Thursday, March 29, 2007

THIS JUST IN.............

maybe 5 men in a room??? Leaders behind closed doors ........a special "secret" meeting the whole world knows about is taking place...trying to hammer out state budget passage and timetable...stay tuned.......and Behind Closed Doors "We’re back to five men in a room. (Is that better than three men in a room?)
Gov. Eliot Spitzer is meeting in the executive offices with the majority and minority leaders of the Senate and Assembly this morning. Apparently, they’ve decided that their only hope of getting the budget done by the April 1 budget deadline is to sit in a room together and narrow their remaining differences face to face.
Given the showmanship and theater that has consumed many of the public budget meetings so far, they may well be right. But critics will say that when the going got tough, and push came to shove, Albany speedily reverted to form." and speaking of form........
Ah, the Open Budget Process............'"So the big thing officials here in Albany point to when questioned about the lack of transparency in budget negotiations is the conference committee system, where the Senate and the Assembly are supposed to hash out the nitty-gritty details of the budget in public.
The problem is, those committees, headed by rank and file lawmakers and committee chairmen with some expertise in their fields, can do little until they receive their scripts from the Legislative leaders, who hammer out the real deals in private.
So the much-anticipated education conference committee, which was supposed to get under way at 10 this morning, was postponed until 2 p.m., with lawmakers saying that they hoped there would be a firmer agreement to discuss by then." and how about
Budget: Headed North of $121 Billion yikes............andy


Everybody is talking about the state budget.........Fred Dicker of the NY Post thinks GOV. STEAMROLLED INTO A BIG SOFTEE - "Gov. Steamroller has become Mister Softee this week as plunging poll numbers, Republican recalcitrance, and the approaching April 1 budget deadline forced Eliot Spitzer to change himself into George Pataki." noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! meanwhile Newsday has a Thumbs up for budget "True, the tentative state budget deal is more than the state can afford. It was cobbled together behind closed doors, so it's hard to tell just how much it will add to future deficits. And most of the new money added to Gov. Eliot Spitzer's initial plan was a sop - as usual - to the state's wealthiest and most powerful special interests.
But New Yorkers should hold their nose with one hand and give the deal a thumbs-up with the other.Why? Because, for all its flaws, the agreement moves the state forward toward long-sought reforms that were Spitzer's top priorities. And because, given the strength of the opposition he gamely fought, Spitzer made as much progress as possible in one year. The budget also may be on time as well." "But what's most important, overall, is that Spitzer finally achieved something that has eluded at least three governors - a formula for distributing aid that is based on educational and economic need, not political power. ' ok....a few more budget observations.......
Budget's too fat and Critics attack big jump in state spending and 'Steamroller' in Albany Learns How to Concede and Now the hard part: Writing a budget based on talks and Don't make excuses for return to late budgets and finally my favorite.....Bottle bill would create 'garbage warehouses'..............yikes...........andy

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spitzer, Legislature strike tentative budget deal

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Compromise is the order of the day here.........job well done......almost............andy

Albany - WABC, March 27, 2007) - New York state Governor Eliot Spitzer and Legislative leaders tentatively agreed on Tuesday night to a budget of more than $121 billion that would add about $1 billion in total state and federal spending, but is expected to result in a spending plan passed by Sunday's start of the fiscal year.
The agreement would:
Restore more than $350 million in Spitzer's $1.3 billion in proposed health care cuts including funds hospitals and nursing homes said they needed to avoid layoffs. But the deal would include $1 billion in cuts and preserve Spitzer's plan to dramatically reduce the annual growth in Medicaid costs.
Add $500 million to education, including more money to Long Island school districts and increased operating aid for districts statewide. The number of schools that would get the minimum 3 percent increase in aid would drop from 303 school districts out of the state's 700 districts to 170 school districts. So under the plan, more districts would get larger boosts in aid with high-needs, urban schools getting the largest increases. That would raise the current school aid total of $17 billion by nearly $2 billion.
Provide $1.3 billion in property tax breaks that Spitzer sought, but in the form of direct rebate checks to property taxpayers sought by the Senate's Republican majority. Those checks would amount to hundreds of dollars per taxpayer.
Ease up on Spitzer's plan to collect $500 million by closing what he called a tax loophole enjoyed by a few major corporations. Business leaders argued that would hurt New York businesses and Tuesday's tentative agreement would offset that bite with certain unnamed business tax reductions.
Increase spending over Spitzer's $120.6 billion proposal in January by about $1 billion in state and federal funds, or about $800 million in state spending alone. That includes $575 million in additional revenue projected after Spitzer's Jan. 31 proposal.
The property tax cut package is about $200 million less than Spitzer proposed for the first year of his $6 billion property tax cut, but that "was scaled back to make the (budget) pieces fit," he said.
The tentative 2007-08 deal must be approved by the Assembly and Senate and voted into budget bills by Saturday to be in place for the start of the fiscal year.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno cautioned that tentative agreements have fallen apart before. He also said many other smaller issues haven't been settled because Spitzer and leaders have focused on the major areas of education, health care spending and tax cuts.
"If we can get out the conceptual agreement, there are still an awful lot of things that have to fall into place in order to get a budget," Bruno said. "You have to have three-way agreement that once you've talked about appears in bill form that you can take to the floor. Things have unraveled because when you speak conceptually, then you try to get that agreement on paper, it comes out three different ways and you don't have an agreement. I've seen that happen. We announced a conceptual agreement once and we did the budget in July because it unraveled."
Spitzer agreed with Bruno: "There's always the possibility that things could go amiss," Spitzer said. "If it were easy then it would be done faster, sooner and it wouldn't be as much fun."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said joint legislative conference committee will begin meeting early Wednesday to put the concept into budget bills. "I think it's a terrific agreement," Silver said. "Hopefully we can do it on time."
He said Spitzer adopted the Assembly's years-old proposal to base school aid increases on need, rather than the share of state enrollment.
Spitzer emphasized the spending reforms agreed to will help control spending for coming years and will be built upon in subsequent budgets. "I think we've come very far in the context of what is clearly going to be a multiyear effort to turn the ship of state," Spitzer said, referring to "poor decision making" in past years. "No one should think this will happen in one budget cycle."
The tentative deal received some support from one element of the health care industry that was critical of Spitzer's cuts.
(Copyright 2007 WABC-TV)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


League wants the door open .........Who let the dogs out???.....come on..some things are better said in private.....these guys do have to run for reelection..."look at the hands...and forget the mouth???".........and thankfully Bruno says things are progressing "Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno just came out of his majority conference meeting and said his members are determined to get a budget deal accomplished by Saturday.“I think we’re progressing,'’ he said. “We’re compromising.'’ ....hey...what a novel idea....maybe this stuff will catch on??? and Spitzer Looking At April 2 To Pass Budget ......."Gov. Eliot Spitzer began polling legislative leaders Tuesday about the possibility of coming in on Monday to pass a budget - the second day of the new fiscal year.
That indictates a deal could be put together for bills to begin aging for the required three days this weekend.
On sundown Monday, Passover begins, so it is possible for some work to be done on what is supposed to be the first day of a two-week break for the Legislature.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, has discussed the possibility of calling back his members on April 11 - what is supposed to be the second Wednesday of the break. " ........Bruno must be really compromising huh??? and we learn The long-delayed confirmation of the state environmental commissioner, Pete Grannis, passed a major
hurdle.......and Marist Poll: Spitzer Under Fire "Today’s WNBC/Marist Poll provides more grist for those of us wondering how the millions of dollars’ worth of anti-Eliot-Spitzer ads over the last few weeks have affected his popularity.
Siena poll put the governor’s favorability at 62 percent favorability rating and job approval at 47 percent.
The Marist poll puts his job approval at 43 percent, not too much different, and for historical context, notes that Governor Spitzer has a lower job approval that Mario M. Cuomo had at roughly the same point in his first term, though higher than what George E. Pataki rated at a similar point in his first term.
Spitzer folks will be heartened by the fact that Mr. Spitzer’s overarching image is more or less what they want it to be: 60 percent of registered voters think he’s a good leader for New York State, according to the poll, and by 56 percent as “a new kind of independent politician.”
But clearly the ads have had a toll: less than half of voters think Mr. Spitzer can be trusted to do the right thing on health care." you really can't govern by popularity contests...but give those health unions credit...they are giving Spitzer a run for their money.............and ever wonder how many elected state officials got in with special elections???
Document: Get In, And Stay In Here’s a little something interesting, apropos of today’s special elections.
"according to the
study released today by Citizens Union, the state’s systems for filling unexpected vacancies in state offices is even less competitive than normal elections, which are themselves so uncompetitive that incumbents in the Legislature have a 95 percent retention rate.
Which is bad, the report argues, since nearly a third of Assembly and Senate members achieve office through the special election process. Those people effectively never face a serious competitive election — not even the first time around, since most special-election candidates are hand-picked by party bosses.
“This leaves little but the ceremony " Actually special elections are one of the few times...there is an actual level playing field....nobody is an topic but important.......
Vests for the Auxiliary Police "Shortly before noon, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is expected to announce that the city will begin providing bullet-resistant vests to its 4,800 auxiliary police officers. The news conference is scheduled to take place in the Greenwich Village police precinct where two volunteer auxiliary officers were fatally shot by a gunman on March 14.
The city will spend $3.3 million to acquire the vests, which are the same as those provided to regular police officers" why does it take the deaths of 2 unarmed auxiliary police officers to get this much needed vest??? and why in God's Name would they allow citizens dressed as police officers to patrol new york city without being armed???? New York City ain't Mayberry RFD.........andy



Here is the complete list of Spitzer Appointments.....Liz is so good at this stuff........andy

Two more of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s appointees made it past their first confirmation hurdle this week.
Robert Hite and Jerome Lefkowitz, both of whom the governor tapped to serve on the Public Employment Relations Board (Hite for an unpaid seat and Lefkowitz to the $120,800-a-year chairmanship), were confirmed yesterday by the Senate Labor Committee.
They, like DEC commissioner-in-waiting Alexander “Pete” Grannis, must now clear the Senate Finance Committee and then will be put before the full Senate for a vote.
UPDATE: So far, 33 of Spitzer’s appointments have been sent to the Senate for confirmation. The full list appears after the jump.

M. Patricia Smith, Commissioner, New York State Department of Labor.
Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, Commissioner, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
Patrick Hooker, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Robert Maccarone, Director, Probation and Correctional Alternatives.
David Hansell, Commissioner, Office of Temporary Disability.
Michael Burgess, Director, Office of the Aging.
Mindy Bockstein, Chair and Executive Director, Consumer Protection.
Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, Secretary of State.
Kumiki Gibson, Director, Division of Human Rights.
David Swarts, Commissioner, Department of Motor Vehicles.
Carol Ash, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Brian Fischer, Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services.
Astrid Glynn, Commissioner, Department of Transportation.
Denise O’Donnell, Commissioner, Department of Criminal Justice Services.
Michael Hogan, Commissioner, Office of Mental Health.
Gladys Carrion, Commissioner, Office of Children and Family Services.
Alexander Pete Grannis, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation.
Diana Jones-Ritter, Commissioner, Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
Barry Kluger, MTA Inspector General.
Nancy Groenwegen, President Civil Service Commission.
Robert Hite, Member, Public Employment Relations Board.
Daniel Gundersen, Commissioner Dept. of Economic Development.
Judd Levy, Chair, Housing Finance Agency and State of NY MortgageAgency.
Eric Schmertz, Member, Public Employment Relations Board.
Jerome Lefkowitz, Chair, Public Employment Relations Board.
Dr. Richard Daines, Commissioner, Department of Health.
John Egan, Commissioner, Office of General Services.
Richard Neiman, Superintendent of Banking.
William Casey, Member, Parole Board.
Eric Dinallo, Superintendent, Insurance Department.
Cesar Cabrera, Member, Niagara Frontier Transportation Board.
Brian Obergfell, Member, Banking Board.
Patrick Foye, Chair, Urban Development Corporation.

Getting it right, not just done


Some interesting points on how to get a state budget passed on time.....enjoy...........andy

ALBANY - While Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver yesterday ruled out a disruption of government services if Gov. Eliot Spitzer and legislative leaders fail to reach agreement on a new state budget in the next couple of days, the governor refrained from speculation.The spending plan must be adopted by Saturday before the April 1 start of the new fiscal year. But for 20 of the past 22 years, governors and legislatures have blown the deadline; only during the final two years of Gov. George Pataki's tenure were there on-time budgets."We still have seven days to go," said Spitzer, after speaking to editorial writers here. "So, we will see what we can do."Spitzer also repeated his preference for a "correct" budget over "timeliness." This is the Democratic governor's first round of budget talks, though as state attorney general he watched the disagreements among the Republican Pataki and legislative leaders."Everybody would like an on-time budget," Spitzer said. "Both because getting an on-time budget has become, rightly or wrongly, one of the measures of our capacity to run the ship of state as it should be run."The major sticking points remain education funding, particularly for affluent school districts on Long Island, Medicaid spending and tax cuts.Silver (D-Manhattan) urged Spitzer to consider "extenders" that provide money to keep state operations running in the absence of a budget. "We shouldn't disrupt the operations of the people of the state of New York," he said.Late budgets create uncertainty for school districts, charities and others who rely on state aid. But the only immediate impact is on lawmakers, who don't get paid until a budget is adopted.Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick), through an aide, said, "Our preference is to get a budget done on time and that's something that is still possible."Because of the Jewish Sabbath starting Friday night, however, less than four days remain to strike a deal. The State Legislature is expected to adjourn for the Passover and Easter holidays, though Silver has told his Assembly colleagues to anticipate being called back on April 11 - five days before the session is to resume.Political scientist Gerald Benjamin of SUNY-New Paltz said the state constitution requires that bills lay on lawmakers' desks for three days before being adopted. But that time frame can be shorted by a governor issuing "a message of necessity." Many governors have used such messages, which are controversial because they allow for little analysis before voting starts."It's hard for this governor to do because he's advancing reform and the message of necessity violates reform tenets," Benjamin added.Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson said, "we have not ruled it [message] out."

Spitzer, Bruno get serious as deadline nears

Jay Gallagher Ithica Journal.Com

Why does all the real negotiating have to be done in the final hours??? Bruno had weeks to get this done....geeeeeeeezzzzz....andy

ALBANY — With time running out in the state fiscal year, Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno met behind closed doors Monday to try to work out a deal on a new state budget.
While agreements were near on major issues such as health-care funding and business taxes, the last remaining major sticking point remained distribution of school aid — with Senate Republicans insisting that more money go to Long Island districts than Spitzer has proposed. Spitzer wants more to go to New York City and other urban districts.
“Who blinks is the real question here,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, who has been largely on the sidelines as Bruno and Spitzer try to resolve their differences. Someone close to the talks between those two leaders described them as “cordial,” and said the leaders were in a “summation mode.”
But as senators came out of a closed-door meeting Monday evening, they said nothing had been finalized.
“Everything is fluid,” said Sen. Vincent Leibell, R-Patterson, Putnam County.
Bruno and Spitzer have agreed that property-tax breaks will be delivered to taxpayers directly with checks from the state, as the Senate insisted, rather than funneled through school districts, as Spitzer proposed. Spitzer had set aside $1.4 billion for the breaks, while Bruno wants to spend $2.6 billion. There is no agreement yet on how much will be coming back to taxpayers.
Much of the $1.3 billion that Spitzer wanted to trim from health-care spending is also expected to be restored. Spitzer is trying to slow the growth of health-care spending, which jumped 8 percent last year. His plan would hold the hike to less than 2 percent.
On business taxes, Spitzer has proposed about $400 million in what he calls “loophole closers” and opponents call taxes. Spitzer said Monday that he would consider lowering the state's corporate-tax rate to make the plan revenue-neutral, but it was unclear whether that would happen in the next fiscal year.
“We're checking the numbers,” he told reporters Monday.
Also Monday, a poll showed that Spitzer is still popular with New Yorkers, but that the budget fight is talking a toll.
He is now viewed favorably by three times as many voters as disapprove of him — still a strong figure, but down from a six-to-one positive rating a month ago, according to a new Siena College poll of registered voters.
“While Spitzer continues to earn strong public support, the budget battles are moving some New Yorkers from the pro-Spitzer column to the anti-Spitzer column,” said Siena poll spokesman Steven Greenberg.
Just before Bruno and Spitzer huddled privately, Assembly Republicans Monday unveiled their “budget clock” that is counting down the time until the start of the new fiscal year on April 1.
“Most New Yorkers get up every day and go to work, and they don't leave until they've finished their job,” said Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, as the clock behind him counted down through five days, nine hours and 45 minutes before the budget deadline.
He said Republicans today would introduce a bill that would force lawmakers to stay in Albany until a budget is adopted.
The plan now is to break Friday and not return until the end of the Easter and Passover holidays, on April 11.

Monday, March 26, 2007


The budget clock is ticking down.....while the assembly republicans are taking a licking..but keep on courtesy of Capitol Confidential

Newsday's SpinCycle is in rare form these days.......Spitzer Numbers Dip...
The avalanche of negative ads about Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposed budget have dented his popularity, and the public wants a “good budget” even if it’s a little late, according to a new
poll from the Siena Research Institute.
Spitzer’s favorable ratings fell to three-to-one positive in the last month compared with six-to-one positive in February. The poll of 622 registered voters was conducted March 19-22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.
Sixty-two percent of those surveyed gave Spitzer a favorable rating, down from 74 percent in February and a high point of 75 percent after his November electoral victory.
In terms of the budget, 80 percent said they favored “a good budget” over one that was on time. Thirteen percent said they preferred an “on-time budget.”
James T. Madore
Poll spokesman Steven Greenberg said, "Voters believe an on-time budget is important but not nearly as important as a good budget. And if the deadline is missed and there's no budget by the weekend, voters spread the blame widely and don't single out the governor or either house of the Legislature." long as state government is not shut down........and how about
Naked Ambition........

Which of the following was the most fevered lunge for self-promotion by a power player? 1. Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long leaning more toward Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s budget proposals than Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s, in an open letter to Spitzer?

2. Former Vice President Al Gore, returning to Congress, pleading with lawmakers to fight global warming with moral courage — but saying nothing about whether he'll run for president.

3. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), refusing at a hearing to let Gore answer questions that he posed to him.
CLICK HERE to vote

meanwhile Liz Benjamin(Capitol Confidential)...thinks the budget is going to get done on time......"The Assembly Republicans broke out their “countdown budget clock” today, noting that after two years of on-time budgets, they had come to believe this item might no longer be necessary.
“We had one five-way leaders meeting in public, only one. We tried to have others but the Democrats wouldn’t show up. That’s a recipe for a late budget and it was one used to cook up 20 in a row at one point,” said Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, R-Schenectady.
Meanwhile, one source connected to Gov. Eliot Spitzer said “progress was made” during budget talks today, although no hard-and-fast deals are about to be announced. The governor is (at this moment) fairly confident that an on-time budget is possible.
The legislative majorities in both houses are currently conferencing. There are no current plans for a leaders meeting, but talks are expected to last through the night.
My prediction: A handshake deal by Monday morning, but no bills passed.
Anyone care to place their (non-monetary) bets? " come on Liz...non-monetary bets are are like drinking non-alcoholic beverages.......yikes.........and if you feel in the mood to trash Pataki...and throw in Gargano for good measure..then read..........Gargano’s Slush Fund..........meanwhile back at the ranch...we learn Republican Senators from Long Island aren't impressed with Eliot Spitzer's budget modifications. and we learn Silver Says No To A Shutdown “I don’t think it’s an advisable option,” Mr. Silver said. “I think that there’s no reason to do it to gain political advantage. If there is, I’m not sure there is a political advantage, especially the next ten days. The first ten days of the fiscal years are a variety of religious holidays for people in the state. We don’t have to create turmoil"..........just like Santa Claus.....Santa Spitzer...He’s Making A List ......Appearing at today’s family-planning confab in Albany, Gov. Eliot Spitzer took a light jab at Senator Craig Johnson, the newly elected Long Island Democrat.
There are more than a few people who feel that Mr. Johnson owes his seat to Mr. Spitzer, who campaigned and fundraised hard for the senator — but who then came out against the governor’s plans to remake the formula for state education aid. (The existing formula is especially generous to the Long Island suburbs.)
Spotting Mr. Johnson in the audience, Mr. Spitzer told the assembled advocates that they were lucky to have Mr. Johnson as an ally.
“We’ll be counting votes very shortly,” he added. “Not to put you on the spot.” and finally it is very good to hear that the Gov, Mayor Work Things Out .........

Budget talks might be stalled, but Gov. Eliot Spitzer appears to have worked out his biggest difference with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
The mayor and city officials howled when the governor proposed, in his executive budget, to cut $328 million in unrestricted state aid to New York City. The governor has relented, agreeing to restore a small amount of the money in the upcoming fiscal year and most if not all of the funding in ensuing years, we report in the Empire Zone column today........andy

Sides move closer on state budget


Despite breakthroughs Friday, talks bog down on tax relief, hospital funds

(March 26, 2007) — ALBANY — With the state budget due in a week, negotiators for Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the Assembly and Senate majorities failed to reach critical agreements Sunday.
Closed-door talks were scheduled to continue today, although all sides agreed even a deal early in the week might not leave enough time to print budget bills and approve them in both chambers to pass an on-time budget. The budget is due next Sunday.
Despite apparent breakthroughs Friday night, negotiators were again bogged down Saturday and Sunday on issues that were being negotiated as a package. That means there is no agreement on one issue until there is agreement on all, said officials close to the governor and the legislative majorities.
"Our concern has been and continues to be a fair and equal distribution of school aid and property tax relief for the most taxed residents in the country and health care restorations to prevent the pain and suffering of the (Spitzer) budget proposal out there now," said John McArdle, spokesman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. "Staffs are still talking and we continue to press for open conference committees."
There was no immediate comment from spokesmen for Spitzer or Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.The Legislature has passed on-time budgets in the last two years after 20 straight years of missed deadlines. Late budgets create fiscal uncertainty for school district officials and delay funding for nonprofit groups that run social service programs.
Three key negotiation issues remain:
How many suburban schools on Long Island and elsewhere will get greater increases in aid despite Spitzer's plan to direct far more of the funding increases to high-needs urban schools.
How to distribute more than $1 billion in property tax relief.
How much aid should be "restored" to hospitals and nursing homes to ease Spitzer's health care reform.
All sides acknowledge room for compromise in the key areas.Specifically, Spitzer last week said he is more committed to driving property tax relief to middle-class families than he is to how it is done. That means he is open to the Senate Republicans' proposal for rebate checks sent directly to taxpayers rather than Spitzer's original plan to increase funding for the state's STAR program.
Spitzer may also be open to changes in his school funding program so that wealthier but highly taxed school districts on Long Island get more than his minimum increase of 3 percent, according to a Spitzer official close to negotiations. The Senate GOP wants to add $538 million for these schools, most of which are in the conference's Long Island power base.
Senate Republicans who have fought Spitzer's $1.4 billion cut in the $45 billion Medicaid system may end up accepting some of Spitzer's reforms if he agrees to phase in his program so big hospitals and nursing homes don't face immediate 1 percent to 5 percent cuts in state aid.
Spitzer proposed a $120.6 billion budget in January. That's an increase of 7.8 percent — more than twice the inflation rate.



Yeah...the heck with c0mpromise and reason...shut the state down..that I'll show em good..........errrrrrrrrr.......not........simplistic solutions to complex least the Post is consistent...........andy

March 26, 2007 -- With just six days to go before the start of the new fiscal year, and with no state-budget deal in sight, New Yorkers are about to see just what their new governor - Eliot "The Steamroller" Spitzer - is made of.
Will he settle for a business-as-usual budget - brokered with special interests to the detriment of the Empire State and its beleaguered taxpayers?
Or will he take command of the process - making it clear that if New York does not have a good budget on April 1, it will have no budget at all?
That is, will he shut state government down - and place the blame where it belongs, at the feet of obstructionist legislative leaders?
At the moment, the principal obstacle is Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, who is obstinately insisting on spending $3 billion in make-believe money above Spitzer's own 9 percent hike in outlays.
And no Bruno, no budget.
What next?
Spitzer has three choices:
* Bow to Bruno, putting the state's long-term solvency (and his own legacy) at dire risk.
* Kick the can down the road, extending talks and missing the April 1 deadline - just like in the bad old days.
* Or shut down state agencies - arguing, correctly, that an administration cannot without a budget in place.
If Spitzer hopes to make good on his vow to fix Albany - to "change everything" - his choice is clear:
He must close down New York government.
Tell state employees they're out of work. Ready the pink slips, as then-Gov. Pataki did in '95.
Tell New Yorkers who depend on state services that, absent a budget, they're out of luck; the services can't be paid for.
And tell them, too, to blame Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (and Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver) for the mess.
Let's face it: As critical as this fiscal fight is, there's far more at stake than the 2007-08 state budget.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

I really don't think so..........too costly and destructive..........andy

March 23, 2007 at 5:02 pm by Elizabeth Benjamin
In an interview with
WNBC’s Jay DeDapper to be broadcast this Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Malcom Smith, D-Queens, gives the clearest indication yet that a government shutdown may be in the cards.
Asked if closing down Albany is a “real” possibility, Smith responded in the affirmative, claiming New Yorkers “don’t want anybody spending money wildly to the point where we have a deficit out into the future that would just basically mortgage the future of our children.”
“And so we’re prepared to shut the government down if that has happened,” Smith said.
While it’s a long way from a late budget to an all-out (or even partial) shutdown, Smith said the budget would almost certainly be tardy if an agreement isn’t reached by Monday.
“If we [by]pass Monday, that’s it, we’re going to be in pretty bad shape and you’re looking at a late budget,” Smith said. “And then if the governor chooses just to go ahead and deal with essential services, you know, the other part of big government will shut down.”
Given how close Smith and Spitzer are (politically speaking!), it seems a safe bet that the minority leader is acting as a surrogate for the executive. Spitzer himself has been unwilling to rule out a shutdown in recent days, preferring instead to adopt an optimistic attitude (at least publicly) by saying that there’s still time for a deal to come together.
Of course, he was saying that earlier in the week - back before Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, starting holding his GOP-only general budget conference committees and Spitzer started trying to pick off Republican senators by calling them into his office for private, one-on-one meetings.
New York hasn’t experienced a full-scale government shutdown in the modern era, though it came close in 1995 - the first year another governor was in office.
In ex-Gov. George Pataki’s first year atop Albany, which many agree in retrospect was his most productive time in office, the government prepared pink slips to send public employees in anticipation of a late budget.
There was also a fierce battle over Pataki’s decision to suspend more than 4,200 state paychecks, including for legislative staffers and some in his own office. He lost in court over that one. But New York was never really in full shutdown mode.
However, one needs to only look at the damage a federal government shutdown caused one Washington politician - now a possible Republican presidential contender - to see that all sides will be scrambling to assign blame elsewhere should it come to that.
Under a deal struck in 1998, which brought legislators their last pay increase and created charter schools in New York, lawmakers have their paychecks withheld if they fail to pass a budget by the April 1 deadline. This provision does not apply to the governor.
Also on Sunday, DeDapper interviews former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s newest presidential campaign advisor, Mike McKeon, who says the ex-mayor’s wife, Judith Nathan Giuliani, is “going to be more than an asset,” adding: “I think she’s going to be probably the surprise of the campaign.”
Click here to read the whole transcript


Santa Bruno
Majority Leader Bruno rejects medicaid reform but delivers billions to big hospitals and the rich; ‘I don’t care if we’re here ‘til Christmas’

"State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno said Wednesday that he’s more than willing to blow through an April 1 deadline in his quixotic effort to add an unprecedented $5 billion in spending to Governor Eliot Spitzer’s state budget plan.
“I don’t care if we’re here ‘til Christmas,” Bruno told listeners to Albany radio station WROW-AM." for the rest ......
click here...........andy

Friday, March 23, 2007


Bruno is not quite ready to sing yet with Senate GOP attacks Spitzer "Senate Republicans suggested Thursday that Gov. Eliot Spitzer is trying to attack, divide and conquer opponents of his budget plan, but that the strategy isn't working.
"The governor should stop trying to just divide all of the entities that are out there that have an interest in doing this budget right," said Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick" yeah..come on Spitzer..stop playing politics..and beating my butt in public....the Buffalo News gives us another view on the whole recycling issue......
Expanded recycling doesn’t require a new beverage tax..........meanwhile Assistant deputy secretary for criminal justice named ........Governor Eliot Spitzer Thursday announced the appointment of Lai Sun Yee to serve as Assistant Deputy Secretary for Criminal Justice...........and the AP warns us WTC staircase debate may delay new towers..... "a prolonged debate over whether to preserve a 175-ton staircase that still stands at the World Trade Center site is threatening construction schedules for new office towers, rebuilding officials said this week.
The staircase, which several people used to escape the debris-filled complex in the moments after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has been named one of the nation's most endangered places by a preservation group. It is the only remnant of the complex that is above street level.." just what we all need...another delay........meanwhile Long Island Business News gives us a different view on this whole medicaid/health care reform debate.....
2 minutes with Kevin Dahill, President, CEO, Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council ..........."Kevin Dahill is a man on a mission, although it’s a mission he’d rather not have.
The leader of the regional trade organization for Long Island’s 24 hospitals spoke with LIBN fresh from a trip to Albany, in which eight busloads of Islanders met with lawmakers to discuss potential cuts in Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposed state budget that could shear $68.5 million in Medicaid reimbursements from Island hospitals and $77.6 million from Island nursing homes – a “disastrous” scenario, according to Dahill."....a short question and answer interview..I don't agree with all of it....but a good read on the controversy..........if you always wanted to know how to make Pork Kosher ..The NY Post gives us a hint.......
ROASTED 'PORK' POLS OK DISCLOSURE DEAL "Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders yesterday agreed to a new process to ensure that community organizations that get state pork-barrel funds disclose any ties to the lawmakers who secured the money for them." and the every optimistic NY Sun gives us their Albany doomsday scenario with Budget Fight Could Close Government "With budget negotiations coming down to the wire, Governor Spitzer is not ruling out shutting down the government if he and the Republican Senate don't hammer out a deal before the April 1 deadline.
Republicans, however, say they are standing their ground and are accusing the governor of negotiating in bad faith, even while preparing to deal with the fallout that a late budget would produce" let's put it this way...nobody...I repeat....nobody is going to want to take credit for shutting the state government is NOT going to happen...the financial consequences would be too devastating............and finally.... To persuade Albany to lift limits on scalpers, vendors are
giving away tickets to lawmakers.....yikes....."Key backers of efforts to take limits off ticket scalping - including Gov. Spitzer - have received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from ticket brokers, the Daily News has learned." ..........hello.....ticket scalping is illegal.....and alot of people get screwed ..and never receive legitimate tickets.....come on...let's get real here...........andy

New York's governor You ain't seen nothing yet


If you don't think the world is watching what Spitzer is doing..think is a snappy little piece from England........andy

HE IS not known for being timid. As New York's attorney-general, he was called “The sheriff of Wall Street”. Last year he campaigned for governor with the promise to shake up state government. He won with 70% of the vote, and now he is trying to live up to expectations. In his first three months in office he has reformed an outdated workers'-compensation law, issued executive orders to make Albany's politics more transparent and got involved in a fight about the choice of comptroller—though, embarrassingly, he lost that one.

Now Eliot Spitzer is in the biggest fight of his term so far: an all-out brawl over health care. With the state's budget due on April 1st, the battle is the first real test of whether his forceful style will be effective in his new job. Charles Rangel, a Democratic congressman from New York City, called the melée a “food fight”. The governor seems to be enjoying himself.

If Mr Spitzer wanted to pick a fight, he has chosen the right one. Not only has health care become a prominent issue among governors, inspired by plans for universal coverage in Massachusetts and California, but New York's health system is in dire need of fixing. The state's Medicaid programme, at more than $45 billion, is America's most expensive, with spending per person more than twice the national average. New York saw a hint of progress last year, when a state commission recommended closing underused hospitals and nursing homes. But Mr Spitzer still has his work cut out.

To inch towards universal coverage, Mr Spitzer wants to extend health care to all New York's 400,000 uninsured children. His plans to curb spending are more controversial. In a testament to Albany's perversion, Mr Spitzer, a Democrat, wants to rein in costs; the Republican-led Senate, backed by the health-care lobby, does not. For years New York has subsidised inefficient hospitals and nursing homes through high Medicaid reimbursement rates, providing an incentive to provide unnecessary services. Mr Spitzer wants to begin changing this by freezing such rates. Other measures to contain costs include spending less to train interns, tightening the list of drugs covered by Medicaid and ramping up efforts to fight Medicaid fraud. In all, the governor's budget would cut health-care spending by about $1.2 billion.

Such changes are unheard of in Albany. The previous governor, George Pataki, had similar ideas, but he pursued them with the audacity of a dormouse. Mr Spitzer, by contrast, is relishing his role as a crusader against “special interests”. Enraged, the hospitals' association and the health-care workers' union have spent more than $4.5m to condemn his cuts through television advertising, rallies and mailings. They recruited Al Sharpton, an omnipresent black activist, to denounce Mr Spitzer, and on March 15th thousands of health-care workers protested outside the governor's office in Manhattan. (One hand-written sign read: “Eliot is an Idiot”.) Mr Spitzer is fighting back with characteristic zeal. He called the Senate's plan to restore his cuts “ruinous” and has spent $2m of campaign money on television ads of his own.

This tussle may extend past the budget deadline, but it will eventually end in compromise; the question is how far Mr Spitzer will retreat. If he concedes too much, he will encourage future opponents. But the governor is in a unique position to be firm. Unlike Mr Pataki, he enjoys high approval ratings—61% in February, according to a poll by Quinnipiac University. And the state Assembly, led by Democrats, seems amenable to many of his proposals.
Still, Mr Spitzer's budget only begins to address New York's health-care mess. Among the questions that remain are how to care for the elderly more efficiently and how to reform Medicaid reimbursement rates, which are now based on data that is over 14 years old, so that the programme subsidises patients, not hospitals.

The governor must also do much more to be a true reformer. His $120.6 billion budget may cut health-care costs, but it is far from fiscally conservative, says E.J. McMahon of the Manhattan Institute, a think-tank. Mr Spitzer wants to raise state spending by 7.8%, up to three times the projected rate of inflation. This increase is driven in part by the governor's proposed new infusion of money into the schools: $1.4 billion this year, part of a 40% rise over the next four years. In exchange for this munificence, schools must comply with a “contract for excellence” that requires them to show how they are spending the cash and face sanctions if they fail to improve. This is all well and good, but the plan may not be sustainable. New York already spends more on education than it does on Medicaid; the state's comptroller has warned of future budget gaps.
And though Mr Spitzer has declared himself an enemy of special interests, there are many groups he has yet to challenge. He has been reluctant, for example, to take on New York's unionised public employees, who account for one in eight of the state's workers (the national average is one in 19). The cost of their pensions is rising by the minute. Mr Spitzer, asked recently about his guns-blazing style, replied with a smirk, “That wasn't guns going.” The biggest fights are yet to come

Gabe Pressman's View: Is Spitzer Tough Guy Or Bully?


Hey..whatever gets the job done.......this is what the voters wanted.....Eliot is certainly giving them their money's worth.......andy

If anyone had any doubts about it, Gov. Eliot Spitzer has dispelled them.
The new governor is tough, determined, and tenacious. He may be the strongest governor in a quarter of a century. Based on his first three months in office, it's clear that a new force has been unleashed in Albany, and its name is Eliot Spitzer.
This governor has a ''take no prisoners'' approach. His meeting the other day with the two leaders of the Legislature, Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno made this clear.
The Governor chided the Republican leader for advocating a budget proposal that was like a game of three-card monte, ''because every time you look underneath to find the money, it's not there.''
The Governor, anxious to complete the budget by the legal deadline, April 1st, tried to prod Bruno into action. He said that many critics - virtually every financial analyst and every editorial board -gave the Bruno budget bad marks.
Spitzer had arranged a meeting with the legislative leaders that were held in public view. This was a departure from an Albany culture that, for many years, has seen such meetings invariably conducted behind closed doors.
This innovation in itself is Spitzer's way of socking it to his political enemy. Reporters heard it all, including Bruno's weak rejoinder. The senator said that the Spitzer budget, by giving New York City a larger share of school aid than other places, would ''pit one school district against another.''
On Wednesday, Bruno charged that Speaker Silver and Democratic Senate Leader Malcolm Smith had been ''totally intimidated''' by Spitzer. Bruno told New York Post state editor Fred Dicker, ''He gives me a lecture.... that is not debate. That is not discussion. That is a bully.''
Occasionally, he may go too far, as in his recent tv commercial using the hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah to hammer his opponents on the health care issue. But he is effective.
Whether bully or hero, there's no doubt that Eliot Spitzer is a stronger Governor perhaps than any man since Hugh Carey. For the press he already is the most accessible governor in 12 years. Under George Pataki, the second floor of the statehouse, the governor's floor, was closed to the press. Now it's open, as it was in Mario Cuomo's day.
It's much too early to tell how it will all play out. But early signs are encouraging. Eliot Spitzer has taken command: a strong hand is at the helm.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Eliot Spitzer wants background checks conducted on people bidding for the state's horseracing franchise.........meanwhile Spitzer is calling individual state Senators to get them to abandon Joe the old computer game "come follow me"...........and Eighty days after joining the Spitzer administration, former state Senator and ex-Clarence Norman aide Carl Andrews still doesn't have an official title.....meanwhile the Budget battle continues and we learn Weitzman out of running for tax commissioner "Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman said yesterday that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for state tax commissioner because family considerations bar him from working full-time at the Capitol."I was honored to even be considered by the Spitzer administration for this position," Weitzman told Newsday. "I look forward to helping the governor in his work to lower our tax burden, especially in the area of health care, and reform of our multiple levels of government." .........ahhhhhhhhh but suppose he was appointed state comptroller??? so his interviewing for state comptroller was make believe???? and State lawmakers vote for an early presidential primary -"Both legislative houses approved a bill yesterday moving up the state's presidential primary from March 4 to Feb. 5 next year, in line with actions by other big states.The bill now goes to Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is widely expected to sign it." a big boost for Hillary...........meanwhile we learn No agreements on school funding "With Long Island's share of school funding now seen as the highest hurdle in talks on a new budget, Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Deputy Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos met privately yesterday to air opposing views but reached no agreements" big surprise here..........and the winner is......Gov. Spitzer to reveal new Sullivan County clerk soon and the Sun believes Spitzer should make a Capital Case for the death windmill at a time please.......and finally Gov. Spitzer urged to collect cigarette tax "the state was open to a proposal that would provide for collection of the tax while sharing the revenue with tribes. The measure would end tribes’ price advantage over non-Indian retailers obligated to collect the state’s $1.50 per pack tax. The New York Association of Convenience Stores, led by Calvin, has long complained that the group’s 7,000 stores are unable to compete with tribal competitors’ reduced-price cigarettes and that state and local governments have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue." with all the medical evidence out people still smoke???? yikes..........andy

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

L.I. Schools Speak Out Against Spitzer’s Education Plan


This is just a taste of what the upcoming state aid to education budget battle is shaping up to be...........people on the Island don't want to hear about New York
City.and equity.....residents of new york city. pay extremely low property taxes compared to nassau and suffolk counties..........maybe it is time for those school disticts mentioned below to change their way of doing business...and try to centralize things bring costs down...but that is another sacred cow nobody is willing to wonder scores of people are moving out of new york state to find more affordable communities to live in.....will anything every change??? andy

In the wake of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposed school budget cuts, dozens of LI school districts came together on Monday morning to voice their disapproval of how the plan’s funding for education aid will be distributed, and more districts will be joining the campaign.

Citing state funding inequity for LI public education and the elimination of important aid categories, representatives from Suffolk and Nassau schools sent a strong message to Spitzer on Monday at a press conference in Holbrook.

“We are trying to unite and demand equity and fairness in state funding,” says coalition spokesperson Karen Lessler, President of the Middle Country Board of Education. “Long Island has 17% of New York State’s students, and yet we will be receiving only 13% in state aid. Also, the state should not be able to impose mandates without funding them.”

Spitzer maintains that the proposed education state aid package is adequate for all school districts.

“We believe we have a strong budget,” says Brad Maione, a spokesman for Spitzer. “Each district will receive an increase in funding."

In Spitzer’s January “Contract for Excellence” address, the governor outlined his goals for the budget plan, including the integration of a “foundation formula,” a more straightforward and general system for how much education aid various school districts will be eligible to receive.

“This formula will distribute educational funding based on the needs of our children, not the needs of our politicians,” Spitzer said in the address. “We don’t need 65 different formulas to allocate money, each one more complicated than the next.”

Dr. Shelley Saffer, the superintendent of the Comsewogue School District, argues that with the flat lining of 113 of Long Island’s 124 public schools and the cutting down of aid formulas, the plan will hurt most LI schools.

“Spitzer said that every school district will receive a three percent increase in funding, but that’s not true for our school district,” Saffer says. “By collapsing aid formulas, Spitzer’s proposed plan gets rid of a huge number of aid categories that help most Long Island school districts.”
The coalition, which currently consists of 29 schools, is growing in strength as an increasing number of schools are backing the movement.“Today’s press conference was a big success because more school districts are coming together and we’re all going to speak with one voice,” says Middle Country’s Lessler. “We’re not asking for anything that we aren’t entitled to.”

Budget Negotiations Begin As Dispute Continues


It appears Bruno is going for broke here......with the Republican Party in shambles.......he figures he has nothing to lose by supporting his strongest health care union ally and protecting his remaining long island senators..which districts would get hit the hardest with the redistribution of state aid to new york on time state budget seems out of reach now........andy

There are less than two weeks before the state budget is due but it's not looking promising for an on-time agreement. Negotiations that began Tuesday only displayed just how far apart the leaders are. NY1’s Josh Robin had a tableside view, and filed this report. The set-up for Tuesday’s budget negotiations had the look of a card table and with the multibillion dollar state budget in the balance, the stakes are high. But each player says his opponent is playing with a loaded deck. “This is a game of Three-card Monte,” said Governor Eliot Spitzer. “You know why we’re big spenders?” responded State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. “Because to fix the distortion in your formula when you submitted it, we need to add dollars.” The back and forth dominated a tense, 52-minute sit-down between Governor Eliot Spitzer and state lawmakers. It was supposed to be a six-way meeting. But the key opponents were Spitzer and Bruno. Their tone was friendly, but it was clear this was not canasta; it was war. “If you were counting, you would find that over $4 billion of that is for property tax relief,” said Bruno. “Joe, smoke and mirrors is not going to get us a budget,” said Spitzer. “It’s time to be real. It’s time to cut the politics. It’s time to come to the table.” At issue was dueling budgets. Spitzer wants health care and education cuts and claims the Senate's plan triggers billions in deficits. But the Republican insists Spitzer's fooling with taxpayers by demanding pricey tax loophole closures, without acknowledging them as taxes. “They are job depriving, tax increases,” said Bruno. “By any name it’s a tax increase.” Spitzer smiled and took notes -- looking like a prosecutor, or a poker player, who sees an endgame. Bruno and his Senate conference are virtually alone in the capitol supporting his budget. And Spitzer is going around him to talk individual Senate Republicans. NY1 has learned Spitzer has meetings Wednesday with individual senators -- and is very close to a deal with a hospital group that used to back Bruno. The senator still does have many friends. After the meeting, Bruno was toasted at a rally of a health care union running ads attacking Spitzer's health care proposals. That group might be one of Bruno's few allies -- but in the state capitol there are few interests better-funded or more skilled at the poker game of the state budget. -Josh Robin

Three Spitzer Appointees Confirmed

The latest three administration appointments by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to be taken up by the GOP-controlled state Senate just sailed through the confirmation process.
The newly confirmed officials are:
Dr. Richard Daines, commissioner, Health Department.
Denise O’Donnell, director, Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Judd Levy, chairman of the board of the state Housing Finance Agency and state Mortgage Authority.
Daines and O’Donnell both received high praise from senators on both sides of the aisle.
Daines, in particular, got a ringing endorsement from Sen. Efrain Gonzalez Jr., D-Bronx, who said he has known the doctor for years because he has served as the senator’s personal physician.

Thanks Liz B......Capitol Confidential............andy

Saturday, March 17, 2007

HAPPY ST. PATTY'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ice Storm Tid Bits

Elephants, Skinned Cats and de Blasio at 1199 Rally Against Spitzer Cuts ..........yikes some very weird stuff........"When elephants fight, the grass gets hurt."
That's according to Bronx Assemblyman Jose Rivera, who spoke at today's SEIU 1199 rally opposing Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposed health care cuts. Rivera said he told Spitzer those words himself at a half-hour meeting the previous day before leading the crowd in a chant: "You cut back, we're gonna fight back." and we learn there is
More Nontraditional Help for Spitzer "Here's a new radio ad that criticizes "special interests" for not supporting Eliot Spitzer's plan to lift the cap on charter schools. The group running the ad is Real Reform Now, a new collaboration between the New York Charter Schools Association and Dems for Education Reform.
So far, there's a $100,000 ad buy for this radio spot, according to Michael Tobman, head of Dems for Education Reform........thanks Azi for above tid bits...........
Pataki Releases His Iowa Volunteers is reporting: “Former New York Gov. George Pataki has told supporters he cannot guarantee he is going to run for president this cycle and has given his blessing for them to join other presidential campaigns.” A couple of big names have apparently made the jump to Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts." This Cycle??? meanwhile...Minority Leader Malcolm Smith tells us good friends...never leave their friend's behind??? Malcolm’s Happy Place........this totally grosses Liz Benjamin out.......“(Bruno) actually told me what he said to the governor in terms of how he described me being so close to the governor, and I said: Well, you know, there’s room. You can be that close as well.”
Later Smith said: “I told Joe(Bruno) there’s room, he can come on up, too. He can come on up there.”................and Newsday's Spin Cycle gives us
Hallelujah poor John Riley...he hates Spitzer so very must be killing see Eliot actually leading and getting things done................."Gov. Spitzer's latest ad in the health care wars (below) features a children's choir in hospital robes singing 'Hallelujah' while his hired narrator recites newspaper excerpts praising his "reforms." The ad, as is typical of both sides in this fight, never bothers to explain what the "reforms" are -- except at the end, where the narrator cites "all the kids who'll finally have medical coverage."
This sounds wonderful. But for the record, the actual fight here is over $1.2 billion in cuts in health care funding, most of them from the Medicaid program, most of them from hospitals and nursing homes. When you delve into the details of his budget, you find that a grand total of $34.7 million is going into expanding childrens health insurance. Most of the health money is being diverted to school aid and property tax cuts.
Meanwhile, Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson
is lashing out at the "distortions and misrepresentations" in ads from the other side, which suggest the cuts will lead to mass layoffs etc." and speaking of lashing out......and finally is Eliot trying to get unions to start fighting each other??
divide and conquer??? Solidarity Forever " Gov. Eliot Spitzer meets this afternoon in New York City with District Council 37. Though it's always possible to read too much into political schedules, the timing is interesting. It comes as he's engaged in a very public battle with 1199/SEIU, the health-care workers' union, as evidenced by the statement yesterday (click continued, below) from union leader Dennis Rivera.
There has long been a certain feeling of competition for political clout between DC 37 and 1199 in the labor world. As representatives of some of the lower-paid constituencies in the municipal and state workforce, both are big political contributors and providers of personnel on Election Day. "

Spitzer Appointments

Liz Benjamin has the latest scoop...........andy

Gov. Eliot Spitzer today announced two new appointments:

Gary Johnson, director, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations

(salary = $138,000). Johnson has served as associate counsel for NYSUT since 2004. From 1994 to 2004, he was associate counsel and director of litigation for the New York State Public Employee Relations Board. Prior to that, he served as an Administrative Law Judge for the state Public Service Commission in 1994 and for the New York State Public Employment Relations Board from 1991 to 1994. Johnson also served as Associate Counsel for the New York State Office of Court Administration in 1991 and was Assistant Counsel to the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations from 1988 to 1991. Johnsons was an ADA in Kings County from 1985 to 1988.

Stephen H. Shane, president and CEO, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation

($143,000). He has served as general counsel for the Sparrow Construction Corp. since 2002. He previously served as special assistant to the commissioner of the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal where he was designated to be the representative to the Board of Directors of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. Shane was Partner at Lowenthal, Landau, Fisher & Bring from 1985 to 1987; Tishman Spayer Properties from 1981 to 1984; Carro, Spanbock, Fass, Geller, Kaster & Cuiffo in 1981; and Demov, Morris, Levin & Shein from 1964 to 1980.



Mike doesn't like much of either budget proposal...but he picks the "lesser" of 2 evils.........check out the response below to this conservative party "endorsement"............andy

March 16, 2007 -- THE Conservative Party this week released to the press my letter to Gov. Spitzer essentially stating our disappointment in his budget and in what the Republican state Senate majority added to his budget.
Let me be perfectly clear: Both proposals spend far too much. Neither considers how New Yorkers will pay the bills when they come due.
Neither plan considers how New York's overburdened taxpayers will pay for the increased spending.
New York is hemorrhaging money; someone must apply the pressure to stop the hemorrhaging.
The state's health-care programs are out of control. Do we pay too little to those who are entrusted with the care of our sick and elderly? Of course. But if you want to increase their paycheck . . . you have to make the cuts in other places. Hospitals that are not productive must be closed.
Hiking taxes on businesses will only lead to less employment - and less employment with no change in state spending means higher taxes on those who stay here.
Competition in the marketplace produces lower prices for consumers; competition in schools will produce better students, better teachers and better results.
I'm a lifelong New York City resident, and all of my working years have been in retail as a small business owner. I've seen the results when the state and city continue to spend far too much money: Government spending forces me to raise my prices, because my taxes are increased. I can't hire more workers because the amount I have to pay in taxes can't be absorbed in the price I charge my customers.
Government spending must be cut, and Gov. Spitzer's proposals, while still spending more than New York taxpayers can sustain, at least head in the right direction. If the proposed health-care reforms are enacted, there's a better chance that future budgets - which spend our money - will no longer grow at three times the rate of inflation.
We must give Spitzer the opportunity to make some very necessary changes in the way things are done in Albany. For many years, the Republican majority in the Senate has been the ally of New York taxpayers in holding back unreasonable spending. However, we can no longer depend on them. We must depend on ourselves.
We must speak out and demand that elected officials remember it is our money, not theirs. We must hold all their feet to the fire and have them produce a budget within our means.
As a good parent must sometimes do, we have to cut off the credit cards and make them live within our means.

Michael R. Long is the chairman of the state Conservative Party

Spitzer, Not A Democrat? (thanks Liz B Capitol Confidential)

Jennifer Cunningham, senior advisor to (and political mastermind of) SEIU/1199, responded thusly to state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long’s abandonment this morning of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and praise of Gov. Eliot Spitzer:
“When New Yorkers elected Eliot Spitzer, we voted for a Democrat who we thought held firmly Democratic principles like supporting healthcare and public schools.”
“Now, as he’s accepting the kudos of the New York State Conservative Party, we have to wonder: Who will the governor stand with next in order to pass his wrongheaded budget?”
UPDATED: Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson e-mailed over this response:
“Ms. Cunningham’s comments speak of remarkable hypocrisy considering the many republicans 1199 has endorsed and funded over the years.”
“Their latest hit joins a long line of deceptive rhetoric that continues to demonstrate they’ll stop at nothing to block the Governor’s reforms that could lead to health coverage for all children.”

Thursday, March 15, 2007



The Rules of the Track

The NY Times Empire Zone

"And there off..........." let the bidding process begin..........again..........this time with a much more structured "open" process...........andy

The Spitzer administration has sent letters to the six would-be contenders for New York’s horseracing franchise, outling how the bidding process will work now that the administration has decided to ignore the findings of the Pataki-era Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing, which recommended that Excelsior Racing Associates get the franchise.
Proposals are due on March 31, and the contenders will be asked to make public presentations on April 10 and April 11.
Interestingly enough — given that individuals associated with Excelsior have close ties to Gov. Eliot Spitzer — the bulk of the letter is devoted to new integrity provisions that the administration has added to the process, ostensibly to prevent excessive wheeling and dealing by the highly-connected, highly-lobbied-up consortiums.
The letters, dated March 13 and issued by Richard Rifkin, the governor’s special counsel, stipulate that the public presentations in April “will be your only opportunity to make substantive presentations to the Governor’s office, unless the office initiates informational meetings prior to the hearing.”
Bidders are precluded from initiating any contact with the administration, and will also be subject to an extensive “integrity review” conducted by the state Inspector General. “Failure to fully cooperate will result in disqualification,” the letter warns.

Conservative Chairman Abandons Senate GOP

Capitol Confidential Liz Benjamin

"A Rose by any other name......" or maybe a republican in any other state??? Like the "welcome to bizzaro world" article the other day..everything is turned upside down here...unless Long is looking for a few state jobs from dole out......andy

"State Conservative Chairman Mike Long has reached out to Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer today with a letter (made public via press release) in which he acknowledges he and the governor would be considered “strange bedfellows,” but says he can’t support the Senate majority’s proposed spending increases.
“William Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows,” and in 2007, I find myself in the exact same position,” Long wrote.
“The New York State Conservative Party finds itself coming full circle…we are back where we began in 1962. For years, we have been aligned with the Republican Party in New York, but J. Daniel Mahoney and Kieran O’Doherty, founded the Conservative Party because the Republican Party had lost its way.”
Governor Spitzer, I do not agree with most of your budget. You have increased spending at levels that according to the Comptroller are unsustainable. I believe there is fat in your budget and given the opportunity, I would cut spending. If your future budgets continue at the same rate of spending, New York could go bankrupt.”
“As difficult as your budget is, what the Republican controlled Senate is proposing, forces me to re-evaluate your proposals.”



Here is some more detail on the "blowup" yesterday...between Spitzer and Bruno....meanwhile the budget clock is ticking down to april 1st.......politics is a funny day...yelling and screaming..the next day...a bouquet of roses...........andy

March 15, 2007 -- ALBANY - Gov. Eliot "Steamroller" Spitzer was at it again yesterday, in a 15-minute, expletive-laden exchange with Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno that left top state officials aghast - and caused a secretary to flee the face-off in horror, insiders said yesterday.
"I'm not going to be bullied, I'm not going to be steamrolled," Bruno shouted at Spitzer, sources said of the explosive behind-closed-doors confrontation.
Spitzer fired back, "I'm the governor and I'm not going to be insulted," according to a senior state official.
Another official said Spitzer infuriated Bruno by accusing him of seeking "absurd" and "indefensible" increases in the governor's proposed new state budget.
Bruno then angrily countered that Spitzer was "embarrassing me in the papers."
To which Spitzer was said to have responded, "You're doing that to yourself."
Bruno was also said to have exploded when Spitzer told him he had to "get serious" about the state budget.
Bruno angrily contended the claim was the "same mantra" embraced by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), both Spitzer loyalists. "That's all I hear," said Bruno, adding, "They [Silver and Smith] are so far up your ass it's ridiculous."
"There was a lot of screaming and curses," a senior state official who said he was briefed on the blowup told The Post.
Things got so heated that one of Spitzer's secretaries "got up and ran out of the room," said a source close to the Bruno camp.
Several sources said the confrontation between Democrat Spitzer and Bruno, a Republican from upstate Rensselaer County, was triggered by Bruno's morning appearance on Albany's WROW-AM.
On the radio, Bruno angrily accused the "liberal press" of ignoring the governor's alleged efforts to raise state taxes by $800 million and his alleged misstating of available state revenues.
"Gov. Spitzer walks on water, Gov. Spitzer is infallible, Gov. Spitzer can't do anything wrong. Gov. Spitzer is the reincarnation of everything that is good and holy and Bruno is evil," Bruno said on the radio show when asked about Spitzer's criticisms of his just-unveiled budget proposal.
A source close to Bruno claimed Spitzer "went ballistic" over several of the senator's comments on the radio show. Minutes later, Spitzer allegedly retaliated by refusing to invite Bruno into a meeting with the family of Connie Russo-Carrierro whose murder by an ex-con sex-offender contributed to the political climate which led to the passage of a "civil-confinement" bill last week.
The snub - which is how aides to Bruno described it to several members of the press - occurred a few minutes before Spitzer and Bruno were set to appear together at a bill-signing ceremony at which the governor approved the civil-confinement measure.
Spitzer has earned a reputation for a confrontational style both as attorney general and, since Jan. 1, as governor.
The Post disclosed last month that Spitzer had warned Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R-Schenectady) not to oppose his proposals because he was a "f- - - -ing steamroller" prepared to crush him.
Meanwhile, the "peace pact" between Spitzer and the state's top healthcare association and union abruptly ended after just one day.
TV advertisements attacking the governor - pulled to permit serious negotiations on Spitzer's proposed healthcare cuts - suddenly went back on the air.


New York Post Editorial

The Post wants Eliot to kick some Bruno Butt...and keep kicking it until a reasonable budget is passed on time......come on..the guy is 78 yrs old.....maybe one good shot in the pants will do it??? andy

March 15, 2007 -- Eliot Spitzer gave state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno a reality check yes terday, telling Bruno he had to "get serious" about drafting a state budget - and, by the way, forcefully reminding the lawmaker of his proper place in Albany's pecking order.
Bruno had mocked the gov on a radio show hosted by The Post's Fredric U. Dicker: "Gov. Spitzer walks on water. Gov. Spitzer is infallible," Bruno whined. "Gov. Spitzer is the reincarnation of everything that is good and holy - and Bruno is evil."
Well, not evil, maybe.
Reckless regarding state finances, yes.
Putty in the hands of public-employee unions, sure.
But probably not exactly evil.
And it certainly was refreshing to see Spitzer remind Bruno of his place.
The putdown occurred in Spitzer's second-floor Capitol office, and became so heated that one of Spitzer's secretaries actually fled the room.
"There was a lot of screaming and curses," an official said.
Well, no one ever said that "changing everything" would be easy.
And Spitzer's frustration with Bruno is understandable.
The lawmaker has proposed a $120-billion budget for the coming fiscal year - the same total as Spitzer's - but which adds a staggering $3 billion in outlays to the governor's plan.
How does he do it?
Simple: He just pretends that the extra spending isn't there.
Memo to Bruno's budgeteers: Spending plans comprise two basic lines - that which comes in (known as revenues) and that which goes out (called expenses).
Traditionally, those lines are identical. And, happily, Spitzer appears to be a budgetary traditionalist.
Which is why he had earlier hinted that Ken Lay could've learned something from the august Senate leader.
"To say it's Enron accounting is to be unfair to Enron," Spitzer said. "These guys just simply took entire pieces of expenditure and said, 'Oh, you know what? It's big, we won't count it.' There's no way that their numbers would stand even minimal scrutiny."
So why would Bruno want to hide more than $3 billion in new spending?
Because if he didn't, his budget would be seen as more profligate than any plan anyone has yet proposed - or, practically speaking, imagined.
Making Bruno and his Senate Republicans the most liberal - that is to say, reckless - spenders in state history.
Spitzer already is proposing to burn through $120.6 billion next year.
That's a whopping 9 percent increase over last year. Thomas DiNapoli, the new state comptroller, calls that growth "unsustainable" - "almost two times faster than revenues" and "21/2 times the rate of inflation."
Bruno clearly believes the GOP's days as the majority party in the Senate are numbered.
So he's beat a hasty path to the left by restoring much of Spitzer's $1.3 billion slowdown in spending for the "health care" cartel, adding to the gov's healthy boosts in school spending and even throwing billions more to taxpayers in the form of rebate checks.
Yet, using Bruno's budgeting tricks, it's all free money.
His bottom line magically remains the same as Spitzer's.
It's time to end government by Ouija board.
If Spitzer is going to put a stop to it, he has to get tough - just like yesterday,
And, as we suspect (and hope), he will again and again - as many times as it takes to get the message across.
Kick butt, governor.
They have it coming.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Let's go for a blog.........

Bruno tells the world he is as old as dirt and is not afraid of anyone......Spitzer’s Dis (Updated) .........".Bruno said Spitzer “robs Peter to pay Paul, puts one county against another county, and that is plain wrong.” He declined Dicker’s invitation to debate the governor on the radio, saying Spitzer’s ratings “are slipping already, and I do not want to be a party to him slipping anymore.”
When Dicker suggested Bruno is “afraid” of Spitzer, the majority leader replied:
“Fred, you know that I am not afraid of anything. I’m too old to be afraid. I’ve lived too long to be afraid. People don’t run me over with steamrollers. I am who I am. I’m going to be 78 years old next year (sic). I haven’t been run over yet. I haven’t been knocked n my ass yet, and I am not going to be by this guy or anybody else.”........acutally 78 next month.....maybe Bruno is getting a bit confused??? things escalated when "Gov. Eliot Spitzer did not invite him(Bruno) into the governor’s office to a pre-press conference meeting with the family of a White Plains woman murdered by a Level 3 sex offender.
Bruno was stuck waiting with reporters in the Red Room for the official event, at which Spitzer signed civil confinement legislation into law, as other lawmakers met with the sons, uncle, parents, nieces and nephews of Connie Russo-Carriero. Sources said Bruno was left out in the cold in part due to comments he made this morning on WROW-AM 590" meanwhile
Senate Confirms 3 Spitzer Appointees
Diana Jones Ritter, commissioner of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
Michael F. Hogan, commissioner of Mental Health.
David J. Swarts, commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

and Governor Spitzer has some more harsh words for Bruno's State Senate ....“Yesterday, I talked about their profilgacy, which is simply stunning in its scale,” Spitzer said. “…Further analysis that not only is the Senate’s proposal profligate and ruinous, it is Colossally Misdirected" "The Senate majority would not only drive spending to unsunstainable levels, they would wrongly eliminate every patient-centered program in this budget.” .......and Newsday throws us a few political morsels with Bruno Probe Update (or Rerun)? "Turns out Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno has used campaign funds for lawyers in the probe of his business affairs, putting his troubles again in the spotlight. He told reporters Tuesday that there is nothing new to report on the probe."
But here's the UPDATE: Mark Hansen of Bruno's office shows a story in the Albany Times Union three months ago that reported the payout -- demonstrating that there really is "nothing new here." .......yawnnnn and
Spitz-ing Distance of an Endorsement "Eliot Spitzer came within a hair of saying he'd endorse Hillary Clinton today on an Albany radio show today, hinting that he was only waiting for the best time and place to sign up.
"I don't want to act precipitously or without having arranged what I'm going to say with the appropriate folks," he said. "I'll talk to Hillary and talk to folks and see how things are moving from their perspective and see what they want, what their desires are." .....I guess a public Spitzer endorsement of Hillary at Denny's is out of the question now ..........and
Gay Marriage Postponed? "The same-sex marriage bill is unlikely to be acted on this year, reports Gershman in The Sun.
Spitzer had earlier signalled it would not be his top priority." yeah...I think Eliot has a few other things on his plate right about now....geeeeeeez.....and finally the NY Times Empire Zone gives us
Trouble with the Senecas The Empire Zone read with interest the story in the Buffalo News "this morning about the protest rally held by the Seneca Nation at which Gov. Eliot Spitzer was branded “an agent of satan” and compared to Adolph Hitler. All this because the governor wants the Indian nation to start collecting taxes on cigarette sales to non-Indians, an issue that has been a point of contention for many years and led to violent protests in the past. Officials from the Seneca Nation and the governor met last week to try to iron out their differences, but the governor has said the taxes should be collected and has already included nearly $200 million in projected revenue from such collections in his budget. The Senecas say the governor indicated during his campaign that he would allow them to regulate themselves, but a spokesman for the governor told the Buffalo News that no such deal was struck.
“We feel the governor has gone back on his word,” Maurice A. John, the president of the Seneca Nation, said, adding, “we are not going to be tax collectors for New York State.” Can't you just here the steamroller engines revving up in the distance......maybe it is time they give up unhealthy cigarettes and stick to running that is a plan....huh??? andy

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