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From Suffolk to Albany
Suffolk’s Steve Bellone, a newly minted member of the board of directors of New York’s Association of County Executives, is taking his fight to preserve state and local tax deductions upstate, where the votes are.
Bellone, along with other members of the bipartisan group, held a news conference Thursday in Albany to demand that all members of New York’s congressional delegation — well, especially the four Republican members of the House of Representatives who initially supported Washington tax overhaul — vote no on the final legislation. They are Reps. Claudia Tenney, Tom Reed, John Katko and Chris Collins.
In the strange-bedfellows category, Bellone, who is a staunch supporter of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, stood next to Marcus Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor.
“We are one New York, we have to put politics aside today,” said Jason Elan, Bellone’s spokesman.
In addition to using the news conference to get the attention of the media where the four renegade upstate Republicans live, Bellone is also doing radio and television interviews. His message is that while the elimination of the state and local tax deductions on federal returns would hurt homeowners, the ripple effect of less disposable income would dramatically affect sales tax revenues that counties depend on to fund budgets.
Suburbs got mail
The Republican-controlled State Senate is starting election season very early, mailing constituent flyers in at least two key suburban districts: the 5th, represented by Carl Marcellino, and the 40th, where Terrence Murphy sits.
This is as early as outreach has ever begun for an election that is 11 months away. It suggests high anxiety for the GOP, which cannot afford to lose a seat from its fragile governing majority of 31 Republicans plus Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with Republicans.
One Marcellino flyer asks constituents to share ideas for legislation. “There ought to be a law . . .” the headline reads.
A second flyer touts Marcellino’s record on environmental issues, including support last year to pass a substantial increase to $300 million for the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.
With the Washington tax plan likely to pummel upper-middle-class suburbanites, Murphy in Westchester and Marcellino on Long Island’s Gold Coast might be particularly vulnerable to angry voters who could vent against the party right down the ballot.
Democrat James Gaughran is said to be gearing up for a 2018 rematch with Marcellino, who first won election in 1995. In 2016, Marcellino was re-elected with just 50.6 percent of the vote.
GOP Senate spokesman Scott Reif said he doesn’t know whether Marcellino would actually seek another term in 2018. But the flyers show the GOP is willing to spend money if he does.
Mayor’s trash talk
Now that Mayor Bill de Blasio has targeted the Brooklyn Nets, saying the team’s move to Brooklyn “has not been working out as it was planned,” how long will it take for him to put that other Brooklyn team in his crosshairs?
After all, the New York Islanders’ move to the Barclays Center hasn’t exactly worked out as planned, either.
De Blasio made the remark to a man in a black-and-white Nets jacket during a town hall this week. As the mayor’s comment made the rounds on social media, the Nets shot back on Twitter, “from one Brooklynite to another.”
“Like all of NYC, we’re always grinding to get better,” the Nets’ tweet said.
Will the lack of mayoral support for a team from Brooklyn be yet another reason to push the Islanders east? After all, the Islanders hope to leave Barclays and build an arena at Belmont Park — just over the Queens border.
Despite the squabble, a de Blasio spokesman said the mayor is “rooting” for the Nets, although everyone knows de Blasio’s loyalties lie in Boston; he’s a die-hard Red Sox fan.
But perhaps he’ll look at the Islanders more favorably. Unlike the Nets, the outer-borough hockey team has a winning record — and, for the moment, a better one than the rival New York Rangers.
Randi F. Marshall