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Opinion

The off season

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An aerial view of Belmont.

An aerial view of Belmont. Photo Credit: File

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Daily Point

From sea to shining Democratic sea

GOP efforts at a tax overhaul are doing something many seasoned observers might have thought impossible: bringing Democrats together to speak with one voice.

Monday afternoon, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, California Gov. Jerry Brown and New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy got together on for a conference call with national media. Their message was clear and united: This plan is a divisive disaster attacking 12 mostly Democratic states to benefit 38 more Republican ones. As a result, they said the tax bill could do as much to define the nation politically as the Affordable Care Act did.

“The most immediate evil of this cynical maneuver called the tax bill is to further divide America,” said Brown. “The deficit gets worse, but the most salient point is it [the tax bill] divides the hell out of us.”

Cuomo said if the plan becomes law, “The next day we’re going to start the ‘Repeal and Replace This Divisive Tax Act' movement,” the way the GOP did with Obamacare.

On a more literary note, Cuomo also seemed to channel Thomas Wolfe, waxing poetic as he mused about what would happen to GOP Congress members from the 12 states hit hardest by the loss of state and local property tax deductions after such a bill goes into effect: “A congressman who votes for this ... there’s no going home, in my opinion.”

Lane Filler

Talking Point

The race at Belmont

It may not be racing season — but there’s a lot going on at Belmont Park.

Monday afternoon, one of the three bidders who had submitted a proposal to build at Belmont pulled out of the running.

Blumenfeld Development Group, led by Syosset developer Ed Blumenfeld, announced its decision to withdraw, saying the process was no longer an “effective use of BDG resources.”

Blumenfeld’s decision came hours after the announcement of a listening session to be held on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m., during which the bidders who submitted proposals to build at Belmont will unveil their ideas at Elmont Memorial High School.

Sponsored by local elected officials, the session will include presentations by the two remaining bidders: professional soccer team New York City FC, and a partnership group that includes the New York Islanders, Sterling Project Development and Oak View Group, a Madison Square Garden-backed arena developer.

Elected officials from the area near Belmont Park were briefed on all three proposals last week, a source with knowledge of the briefing told The Point.

The public has until Dec. 11 to submit comments on the Belmont proposals. Does that timeline mean Empire State Development is close to making a decision?

No word from ESD officials, but come January, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo may be looking for some exciting news to present during his State of the State address . . .

Randi F. Marshall

Pencil Point

Hurry up

More cartoons of the day

Money Point

Crunching numbers

Word is percolating from Albany that Long Island will be getting some three-quarters of the state money earmarked this year for septic replacements.

The money comes from $2.5 billion for clean water infrastructure passed as part of the state budget, a pot that was on the agenda of a State Assembly hearing on water quality Monday in Manhattan.

The infrastructure money included $75 million for septic-system replacements. Of the $15 million available in year one, Suffolk County is in line to get $10.1 million and Nassau should receive around $1.1 million.

The high percentage going to Long Island shouldn’t be a surprise. Suffolk in particular has many impaired water bodies, a very high number of septic systems and is much further along on a septic replacement program than the rest of the state. Still, getting the money required cajoling from Assemb. Steve Englebright and Sen. Kemp Hannon — because early discussions had the region getting less than half the $15 million.

Michael Dobie

Quick Points

Near and far

  • Plans by Meghan Markle, the American actress engaged to Britain’s Prince Harry, to seek British citizenship after the royal wedding involves taking a difficult test on British history and what it means to be British. Given the lingering intense divide in the country over Brexit, it’s not clear even lifelong Brits know the answer.
  • Nice of MTA board members to reconsider planned fare hikes in 2019 and 2021. The savings would help Long Island commuters pay the federal income tax hikes coming around then.
  • One-third of Alabama voters say GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused by several women of improper sexual behavior with teenage girls, has a higher standard of personal moral conduct than Democratic opponent Doug Jones. The voters were not required to explain the standard by which they were judging.
  • Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Christopher McPartland, indicted on a charge of covering up crimes committed by then-Police Chief James Burke, has requested he essentially be treated as an impoverished defendant by having the public pay for his high-priced private attorney. Considering his salary is $194,000 and he’s received $73,000 in bonuses since 2012, McPartland also should be charged with aggravated chutzpah.
  • About two dozen people rallied in Elmont to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Belmont Park. If the competition for Amazon were a horse race, Belmont would be stuck in the starting gate.
  • Former President Barack Obama says more women should be elected to public office because the men are having problems. Not that he felt that way in 2008.
  • Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins said she voted for the Senate’s tax-cut bill after receiving an “ironclad” commitment that Medicare and Medicaid won’t be cut. Given remarks from some of her House and Senate colleagues about those programs being next up on the chopping block, they don’t have the same definition of ironclad.

Michael Dobie

Columns