be doing in Albany, because no one knows who their clients are. And the Legislature’s leaders have worked overtime to keep us from finding out. At a time when honest New Yorkers are struggling and Albany has amassed such a sordid record, a raise for state legislators is hard to justify — at least until they agree to make public who’s paying them on the outside, how much and for what.

 2 FBI agents to testify against Libous, prosecutors say  It remains unclear whether a special session will take place before the official start of the 2015 Legislative season, but here’s how it would work if it does.* His request to NY's US Senators metw/ a thud. Skelos warns of $2B hit from Obama immigration order  @capitalnewyork  Obama’s executive order on immigration could force New York to make painful cuts to services or raise billions in taxes, according to a letter from Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, who pegged the cost as high as $2 billion.* In a 37-page court filing, US Attorney Preet Bharara laid out dozens of reasons why Sen. Tom Libous’ trial on federal corruption charges should proceed as is – not moved from White Plains to Albany, as the senator hopes.* EJ McMahon weighs in on how the governor and legislative leaders should spend the $6 billion “windfall” worth of financial settlement cash.* Cuomo Spent Big in Final Stretch(WSJ)* Skelos Hints At Little Change In The Senate(NYP) * After Times bombshell, Cuomo huddled with Schwartz (Capital) * Women’s Equality Party Raises From 11 Donors(YNN)* State Senator-elect George Amedore spent the most of any individual candidate, $535,126, during the last filing period in his campaign against Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, the Times Union reports:  "Of those 11 donors to the WEP, eight were men"  * Pro-charter PAC spent $3.11M in late push for Senate G.O.P. (Capital)


Special Albany Senate Session To Raise Pay
Date matches expected window for special session * * If the Legislature returns to Albany for a special session, some newly-elected lawmakers filling vacant seats may take office in time to vote, State of Politics’Liz Benjamin writes: 


Is Closing Down Moreland Being Rewarded By A Pay Raise?  

Why should they stop stealing got reelected and are shame proof

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigations could hurt the chances of a legislative pay raise agreement between the governor and legislative leaders, the Daily News: vIt’s expected that the Legislature will make concessions to Gov. Cuomo in exchange for his support of a salary increase. But as the federal prosecutor investigates Albany, some worry he will also take a look at the ‘usual political horse-trading. * InsideAlbany:Talksunder way to give NY legislators a pay raise (NYP)



Same 3 Men in A Room Again 

Groundhog Albany State Senate Stays In Hands of GOP This Time Without IDC
 Crain’s writes that Albany will likely look like it did four years ago, with Cuomo, Senate Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver the "three men in a room," but accomplishments during 2011 and 2012 show that divided, leader-  
dominated government can avoidgridlock:  * Kolb allegedly channelled Skelos in peace pact withSilver:GOP assemblyman says he was pressured to lay off Silver(LoHud) *  Dean Skelos rejects Bill de Blasio’s proposed laws * Unsurprisingly, Nassau County Republican state Sen. Dean Skelos will remain in charge of the Senate Republicans following a unanimous leadership vote in Albany, State of Politics reports:  * Sen. Tom Libous will remain the No. 2 Republican in the Senate leadership despite health and legal problems, State of Politics reports:  * GOP assemblyman says he was pressured to lay off Silver   * Despite his legal and health problems, Sen. Tom Libous will remain the number two Republican in the state SenateDespite Republicans holding a clear majority in the state Senate, IDC Leader Jeff Klein ispushing to remain co-president of the chamber. *  And with Republicans in charge of the Senate, de Blasio’s preferred legislation will likely be headed to the back burner. * Silver: ‘Fine’ With Overhauling Per Diem System(YNN)* Cuomo drew less support than any governor in the U.S.(Capital) A Capital analysis shows that just over an eighth of adult New Yorkers came to the polls for Cuomo, a Democrat who defeated Republican Rob Astorino by a 13-point margin. That means Cuomo drew a smaller percentage of his constituents than New York City mayor Bill de Blasio in 2013, less than his three victorious ticket-mates and less than 35 other American governors and governors-elect.



With Public Housing sell off yesterday Its in your face City (State) for Sale II * When Will Pay to Pay sell off be on Ebay?
Special Session: Pay Raise and Campaign Reform
Perhaps the special session is still a possibility? The NYT reports Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing legislative leaders to accept campaign finance and ethics reforms in exchange for a pay raise. A review of campaign finance filings shows Cuomo has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from regional economic development council members or entities they control.* Eyeing a Raise, Albany Lawmakers Are Negotiating Reforms With Cuomo(NYT)* Cuomo fund-raiserspreceded development funding awards (Capital) * NY legislators mustclean house, not vote themselves a pay raise (Editorial) syracuse



Albany What Do You Do When You Win Reelection With Fake Promises Raise Your Pay
A good number in Albany have already raised their own, most notably Shelly Silver's 750K

Skelos Discusses Pay Raise, Will Retain IDC(YNN) * Rumblings over potential legislative pay raise(NYDN) “It’s long overdue,” said Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn), who hasn’t had a raise since taking office in 2003. “You want responsible leadership in Albany, you need to be able to pay them responsibly.”But while not definitively ruling out a pay raise this year, the Silver source and an aide to Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos said there have been no high-level talks on the issue as of yet. Others, however, say that could change quickly, especially if the Legislature returns to Albany before January to take up some other issues, which is possible. The Senate is expected back in the next few weeks to take up Gov. Cuomo's nomination of Judge Leslie Stein to the state's top court. * No local lawmakerswho spoke to the Albany Times Union said they would vote to raise their payfrom $79,500, but several seemed open to considering the idea as part of a larger package of pay bills and reforms:* Pay Raise Politics(YNN)During a CapTon interview last night, Strong Economy for All’s Mike Kink warned of “widespread civil disobedience” if legislators return to Albany before the end of the year to boost their $79,500 base pay and fail to take action on increasing the hourly minimum wage to at least $10.10 – if not higher.* With the floating of a legislative pay raise again underway, advocates on the left are warning state lawmakers not to hike their own salary without also raising the minimum wage, State of Politics reports: * Rumors of Pay Raise for State Lawmakers Swirl in Albany(NY1)

A Raise the Public Would Like the See and Would End Corruption Without Morland
 Lawmakers Urged to Pass Higher Wage(WSJ)* Labor leader: Link lawmaker pay raise to minimum wage hike(Capital)*Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver shot down calls from some advocates that any potential legislative pay raise be linked to passage of a bill to again hike the state’s minimum wage.*The Democrat-controlled Assembly appears amenable to the idea of raising legislative pay, but possible support in the Senate—led for the past two years by the GOP, with help from the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference—is another question, the Times Union reports: * Debating whether state lawmakers should receive a pay raise is something a commission should do—it should hold public hearings, draft a report, take comment and deliver final recommendations in 2016, the Times Union writes:* Debating whether state lawmakers should receive a pay raise is something a commission should do—it should hold public hearings, draft a report, take comment and deliver final recommendations in 2016, the TimesUnion writes: Skelos: “There was a consensus that we would like to keepthe coalition going"  They would have less than six weeks to do so, but Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said he would like to see lawmakers vote on a legislative pay raise before the year is over, the Times Union reports: State lawmakers could still return in 2014 to hike their own pay in a special session of the Legislature. * Skelos pointed out yesterday to reporters he’s always been in favor of a pay raise for his members. * As Tom Precious points out, a number of issues could be horse traded in exchange for a pay increase. * On the pay raise proposal, the TU’s editorial board says not so fast. *  Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, who supports giving state lawmakers their first pay raise in 14 years, said he is not willing to raise the minimum wage in exchange for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval, Gannett Albany reports: * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he is open to reforming the state’s oft-criticized per-diem system for reimbursing lawmakers’ lodging and food costs for days they are in Albany, Gannett Albanywrites:  DespiteNegative Numbers, Sharpton Touts Quinnipiac Poll Results(NYO) * Pay Raise for State Lawmakers May Be Tied to Minimum Wage Hike(NY1)*  * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Tuesday said he would be in favor of overhauling how per diems are allocated if it meant getting a pay raise for his members, State of Politicsreports: 

Albany 2015 Same Old Shit
NY’s Capitol TV — your guide to Albany’s soap operas(NYP) The nominal plotlines are already shaping up for the next season of “The Real Lawmakers of Albany” — catfights over charter schools, rent laws and multibillion-dollar bank-fine windfalls. Yet the best story arcs center on the cast of characters of this reality show. Yet haunting the speaker is his long affiliation with the Jew who stole from the Jews— from a Jewish charity, no less. The details of the schemes that diverted millions to William Rapfogel’s pockets are complex matters of insurance fraud. But the bottom line is that the head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a Silver friend and the husband of Silver’s decades-long chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, was caught with bundles of cash in his home. 

Cash that should have gone to help the poor, especially poor Jews. Silver is Orthodox, and traditional Jewish teaching takes charity very, very seriously. There is not the slightest hint that the speaker was in any way involved in this obscene crime. (Cynics do ask if the key investigators, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, even dared to look.) Surely the speaker, a man who could take great pride in his lifetime of achievement, must wonder every time he meets another’s eyes in temple: What is he thinking? Does he wonder what I knew? If I just ignored the warning signs?  Do they all think I just didn’t care? The fragility of his grasp on power must haunt Skelos: It took truly egregious gerrymandering plus a national Republican wave to put him back in the driver’s seat. (Some charge it took even more: a secret deal involving Gov. Cuomo as well as Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to protect the interests of all three.) 

And the 2016 election, not an off year, is likely to put him back in the minority. And this brings us to Jeff Klein, the head of the Senate’s Independent Democratic caucus. He’s in a bind, 1) having burned bridges with so many other Democrats by siding with Skelos, and so shutting them out of power, the last two years, yet 2) having promised in this fall’s campaign to reunite with those other Democrats next session. If Skelos, his eye on the longer game, is willing to take Klein back, the question isn’t so much whether Klein will find a face-saving way to break his word as when. Klein will surely tell himself he’s smarter than the likes of Espada: He washes any hint of influence-peddling through the purifying font of his law firm, just as other Albany leaders do. On the other hand, all Albany now has to beware of new advances in listening-device technology: US Attorney Preet Bharara is still there off-camera, looking for more scalps.* Mayor deBlasio rejects Dean Skelos criticism of his work for Senate Dems(NYDN)



Albany Done for the Year
IT’S A WRAP—Senate gavels out at 9:38 p.m.: After dark, state legislators concluded their annual half-year session. They approved a new enforcement counsel for the Board of Elections, new red light cameras for several upstate cities, targeted education aid and longer hours at video slot parlors. What was done (and not done) in the final hours:* ELECTORAL FALLOUT: Cuomo said Friday that the results of this legislative session have led him to conclude the state Senate's current governing coalition is a “failure,” but he stopped short of saying he will campaign for Democrats across the board. The governor in late May set a benchmark for his support of the alliance between Republicans and the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, saying he wanted action on the Dream Act (which failed in April), a broader system of public campaign finance (beyond the pilot program passed in the state budget) and his Women's Equality Act, which has been controversial because of a plank changing the state's abortion laws. http://bit.ly/1p1gc3s
“Because this is what’s important in Albany. State legislators in both houses have passed a bill banning people from posing for photos while hugging, patting or otherwise touching tigers in New York state.  Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal explained that she introduced the legislation to increase safety at traveling circuses and county fairs that allow the public to get up close and personal with their big cats. But the Upper West Side Democrat acknowledges proudly that the bill would also destroy a trend now prevalent among users of dating apps — men snuggling with tigers in reckless attempts to look brave or cuddly …“‘They can still pose with bears and monkeys,’ the assemblywoman said. … The wacky bill puts a crimp in what has become one of the most annoying Internet memes this year. … Rosenthal says … there have been seven instances in 15 years in which a tiger escaped or hurt New Yorkers. … A spokesman for Cuomo said the bill was under review. http://goo.gl/S1sKaB

Former Gov. George Pataki, who knows something about being an underdog candidate for governor, has some advice for Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino as he looks to unseat Cuomo.

Another Week in Albany Another week begins with the Legislature not returning to Albany. The Assembly and Senate, which was originally supposed to return from its April break this week, will both return next week. The big news this week could be the release of a Siena College poll on the governor’s race on Tuesday. It will be the first Siena poll since the state budget passed at the end of March. It will also be the first survey since Gov Cuomo took major heat for disbanding his anti-corruption commission in exchange for an ethics package from the Legislature. Stay tuned.

State Lawmakers Begin Second Half of Legislative Session


* This year’s state budget could be better known for what it left out, including some major pieces of legislation that could be addressed in the post-budget session, Gotham Gazette reports: http://goo.gl/LyaVGM



The Albany Close Game
Deals Without Reading the Bills
CARPE DIEM? With the session winding down in Albany, City & State lays out the five things you should know on the last day (or so) of session, including updates on the top priorities of the governor and state lawmakers: (City and State)* WHAT TO WATCH ON ALBANY’S LAST DAY—Capital’s Jimmy Vielkind:Put on your most colorful suit and order some Chinese food: it's going to be a late night at the Capitol. Leaders of both the state Senate and Assembly say they hope to conclude their business for the year tonight, and will be passing their last bunches of bills well into the evening. There's a good possibility proceedings will last past midnight, but both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said they would like to avoid bleeding into Friday's daylight hours. Cuomo has not ruled out using messages of necessity to waive the required three-day aging period for bills. Here’s what to watch:
(1) Medicinal marijuana. Cuomo says he still has concerns with the marijuana bill, which in its most recent amended form would allow smoking the drug for various designated conditions provided a patient is over 21 years old. The governor and legislative leaders huddled privately late Tuesday and in the middle of Wednesday, but have reported no resolution. One possible compromise would allow smoking only if a doctor specifically prescribes it, but apparently the governor has not bit. Cuomo also submitted a list of proposed changes that may be difficult to resolve in the limited time remaining. (2) The “clean-up bill.” As Capital first reported on Wednesday, a large bill making technical corrections to the April budget is quietly coming together. Sources following its drafting say it will likely contain capital appropriations for higher education, tweaks to racing and wagering restrictions and possibly the tax code. Legislators also said the bill could contain language authorizing red light cameras in Albany, New Rochelle and Mount Vernon if standalone bills prove too controversial.

NYS Sen. Malcolm Smith returns to chamber days after mistrial declared (NYDN)
Lowering New York City's speed limit. A small tiff between the two top leaders of the state Senate—Republican Dean Skelos and Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein, head of the Independent Democratic Conference—is playing out over a bill New York City officials hope will  give them the authority to lower speed limits and reduce traffic deaths. Klein introduced a bill with the backing of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, but Skelos has been non-committal, happy to stick it to de Blasio in light of his promise to campaign against G.O.P. senators. (4) Teacher evaluation changes. Cuomo said amending the state-mandated teacher-evaluation system remains a top priority for the final days of the legislative session, and he would offer a message of necessity to get it done. The governor has said he would  consider removing Common Core-aligned test scores from consideration in teacher evaluations temporarily in order to account for the flawed rollout of the tougher curriculum standards. But education commissioner John King told Capital earlier on Wednesday that removing the tests from evaluations would jeopardize federal funding. He suggested instead that lawmakers consider keeping the tests in the evaluations but easing or delaying the consequences of the evaluations for teachers who perform poorly—a "safety net" proposal, so to speak.
(5) A program bill for SEIU 1199. A measure backed by powerful health workers union 1199 SEIU that would allow home health aides to perform services typically done by nurses is stuck in the Assembly's rules committee with no Senate sponsor. A nearly identical bill was introduced as program legislation by Cuomo in early June, after the union's leadership helped Cuomo secure the Working Families Party ballot line at that party's convention. http://bit.ly/1spjL4S-- What’s dead: Individual portions of the Women’s Equality Act (killed by Silver) and public campaign finance (which Cuomo said hasn’t come up in discussions). -- What’s already passed: A bill to allow the widow of Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach to collect his pension, a measure to prevent the mass execution of invasive mute swans and legislation to increase transparency at the Port Authority. * Astorino Knocks The End Of Session(YNN) * Cuomo: ‘A Banner Session’(YNN)

Albany Debates Yogurt, While Corruption Runs Amuck, Jobs Die and Hospitals Close

No Wonder 41% of the People Want Out Of New York
Animated Debate in New York State Capital? It’s About Yogurt(NYT)
Who says Albany isn’t cultured? Despite some suggestions that the Legislature had better things to do, a bill to designate yogurt as the official state snack easily passed the Senate and went to the Assembly.




Albany's Protection Against Protection

New York legislature considers bill barring the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution


To protect Albany from lawsuits from their wives and interns?



Saturday Budget Agreement Reached
Nobody even complains about 3 or 4 men in the room making all the decisions and deal, not even the goo goos

Friday
Cuomo issued 483 vetoes line item vetoes in the 2014-2015 state budget, with most of them focused on re-appropriated items in which spending has been exhausted, State of Poltics reports: 

Thursday
In a letter to families in the Archdiocese of New York, Timothy Cardinal Dolan expressed anger that state lawmakers did not approve tax credits he argued would have upped funds for parochial school scholarships, the Daily News reports: * Cuomo’s move to back away from state funding of college courses for inmates is a serious blow to a money-saving program that helps break the cycle of recidivism, Fortune Society Senior Vice President Stanley Richards writes in the Daily News: 

Wednesday
The New York Times writes that if a college for inmates plan, which met wide resistance after it was proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, is to thrive, it will need the stability of public financing behind it: * Too much faith (NYDN)How Albany pols double-crossed the church on tax credits

Monday
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he is hopeful that the Senate will agree to a full public campaign financing system after the agreement to test it in the state comptroller's race, Gannett Albany reports:  * Silver also said medical marijuana has no “future” this legislative session, which surprised some because there appears to be enough votes to pass the bill in the state Senate, State of Politics reports:


Saturday
Jailhouse University(NYP Ed)When Gov. Cuomo proposed expanding free college education for prison inmates, we pronounced ourselves intrigued by the idea but skeptical about sticking taxpayers with the bill.

Thursday Budget Follow Up 
Broadway $$$
Cuomo Drops Plan to Use State Money to Pay for College Classes for Inmates(NYT) *Upstaging New York(NYP Ed)Never mind giving your regards to Broadway. Albany is doing it for you — using your tax dollars for a nice new subsidy. As part of the new state budget, Broadway shows that rehearse in upstate theaters will be eligible for cash grants worth 25 percent of their costs. It’s the latest extension of the philosophy behind Albany’s handouts-for-Hollywood program, a $420 million-a-year bribe to keep movie and TV production in New York.* Skelos Touts Tax Cuts, State Education Boost(YNN) * There’s $42 million worth of education “bullet aid” in the budget, to be allocated later according to legislative resolutions and budget director agreement.
More on the 2014 Albany Buget



NYS's Structural Economic Problems Ignored By  Cuomo's Campaign Budget 


Tricks of a phony parent advocate(NYP Ed)‘Etc., etc., etc.”: So did noted United Federation of Teachers shill Zakiyah Ansari respond to a question about why her child still attends the UFT’s failing, co-located charter school in Brooklyn. Ansari was on NY1 this week in an effort to prop up Mayor de Blasio’s rescinding of previously approved co-locations for three Success Academy charter schools. Viewers were given the impression that the co-location of the UFT charter school was happily accepted by the JHS 292 school community. It wasn’t. Parents at JHS 292 vehemently opposed that co-location, especially since the SUNY Charter Institute nearly revoked the UFT school’s charter in 2013.* The Senate resolution also included $540 million a year for five years for New York City prekindergarten and after-school programs – exactly the amount NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio sought – but without a tax increase. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose one-house resolution gave de Blasio the power to tax the rich, said he’s fine with the Senate’s plan – as long as the money is provided “without conditions, without attachments, without strings.”* De Blasio is declaring victory, even though the budget is far from a done deal and it looks like he might lose some control over charter schools.* The Senate’s charter proposals were a rebuke to de Blasio, but would directly benefit his political nemesis, Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz.* In response to a lawsuit filed by Eva Moskowitz, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Breslin ruled state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli does not have the authority to audit any New York charter because the schools are not technically “units of the state.”* Now that the smoke has cleared, state lawmakers are asking themselves what happened during the overheated Regents vote.* The state Education Department is standing behind a new portfolio-style exam for prospective teachers, despite pleas from labor unions and some college faculty members to delay the requirement.* The Nation took a critical eye towards Eva Moskowitz and the charter school movement. “Since the Brooklyn Bridge rally I find myself in fundamental opposition to what they’re doing,” said one Success Academy teacher. “It’s never been as political as it been now. If this continues going this way it will be very hard for me to stay,” said another.


Wednesday Budget Follow up
Some at the Capitol are skeptical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reasoning for using a message of necessity to help accelerate the budget process, though they don’t believe he abused his power, The Wall Street Journal writes:* De Blasio: state funding might not cover after-school plan(NYP) * New York offers tax breaks to theater producers(NYP) * Discussing the property tax freeze in the state budget, New York State Budget Director Bob Megna downplayed the look-back period for local cost-cutting efforts to qualify for the freeze, State of Politics writes:* Why NY is broken: Albany spends $15,742,009/hour. Spend-o-Meter tracks 's budget spending your $ * Sen. Simcha Felder: “Of the 137 billion dollar budget, less than one hundredth of one percent of it will benefit non-public school issues. They are giving us bubkes.”

Tuesday Budget Passes 
State lawmakers approved in the 11th hour an on-time budget that includes a bump in education spending, relaxed Common Core requirements, tax breaks for businesses and some property tax relief, the Buffalo News writes: * State education advocates claimed victory for funding in the state budget, which includes roughly $22 billion for schools after a $1.1 billion increase, the Times Union reports:  * Mayor Bill de Blasio said the state budget provides New York City with five years of reliable funding for his education initiatives, though budget experts warn the state could adjust the funding if the economy or priorities change, The Wall Street Journal reports: * Not everything made it into this year’s state budget, including a dedicated tax stream for the MTA that was rerouted to pay down MTA debt, the Moreland Commission—which was cut—and the DREAM Act, the Journal writes: *Cuomo’s college-for-cons plan will get private funding(NYP)
* Cuomo’s class act (NYDN Ed) The dividends of Gov. Cuomo’s insistence on restraining state spending have paid off for New York City’s children with the money Mayor de Blasio needs to introduce universal pre-kindergarten to New York City.

3 Men in the Room Report A Budget
Money still shouts in Albany (NYDN) * Budget Items That Landed on the Cutting-Room Floor(WSJ) * Education Funds Sound—For Now(WSJ) * DiNapoli: Public Financing Effort 'Fumbled'(WSJ) * Like the booing fan, the Post‘s editorial board wasn’t sure about Mr. de Blasio’s pre-K program in the state budget. “Unfortunately, this massive increase in public spending was passed with almost zero debate on the key questions: whether it will work, and how we will know,” the paper opined in a piece titled “Pre-K preten$e.”* From Pataki to Cuomo, massive statehouse deals for 1199 SEIU  *Cuomo says Silver "in many ways is the master of the state government." * Cuomo makes six points abt : 1 on-time 2 Property tax rebates 3 5.3% hike in Ed funding 4 UPK 5 Delay 6 Ethics tweaks * I credit Senate Majority Leader and Speaker Silver, their leadership and their collegiality. * Cuomo: "I credit the IDC" and gives props to Jeff Klein * Klein indicates that the public financing proposal is a "first step"adds "We need to be committed to passing a more comprehensive" plan* Silver: "I am disappointed this agreement could not include an agreement on the Dream Act."* Cuomo Says He’ll Push For Public Financing, But The Votes Aren’t There(YNN) * Cuomo To Take Another Look At Teacher Evaluation Law(YNN) * Cuomo: College In Prison Will Be Privately Funded(YNN) * Astorino Scoffs At Budget Deal(YNN) * NARAL To Klein: Time To Push Women’s Agenda(YNN) * For the first time Cuomo opened the door to slowing down the use of Common Core testing in evaluating teachers, saying that making changes to teacher evaluations is a post-budget issue, the Daily News reports:


Monday Budget Update 
New York lawmakers to vote on $140 billion budget(WSJ) Though all of the state budget’s appropriations bills were printed before midnight Friday, other bills were printed later, leaving question as to if the budget will be on time because those bills won’t have aged before the April 1 deadline * The state budget includes a provision that strips state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of control of the remaining $440 million the state will receive as part of a settlement with JP Morgan Chase, the Daily News reports:  * The state budget includes a provision requiring patients to be given advance notice when an out-of-insurance-network doctor will be treating them and would require only a co-pay if they are stuck with a surprise bill for such a doctor, The New York Times writes: * While the campaign finance reform in this year’s state budget covers the state comptroller’s race, advocates say it should extend to all state-level offices, the Daily News reports:  * Jonathan Soros, son of billionaire George Soros, reportedly warned legislative leaders that if they didn’t include campaign finance reform in the budget, he would launch TV campaigns against them, the Post’s Fred Dicker writes:  * The state budget deal requires New York City to find space for new charter schools, which the state would approve, meaning de Blasio would be virtually powerless to stop their growth while trying to balance space for charters and his programs, the Times writes: * The Post writes that state lawmakers will make history when they pass the budget, which ensures a future for charter schools:* * "de Blasio stumbled away from the first state budget battle…w/ his mandate bruised & his political momentum stymied” (NYT)*Skelos credits ‘tenacious’ partner Klein for pre-K funding(Capital) * WSJ: "While the mayor and his aides sought to paint a rosy picture, others said there were both wins and losses in the state budget for the new mayor, a mixed scorecard that might sound familiar to predecessors who also found dealing with Albany a particularly prickly challenge." * Attorney General Eric Schneiderman could wind up one of the biggest losers in the new state budget deal, our Ken Lovett reportsTucked away in the budget bills is a provision that strips Schneiderman of his control of the remaining $440 million the state will get in a national housing settlement with JP Morgan Chase. Instead, the money will be put in a new fund and controlled jointly by Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders.*  How the final negotiations went, w Cuomo as marriage counselor, according to Fred Dicker () * Silver: Charter School Language ‘Onerous’(YNN) * Eric Schneiderman shrugs off loss of control over housing settlement moneyDeFran: Public Financing Changes Being Discussed(YNN) * Klein To Introduce Broader Public Financing Bill(YNN) The plan will allow the public protection-general government legislation to go through intact, which includes a measure to create a pilot program for the state comptroller’s race only. * Cuomo and leg's "test" pub campaign finance bill not going over real well with the left(Daily Kos)  * State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman does not care that the budget deal took control of the remaining $440 million in settlement funds from his legal actions against JP Morgan Chase, saying through a spokesman that he is pleased the deal creates a special fund to help homeowners, the Daily News reports:  * State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said the campaign finance reform plan in the budget, which would enact a pilot program to fund the Comptroller’s race, is flawed to the point where it may not be workable, WXXI reports: * WFP Slams State’s ‘Wall Street’ Budget Deal(NYO) * State Budget Gives Charter Schools More Protections and Power (NY1)
NYS Comptroller-only campaign finance plan is a not a pilot. NYC's 25 year old system is the pilot. “It’s designed to fail. There’s no two ways about it.” – Blair Horner on NY Comptroller public financing pilot


Sunday Budget Update State legislature to fund charter schools, pre-kindergarten(NYP) * NYS Budget Deal Mixed Bag For de Blasio--wins on charters and homelessness but loses on charters and traffic cameras (NYDN)State Budget Deal Reached; $300 Million for New York City Pre-K(NYT) * skelos, on John radio show, also praised several times, called the new state spendng plan a "birpartisan budget" senate co-leader dean skelos praises jeff klein for being "tenacious" in pushing for prek deal. * Goo-goos against campaign finance(Capital) * “’s first budget battle with Albany yielded mixed results” (NYDN)* Cuomo Screws Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who loses $440m in housing funds under state budget (NYDN)
Update Budget Agreement Details State leaders announce budget agreement * Budget calls for a public financing system for comptroller's race, but negotiations under way to make it broader(CS) * Cuomo on charters: "It was a tricky issue, no doubt about that."* State Budget Deal Reached; $300 Million for New York City Pre-K(NYT) * said $100M in HUD $ will be reallocated for Hurricane Sandy repair and rebuilding work.
  1. Since Comp. DiNapoli can't raise many $$, Dems put "public financing reform'' in state budget for his campaign! Only in NY kids, only in NY! * If NY state really cared about donor influence on comptroller it would lower contribution cap for those who do biz w/pension fund.
    1. . unprecendentally absurd 2 change rules in election year & then apply to 1 of 3 st races. Cuomoistic or juz dysfunctional?


Friday Budget Updates
Clock is Ticking as State Budget Deadline Nears(NY1)* Lawmakers closing in on state budget(NYP) * Public campaign finance limited to comptroller(Capital) * Sources: Albany Lawmakers Reach State Budget Deal (NY1) nys budget creates a compliance unit within board of elections to campaign finance statements * . says no agreement on campaign finance reform. Negotiations continue. Can be done as stand alone bill next week outside budget * Budget deal comes together quietly(Capital) A plan that would have given tax breaks to donors who give to private schools is reportedly out of state budget talks, though lawmakers said the final budget deal will increase funding for state-mandated services in Catholic schools, the Buffalo News reports: * The Post writes that as state leaders consider funding expanded prekindergarten in New York City, Department of Education data for some districts that already have pre-K show reason for skepticism of the effectiveness of the city’s program: * The Times Union writes that the state budget should include appropriate funding for education instead of programs that lawmakers hope get them re-elected: * Lots of Talk in Albany, but No Budget Deal Yet(WSJ) * Teachers’ union ‘pushing to steer state pre-K funds from private to public schools’(NYP)

Thursday  Budget Updates
Deal close on $142B state budget(NYP) * Union pushes for delay of new teacher certification exams (Capital) * Gov. Cuomo Continues Talks With Unions(NYDN) * Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos and Sen. Marty Golden rejected expanding a proposed education investment tax credit to help fund scholarships for the college kids of illegal immigrants.* What does Cuomo have against more speed cameras in NYC, which the de Blasio administration now wants. * A Budget Announcement Tomorrow, Lawmakers Say(YNN) * With The Latest Whiff Of Corruption, Ethics Eyed In Budget(YNN) * Proposal for pilot program for public financing of elections gets cold reaction in Albany (NYDN) * Silver: Budget provides space, funding increase for charters(Capital) * Gov. Cuomo boosts charter schools in tentative deal(NYP) * Charter school protections in new state deal(NYDN) * NY State Budget Deal Expected Friday(WNYC)

Wednesday Budget Updates Albany Budget Process Pulls Governor Toward Left(WSJ)
In closed-door negotiations over this year's state budget, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be finding himself forced to push back more than usual against legislative leaders, who have come to the table with armfuls of liberal agenda items. * Cuomo, who has built a centrist reputation, may be forced to push back more than usual against legislative leaders during state budget talks because of the liberal agenda items they have brought to the table, the Journal writes:  * The governor and state Legislature should approve a New York City Council proposal to lower the age threshold for joining community boards from 18 to 16 years old, Rachel Figueroa-Levin writes in amNewYork:  *Cuomo’s moment(NYP Ed) * State legislative leaders say they are close to a final budget deal with statewide funding for pre-kindergarten, apart from a $300 million goal for New York City, a key sticking point, the Daily News reports: * Skelos and Silver commit to eliminating bank tax(Capital)



NYC Tax Cuts
Cuomo: No Budget Deal Without NYC Tax Breaks(YNN) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he will not accept a state budget lacking tax breaks for New York City residents after the state Senate left out a tax credit for renters and a property tax “circuit-breaker,” State of Politics writes:





300 Million for Pre-K
 NYS Leaders Set To Give Mayor de Blasio $300M For Pre-K, Sources Say (NYDN) “New York City has been very aggressive in saying they want to move quickly and they would need about $300 million to bring it online,” he said. “We’ll have the money available, but the actual result is going to be up to the local governments.” Sources close to the talks say additional money would also be given to the city that can be used for after-school programs,  though it woulnd't be specifically earmarked for that purpose.

Seven days to go. Lawmakers return to Albany Monday with just a week left until a new state budget is due. Aides to Gov. Cuomo and the legislative leaders spent the weekend in intense negotiations. The leaders themselves are expected to meet (at least once) at some point Monday in hopes of finalizing a deal over the next few days so a fourth straight on-time budget can be adopted later in the week. * Albany Update A plan that would link the Dream Act to an education tax credit is not viable, Silver says  * Senate moves toward budget without Dream Act(Capital) * State Senate majority coalition leaders met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo for about an hour this morning and said they made tremendous progress, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver did not join them, State of Politics writes: * Silver also met privately with the governor and the two discussed the DREAM Act, but Silver said he is not sure that linking an education tax credit to the legislation is viable, State of Politics reports: 

Did These Guy Win A Fight of Survival With the Progressives?
ICYMI: Creepy clown spotted roaming streets of Staten Island(DNAINFO) *‘That’s a Clown Question, Bro’: Staten Island Pols React to Creepy Clown Sightings(NYO) Clowns 'scare the hell' out of Diane Savino. Angry Senate Dems? * This clown is creeping out New Yorkers (WNBC) * Creepy viral clown may be linked to film company(NYP)
 
Tuesday* State Senate leaders say college for cons plan is DOA(NYP) * amNewYork writes that mass transit ridership has continued to grow despite years of MTA-inflicted hardship, so with Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposing a $40 million raid of MTA funds, riders should be shown respect:* Cuomo’s college for inmates plan appears dead in the state Senate after Senate Co-leader Jeff Klein called the issue a nonstarter and Co-Leader Dean Skelos said it wasn’t part of the discussions at Monday’s leaders meetings, the New York Post writes:

As legislative leadership continues to meet about the new budget plan, education advocates are making a last minute press on issues like a $1.3 billion bump in education funding and a proposed tax credit for those who donate to schools, the Times Union reports:  * State legislative leaders were all smiles after a morning budget meeting, with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver saying a budget deal won’t come today but that they are working towards one, State of Politics reports:  * Legislative leaders also gave a vague updates on discussions of the Dream Act, college classes for prisoners, full-day prekindergarten, charter schools, public financing of campaigns and more in a video posted by the Times Union:

(from ): “Look how much I love Shelly!" *New York voters oppose DREAM Act in state budget: poll(NYDN) * Despite optimism expressed by the legislative leaders, there was no budget deal reached yesterday. Deputy Senate GOP Leader Tom Libous said the situation is “fluid,” though there are agreements on “what needs to get done.”* Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver shot down a compromise proposal to put both a tax credit sought by Catholic leaders and the Dream Act into the state budget. The co-leaders of the Senate – Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein – called Cuomo’s college-for-convicts plan a “non-starter” in the budget talks.* Mayor Clashes With Albany Over Rental Assistance Program for Homeless(NY1) * State Lawmakers Work on Budget Agreement as Deadline Approaches(NY1) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said addressing New York’s high property taxes is the most important part of this year’s state budget negotiations. * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said today for the first time that he is open to providing facilities funds to privately housed charter schools “all over the state.”





While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders were meeting behind closed doors on the budget, protestors were getting arrested at the state Capitol. *Dozens arrested at permitless 'Governor One Percent' rally
Classic Sheldon Silver budget quote: " “We’re not close on anything until we’re close on everything.”






NYT Don't Cut MTA Budget Gov
The New York Times writes that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to take $40 million worth of MTA funds to pay down state debt comes at a time when commuters can least afford to have the struggling agency’s money cut *Shortchanging New York City’s Commuters(NYT) * New York Today: The MetroCard’s Future(NYT) a swipeless city transportation system envisioned* Connecting to the Nations RR Not Scofflaw governors(NYDN Ed) At its founding in the early 1920s by acts of Congress and the New York and New Jersey legislatures, the Port Authority was assigned the mission of linking Brooklyn and Queens to the railroads of the American heartland via a cross-harbor tunnel. That tunnel, still vital today, was long ago dropped. And, down through the decades, the PA drifted into all manner of projects as the toll-collecting plaything of the governors of the two states.
More on the MTA


Albany Update
NY Senate agrees on state budget measure(WSJ) * Boehner accuses N.Y. of 'cheating' food stamp rules(NYDN)* Senate Budget Resolution Blocks Funding For Gov. Cuomo's Prison Education Plan - UPDATED(NYDN) * The Senate approved its one-house budget measure – essentially a wish list heading into three-way negotiations – at 2:19 a.m. The vote was 36-19.* The resolution is “purposely vague in many areas to give lawmakers in the Senate room to negotiate with the Assembly and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the next couple of weeks.”
Thursday - State Senate leaders are considering including in their budget proposal a provision that would allow the state to use the money it receives from legal settlements to fund a campaign public financing system, rather than use direct taxpayer money, the Daily News reports: * Advocates for medical marijuana spoke to Senate lawmakers as support bills for the program * Senate ‘Modify’ Cuomo’s Campaign Finance Proposal(YNN) * Senate Cuts Moreland, Health Exchange Funding(YNN) * New York's dangerously old public infrastructures: (Guardian) * What Klein delivered for progressives, and what he didn’t(Capital)

. Please tell your readers that one-house budget bills are gauntlets, bargaining chips, political chits; nothing real.


Lawmakers Live Cheap To Pocket $$$
State lawmakers receive a $172 per day per diem while in Albany, which has left some looking for ways to pad their paychecks by legally pocketing the leftover money for food, lodging and expenses tax-free
But do lawmakers use their allowance for the poker games?
Perk for Albany Lawmakers: A Stipend, No Receipts Needed(NYT) New York Legislators Economize to Stretch Their Per Diem Pay. They come for the special nightly rate of $64.95 – which includes an Internet connection, parking and a breakfast buffet piled high each morning with pastries, cereal, bacon and turkey sausage. They come back for other reasons, too: The breakfast room often turns into a poker den after the State Capitol empties out. On a recent Monday night, a group of legislators could be glimpsed through a closed door, deep into a game.* The not-so-glamorous side of Albany life, as told (in video!) by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, a Glenmont Comfort Inn regular.

Latest Deals In Albany
Senate rejects Cuomo's push for renters tax credit(NYDN) The state Senate’s budget proposal would nix a tax credit pushed for by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would benefit mostly New York City renters and cost the state $200 million to start and $400 million annually in future years* Mayor De Blasio's Administration Has Filed Just One Memo On Legislation In Albany So Far(NYDN) * Lawmakers de-fund Cuomo's Moreland Commission (Capital)

Dolan Pushes 4 Education Tax Credits
Cardinal Dolan to Lobby for Tax Credit That Rewards Donations to Education(NYT)
A proposal to create a state tax credit for donations to public and private schools is gathering steam and turning the archbishop of New York into something of a lobbyist.* Catholic leaders, including Cardinal Dolan, are heading to Albany today

 

Albany Update
A budget meeting with legislative leaders ended in frustration with state Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos leaving early and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver calling the Senate's proposal fiction, Capital New York writes:  * There is momentum for a paid family leave bill in the state Legislature, on the heels of the passage of the paid sick leave bill in New York City, though it is unclear where Cuomo stands on the issue, Crain’s writes:  * Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos Storms Out Of Budget Talks In Dispute Over Pre-K Funds(NYDN)


Ghost of A Forgotten Tribe of New Yorkers Still Matters
Andrew Cuomo rebuilt a battered reputation in late '80s by pressing for more aid to city homeless. Gov's response to city today? Buzz off.
Cuomo 180 Flip Flop On Homeless $$$ 
Great Activists Journalist of Past Generations and A More Open Media Turn Coal Pols Into Diamond Distributors . . . And Went After Government Corruption

Kirk's Generation
Did we do it? 
Did we make a difference? 
Thursday - Every year there is little or no discussion about lucrative budget items, but this year Albany lawmakers are dancing around a voucher program for working homeless families championed in New York City, The New York Times’ Michael Powell writes: * Cuomo: I will help de Blasio fix homeless problem(NYP) * Cuomo Seeking Resolution to City Homelessness Funding Impasse (WSJ)* Cuomo, de Blasio seek accord to aid homeless(NYDN)

 
Cuomo Compromise 
Wednesday  Update. reopens door on 's homeless aid request Cuomo Working on Compromise to Get Assistance for Homeless Families (NY1) *Mark-Viverito, gingerly, on Cuomo hold-up of homeless subsidy(Capital)

Cuomo de Blasio Clash Again Over Homeless
Cuomo and de Blasio Clash Again, This Time Over Homelessness(NYT)Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told Mayor Bill de Blasio it is “too late” to restore a rent subsidy to the state budget to help homeless families stay out of shelters. * Cuomo refuses city’s homeless rental subsidy request(NYP) * De Blasio: 'Miscommunication' on Homelessness With Cuomo(WSJ)New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said there has been a "miscommunication" with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration regarding a proposal to launch a new program to combat homelessness, vowing Tuesday to fix the matter quickly since the deadline for a state budget looms. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to combat homelessness has run into problems at the state level, with Cuomo administration officials suggesting that the city ran out of time to get state money for a new program* Governor, Mayor Clash on Homeless(WSJ) * Homeless man found dead on NYC subway tracks  * Cuomo admin on de Blasio homeless request: ‘Too late’(Capital) De Blasio's administration is requesting a change in the budgetary language that prevents New York City from using state funds to subsidize rents for homeless families leaving city-run shelters. "As everyone knows, the budget is due in less than a week so we can assume the city's proposal will be for next year, because at this point it's too late to take up anything significant this year," said Melissa DeRosa, a spokeswoman for Cuomo.* . cites 'miscommunication' on homeless request(Capital) * Cuomo: de Blasio Missed The ‘Budget Train’ On Homeless Request(YNN)
A Muscle flexing Gov, a Mayor w not ready for prime time lobbyists? Cuomo/de Blasio Clash Again Over Homelessness $$(NYT)







Got No Ethics But Got Member Items Pork Shelly Who! 
The State Senate and Assembly included millions of dollars of member items in budget resolutions they adopted Thursday, despite governors having disallowed new members items since 2010, the Daily News reports: The Senate and Assembly have stuffed millions of dollars in pork-barrel-type spending into nonbinding budget resolutions adopted Thursday — despite the fact that that governors have not allowed new legislative “member items” in the budget since 2010.  Lawmakers expressed their generosity in amounts big and small to a host of organizations, including $544,000 to the Apple Growers Association, $320,000 to the Berry Growers Association and $100,000 to the Wood Products Council. The Wine and Grape Foundation also stands to receive at least $250,000 under the resolutions while the Christmas Tree Growers would get $125,000.* The Senate and Assembly have stuffed millions of dollars in pork-barrel-type spending into nonbinding budget resolutions adopted Thursday — despite the fact that that governors have not allowed new legislative “member items” in the budget since 2010.* The Senate’s one-house budget resolution includes ethics bills aimed at both the legislature and the governor, and it supports publishing records of “travel, reimbursement and per diems” of all state employees, not just the legislature, State of Politics reports: meeting * Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins at yesterday’s “mothership” meeting again blasted the “three men in a room” budget deal process and called to be part of the negotiations, Gannett Albany reports * Assembly Democrats rolled out their budget priorities, withlittle in the way of ethics reform. @ZackFinkNews reports (NY1)



50 Days After Speaker Silver's Arrest Assembly Dems Budget Has No Ethics  


The Assembly released its own state budget proposal, minus the sweeping ethics reforms demanded by the governor. “We haven’t come to a final position on ethics,” Heastie said at an Albany press conference. * Assembly Democrats Reject Cuomo’s Plan Tying EducationAid to Reforms (NYT) * Senate Dems Sharply Criticize Cuomo’s Budget Tactics (YNN) * Cuomo and the State Legislature are ensnarled in a fight behind closed doors that will shape not only this year’s $149.9 billion budget, but the balance of power in Albany for years to come. * De Blasio Cheers Assembly Budget(YNN) * Two IDC Proposals In Senate One-House Budget (YNN) * Assembly Budget Gives Nod To Ethics, But Not Cuomo’s Plan (YNN) * The Democratic-led Assembly released its one-house budget resolution that includes income disclosure proposals as well as campaign-finance reform measures, but does not embrace the plan released by Cuomo in his budget amendments, State of Politics reports:  * Ethics reform left out of Assembly spending proposals (NYP) * State assembly undecided on ethics reform (NYP) * Heastie: Public And Press Should Be Concerned With Cuomo’s Tactics (YNN) 

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said his conference won’t challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s use of the 30-day budget amendments, but reiterated his concern about the governor using them to introduce ethics legislation, State of Politicswrites: * The state Senate Republicans revealed the details of their one-house budget, which includes a tax rebate for STAR-eligible homeowners, the elimination of the GEA, a $40 million income tax cut for small businesses and more, the Times Union reports:  * The governor also asserted that he has the power to link policy matters to spending in the state budget and pointed to the latitude the state’s constitution gives the governor in the budget process, State of Politics reports Karen DeWitt of New York State Public Radio spoke with Heastie for his first sit-down broadcast TV interview, covering such topics as his distaste for Cuomo’s attempt to insert non-fiscal policy proposals into the budget and more: * Cuomo Says His Budget Tactics Are Constitutional (YNN) * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie explains why the Moreland Commission’s scrutiny of his unitemized campaign expenditures wasn’t justified. He says the money went toward “small items” like office supplies.* Governor, assembly speaker trade barbs over the governor'sattempt to put big policy proposals into the state budget:(NY1) GOP Going After Mayoral Control of Schools Republican State Senate threatens mayoral school control (NYP) The GOP-led state Senate will not include extending mayoral control of schools in its budget plan, which insiders say is an attempt to delay approval and punish New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for campaigning against them Silver’s woes gives new hope to private schools tax credit (NYP) * State Senate Republicans’ budget plan seeks to limit increases in New York City’s property tax levy to 2 percent, as is done in other municipalities, which will likely increase tensions with de Blasio, the Daily News reports:  * Cuomo said Assembly Democrat’s aim to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the end of 2018 included too high of a figure, but he disagreed with Republicans who don’t want a hike, the Daily News reports * The middle ground is a particularly familiar place for Cuomo—and it is where he has put himself in the debate over increasing the state's minimum wage, Gotham Gazette writes:

Pols Blue Wall of Silence Stands . . .Enabled By the Media Continues Despite 30+ Sent to Jail
Flashback Yesterday's charge by Gov Paterson that were was a blue Wall of Silence similarly to the cops code was not reviewed or analysed into today papers. The gov made this charge on a radio show.Albany's 'Blue Wall Of Silence'. In fact the NYT has not even written about the governors charges. What Paterson was talking about was that not one Albany pol has said a word against any of their disgraced members convicted of corruption. Come to think of it either has Paterson until after his handlers come to the conclusion that the only way for him to to stay as governor was by running against the corrupt Albany. Both of today's NYP and DN stories were about the governor and did not have one comment from any of the pols his reforms would effect. It is interesting how the newspapers allow the Albany gang to hide from the public and go behind closed doors and craft a bill with more holes than the terrorist bombers underwear. * Hedge fund managers have made nearly $40 million in New York political contributions since 2000, with the single biggest beneficiary being Cuomo, according to a report from a union-backed group, the Daily News’ Juan Gonzalezreports: The Daily News’ Bill Hammond writes that it is “remarkable” how little has changed under new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who has slipped into “bad” habits such as dodging questions from the media * Hedge fund executives give 'til it hurts to politicians,especially Cuomo, to get more charter schools (NYDN) * The Assembly’s one-house budget includes a number of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s priorities.* Any ethics reforms adopted by the state Legislature should also be applied to the governor, Heastie said. * Bill Hammond: “The remarkable thing about the state Assembly under Speaker Carl Heastie is how little things have changed on his watch…already (Heastie) shows troubling signs of slipping into (Sheldon) Silver’s bad old habits — of hoarding secrets, dodging questions from the media and refusing to take clear stands on major public policy questions.”
Heastie: "I continue to challenge the media and the public to be concerned about Legislature being threatened into negotiation."
Albany Budget, Ethics, Pay Raise, Three Men in the Room






In the Past most of the Albany Lobbyists Looked Like Ronda

Tuesday PM Update 
A bill in the state Senate that would legalize mixed-martial arts in New York has advanced to its third reading on the Senate calendar, State of Politics reports:
ASSEMBLY OCTAGON: UFC star Ronda Rousey to battle state lawmakers in push to get MMA legalized in New York (NYDN) Breakout mixed martial arts star Ronda Rousey is traveling to Albany today to face her greatest foe — the state Assembly. The Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight champion will press state leaders to join the 49 other states in legalizing the controversial sport. Update Rousey: Cuomo Supports Legalizing MMA(YNN) * The Post writes that because of new leadership in AlbanyNew Yorkers can look forward to a day when the now-illegal mixed martial arts competitions bring bouts from Madison Square Garden to Buffalo  Albany Updates  A commission to determine pay raises for state lawmakers and cabinet-level commissioners that was opposed by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was taken out of the final budget framework, State of Politics reports * E. J. McMahon of the Empire Centerwrites in the Post that the state budget is poised to make three mistakes, including using state funds to compensate for high property taxes rather than permanently fixing the issue  Ain't No Sunshine Albany Sunshine Week Looked Like an Eclipse to Advocates (Gotham) * Ronda Rousey, the UFC’s world bantamweight champion, met separately yesterday with Cuomo and top lawmakers, making the pitch for the state to lift its ban on professional mixed-martial arts bouts. Also a model and an actress, Rousey squeezed in a trip to the state Capitol – her third overall, but first since 2013 – between appearances on “The View” and Tuesday on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”.* NY "lobbying spending has nearly doubled over the pastdecade: from $120 million in 2003 to $210 million in 2013"


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