Today’s Headlines

  • It Took About a Half-Hour for de Blasio to Officially Dispense With Malliotakis (NYT, Politico)
  • Eugene, Brannan, Chin, and Ulrich Retain Council Seats (NYT); Crowley Out? (TL)
  • BP, Public Advocate, Comptroller Incumbents Win Easily (Gotham Gazette)
  • Con-Con No (NYT, Politico); Dems for Westchester and Nassau Exec, Suffolk DA (NYT 1, 2; Politico)
  • Democrat Phil Murphy Elected to Clean Up After Chris Christie (NYT 1, 2;
  • Eyes Turn to Race for Council Speaker (NYT)
  • City Limits: De Blasio’s Millionaire’s Tax Schtick Could Make Him Irrelevant on Transit
  • Gridlock Sam: Use Smart Vehicle Tech to Prevent Carnage in Cities (News)
  • School Cop Charged With Hit-and-Run (News); Motorcyclist Dies in Queens Crash (News)
  • How the MTA’s Next Fare System Could Promote Transit Use (Fast Company)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • bolwerk

    From NY Times article:

    Federal budget cuts — threatened by President Trump and the
    Republican-led Congress, especially to social programs, health care and
    public housing — could cause serious problems and exacerbate social
    ills, forcing Mr. de Blasio to do financial triage. That could
    potentially drain money from signature programs, like his promise to
    accelerate and expand a push to build and preserve affordable housing.

    Hell, if there’s one thing that private industry could be made to provision almost effortlessly, it’s housing. Start by permitting enough to keep up with population growth. But Bill’s “progressive” developer friends won’t have it.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Trump to the rescue. He cuts a dollar. DeBlasio and Cuomo blame him when the screw us out of $100.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Our coalition galvanized voters across a broad ideological spectrum to rise up and oppose a corrupt process that would enrich Albany’s political class while leaving the rest of us behind,” said a statement from New Yorkers Against Corruption, the coalition that urged a “no” vote.

    By voting against a convention, the people of New York endorsed ongoing retroactive pension increases for public employees, regardless of cost or consequence, the current exemption of that pension income from state and local income taxes, and the future exemption of retired (and perhaps active) public employees from some or all property taxes, as has been proposed in the legislature but was put on the back burner before this vote.

    Talk about a con. That’s what this was about.

    And as pension costs rise, services are cut, taxes increase, and more privileges are handed out, I don’t want to hear any objections from the NY Times. When it matters they are, in effect, in favor of all this. They can’t claim to be opposed to the consequences. That’s just more Generation Greed rationalization.

  • bolwerk

    Haha, but maybe rightfully. There is little doubt that Trump is a nimrod shaking up a very fragile system with little understanding of how to create an alternative. I don’t see our local government being nimble enough to adapt.

  • bolwerk

    Patience with ConCon. The timing is wrong. It would most likely be stacked with the elder statesmen of future-selling New York neoliberalism, namely idle ex-politicians and buffoonish thinktanks that offer cures worse than the disease. NYS has virtually zilch in terms of center-left representation, so there’s little chance that civil liberties would get much notice. For “ideological balance,” we’d probably get a set of binary factions consisting of Christine Quinn and Rudy Giuliani lieutenants, weighed down by regional squabbling from other parts of the state.

    To time it right, set it up so the convention delegates are elected in 2020. It’s still a gamble, but at least then it could come on the heals of an anti-authoritarian backlash against Trump.

  • redbike

    One pleasant surprise (at least to me) from Tuesday’s results:

    More than 9% wrote in names opposing Cy Vance for New York County DA. That’s a non-trivial number. Of course, it remains to be seen how, if at all, Vance responds to this.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The next vote on the subject comes in 2037. By then 70.0% of all tax revenues will be going to debt and pensions, the average age of a state legislator will be 95, and there will be no transit system.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The only reason the fiscal disaster happening everywhere else isn’t happening here yet is the tax revenues from a financial boom due to zero percent interest rates, which also allows continued lies about how underfunded the pension system is.

    Aside from the latest stock market bubble, that is already starting to unravel. They are heading for a fiscal problem, Trump or no Trump. The worst thing he could do to them is NOT cut the budget. In fact there were no significant damaging cuts in the budget just passed — bad news for NY politicians. They still need Trump to come to their aid.

    The best thing for us is the worst thing for them. Trump doesn’t get much done through next year, after which there is a Democratic congress with no more NY Democrats in it that we are stuck with now.

  • bolwerk

    A convention at the wrong moment could very well worsen the pension situation too.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, there was the risk that they could have proposed that everyone who started work before 1980 is immediately entitled to a tax-free pension of $2 million per year.

    But they would have had to put in on the ballot for approval in a Presidential election year, when everyone shows up.

    As it is, they could just do that right now and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

  • Simon Phearson

    Your single-minded focus on “Generation Greed” has blinded you to the real problems with the convention process, as well as the very real risk that the whole process would be dominated by corruption and leave us worse off, as a whole. It’s not all about pensions.

    If we need a constitutional amendment to fix the pension problem, we have a regular, if difficult process, that we can use. We don’t need to put everything that’s good about the state constitution at risk in order to address that issue.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Anything coming out of it would have been put on the ballot, and could have been voted down. Opposition was based on three things.

    1) Possible term limits, and campaign finance reform.

    2) Possible limits on future retroactive pension increases, and the possibility of walking back past ones.

    3) Possible elimination of the constitutionally mandated exemption of public employee pension income from state and local income taxes, prohibitions on exempting active and retired public employees from property taxes, as has been proposed, and limits on special tax deals for the rich and real estate.

    That’s what it was about. “Vote no. Higher taxes?”

  • Vooch

    Time to sell off the BQE land ! 🙂

  • kevd

    The biggest opposition was from unions who got theirs in the 1938 Con Con and therefore see no need that other progressive goals should be pursued…. I mean, why would they risk they sweat deal they already have?

  • Larry Littlefield

    How can an exemption for taxes for the better off be considered “progressive?”

  • bolwerk

    BTW, as I understand the law, nothing stops an off-year convention.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The legislature would have to enact it. If we had elections, and the legislature wasn’t evil, we wouldn’t need a convention.

  • Joe R.

    Once the older generation is out of power I think there’s a good possibility of getting at least #2 legislatively, possibly even #3. The only way this state is going to avoid bankruptcy is to walk back the past retroactive pension increases. They didn’t “cost nothing” as advertised. Eventually people will catch on to that, and demand that they be rescinded. The fact they were passed outside of the legislative process in the first place probably makes them illegal to start with.

  • Larry Littlefield

    At that point we’ll be so deep in the hole it will be too late. All the extra money that came out of the funds won’t be there, and all the future investment returns on that money will be gone forever too.

    Besides, the older generation is appointing its replacements, whose job is to protect is perrogatives at the expense of their contemporaries. That’s why all the new state legislators are appointed in special elections.

    And as for changing priorities within the unions themselves, well, the UFT changed the weighting of different votes so that the retirees outvote the active employees in elections for union leadership. And as public services continue to downsize, there will be fewer and fewer active employees.

    The only way to avoid bankruptcy is to eliminate public services. They’ll need goon squads to beat the taxes out of people as less and less is provided in return.

    Don’t expect much help from the state. The NY State pension funds which cover local employees in the rest of the state are among the best funded in the country. So what happens to us won’t happen to them.