Winners and Losers, February 28, 2014

Written by City & State on . Posted in Winners & Losers

  Everyone seemed a bit jumpy this week: Sen. Tony Avella jumped to the IDC, Sen. Adriano Espaillat jumped back into the fray with Rep. Charlie Rangel, Assemblyman Micah Kellner jumped out of his race, and Donald Trump’s son-in-law jumped on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Where will they land in our weekly winners and losers? That’s up to you.   Tony Avella - There’s nothing like joining a playoff-bound team midway through the season after spending time with one below .500. Avella’s… [More]

City & State TV: Piero Fassino, Mayor of Turin, Italy

Written by City & State on . Posted in Profiles, Video

;   City & State: In 2006, Turin hosted the Winter Olympics. Was it worth it for your city to hold the games?  Piero Fassino: For one century, Torino [Turin in Italian] was an industrial and manufacturing city, a real factory town. In the last 15 years the profile of the city changed. We continue to be an industrial city, but at the same time we are, today, an important center of excellence in research, investigation, innovation [and] technology. We… [More]

Road To Municipal Labor Settlements Paved With Uncertainty

Written by Richard Steier on . Posted in Labor/Unions, Spotlight

There was a distinct edge to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s voice when he said during his budget presentation, “The previous administration was given an artificially high level of credit for management.” He was referring to the labor-contract mess he inherited when Michael Bloomberg left office after a third term in which he created a negotiating logjam. Following his 2009 re-election Bloomberg insisted that the city could not afford to honor a bargaining pattern he had set the previous two years, under… [More]

A Reentry System For Ex-Offenders

Written by Michael Benjamin on . Posted in Opinion

For weeks, universal prekindergarten has dominated budget news coming out of Albany. So it might be surprising to learn that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget has actual good news for ex-offenders (or justice-involved persons). Cuomo proposes restoring college classes at 10 state prisons, raising the age for felony offenders and funding a statewide Re-entry Council to recommend policies to reduce recidivism among newly released prisoners and parolees. Tracie M. Gardner, policy director at the Legal Action Center, which supports creating a… [More]

SPOTLIGHT: The Roundtable

Written by City & State on . Posted in Spotlight

 Q: How will your past as a former union president inform your agenda as Labor Committee chair?  DM: My labor background will be invaluable to passing meaningful and effective legislation. … [T]o work together, we need to understand each other’s obligations and needs. [F]or unions and the city to work together requires openness to negotiation. I am intimately familiar with many sides of the debates that continue to live on and the ways in which the laws that we will… [More]

Study Says Eliminating Estate Tax Would Be Big Boost For New York

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Features, Heard Around Town, News

What would happen if New York joined the majority of states that don’t have estate taxes? An analysis from the Beacon Hill Institute included in a report on the tax from the Empire Center shows a complete phase-out of the tax would boost the state’s gross domestic product by billions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed raising the current threshold from $1 million to the federal benchmark of more than $5 million by 2019. Though the Empire Center says that would… [More]

Is Observer Piece Hitting Schneiderman Trump’s Revenge?

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Daily, Heard Around Town, Latest, News, Other News

Is Donald Trump about to make good on his threat to “get even” with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman? The New York Observer will publish a lengthy profile of Schneiderman tomorrow that sources say will serve as payback for the lawsuit the attorney general filed against Trump University. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the publisher of the Observer. “It’s been clear for months that Donald Trump ordered up a hit piece in his son-in-law’s newspaper to retaliate against Schneiderman for bringing a… [More]

Council Member Item Reform Easier Said Than Done

Written by Kristen Meriwether on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Features, Government Operations, Latest, News, Social Services

For years, Council members have cried foul at the discretionary funding process. They argued the funding was used as a reward by the Speaker, leaving those that disagree without adequate money for their district.   “When Council members are afraid to vote their conscience or advocate for their constituents because they fear the funding to their district will be cut, the rules in the Council are not working,” said Councilman Brad Lander at City Hall on Monday. With a new… [More]

A Constituency Of None

Written by Alexis Grenell on . Posted in Opinion

The First Amendment is clear that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” yet the practical separation between church and state is anything but. Public life is saturated with references to God, from the courts to the Pledge of Allegiance. Right or wrong, candidates are required to negotiate through the religious beliefs of others and account for their own. In 1954 the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge in… [More]

Arbitration Could Throw A Wrench In City Labor Settlements

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Labor/Unions, Spotlight

Throughout his campaign and time in office Mayor Bill de Blasio has artfully dodged publicly negotiating New York City’s expired contracts with its municipal unions. All along the mayor has mostly stuck to the same talking point in discussing how he will approach settling the contracts—the first great test of his administration— referring to the billions of dollars that could wind up added to the city’s ledger for salary increases and back pay as “the great unknown.” Adding to this… [More]