Donald Trump, 9/11 and the True Story of Electronic Gambling in New York

Gambling has exploded in New York  during the last two decades, with the floodgates truly opening when the state approved electronic gaming at horse racing tracks.

At the turn of the century your options for placing a bet were extremely limited in New York. Casinos could only be found on Indian reservations, the multi-state lottery was just a dream and online gambling was only as good as your dial-up connection. And despite opposition from anti-gambling advocates, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Donald Trump, a confluence of events in 2001 led to the legislature’s approval of Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) at race tracks in New York.

Ben Liebman, a former top gambling adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, explains how state legislators flipped on electronic gambling, highlights the major players involved and judges the success (or failure) of the plan to save harness racing in New York. The conversation also considers the legal challenges to VLTs in New York. Continue reading “Donald Trump, 9/11 and the True Story of Electronic Gambling in New York”

The Politics, Policies and Personalities of Tax Reform

You would be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that the biggest state income tax cut in the last millennia occurred under Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Despite the governor’s rhetoric about an historic cut, the most recent major income tax overhaul in New York came in 1995 under Gov. George Pataki. The impetus for the Income Tax Reduction Act of 1995 came almost a decade earlier from the trickle down effect of changes to the federal tax code.

A young Edmund J. McMahon (Photo Provided)

EJ McMahon, the research director for the Empire Center of Public Policy, joined Poozer Politics to explain the politics, policy and personalities behind the 1995 tax cut. The conversation addresses the stalled tax cuts under Gov. Mario Cuomo, the role of Assembly Republicans and the ramifications for New York from potential tax changes at the federal level.

And if this wonky government talk is up your alley, consider checking out the 2nd Annual StateWatch Strategies Seminar on December 6. Continue reading “The Politics, Policies and Personalities of Tax Reform”

Planting the Seeds for Tax Reform in New York

Thirty years ago, New York overhauled its tax code in response to major reforms at the federal level. Now, with Republicans in Congress hoping to cut cut cut, is reform at the state and local level around the corner?

What would reform in New York look like?  Where is the low-hanging tax fruit? Do state politicians, especially Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have the appetite for a big fight in 2018? Why is loophole a dirty word?

For those answers and more, including their wish list for tax reform in the next legislative session, Poozer Politics turned to Ken Pokalsky, of the Business Council of New York, and David Friedfel, of the Citizen Budget Commission. The conversation touched on the collection of online sales taxes, property taxes in New York City and predictability for businesses.

Continue reading “Planting the Seeds for Tax Reform in New York”

The Formula to Beat Partisan Gerrymandering

Do voters choose elected officials or do elected officials choose their voters?

The answer is usually the latter, as redistricting has become an exact science with states legislators utilizing computer programs that allow them to tip the scales in elections. But now good government advocates have a metric for identifying partisan gerrymandering, the “efficiency gap,” and it could be the basis for a new era in redistricting, depending on a potential ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jessie Amunson & Jeremy Creelan

Jessie Amunson, one of the lawyers challenging Wisconsin’s legislative lines in the Supreme Court, and Jeremy Creelan, author of a report on gerrymandering for the Rockefeller Institute, joined Poozer Politics to explain the efficiency gap, highlighted the case before the Supreme Court, and explore the legislative lines in New York.

Continue reading “The Formula to Beat Partisan Gerrymandering”

The Cyrus Vance Rules

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s campaign finance practices appears to have inspired new legislation.

Assemblyman Dan Quart

Assemblyman Dan Quart, a Manhattan Democrat, has introduced legislation that would impost special restrictions on campaign contributions for district attorney candidates. Candidates would be required to disclose any contributions from law firms that represents defendants in criminal proceedings and there will be limits on contributions from people or corporate entities that have “legal dealings” with a district attorney’s office. Continue reading “The Cyrus Vance Rules”