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Stop The Presses!


That's what it has come to; a Republican mayor from Jeanine Pirro's home county has something nice to say about her, and it is actually a newsworthy story.

What I Would Do About Taxes 2

Economically efficient taxation includes a low tax rate spread over a wide tax base. In New York State, on the other hand, politically efficient taxation includes high tax rates spread over a tax base narrowed by exemptions, privileges, deductions, and tolerated tax evasion. Preferential treatment, tax and otherwise, was clearly on the minds of New York State leaders at a more enlightened point in our state’s history. Consider Article 3, Section 17 of the New York State Constitution, which prohibits "granting to any person, association, firm or corporation an exemption of real or personal property." It also forbids "granting any person, association or individual any exclusive privilege, immunity, or franchise whatever." Then there is Article 16, Section 4 which states "there shall be no discrimination in the rates and method of taxation between such corporations and other corporations exercising substantially similar functions and engaged in substantially similar businesses within the state." But it doesn’t matter. Whenever the economy is good, more special tax deals are enacted as added revenues come in.  And whenever the economy is bad, rates are raised.  Sometimes they are rolled back, and sometimes not.

Hillary KA-CHINGS Her Way To The Top

In 2005, Hillary topped Barack, Chuck and John - as in, Obama, Schumer and McCain - in the amount of outside income she brought into her Chappaquian homestead (with a little help from Bill, that is).

The top ten follow:


Hat tip: The Center for Responsive Politics: OpenSecrets.org

LunchBox: Daddy Loves You

On today's LunchBox, host Adam Green on: the Brian McLaughlin saga, Alan Hevesi, Chris Callaghan and master-debaters Andrew Cuomo and Jeannine Pirro.

All In The Family

via USA Today

Members of Congress and their staffs are barred from using their positions for personal profit. But their spouses and other relatives can — and often do — cash in when lawmakers spend taxpayer dollars.

Lobbying groups employed 30 family members last year to influence spending bills that their relatives with ties to the House and Senate appropriations committees oversaw or helped write, a USA TODAY investigation found. Combined, they generated millions of dollars in fees for themselves or their firms.


Councilman Miguel Martinez gets fined (again)

What's up with Councilman Miguel Martinez? Is he a crook or is he just really, really bad at campaign finance?

From today's CFB press release:

October 17, 2006—The Campaign Finance Board today found in breach of certification and assessed penalties against the 2003 Manhattan (District 10) City Council campaign of Miguel Martinez for materially misrepresenting that the campaign received cash contributions in the manner described and documented by the campaign.

The CFB assessed a $10,000 penalty and breach of certification.

The Markets Speak: Dems More Likely to Control Congress than Rebublicans


The price of a security that pays $1 if the Dems capture both houses of congress hit 30.7 cents yesterday while a security that pays $1 if the Republicans retain their control of both houses just fell to 30.3 cents. This is the first time that the Dem security has exceeded the Republican security (on the graph look for the crossing of the red and blue price lines).

These numbers should predict the probability that a party will control both houses.

What I Would Do About Taxes: Part 1

If you have been paying attention, you have read that I recommend changes to New York State’s Medicaid program to create incentives to reduce spending.  I propose similar changes in incentives to reduce spending in the state’s public schools outside New York City, partially balanced by increased spending in districts where spending is low, particularly New York City – but a smaller increase than proposed by the plaintiffs in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case.   The tax surcharge-based disclosure of the cost of retiree health benefits, pensions, and debts I have suggested are intended to limit, in the long term, the hidden growth of employee compensation and the interest burden of excess debt.  One might conclude that my proposals would lead to lower taxes.  And in the long run, when state and local taxes are combined, that could be the case.  But not in the short run for state taxes alone.

Where's the Bloomberg fundraiser for Callaghan, Faso?

Where's the Bloomberg fundraiser for Callaghan and Faso? Has he given them anything?

In Tuesday's New York Post are the stories "Bloomy Defends Hevesi" and "'Green' Arnie $cores Big in NY." Bloomberg does major fundraising for the GOP candidate for governor--of California?

"Bloomy Defends Hevesi" is most distressing. Here's the story:

October 17, 2006 -- Mayor Bloomberg defended State Comptroller Alan Hevesi yesterday, calling him an "honest" man, despite Hevesi's confession that he used a public employee to chauffeur his wife around for the past 3 1/2 years.

LunchBox: Twigs and Berries

On LunchBox today, host Adam Green on: Brain McLaughlin, Rep John Sweeney, Kirsten Gillibrand, Eliot Spitzer, Alan Hevesi, Hank Morris, Chris Callaghan, Ed Koch, Geraldine Ferraro, Bernie Kerik, Jeannine Pirro and more...

Those Popular AG Candidates

I didn't see this on Ben Smith's blog, even though he's listed as a contributor to this story on the New's site :

First of all, you gotta love the headline: "Aargh! AG foes losing luster"

The more people know about Jeanine Pirro and Andrew Cuomo, the less they seem to like them.

Well, that's probably true. I mean, neither Mr. Cuomo nor Ms. Pirro are particularly likeable people. (But then again, neither is Mark Green. That young Sean Patrick Maloney seems nice, though, as does Denise O'Donnell (she reminded me of one of a spinster aunt I have.))

Parking Ticket Book Promotion (NY Post exclusive!)

In a New York Post "exclusive" today, there's a story titled "Guide to beat parking tickets, written by a judge."

Exclusive? The guy gave his book to newspapers all over town, and one of them gave him free publicity? That's "exclusive"? The article doesn't give any facts at all about the book, so you're left wondering about the publisher, price, and the number of pages.

The article doesn't also state simple facts about the author, such as how long he was an administrative law judge, and why he is today a former administrative law judge (was he fired?).

Suport Your Local Wrongfully Imprisoned Defense Attorney

Lynne Stewart, Yellow Ribbon
I'm going to put up a yellow ribbon in my home for 67 year-old civil rights defense attorney Lynne Stewart. I'm sure most are familiar with the case—she was convicted of helping her imprisoned terrorist client Sheik Abdel Rahman communicate with his followers outside of prison.

Does anyone believe she actually knowingly helped a terrorist participate with planning new attacks?

What I Would Do: New York’s Debts

New York State’s politicians have found a magic way to reward their supporters lavishly without everyone else noticing how much they are being hurt:  they borrow the money, and put off the cost to a future they don’t care about.  Every year the debt rises, and our future is diminished.  It may be that the state budget wouldn’t pass otherwise, because it is only by finding an unseen victim that everyone who matters can be more-or-less satisfied.  But New York’s debts have grown so large that at this point current New Yorkers aren’t much better off at the expense of the future, they are simply less worse off as a result of the past, as the result of borrowing more.  The bomb has been timed to go off during the next administration. 

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