Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
New Yorkers Bleed Red Ink Under Special Interest Tax Hike ProposalIt's true. Paterson's budget is not the answer and instead of figuring out how to streamline our budget and cut spending in a meaningful way, we will continue on the path we've been on for decades wasting money and increasing taxes. I await the budget analysis from our Comptroller.
Using television ads, websites and press releases, Albany's biggest spenders are pushing a plan to spend even more than the 1.7 percent increase in Governor Paterson's budget proposal - and they want to pay for it with a new tax increase in a recession economy.
Using familiar scare tactics, the spending proponents argue that the Governor's budget does not allocate enough to education and healthcare - ironically, the two areas where the state spends the most. They're calling their plan the 'Fair Share Tax Reform,' but it's really nothing more than an income tax increase.
Like you, we know that simply throwing money at the system doesn't transcend into better results.
Consider this: New York's per-capita Medicaid spending is more than double the national average; and, we have the highest per pupil education spending in the country - yielding mediocre performance scores.
New Yorkers Already Pay the Most
According to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization based in Washington, D.C., New York already has the second highest state and local tax burden in the nation and has consistently ranked first or second highest since 1977. You can find more facts about New York's excessive tax burden at:
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The NY Post is reporting that Senator-Elect Monserrate slashed his girlfriend in a jealous rage over finding another man's business card in her purse. She's trying to get the charges dropped, but they're still going through with them at the moment. Also, Malcolm Smith confirmed that he dropped by to see and show support for Monserrate when he was in jail.
Currently two Republican State Senators are trying to prevent Monserrate from taking the oath of office and serving due to the severity of the charges laid against him. The resolution was initially submitted by Senator Martin Golden (R-22) and was co-sponsored the following day by Senator Cathy Young (R-57). If the resolution passes, Monserrate would not be able to hold office until there is closure on the pending case against him.
The Working Families Party is working against the "Gang of Three," currently working to get petitions signed by Democrats in Espada and Diaz's districts in order to try to coerce them into siding with Malcolm Smith in the Senate leadership dispute. The WFP hopes that by shaming them into noticing that their district Democrats want them to support Smith, that they'll do it. From what we know of the two of them, that doesn't seem plausible.
Here's some statements on Governor Paterson's Budget by two conservative Assembly Republicans, (both profiled here at Red Albany in the past).
“This is ongoing disingenuous argument that ever statewide elected official ever makes...We’re not going to raise taxes which means we are not going to raise the income tax, but in the meantime, we are going to nickel and dime everybody to death. In the end, they are still dead. And that’s the problem, that the budget is sort of the death by a thousand cuts here...it is not a genuine discussion to success that we didn’t raise the income tax, but we got everybody else doing everything else. And that’s what this budget does.”
-Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R)
"We taxed our way into this hole; we cannot tax our way out...We have to stop digging and get our addiction to spending in line. Folks are going to have to feel the pain at all levels, but it has to be equal and there should be no tax increases."
-Assemblyman Greg Ball (R)
Monday, December 22, 2008
For the record, Monserrate ran unopposed this November for State Senate. Also, in May authorities were investigating whether an agency that Monserrate helped get hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to support illegally helped his campaign.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
There are ways to deal with budget shortfalls that don't force more New Yorkers to lose their entire paycheck paying taxes to the state. What of the citizens of New York City who rely on public transportation and taxis to get around? What of the people who want to overcome obesity (that the soda tax is supposed to be fighting)? Why penalize them as they now have to pay new gym fees? Paterson needs to reexamine this budget and, if it passes, the CPNYS and the NYGOP owe it to themselves to battle this tooth and nail. These fees and taxes are the types of things that have been driving out New Yorkers for years. Truthfully, I hope there are fiscally reasonable individuals out there who are ready to fight this and help find new ways to cut the fat/remove the fees.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
So, Paterson plans to make it easier to get access to and easier to defraud Medicaid, but plans to decrease funding as Medicaid is a part of the healthcare spending drop. It shows where the priorities are of the Governor when he wants to cut education spending while increasing the welfare rolls. Does Governor Paterson not realize that with a better education people will be able to get better jobs and therefore the welfare rolls will, in turn, decrease? I understand 100% having to make spending cuts in a bad financial crisis - but perhaps learning where cuts are most reasonable (arts, legislative salaries/pensions) and where reforms are most needed (welfare, Medicaid).
In 2009 and 2010, New Yorkers can expect higher gas, clothing, beverage prices along with increased fraud in the Medicaid system and a weakened education system that will continue the drop from recent years. Thanks Governor Paterson.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Here's a quick background check on the indicted Assemblyman, for those interested - The 73 year old Assemblyman has been in the Assembly since 1979. Prior to that, he served as an executive board member representing the Corrections Officers Benevolent Association. Since his election, Seminerio has been a pro-life advocate and has endorsed such Republicans as George Pataki and Al D'Amato for statewide office in the past, putting him at odds with some of the Assembly Democrats. Then again, his fiscal record is considered strongly liberal with glowing endorsements from liberal leaning outfits. He would have been considered a mixed bag for Republican and Conservative voters in his district. Now, being indicted for $1 million in bribes, it's a no-brainer - vote for almost anyone else.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The goal of the "Gang of Three" was to have more Latinos in leadership roles, themselves specifically. That was part of their big deal, making sure Latinos are represented in the Senate in their misguided attempt to create racial quotas in leadership. I find the whole idea of racial quotas in the leadership roles demeaning, but Senator-Elect Espada apparently disagrees.
With the three "renegade" Senators unclear about their status - it's up to Dean Skelos and Malcolm Smith to unite their respective caucuses and figure out what to do. According to insiders, two Republicans contacted Smith saying they'd consider supporting him for leader of the Senate. By the end of the week, it's predicted that Espada and company will have met with the two caucuses and made some form of decision.
New Yorkers, be prepared for an agressive legislative session filled with arguments from within both caucuses.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
"The in-coming Senate Democrat Majority talked a good game about reform, but when it came time to act, they went back to the standard Albany playbook. They cut the mother of all backroom deals to divvy up political power among themselves, anointing Senator Smith the new President Pro Tem. It looked like a bad episode of ‘Let’s Make a Deal..."Following his comments, Tedisco offers some potential reform ideas which are worth examining.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
In 1977, at 27 years old, Tedisco was elected to the Schenectady City Council, as the youngest person ever elected to that role. He was reelected four years later. In 1982, Tedisco decided to run for an open Assembly seat. Tedisco faced a four man Republican primary, and won. He went on to win the general election and has been reelected ever since. As a Freshman Assemblyman, Tedisco became the ranking Minority member of the Committee on Children and Families and Chairman of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Missing Children. He has been an advocate for missing children and has co-written a book on the topic in 1996.
His Minority leadership has been over only a few years and the Assembly minority has been pretty vocal. Opposing tax increases and helped lead the charge against Eliot Spitzer's failed attempt at granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Early this year, he led the Assembly Minority to prepare a comprehensive platform for themselves entited ReNew New York. The platform is divided into eight broader categories with specific pieces of legislation to help reform each area. I like to call it a Contract for New Yorkers As a conservative former New Yorker, I'm inspired and excited by the concept that the Assembly Republicans have put together. If the Assembly Republicans can get the people of New York to review their platform - I think they'll find some new voters.
Tedisco has been a solid voice for pragmatic conservative governance. He vocally opposed the illegal immigrant license fiasco, he publicly called for Spitzer to resign, he stood up for tax cuts and caps, and he has continuously led the charge to fight cronyism, as shown by his direction of his caucus to oppose the appointment of DiNapoli for Comptroller. Tedisco has worked for the public good for years and is becoming to the State Assembly what Newt Gingrich was to the House of Representatives.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I'm glad Skelos didn't bend to make promises he should not have in order to recapture the majority -- but this loss is going to be huge. Red Albany wishes the Democrats the best of luck at fixing the massive budget crisis that they all had a part in helping create.
School District consolidationTo be honest, Tom Suozzi was a better candidate than Eliot Spitzer in 2006. I think if he were in office, New York may be in a different place than it currently is. That said, the Commission's results are interesting and I await to see how the legislature actually copes with them.
An annual property tax increase cap
Cost evaluation requirements on any new state mandate including the economic impact at both the state and local level
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Districts Without Republican Senate Candidates: Districts 10, 13, 14, 27, 30, 32, 33, 46, and 60In 2010, this has to change.
Districts Without Republican Assembly Candidates: Districts 6, 22, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 45, 58, 66, 79, 81, 84, 87, 89, 92, 94, 95, 98, 106, 111, 125, 126, 132, 133, 140, 141, and 150.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
New Yorker's for Growth (NYFG) is dedicated to the proposition that excessive taxes and government spending are driving jobs, people, and businesses out of New York State. NYFG will support candidates for the New York State Legislature who, regardless of party, favor and vote for 1) lower taxes, 2) reduced reliance upon debt, and 3) reform of State and local government spending practices. NYFG has registered a political committee with the New York State Board of Elections in order to make financial contributions to candidates.A fiscally conservative PAC that will promote good, small government state legislative candidates and which will actually work internally as fiscal conservatives in order to make sure there's more money for the candidates. I like the sound of that. Founding members of interest? Former Assembly Minority Leader and 2006 Gubernatorial candidate John Faso and Nixon Son-in-law and 2006 potential US Senate candidate Ed Cox. If you share their vision of a more fiscally responsible New York, I suggest checking them out and looking into their candidates, I know I will.
Special-interest groups often wield a disproportionate share of political power in Albany because of their ability to finance political campaigns. NYFG seeks to level the playing field by providing financial assistance to those candidates who will stand up to special interests and favor the principle of fiscal responsibility towards all State taxpayers.
NYFG will make direct contributions to campaigns of selected candidates, and encourage its supporters to provide financial backing to these same candidates. NYFG will research candidate records and promises to ensure that its support is going to solely those candidates who support the above principles. Moreover, NYFG will keep its overhead low in order that the most funding possible is available to be directed towards all worthy candidates.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
An article caught my eye in this weekend’s Daily News about one such pol – Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio:
I paid closer attention to the parts of the above story about him running unopposed for his 16th term rather than “corrupt Democrat.” There ideally shouldn’t be any seat unopposed anywhere in this country, especially someone running for a 16th term as that stagnation is a ripe breeding ground for the corruption Seminerio is willing to plead guilty to committing.
Researching Seminerio further, it looks like we are losing a pro-life Democrat who had supported George Pataki, Rudy Giuliani, Al D’Amato, and Serphin Maltese. The last person can be included in that list of elected Republicans in New York State who are no longer in their elected positions. Maltese is a Republican State Senator in Queens who was a founding member of the Conservative Party of NY and on the National Board of the ACU which organizes the CPAC and provides the ratings to help us keep tabs on our elected officials’ voting records. Maltese just lost reelection this past month and he’s also 76 so he is unlikely he will run again, although we can hope.
One of the reasons Serphin Maltese was able to retain his seat for so long is because a conservative Democrat like Seminerio helped to rally his constituents to vote for a conservative Republican like Maltese in an overwhelmingly Democratic area. Unfortunately, “overwhelmingly Democratic area” is becoming an apt way to describe more and more of New York. The Daily News wrote an article in September when Seminerio was first arrested and how an association with him could hurt a close ally like Maltese in a tight race with the eventual victor Democrat Joseph Addabbo Jr. – son of the Congressman. This race shifted the power in the New York State Senate from the Republicans to the Democrats for the upcoming session.
Had the Republicans put up someone for the Assembly they likely would have won that seat as Senator Maltese went down with the ship with Seminerio. Instead, we lose a Republican Senator and now we’ll have to wait and see who will replace the relatively conservative Assemblyman.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
If there are those of you out there who wish to see a Red Albany, post below and leave me an email address. I'm looking for more people who are dedicated to post at a minimum weekly here at Red Albany. The more who are ready to help increase awareness of State Legislative candidates and incumbents; and help keep the current legislature honest, the merrier.
Fois points out that Mondello is blaming the electorate, saying they were duped. But Fois is quick to point out that the NYS GOP did not do their job effectively. They have not been effective Republicans, they haven't been legislating like Republicans, and they haven't been acting like those who believe in limited government. Fois' point is really hit home when he says,
Joe Mondello could start with Dean Skelos, advising the outgoing Republican State Senate Majority Leader to start considering the plight of property owners first and the not become so infatuated with the teachers union. Mondello wants to know why the Republicans lost. He should look at his own county -- where the fiscal reformer is a Democrat. Tom Suozzi wins and he succeeds as a conservative, not as a liberal or an establishment player.How true it is. Real fiscal conservatism can win in New York. Republicans need to realize that and get ready to buck up. Let's hope the Greg Ball's and Marc Molinaro's take back the reigns of the party to get them back on track.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
In 2006, the 103rd Assembly District was represented by Pat Manning. In 2006, Manning had decided to run for Governor of New York. He had surged amongst conservatives who viewed him as one of their own. Standing at nearly seven feet tall, Manning was an imposing figure. He ran on a platform of family values and traditional conservatism. What conservatives throughout New York didn't know, was that Manning had been carrying on an affair on his wife for years with an aide. When the details of his divorve became very public, Manning dropped out of the race for Governor and went back to the 103rd Assembly District hoping that he could run for reelection. It was too late, though, because Mr. Molinaro had already stepped up to the plate.
Molinaro primaried Manning for the Republican line, he had already received the Conservative Party line. During the campaign the incumbent showed his true colors -- trying to impersonate Molinaro in order to steal the results for internal polling that Molinaro had paid for. Manning failed at pretending to be Molinaro on the phone and Molinaro just released the results. Manning was losing.
Molinaro beat Manning in the primary and won the general election. He won reelection in 2008 with the endorsement of every major third party.
Since serving in the Assembly, Molinaro has been a consistent opponent of wasteful and excessive spending. He received a 64% from the Conservative Party of New York in 2007 and joins Assemblyman Greg Ball with an F for New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, a generally left leaning group in support of gun control legislation. Molinaro and Ball represent what's right amongst the grassroots of the Republican Party. Molinaro especially represents the type of conservatism that is appealing in New York.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
If this marks the beginning of the next term, then we're off to a seriously shakey start. I hope that the taxpayers didn't foot the bill for all these trips back and forth to Albany.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Espada's views are varied and it will be interesting to see where he ends up. It could be one more vote for Republican leadership and potentially, a voice of support on certain fiscal issues. Then again, which Pedro Espada will be seen in this coming legislative session? The 2002 Espada who stood by Joe Bruno and wanted to be a Republican, the former member of the New Alliance Party supporting a "more progressive agenda," or the guy who just outdid the Democratic incumbent on his own line. Time will tell.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Prior to 2006, for 12 years, the 99th Assembly District was represented by Willis Stephens. Stephens was one of three Republicans in the State Assembly who had been consistently endorsed by Planned Parenthood. Stephens was a generational name in the district, his father and grandfather had held the seat before him for a combined total of 68 years. Stephens was "entitled" to the seat and served when elected following his father's retirement in 1994. He was constantly endorsed by traditionally liberal leaning outfits such as AFL-CIO, Environmental Advocates of New York, CSEA, and NYSUT. During his time in office, he was cited for using campaign money for personal expenses such as a clown for a child's party. In 2005, Stephens inadvertently showed the local community what he thought of them by sending out an email message to an email discussion group saying that people of his hometown of Brewster were "pontificating idiots." Enter 29 year old Greg Ball in 2006.
Greg Ball is a retired Air Force Captain, he left active duty in January 2005 and remains a member of the Air Force Reserves. He was then hired by Exceed International, an international development corporation. Through his work there, he was elevated to Vice President of Exceed's Northeastern United States within a year. In 2006, Exceed proposed a $75 million urban renewal project for the village of Brewster, within the 99th Assembly District that should, when completed, generate some $2 million annually in tax revenue for the community. With his business and military experience behind him, Ball decided to primary Stephens. In early 2005, he declared his candidacy. He ran an unorthodox campaign -- when Stephens refused to debate him, he hired a guy in a chicken suit to show up at events; when it came out that Stephens had received shady donations from an indicted trashman/reported mob boss, Ball brought trash bags to campaign events to emphasize it; when illegal immigration was being discussed across the country, Ball brought it up locally and showed that it was happening here in New York. Ball's campaign won the hearts of the district and he defeated Stephens 70% to 30%. Stephens retained ballot access on the Conservative and Independence Party lines, but declined to campaign in the fall -- instead running for a Judgeship at the last minute. After Ball's insurgent campaign, he won in 2006 with 50.8% of the vote.
Ball campaigned on reform and traditional conservative principles. He's kept to that since being in office. He wrote the New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act which would have created an inflation-indexed cap on spending and school/property tax increases. He has proposed caps on the state sales tax on gasoline. He has supported gun rights and opposed firearm microstamping in New York. On immigration, Ball pushed the New York State Criminal Illegal Alien Deportation and Legal Hiring Act which would have authorized police to detain and start the deportation process for illegal immigrants caught committing a crime immediately. In terms of the environment, Ball is a bit of an environmentalist at heart, and has vowed to create lesiglation providing tax credits for using alternative sources of energy. He has supported Greasestock, a privately run alternative energy exposition held in Yorktown Heights, NY. He has attended since being in office.
For reelection in 2008, he faced former Brewster Mayor John Degnan. Degnan is a Republican who enjoyed also running on the Democratic Party line. He did so for Mayor of Brewster and he did so when he challenged Ball. He primaried Ball on the Republican line while retaining the Democratic Party line as well. In September 2008, a 60 year old former staff member accused Ball of sexual harassment in a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. A panel determined in October that no sexual harassment had taken place and that the charges were fabricated. It was also discovered that the accuser may have had connections to Ball's opponent, Degnan. Ball won reelection by a wider margin.
Ball is an up and comer in the Republican Party of New York. His drive and devotion to reform makes him the epitome of what the Republican Party needs to be in the future; and reminds us of what it was in the early 90s under Gingrich's House of Representatives. Ball's campaign as a reform Republican should serve as a model to other Republicans, reminding them of how we can win in this state.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I work in the healthcare industry in NY and my boss remarked to me that 25% of New York State's population is on MedicAID. I captialized the last three letters to emphasize: that's the poor one, not the old people one.
So I went to google the stat and I found this NCPA study from 2006. I couldn't even get past the Executive Summary on the first page it was so disheartening.
Here are some highlights (actually lowlights); I bolded the NY politicians' responsibilities:
New York's Medicaid program is especially costly. New York has less than 7 percent of the U.S. population, but spends about 14 percent of the nation's Medicaid dollars. In 2004, the latest year for which complete data is available:
- New York spent $10,349 per enrollee, compared to the nationwide average of $6,834. Only New Hampshire spent more.
- New York Medicaid spent about $2,165 for each state resident (more than any other state) and almost two-and-one-half times the national average.
Why Is New York's Medicaid Program so Costly? Higher living costs do not account for the high Medicaid spending in New York. The state spends more because of policies that encourage higher spending and discourage cost control. Other states share some of these same problems, but none have such a wide array of perverse incentives. Specifically:
- Unlike most other states, New York offers coverage to virtually all optional populations, and covers almost all optional services.
- New York pays physicians less than almost any other state, even though physician therapies are often more cost effective than hospital therapies.
- In contrast to its treatment of physicians, New York pays hospitals generously; whereas in most states Medicaid pays the lowest hospital fees of any payer, in New York Medicaid pays the highest fees of any payer — including private insurers.
- New York does not use smart buying techniques, such as selective contracting with providers, to reduce costs.
- New York spends more than any other state on drugs and pays some of the highest drug prices of any state; the state imposes few restrictions on doctors who prescribe the most expensive drugs, when lower-cost alternatives are often just as effective.
- The political incentives to spend are greater since the New York legislature bears only a fraction of the cost (less than almost any other state); for every dollar the state spends, it can confer $4 of benefits.
- New York does not aggressively pursue fraud — even failing to spend a substantial portion of the federal funding available for antifraud efforts; in
2004, only 37 cases of suspected fraud were uncovered.
- New York's insurance regulations raise the cost of private insurance, and make (free) Medicaid coverage more attractive.
- If New York Medicaid were as efficient as the average state program, it could spend billions of dollars less to achieve the same health outcomes, and would have billions of dollars each year to fund tax cuts or other spending programs.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This year, Bruno resigned leading to the ascenion of the 9th District State Senator, Dean Skelos as acting Lieutenant Governor and Senate Majority Leader. With the defeat of too many Republicans in the State Senate, Dean Skelos, is responsible for leading the Republicans out of the wilderness in order to retake the missing Senate seats and the upper chamber in the process. His agenda and how he works in the coming year will define whether or not the GOP will be able to reclaim anything in 2010. Senator Skelos, we await your next move.