A taxing time for the GOP
Republican State Sen. Phil Boyle is co-sponsoring a bill to raise the state’s income tax on high earners.
It appears to be a one-off deviation in the natural order of things, as attempts by The Point to confirm the sun now rises in the west bore no fruit.
And in truth, Bay Shore’s Boyle does not plan to support this new millionaire tax beyond the current fiscal crisis.
—Lane Filler @lanefiller
Hundreds of LI poll sites to go dark on Tuesday
Hundreds of regular polling sites across Long Island will be closed for the June 23 primary, county elections officials told The Point Thursday.
Normally, Nassau County would have 360 open polling places for the primary, but that will be consolidated to 223.
In Suffolk, the 335 traditional sites will be slashed to 122.
The reason? “Combination of available pollsites, pollworkers who were available to work, as well as the number of ballot marking devices,” Nassau Democratic elections commissioner James P. Scheuerman said in a text, noting that more workers and equipment were needed to handle two separate ballots — many voters will have a presidential primary ballot plus a state and federal one.
Suffolk Republican elections commissioner Nicholas LaLota pointed to a similar staffing issue during a pandemic. Most election days, he said, Suffolk employs about 5,000 temporary employees who work the polling places. This time only about 2,000 inspectors confirmed they could work on Tuesday.
“The majority of those who aren’t working have cited concerns relating to COVID,” he wrote in a text.
That may not be surprising given that many people who work election days tend to be in the older age groups more endangered by the coronavirus.
Thousands of Long Islanders will be affected by the closures. Around 25% of the Nassau voters eligible to vote in Tuesday contests will have a different polling site, said Scheuerman. In Suffolk, it’s about half, LaLota said.
Both counties said voters affected by the closures are receiving information about their poll change by mail.
The Point asked the commissioners whether the changes portend long lines to vote on Tuesday, particularly dicey during a public health crisis.
Both suggested the number of voters at the ballot box on Tuesday will be reduced by widespread absentee ballot requests and early voting — which, by the way, continues through Sunday.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
A larger issue at hand
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Cuomo knocks feds on virus control
Even as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo winds down his daily coronavirus briefings, with the last one scheduled for Friday, he’s not holding back from harsh, pointed criticism — particularly of the federal government — in other forums.
In an interview to be broadcast Sunday, Cuomo doesn’t mince words as he critiques the federal government during a conversation with “CBS Sunday Morning” anchor Jane Pauley, according to an advance news release from CBS News. Calling the coronavirus pandemic a “federal crisis, a national crisis,” Cuomo uses the term “schizophrenia” to assess the federal response, noting that at some points, federal officials would help “when pushed,” and at others, they wouldn’t, especially when it was “politically detrimental” to them.
Cuomo also assails the reopening strategy when not done “intelligently,” and instead done “politically.”
“That was the mistake,” he tells Pauley, according to CBS News.
Cuomo has often used his bully pulpit as an opportunity to criticize the federal response and President Donald Trump, and has used his national profile to fight for New York’s needs, even going as far as heading to the White House for a meeting last month.
Perhaps the national appearance coming so soon after the end of the briefing schedule is a sign that the Andrew Cuomo show won’t be leaving the air anytime soon.
—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall