The Legislative Gazette February 9, 2010 Page 25
But 49 Democrats are in districts that of establishment-endorsed Republicans, “Something’s happening out there,” said
Republican presidential candidate John casting them as too moderate for the party former House Speaker Newt Gingrich,
McCain won in 2008. And many are and too cozy with Washington. In other the galvanizing Republican who helped
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freshmen who rode into power on races, Republican candidates are dropping unite the GOP that year when it swept
“Every state is now in play,” California Obama’s coattails in an election that saw out to run as third party candidates who to power in Congress on President Bill
Sen. Barbara Boxer said one day after a voting surge by minorities and youths. could siphon votes from the eventual Clinton’s watch. “The economy hurts.
the Massachusetts election. It was a frank Obama won’t be on the ballot this time, GOP nominee. People are unhappy.”
recognition that no Democrat is safe — and he has a poor track record so far To understand why incumbents are He put at even the chances that
not even a three-term liberal with bunches when it comes to turning out his 2008 nervous, look no further than the persistent Republicans will take the House, though
of money in a solidly Democratic state. backers for fellow Democrats. 10 percent unemployment rate, the country’s he predicted they would gain only up to
Not coincidentally, when Obama had Possible bellwethers: A GOP wave bitterness over Wall Street bailouts and six Senate seats.
a televised question-and-answer session could be in the offing if Democrats like voters’ anti-Washington fervor. Compared with 1994, he said: “Democrats
with Democrats last Wednesday, the John Salazar in Colorado, Zack Space in Obama’s party, controlling both the are more isolated ideologically with a much
senators given prominent face time Ohio, John Spratt in South Carolina or White House and Congress, is likely to bigger economic problem.” Conversely, he
included Boxer, Reid, Bayh, Bennet, Ben Chandler in Kentucky are in close feel that fury the most. And it’s defending said, the GOP’s brand is weaker and it
Lincoln, Gillibrand and Specter. races this fall. far more seats than the Republicans. doesn’t have enough money.
“It would be surprising if Democrats House Republicans have their own The Democrats already have faced one Indeed, Republicans dramatically trail
lost power,” says former Sen. Bob challenges. monumental setback this year, the GOP Democrats in fundraising. They also lack
Graham, D-Fla. “But anything in politics In more than 50 districts, divisive Senate victory in the Democratic bastion a charismatic leader to rally around and
is possible. And if the economy’s still in GOP primaries are certain to drain bank of Massachusetts. That outcome further are enmeshed in a bitter debate over their
the tank 60 days out of the election, it’s accounts and force Republicans into taking energized Republicans and demoralized party’s future. And, like their Democratic
going to be difficult for Democrats.” positions that could be troublesome come Democrats. It also fueled hope among counterparts, GOP incumbents face an
In the House, Democrats hold a the general election. In many cases, “tea Republicans and fear among at least some electorate inclined to topple lawmakers
256-178 advantage with one vacancy. party” candidates are running to the right Democrats that another 1994 may be ahead. of all political stripes.
“If we find out [superintendents] are not small. “The vacancy is temporary,” Kriss “If something happens, they are the
paying enough, then they should pay explained. “If we didn’t put money into responsible party.”
more.” Klein said he wants the houses to [the house], it would fall.” Klein disagreed, saying that it is an
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be included in the benefits, but he wants Kriss said the last time one of these outdated idea dating back to the 1800s.
utilities. “It may be included in the rent,” them to be paying closer to market rate. homes was built was about 40 years “This isn’t 1810, it’s 2010,” he said. “It’s
Kriss said, “but some pay out of their Some houses were built during the ago, and some of the older ones, such an arcane practice and it needs to end.”
own pocket.” 1800s, with a majority of them built next as the one at Sing Sing in Ossining, Savino said that the situations in prisons
A report published by NYSCOPBA to the state’s older prisons. “How do you Westchester County, were built by now are much different then they were in
indicated there are six houses paid for by put a value on a house in Auburn built inmates. At some of the prisons, inmates, the 19th century. “They certainly have
the state for superintendents in addition centuries ago?” Kriss asked, explaining in the past, had been responsible for enough security to handle a situation,” she
to their salaries. According to the report, it could be difficult to sell a house that providing maintenance, such as painting said. “What’s [the superintendent] going
the rent is taken directly out of the is located next to a correctional facility. and mowing lawns. Prison maintenance to do, stop a riot? Their responsibility is
superintendents’’ paychecks. “The market value is not the same as a staff has also been called on to do work to administer a response.”
The NYSCOPBA report showed house 12 miles down the road.” at the superintendents’ homes if repairs Klein and Savino are currently
the Clinton Correctional Facility But Savino countered that “there have are needed, he said. preparing a Freedom of Information
Superintendent receives an annual salary been entire communities built around The houses, which are located Law request for documents showing
of $153,000 and has $205 deducted prisons in New York, because it is the next to or near correctional facilities how many homes there are, which ones
bi-weekly from his paycheck to pay largest job provider in the area.” but not within the prison gates, are are provided to superintendents for free
for his 15-room house. Both Klein and A total of five houses are currently provided to the superintendents and the value of the properties.
Savino said the residents of these homes vacant as a result of retirements or a allowing them to be readily available “We’re trying to find every penny
should be paying more. superintendent transferring to another to attend to an emergency situation at in state government,” Savino said.
“I want to know how many of these prison. While the house is empty, the a prison. “They’re on call 24 hours a “All we are asking is to re-examine
homes are in New York,” said Klein. heat is kept on for a price Kriss said is day, seven days a week,” said Kriss. this policy.”
MTA tax is in violation of the state businesses do not use the railroad, and many taxes on already overburdened New
Constitution, a stay against further more importantly, this has affected our Yorkers,” he said. “Senate Democrats are
collection of all taxes and fees, and “any municipalities.” reviewing all taxes as well as ways in
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other relief the court deems just, proper “My constituents are outraged,” said which we can continue to support the
license is valid. The law also imposed a and equitable.” Assemblyman Marcus Molinaro, R-Red vital programs New Yorkers rely on
supplement fee for people in the district MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said Hook. “The bailout unfortunately did and return our state to responsible fiscal
who are registering or renewing their “MTA believes the lawsuit to be without not include any real public dialogue practices and budgeting.”
vehicle registrations. merit and is vigorously defending the and there was limited transparency, and “Our main goal is to annul the MTA
The sixth cause of action in the suit action.” then beyond that we feel the burden was payroll tax, and force a better solution
claims the law violates the New York “It is the largest issue in the two counties disproportionately placed on the people rather than continue to give money to a rat
Public Authorities Law, which mandates I represent. Something has to happen; it is of the Hudson Valley and Long Island,” hole,” said Schoolman. “MTA is the best
the MTA to be self-sustaining. affecting our schools, our business and our Molinaro said “Dutchess County pays example of New York state government
The legislation’s justification states taxpayers,” said Assemblywoman Nancy $100 million in taxes for the MTA, and in at its absolute worse. Enough is enough.
these taxes were imposed to create a Calhoun, R-Blooming Grove. “It is not return we receive limited service. Whether We are prepared to go all the way.”
fund to help the MTA reduce its $1.8 fair that the whole Legislature votes on or not the enactment of this law was In addition to the MTA, other defendants
billion deficit: “This bill would establish something that happens only in certain constitutional, the people in Long Island, named in the suit are: Gov. David A.
new secure sources of funding for the districts.” Hudson Valley and in the city are being Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,
Metropolitan Transportation Authority “More power to him,” said Long forced to pay more taxes without real D-Manhattan, Senate President Malcolm
and its affiliates and subsidiaries …” Island Assemblyman James Conte, accountability from the MTA, which is the A. Smith, D-St. Albans, Comptroller
Schoolman assured many business R-Huntington Station, referring to most inefficient institution in the world.” Thomas DiNapoli, MTA Commissioner
owners feel the same way about this law Schoolman’s lawsuit. “The MTA to me in Travis Proulx, Senate majority Jay H. Walder, and the state Department of
and are not pleased they are responsible for good faith did not show any meaningful conference spokesman, spoke about why Taxation and Finance.
reducing the MTA’s deficit, especially in reform in the way they do business. They the tax was implemented by Democrats Silver’s office deferred comment to the
those counties where their employees don’t said these taxes would stop them from in the first place. “The reality is that the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office,
use the MTA as a form of transportation. making cuts, but we have found out they Senate Republicans employed a bought- which would not provide a comment for
The suit asks the court to declare the are making drastic cuts. All the small and-spent fiscal policy that has resulted in this story either.
“Unfortunately, the budget news that But, along with DiNapoli, lawmakers need to grow by 37 percent over last
I have been reading about concerns remained skeptical Wednesday about year.”
legislators who are planning to fight for Paterson’s projections. Democratic Sen. John Sampson,
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restorations, rather than real reductions Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon majority conference leader, said Senate
more than $200,000 and Medicaid costs in spending.” Silver warned that the governor’s new Democrats share Silver’s concerns.
were $400 million higher than expected. Despite the shortfall, the state is deficit estimate could still be too low. DiNapoli warned that Paterson’s
Paterson criticized members of the expected to have enough cash on hand to “The revenue projections still do not budget relies on billions of dollars from
legislature without identifying them, make it through the current fiscal year. accurately reflect the real shortfall in overly optimistic assumptions regarding
saying some are promising special Division of the Budget spokesman Matt January receipts, or realistic expectations revenue and savings.
interest groups continued funding for pet Anderson said the division provided the regarding revenues in February and “If we can’t learn from last year’s
projects. governor a fair and accurate assessment March,” Silver said in a statement. “To mistakes, we’ll be destined to repeat
“We need to take serious steps to of the budget deficit based on the most meet the governor’s new estimates, them over and over again,” DiNapoli
address this shortfall,” Paterson said. recent information available. revenues in February and March would said in a statement.
immigration bill that makes felons out Ford’s possible Senate run when he was We respect the views of those who do not
of the undocumented — subjecting more originally invited to speak at the dinner. agree with him but there are many others
immigrants to deportation,” said Hong. “America is a great democracy; everyone that want to hear him speak,” Perry told The
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The bill passed in the U.S. House of who has an opinion is free to state that opinion. Legislative Gazette.
after bill sponsor, U.S. Sen. James Representatives but did not pass in the The [Association of Black and Puerto Rican A call to Ford’s spokesman, David
Sensenbrenner, R- Wisc. Senate and was never signed into law. Legislators] does not engage in political Goldin, for a comment on the coalition’s
“It is the most extreme anti- Perry has admitted he was unaware of endorsements or support candidates’ positions. letter to Perry was not returned.
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