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BDB sits down with DJT
During the presidential campaign, Mayor Bill de Blasio likened a Donald Trump debate response to that of a “Third World dictator.” Trump had previously called de Blasio the “worst Mayor in the U.S.” on Twitter.
On Wednesday morning, they met at Trump Tower for a chat.
The 62-minute conversation was “candid” and “substantive,” de Blasio repeated multiple times. He said he “raised a number of questions” about regulation of Wall Street and taxation, immigration and police-community relations. Presumably, that was the substantive part.
Mostly, de Blasio said he wanted Trump to hear “how much fear there is” among New Yorkers. He promised to be “open minded” about Trump’s presidency, but also “vigilant.”
Things may get trickier if actual Trump policies bother de Blasio’s constituents as much as Trump’s rhetoric — not just deregulation and deportation policy, but cutting federal funding for housing and prevention of homelessness, for example.
De Blasio presented the interaction as a successful and statesmanlike encounter on his part as the prime defender of New York values. “The ball’s in his court,” de Blasio said.
Where our State Senate delegation stands on pay raises
Now that a state commission has nixed a pay raise for legislators, citing the refusal by lawmakers to accept Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to link the hike to a ban or limit on outside income, it seems this mess will be resolved only by both parties engaging in yet another round of Albany’s favorite dance — the legislative-gubernatorial tango.
The key, as usual, will be the State Senate, which has been the strongest opposition to capping outside income. But that opposition is not monolithic, according to what Long Island’s senators told the editorial board in their pre-election endorsement interviews.
Here’s Long Island’s dance card:
- Ken LaValle (R, 1st District): Would consider an increase in salary combined with a cap on outside income of 15 percent of that salary, the same model Congress has.
- John Flanagan (R, 2nd): No ban or limit on outside income.
- Tom Croci (R, 3rd): Yes on a salary increase and either a ban or limit on outside income, but only if combined with a state spending cap and term limits.
- Phil Boyle (R, 4th): Yes on a pay increase combined with a 15 percent limit.
- Carl Marcellino (R, 5th): Said a ban on outside income would be no problem for him.
- Kemp Hannon (R, 6th): Could vote for a raise and for a 15 percent cap.
- Elaine Phillips (R, 7th, won open seat): Opposes both a raise and any limit on outside income.
- Michael Venditto or John Brooks (8th, Venditto is the Republican incumbent, Brooks the Democratic challenger; race too close to call): Venditto is open to a 15 percent limit, Brooks would ban outside income.
- Todd Kaminksy (D, 9th): Supports ban on outside income.
The Obama legacy
NIFA: Make Nassau’s budget balanced again
The Nassau Interim Finance Authority saved the county’s Republican legislative majority some time and trouble on Wednesday. NIFA rejected the majority’s plan to cut $38 million in revenue from County Executive Edward Mangano’s proposed $105 traffic and parking ticket fee and instead raise the money via … well, magical thinking.
Mangano had included $66 million in his budget from those fees. The legislature’s Republicans, led by Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves, said on Tuesday they would cut the fee to $55 and vote on Monday to replace the revenue by allowing businesses to make partial “amnesty” payments on penalties owed by business owners who haven’t complied with a county law requiring them to provide certain financial information. A challenge to that law isn’t expected to be heard by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court until next year, and the likelihood of anyone paying any penalties before it’s adjudicated is farcical.
A letter from NIFA chairman Adam Barsky to legislative leaders, as well as to Mangano and County Comptroller George Maragos, says the money “from the Income and Expense Law Amnesty program is unlikely to be realized in FY 2017.”
Barsky goes on to state that NIFA will reject any budget that relies on that money, send the spending plan back for “speedy modification,” and, if necessary, impose a budget that removes at least $36 million in spending. NIFA also says it will reject any contracts and all borrowing in 2017 until its demands are met.
So it’s back to the drawing board for Republican legislators who, as their own elections loom in 2017, have thus far refused to either cut expenses or fully fund them.