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”

Power to the People, Hold On

Selling energy could be even bigger business in New York, but whether those profits truly materialize could depend on a battle of acronyms in Albany.

The state’s Public Service Commission is fighting on multiple fronts, including state and federal court, with the nearly 200 energy service companies that want to sell energy in New York. The crux of the conflict revolves around the charge from state regulators that ESCOs target low-income customers and fail to deliver on their advertised promises.

Marie French, the energy and environmental reporter for Politico NY, joined Poozer Politics to explain how an ESCO operates, provide a status update from the PSC’s war and talk about New York’s energy future.

The episode also features excerpts from state lawmakers and regulators, who are divided on the threat posed by ESCOs and the merit of the PSC’s actions.

Continue reading “Power to the People, Hold On”

Sharing is Caring

Municipal leaders are taking a second look at how their governments operate following the adoption of a pet program by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in this year’s budget.

The County-Wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan (or CWSSPTSP as no one calls it) requires counties outside of New York City to draft plans for sharing services in order to cut costs and find efficiencies. A new report from the Rockefeller Institute, in conjunction with the Benjamin Center and  the Center for Technology in Government, reviewed the 34 plans submitted this fall and analyzed the potential savings.

Jim Malatras, president of the Rockefeller Institute, joined Poozer Politics to explain the mechanics of the program, highlighted interesting proposals and identified the potential benefits (large and small) for taxpayers.

The conversation also addressed the criticism that this process fails to address major cost drivers, like pensions, and whether the analysis has been too political.

Continue reading “Sharing is Caring”

EXTRA EXTRA: Alt-Right Financier Funds Local Attack Ad

All politics is local, even if you’re a billionaire.

Robert Mercer, the conservative financier behind Steve Bannon and then-candidate Donald Trump, waded into the Westchester County Executive election last month with nearly $1 million for a super PAC supporting incumbent Rob Astorino.

      Mark Lungariello

Journal News reporter Mark Lungariello joined Poozer Politics to explain Astorino’s ties with Mercer, talk about the impact of the ad blitz against challenger George Latimer and highlight indicators to look for on Tuesday night. Continue reading “EXTRA EXTRA: Alt-Right Financier Funds Local Attack Ad”