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Running against Cuomo

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan at a news

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan at a news conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Albany. Credit: Hans Pennink

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Daily Point

NY GOP mantra

State Republican Party chairman Ed Cox said Tuesday that while no strong contender has come forward to challenge Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who is running for his third term in November, the party at least has a message: “Anyone but Cuomo.”

Granted, it was one the party used successfully two decades ago against Gov. Mario Cuomo and which launched the career of an unknown state senator from Peekskill named George Pataki.

And on Tuesday, only the second day of the Albany legislative session, State Sen. John Flanagan, the majority leader and the GOP’s standard-bearer, signaled that the message might include: Anything but what Cuomo wants.

As state leaders grapple with the fallout from Washington’s severe cap on deductions for state income and property taxes, Cuomo wants to explore reducing or eliminating the income tax in favor a payroll tax that would be deductible on federal filings.

“I don’t like the payroll tax at all,” Flanagan said Tuesday morning. “I haven’t met any one of my colleagues who likes the payroll tax. People pay enough taxes already,” he added, strangling the idea in the cradle.

Rita Ciolli

Talking Point

A new era of Nassau hiring

Some of new Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s hires have been notable partly because the appointees had worked for Republican officeholders. But county officials say they aren’t being hired by the Democrat because of these connections — or despite them.

Curran spokesman Michael Martino, who talked to The Point about the hires, is one himself. Martino was then-County Executive Edward Mangano’s spokesman for a year starting in 2010, then went to the county Department of Public Works for about four years before becoming the spokesman for Suez Water, the contractor that runs the county’s waste treatment systems.

“I developed a relationship with Laura when she was a county legislator doing constituent service and I was at DPW,” Martino said. “That’s how we know each other, and that’s nonpartisan stuff.”

Another hire, Leslie Rothschild, was once chief of staff for GOP Assemb. Brian Curran, formerly the mayor of Lynbrook. Rothschild will serve as liaison to the Republican-controlled county legislature. Martino says the new county executive developed a close working relationship with Rothschild based on shared geography and responsibility, particularly after superstorm Sandy. Laura Curran’s Baldwin legislative district and Brian Curran’s Assembly district overlap. (The two are not related.)

So what about new deputy commissioner of minority affairs Farrah Mozawalla, who most recently served as an assistant to then-Hempstead Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad, a Republican? Martino said Mozawalla brings considerable skills working with a variety of communities, and that Curran and others have seen her in action and admired her results.

Lane Filler

Pencil Point

Out of this world

More cartoons of the day

Reference Point

Tunneling through time

Does the name Royal S. Copeland ring a bell?

Political junkies might remember him as a U.S. senator from New York in the 1920s and 1930s (fun fact: his honorary campaign manager in 1922 was FDR).

One of his best ideas is back in the news.

Copeland appears to be the first person to pitch a cross-Long Island Sound link — in his case, an 18-mile bridge from Orient Point to either Groton, Connecticut, or Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Copeland, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, even got engineering surveys started. But then he died in 1938. And his plan died with him.

Copeland is part of a long bridge/tunnel history recounted in the State Department of Transportation study recently released on the feasibility of a Sound crossing. It shows that Copeland, a homeopathic physician by training, was only the first of many people to diagnose Long Island and offer the same prescription: The region needs another route out.

Charles H. Sells, the former state superintendent of public works, proposed two bridges, Orient Point to Watch Hill and Oyster Bay to Rye or Port Chester, in 1957.

A 1962 plan included a bridge from Orient Point to either New London, Connecticut, or Naptree Point, Rhode Island.

Master builder Robert Moses got in the act in 1966 with a $100 million-$150 million plan for an Oyster Bay-Port Chester bridge. Other bridge pitches followed.

The first tunnel plan, of course, came courtesy of late Garden City developer Vincent Polimeni in 2007, a dream now nurtured by his son, Michael. And, perhaps, by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who ordered up the DOT study that concluded, as Copeland did 80 years ago, that crossing the Sound is technically viable.

As for the politics . . .

Michael Dobie

Point Taken

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