12/05/2017 07:20 AM EDT
By Jimmy Vielkind in Albany and Laura Nahmias in Manhattan, with Daniel Lippman
If New York City and state leaders have a real contingency plan for weathering an increasingly plausible federal tax overhaul, they're keeping that plan very close to the vest. The tax bill, which marks the Republican-led Congress's last real opportunity for a legislative win in the first year of the Trump presidency, appears to have a likelier chance of passage - in some form- than the GOP's efforts to repeal Obamacare, if only because it's propelled in part by some lawmakers' desperation. The House and Senate measures could hurt the city's ability to build affordable housing and send home prices tumbling in the metro area - but the response so far from the state and city has also been desperation, and in the city's case, denial.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a Monday conference call with reporters, suggested suing the federal government over the tax bill. And Mayor Bill de Blasio, who acknowledged Monday that the tax bills would raise taxes on 700,000 of his residents, has nevertheless defended his budget increases over his first term, which experts say could come back to haunt the city in the event of an economic downturn that would likely be exacerbated by tax changes in D.C. As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, the city's spending has grown 20 percent in just four years, at four times the actual rate of inflation - from roughly $51.2 billion in fiscal year 2014 to roughly $61.3 billion this year. Twenty-five thousand new employees have been added.
In public at least, the mayor has been blithely confident about the growth in spending. But the tax bill, should it pass, may provide the mayor with the first real test of his ability to exercise fiscal discipline in the face of an economic crisis.
IT'S TUESDAY . Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know ... By email: JVielkind@politico.com, LNahmias@politico.com, and email@example.com, or on Twitter: @JimmyVielkind, @nahmias, and @dlippman.
WHERE'S ANDREW? In Albany, with no public schedule.
WHERE'S BlLL? In the morning, delivering remarks at a Cities Thrive conference, and in the evening, attending a town hall with Queens residents, from Belle Harbor and Breezy Point to Rockaway Beach and Woodhaven.
** A message from Communications Workers of America: USIC workers are contracted by Con Ed and National Grid to prevent underground utility damage and explosions. But USIC pays workers substandard wages, provides almost no paid time off and even forces workers to be on call for 24-hours at a time-without pay. Learn more: http://justiceatusic.org/ **
The Tabloids: - New York Post: "MERRY X-MAS!"- Daily News: "DRAIN THE SWAMP"- See Them
The Tabloids, Continued: - Newsday: "SUPREME COURT: TRAVEL BAN CAN PROCEED" - El Diario New York: "Castiga al robo de salario"- TRANSLATION: "Punish wage theft"- See Them
The Free Papers: - AM New York: "GIANT MESS"- Metro New York: "GIANTS CLEAN HOUSE" - See Them
The Broadsheets: - New York Times: -1 col., above the fold: "TRUMP REVERSES U.S. PROTECTIONS FOR 2 UTAH SITES"- 1 col., above the fold: "Tax Bill Posing Economic Woe in N.Y. Region" - Wall Street Journal: -4 col., above the fold: "Firms Press For Tax Breaks" - 1 col., above the fold: "Justices Say Travel Ban Can Proceed For Now"- See Them
STAT OF THE DAY: 15.6 percent - the increase in rape complaints received by the NYPD last month over the same time period last year, which NYPD officers attribute to the publicity over celebrity complaints of sexual harassment.
NET NEUTRALITY 101: The long-running fight over net neutrality, which pits telecom giants against tech companies, is heating up at the Federal Communications Commission. To understand what the fight is all about and where it's headed, check out POLITICO's latest explainer video featuring Technology Reporter Margaret McGill and the artwork of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Matt Wuerker. Click HERE to watch.
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WHAT ALBANY IS READING:
- ENHANCED TUITION AWARD NUMBERS YET TO BE RELEASED - POLITICO's Keshia Clukey: Students at the state's private and independent colleges are being told if they qualify for the state's Enhanced Tuition Award, but the institutions are still in the dark about final numbers. It's the final week of classes for the fall semester at most colleges and universities, with final exams scheduled for next week. At this point, most students already have paid their bills, so the award will likely be provided as a rebate, private institutions have said. The ETA process has lagged behind that of the state's highly touted Excelsior Scholarship program, which covers tuition costs for qualifying students at public colleges and universities. The application period for Excelsior began June 7 and ran through July 21, while the ETA application period opened July 7 and closed Aug. 21. It's been more than two months since students at public colleges and universities were told whether they received an Excelsior Scholarship. Read more here.
- PUSH FOR FAMILY CAREGIVER CREDIT - POLITICO's Dan Goldberg: AARP New York is pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include a tax credit for caregivers in his executive budget, scheduled to be released next month. The tax credit would be available to those who care for a relative who needs assistance with at least one activity of daily living. State residents with less than $75,000 of adjusted gross income ($150,000 for couples) would be eligible. The credit would cover 50 percent of qualified expenses that help keep someone in their home, and be capped at $3,000, less than half of what the average family member spends out-of-pocket, according to the AARP.
- AARP officials said they met with members of the governor's team over the last few months to pitch their idea. Their hook for the governor's staff is that this saves money over the long-term by keeping people out of more expensive nursing homes, which are often paid for with Medicaid money. Read more here.
- BLUE GOVERNORS STILL FIGHTING ON TAXES - POLITICO's Jimmy Vielkind: Three Democratic governors pledged Monday to do everything they can to stop the emerging federal tax overhaul - even sue. During a joint conference call with reporters, California Gov. Jerry Brown, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov.-elect Phil Murphy of New Jersey denounced the bill heading toward a congressional conference committee as "dangerous," "fraudulent," "nefarious," "a scam" and "trickle down on steroids." "Our states are key elements of the American engines of prosperity," Brown said. "They're attacking the vital sinews of the American economy, and it's really stupid and they will regret it, and we'll do everything we can to convince our Republican representatives to defeat this bill."
The states' six U.S. senators are all Democrats and they all opposed that chamber's tax bill when it passed, 51-49, just after midnight on Friday. But the governors said they feel they have some leverage in the House of Representatives, where New York has nine Republican representatives, New Jersey has five and California has 14. When the House advanced its tax bill in November, five New Yorkers, three Californians and four New Jersey representatives crossed party lines to vote against the measure, which passed, 227-205. POLITICO, citing multiple sources, reported Monday that Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team discussed replacing New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen , chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, after he voted against the GOP bill. "It's not over yet. We may be in the ninth inning - each of our states has Republican members of the House, and I would say this is beyond Republican or Democrat," Murphy said. "It's a clear question: Are you representing your constituents ... or are you in with President [Donald] Trump and this wrong-headed leadership in Congress?" Read more here.
- PERCOCO LAWYERS WIN POSTER REMOVAL -Newsday: "A federal courthouse in lower Manhattan has removed a historical exhibit outside the courtroom where former governor's aide Joseph Percoco will be tried in January on bribery charges after complaints that it was biased against defendants. The display of posters created for the 125th anniversary of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals featured famous cases heard by the court, including 30 criminal cases. None ended in acquittal. Attorneys for Percoco and three co-defendants complained in an Oct. 26 letter that the display of convicted and notorious criminals - from terrorists to mobsters to public officials - would prejudice the jury. The posters have now been replaced with an exhibit highlighting the Second Circuit's links to the U.S. Supreme Court, featuring pictures and biographies of justices with ties to New York such as Thurgood Marshall, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg." Read more here.
TRUMP'S NEW YORK
- HOW NEW YORKERS LOSE UNDER THE TAX BILL - New York Times's Ben Casselman and Patrick McGeehan: "The tax bill approved by the Senate is many things, offering a huge tax cut for corporations, lower rates for the wealthy, and a big victory for Republicans and the White House. It is also an economic dagger aimed at high-tax, high-cost and generally Democratic-leaning areas - most notably New York City and its neighbors.
The bill, if enacted into law, could send home prices tumbling 10 percent or more in parts of the New York area, according to one economic analysis. It could increase the regional tax burden, complicating companies' efforts to attract skilled workers. It could make it harder for state and local governments to pay for upgrades to the transit system and other infrastructure. And it could force cuts in federal programs that help immigrants, the elderly and other low-income residents afford the region's high cost of living.
- Most significantly, the bill would eliminate the deduction for state and local income taxes, and would cap the deduction for property taxes at $10,000. That wouldn't matter to the more than two-thirds of households nationwide that take the standard deduction, which would be nearly doubled under the bill. But in the New York area, high state and local taxes change the equation. In Manhattan and wealthy suburban counties, close to half of households itemize their deductions, and many could see an immediate tax increase." Read more here.
WHAT CITY HALL IS READING:
- COUNCIL RACE FUELED SENATOR'S BUSINESS - Times-Union's Chris Bragg: "A publicly funded campaign for New York City Council, launched by a longtime staffer for Brooklyn state Sen. Marty Golden, spent $13,000 on a business in which Golden has a substantial financial interest. The longtime top staffer, John Quaglione, received more than $200,000 in taxpayer dollars from New York City's generous campaign matching funds system. In a campaign for an open southern Brooklyn seat, the Republican lost his race in November to Democrat Justin Brannan. Golden is the former owner of Bay Ridge Manor, a catering hall in southern Brooklyn. Golden sold the business to his brother after he was elected to the Senate in 2002, but remains the landlord and continues to collect a management fee.
Golden's 2016 financial disclosure form shows that he earned between $145,000 and $270,000 in income connected to Bay Ridge Manor, including at least $100,000 in rental payments." Read more here.
- A NEED FOR SPEED - New York Post's Yoav Gonen: "The de Blasio administration is moving too slowly to close Rikers Island , former state Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman told a City Council hearing Monday. Lippman, who led a 27-member independent panel that studied the issue for close to a year, also questioned the administration's plan to create a task force on the closure. "Appointing 80 people to a task force is not necessarily the quickest way to get things done," Lippman said. And the council's Fire and Criminal Justice Committee Chair Elizabeth Crowley (D-Queens) told The Post: "The administration has yet to execute any concrete measure to close Rikers Island. We have seen all talk and no action." Read more here.
- FDNY SUED FOR DISCRIMINATION -New York Post's Kaja Whitehouse: " Nearly three years after the city agreed to pay $98 million to settle claims of bias in its hiring of black and Hispanic firefighters, New York's Bravest is being sued for discrimination again. The FDNY's black emergency medical services and civilian employees have filed a class action lawsuit against the city alleging "systemic, continuous, and intentional discrimination," court papers show. The Manhattan federal lawsuit differs from the discrimination lawsuit that scored the massive payout and changed the way firefighters are hired in 2015, filed by the Vulcan Society, because it represents a different class of worker, said Rob Valli, one of the lawyers involved. Instead of firefighters, the new class action focuses on the FDNY's black civilian and EMS workers, who claim that they continue to suffer from lower wages and barriers rising in the ranks due to race." Read more here.
- PROTESTS GROW OVER REHIRING OF FIREFIGHTER - WPIX's James Ford: "He tweeted so many messages, over so many months, that were so racially, ethnically and religiously offensive that he resigned from being an FDNY emergency medical technician. So why is Joe Cassano now just days away from becoming a New York City firefighter? That's what a group of elected officials, activists and even some firefighters want to know. Many of them suspect that Cassano, as son of a former FDNY commissioner, could have a lot to do with it. Cassano, 28, resigned in 2013 tweeting such messages as, 'News flash to half of the island -- ur white! Stop talking like ur a shwoog.' Shwoog is a derogatory term for a person of African descent. 'MLK could go kick rocks for all I care but thanks for the time and a half today,' is another of Cassano's infamous tweets. A specifically anti-Semitic tweet was, 'I like jews about as much as hitler. #too far? Nope!' That last tweet was read aloud by city council member Jumaane Williams at a news conference of officials and activists in front of FDNY headquarters here on Monday morning." Read more here.
- DE BLASIO DEFENDS FIREFIGHTER - New York Post's Michael Gartland: " Mayor de Blasio on Monday defended the FDNY's rehiring of a former fire commissioner's son who resigned after spewing racist and anti-Semitic rants on Twitter. Joseph Cassano, 28, the son of former Commissioner Sal Cassano, resigned as an emergency medical technician in 2013 after The Post exposed his social-media attacks against blacks, Jews and the poor.But he was recently rehired as a firefighter. This situation has been looked at very carefully,' the mayor said. 'The only way someone can continue on our employment if they think that way is: They've gotta really re-evaluate their thinking and what it means to be in public service in the most diverse city in the country.' Hizzoner called the younger Cassano's past remarks 'unacceptable,' but pointed out that the city took 'very systematic measures' to ensure he was set straight." Read more here.
- SPENDING BALLOONED UNDER DE BLASIO - Wall Street Journal's Mara Gay: "Under Bill de Blasio, the first Democratic mayor of New York City in more than two decades, the city has added more than 25,000 employees and spending has increased by nearly 20%. Since he took office in 2014, Mr. de Blasio has made preschool free for all children, an initiative that costs the city about $300 million a year. He has added nearly 1,300 police officers at an annual cost of $75 million. He spent more than $300 million to launch citywide ferry service and $4 million to create a new agency to work with veterans. "Our economy is strong and we can afford to help New Yorkers who need it most," the mayor told The Wall Street Journal in a recent emailed statement. 'Making those investments is not only moral, but it will help keep our economy strong and our city the greatest in the world.' City spending has risen by nearly 20%, to roughly $61.3 billion this year from about $51.2 billion in fiscal year 2014, the last budget negotiated by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent. The rise is roughly four times the rate of inflation for the same period." Read more here.
ROOM NONE - "Mark-Viverito abruptly limits access for City Hall reporters" - The New York Post's Rich Calder: "She's a champion of transparency and openness - except when it comes to her own office at City Hall. Without warning on Monday, outgoing City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has boasted about improving transparency in government, ended a decades-long practice of allowing reporters access to the first floor of City Hall's eastern end. The ban, specifically slapped on reporters who work out of the fabled "Room 9" press room, means they will no longer have access to first floor restrooms, a hallway that leads to the speaker's office and a back stairway to the main Council chambers. Reporters trying to enter the gated area were stopped Monday by Council security who said they were enforcing a 'new policy.''" Read more here.
- CLASS ACTION SUIT READIED IN NYCHA LEAD SCANDAL - New York Times's William Neuman and J. David Goodman : "Thousands of residents of New York City's sprawling public housing system received notices under their apartment doors last year alerting them that city inspectors would need to get inside to check for potentially hazardous lead paint conditions. But nothing about the May 2016 notification, under the sunny banner of "National Healthy Homes Month," disclosed the reason for the urgency in requesting access: For nearly four years, the authority had not been doing lead paint inspections mandated by federal rules and city law. Residents would not learn about the agency's failure to conduct inspections until the following year, after City Hall and senior New York City Housing Authority representatives had developed a plan to address the issue.
- Mayor Bill de Blasio and the authority's chairwoman, Shola Olatoye, have described the lack of public notice as a regrettable oversight. 'I'm the first to say, I wish I had communicated more,' the mayor said last week. Despite the mayor issuing assurances that "thank God" no children were seriously affected, the city does not actually know how many may be suffering from lead poisoning. Read more here.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Andrew Williams, VP of media relations at Goldman Sachs ... Adam Casella, senior associate at Owl Rock Capital ... Katie Krieg
Jordan Carmon has been hired as a Deputy Press Secretary for State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
THE HOME TEAMS - POLITICO's Howard Megdal:
The Giants fired both head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese on Monday. Giants owner John Mara expressed shock that his team, expected to be playoff-bound, was 2-10. "I've been around long enough not to get shocked by many things, but I certainly did not see this coming," he told reporters. Steve Spagnuolo will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Pacers 115, Knicks 97: Kristaps Porzingis is missed.
Nets 110, Hawks 90: Six Nets reached double figures. Kenny Atkinson teams win these games, mostly on will.
The day ahead: the Rangers are in Pittsburgh. The Islanders are in Tampa Bay.
MORNING MEDIA, with POLITICO's Michael Calderone:
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR IS IN FOR CHARLIE ROSE -- at least for now. PBS announced yesterday that "Amanpour," her CNN International interview show, will replace Rose's program "on an interim basis." CNN International will continue airing the show, which will now also reach a nationwide US audience. "Amanpour on PBS" will roll out in New York on Monday, and then to additional stations beginning Dec. 11. "'Amanpour on PBS' adds to the long tradition of public-affairs programming that has been a hallmark of public media for decades," PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger said in a statement.
REAL ESTATE, with POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg and Conor Skelding:
- PERMANENT POP-UPS - New York Post's Lois Weiss: "It's official: Pop-up shops are here to stay. An uptick in storefront vacancies, falling rents and retailers' reluctance to commit to traditional leases have combined to make these temporary stores appealing to both owners and brands. Whether test-driving a neighborhood or invigorating a tired label, pop-up shops provide an influx of income to both parties while they weigh the benefits of a longer lease. "They're energizing the market," declares Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of retail for Douglas Elliman." Read more here.
- NEW YARDSTICK - "Hudson Yards Is Attracting More Financial Firms," by The Wall Street Journal's Keiko Morris: "Three investment firms soon will be heading to Hudson Yards, the latest indication that the mammoth far-West Side development rising above a rail yard is luring financial companies away from more-established office corridors. Quantitative-trading firm Engineers Gate Manager LP, along with energy-market focused Arosa Capital Management LP and health-care and life-sciences investment firm HealthCor Management LP, have signed leases totaling about 56,000 square feet of space at 55 Hudson Yards, according to Related Cos., which is developing the building with Oxford Properties Group and Mitsui Fudosan America. The companies will be joining Point72 Asset Management LP, a firm managing the assets of prominent investor Steven Cohen, as well as Third Point LLC, founded by activist investor Daniel Loeb. The 1.3 million-square-foot tower is 90% leased, Related said." Read the story here.
- IN THE ZONE - The City Council delayed a committee vote, originally planned for this morning, on a proposal to govern self-storage facilities in the city's 21 industrial business zones. Council staffers are still taking the temperature of a handful of skeptical members and, as we reported Monday , are considering carving them out of a citywide requirement that storage-facility owners receive special permits before building in the industrial zones. It's an effort to stem the tide of the businesses, which create few jobs in areas intended to harness the city's manufacturing industry. A committee vote is now expected Thursday morning.
AROUND NEW YORK:
-WNYC explains the complicated history of New York City's Christopher Columbus statue.
- Former U.S. Sen. Al D'Amato broke down in tears outside a Long Island courtroom after testifying about his wife's behavior during a custody hearing.
- The Cellino and Barnes divorce now features a fight over a $900,000 1-800 number.
- The history of the Croton Aqueduct.
#UpstateAmerica: CBS Evening News' new anchor is a Tonawanda native and Syracuse alum. Read more here.
#ZooYork: "Arnold," an angry alligator, has been captured in a Long Island home.
FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page: http://politi.co/1MkLGXV
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** A message from Communications Workers of America: USIC is a little-known corporation that plays a huge role in keeping New Yorkers safe. USIC workers are contracted by Con Ed and National Grid to prevent underground utility damage and explosions. But USIC pays workers substandard wages, provides almost no paid time off and even forces workers to be on call for 24-hours at a time-without pay.
This treatment of New Yorkers is unacceptable. That's why the New York City Council is considering legislation to protect New York workers and ensure fair wages and safe working conditions.
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