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The state of congestion pricing
Even after unveiling more than 20 proposals on everything from the environment to school lunch to the New York Islanders’ future home over the last several weeks, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo may be leaving room for a few surprises in Wednesday’s State of the State address.
The biggest unknown?
None of Cuomo’s State of the State preview events have mentioned congestion pricing, a plan to reduce traffic and increase public transit revenue through additional tolling. The governor initially backed the concept last summer, and in October formed an advisory panel called Fix NYC that worked right up to Christmas to develop potential strategies, multiple members of the committee told The Point.
Among the ideas that got more support and might end up in Cuomo’s plan: a surcharge on for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft, and, potentially, a fee to enter midtown Manhattan, one member of the panel told The Point.
But even those committee members weren’t certain what would end up in the State of the State.
Either Cuomo is waiting to add drama to his big reveal, or he still can’t find the right route to navigate this politically perilous issue.
Randi F. Marshall
The GOP and the governor’s race
Either Scarsdale Republican Harry Wilson just now realized he has four daughters and a wife, or he just now recognized that a 2018 gubernatorial bid would be 99 percent downside.
Wilson officially announced Monday that he would not run, and GOP state chairman Ed Cox said he understood Wilson’s reasoning that he did not want to make the family sacrifices needed to campaign. Wilson’s daughters are ages 9 through 16.
But it’s not Wilson’s family situation that has changed since he started making noise about running several years ago. And he had the same four daughters when he ran for state comptroller in 2010.
The problem is the race itself.
First of all, do you campaign against President Donald Trump, who is popular upstate and in some suburban quarters with the GOP and independents but is despised by some other Republicans?
Being anti-Trump is a problem against upstate Republican honcho Carl Paladino, who was the GOP nominee against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo eight years ago, got shellacked, and is making serious noise about another run. Paladino, recently booted from the Buffalo school board for revealing confidential information about collective bargaining negotiations with the city’s teachers union, is legendary for the horrible things he says and emails about gay people and minorities. He has even less of a path against Cuomo than he had in 2010. But he’s been a big advocate for Trump and is fairly popular with Republicans in his neck of the woods, and that’s one neck that matters a lot in statewide GOP primaries.
Cuomo has $26 million for his run, and the race is shaping up as part of an election year that may trend heavily Democratic. What Wilson could have brought to the race was his own cash, his track record in the private sector and the boast that his losing effort in 2010 still brought him more votes than any statewide GOP candidate in the past 15 years, including Paladino.
But with Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb already in the race and reportedly serious, along with Paladino and several other GOP heavyweights who are mulling runs, Wilson would have had to engage in a brutal primary just for the opportunity to try to out-surf Cuomo’s Democratic wave.
And that’s just not smart business.
Good luck kid
- So the two biggest and most politically connected property tax appeal firms in Nassau County got the biggest assessment reductions for their clients, got paid the biggest fees and made some of the biggest campaign contributions to elected officials. Anyone see a pattern?
- Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and 19 other people were convicted in Egyptian court of insulting the judiciary. Clearly, that’s not a crime in America.
- President Donald Trump is tweeting support for protesters in Iran, referring to the “great Iranian people” being “hungry for food and freedom.” But his travel bans won’t give U.S. visas to most Iranians seeking those things in America. Disconnect?
- Officials in Puerto Rico have said power generation is up to 70 percent of pre-Hurricane Maria levels. Then they admitted that power only reaches 55 percent of customers. Oh, that pesky new math.
- Asked by Newsday whether he was concerned about a 21 percent increase in his village’s payroll, Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino said, “Why should I be?” Village taxpayers probably have an answer.
- To the news that Ringo Starr is joining Paul McCartney as a knighted Beatle, we can only say: Sir Ringo, Sir Real.
- The current top 10 grossing movies tell a story of our times: “Ferdinand” and “Coco” sit at the kitchen table as “Father Figures” out what the family’s taxes are going to be and starts “Downsizing.” It’s their “Darkest Hour,” as many Americans look for “The Last Jedi” with a “Pitch Perfect” delivery to save the country from “The Greatest Showman” who has “All the Money in the World.” “Welcome to the “Jungle.”