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Can GOP and NIFA get along?

NIFA chairman Adam Barsky.

NIFA chairman Adam Barsky.   Credit: Jeffrey Basinger

Daily Point

Election effects surface in Nassau

As soon as the results of Tuesday’s election began to solidify, it was clear there would be changes in Nassau County. One of the first visible signs was the cancellation of Tuesday’s planned meeting of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.

The highest-profile piece of business at that meeting would have been approving the county budget the legislature finalized last Monday. But NIFA members want to understand how much revenue will come in before they vote, and will try to get some clarity before they do.

The meeting was canceled mostly because there is a concern that the Republican majority, newly empowered by the election results, will again try to override Democratic County Executive Laura Curran’s veto of Republican fee cuts. The cuts, on fees on traffic citations and real estate documents, would cost $140 million annually, according to Curran.

Last Monday the overrides failed 11-8, along party lines, but that was before Tuesday’s red wave. The Republicans are likely to pick up one seat and could even gain two, and a supermajority. The new legislature would be sworn in at the start of 2022.

NIFA chairman Adam Barsky pointed to the 2009 election, in which Edward Mangano beat Tom Suozzi and then, as soon as he took office, stripped Suozzi’s $40 million annual energy tax out of the 2010 budget as a historical justification for concern.

"We need to hear from the legislature and Bruce Blakeman and see what they plan to do," Barsky said.

For his part, Republican Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello told The Point he has not even thought about any such overrides and would have to discuss it with his caucus, Blakeman and NIFA.

But the potential revenue shortfall is not the only reason for the cancellation. A shortage of board members was also potentially problematic.

The board has seven seats, and one, held by banking executive John Buran, has been empty since his resignation two years ago. Another came open recently with Howard Weitzman’s death. And a third would have been vacant Tuesday because one member cannot attend.

That would have meant that all four members present would have to agree in order to get the majority of the seven-seat total necessary to reach any decision.

By the end of the year, barring a change, NIFA will not have a single board member with a current appointment. Of the five remaining members, three are serving terms that expired years ago, while the other two’s terms run out Dec. 31.

The governor has four picks, the Senate majority leader, Assembly speaker and state comptroller each have one.

But none of them, conscious of the controversy that often surrounds NIFA, is ever very eager to use those picks.

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Somos stories

One of the stories swirling out of the annual Somos conference in Puerto Rico is that Daniel Goldman, the former House Intelligence Committee lawyer, is considering a run for New York attorney general.

Three sources told The Point that Goldman, who had a highly visible role in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, had talked to people about an AG campaign and attended the festive gathering for New York Democratic powerbrokers.

Add Goldman’s name to the list of those who could be in the chase to replace AG Tish James, who hopes to topple Gov. Kathy Hochul. Other prominent Democrats said to be eyeing the AG job include Queens State Sen. Mike Gianaris, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, former candidate Zephyr Teachout and State Sen. Shelley Mayer of Yonkers, all of whom also showed up at Somos.

What Goldman could bring to the table is a powerful resume. His pointed public questioning of senior federal officials in the Ukraine probe provides anti-Trump clips ready for TV and fundraising emails. He also previously worked as an assistant U.S. attorney under Preet Bharara, whose other alumni include now-Westchester County DA Miriam Rocah and newly elected Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who Goldman said on Twitter last week he was "excited to vote for."

Goldman has experience on NBC and MSNBC and is "at ease in front of cameras," a 2019 profile in The New York Times noted, describing him as "an heir to the Levi Strauss clothing fortune" who had been "biding his time as a legal analyst on cable television, contemplating his next career move" before he signed on with House Intelligence.

Reached by The Point and asked about a potential AG run, Goldman emailed that he had "no comment at this time."

But he did confirm that he had been among the crowd at Somos, and the scene --something of a rite of passage for New York political hopefuls -- was new to him.

"Never been before," he wrote.

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

It's here

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Final Point

Take it with a big grain of SALT

In 2017 the Trump administration, in tandem with a Republican-controlled Congress, imposed an unprecedented cap on the deduction of state and local taxes from residents’ federal income tax forms.

Needless to say this change remains unpopular on Long Island -- where the local tax charges are high and where average earned incomes are higher than in many parts of the country. That’s a prime reason Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) has been pushing to make so-called SALT restoration a signature goal.

As if to jam his signals, right-wingers are using a confusing off-year TV spot to throw shade on Suozzi in his district over taxes.

A political committee led by Marc Short, former chief of staff to ex-Vice President Mike Pence, is razzing Suozzi in TV ads that can easily mislead the viewer to suggest the SALT cap was a Democratic, not GOP, tax hike.

The ad, seen on several networks in recent days, begins with a news item portraying President Joe Biden as saying Oct. 20 that the "reinstating SALT agenda is off the table." (At this point, in fact, SALT is still "on the table" in the House and Senate).

Then the ad shows Suozzi on a TV screen saying for the umpteenth time, "No SALT, no deal."

The narrator then urges the viewer to call Suozzi’s office and tell him "to keep his promise because New Yorkers already pay too much." And he adds, "Tell Suozzi to oppose the Biden-Pelosi tax agenda."

To date, that agenda has included rolling back part of the dramatic Republican drop in corporate tax rates to help fund infrastructure and other programs, which has encountered resistance from conservative Democrats in the Senate.

As reported on the political website Punchbowl News, the Coalition for American Workers, headed by Short, put up the ad through its affiliate called Building America’s Future. The ad buy on several networks, targeting Suozzi’s 3rd Congressional District, totaled $209,986 for the period Oct. 26 through Nov. 7.

The coalition’s self-description gives away the goal here. "The Coalition to Protect American Workers is here to tell Washington to get America back on track and oppose tax hikes on American businesses," proclaims its website.

In the coalition’s ad, for some reason, an image of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has resisted a complete SALT repeal, is shown over Suozzi’s shoulder.

Looks less like an "issues" ad, as it purports to be, and more like a contorted partisan ding.

— Dan Janison @Danjanison

Puzzle Point

In the news – the answers

Friday’s news quiz, based on events that took place last week, asked you to solve a series of clues whose first letters taken in order would spell out something that more than 100 countries at the climate change conference in Scotland pledged to end by 2030.

The answer was DEFORESTATION.

Click here for the answers to the clued words that provided those letters.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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