Last of the Manhattan Republicans

Republican elected officials from Manhattan once walked the halls of the Capitol.

The last of this dying breed was John Ravitz, who represented the Upper East Side in the Assembly between 1991 and 2002, when he lost a special election for state senate and walked away from public office.

Ravitz joined Poozer Politics to talk about his upset victory for the Assembly in 1990, the mistakes of his campaign for state senate and his place in today’s Republican Party. The conversation also explored his decision to step away from public office after he found himself on the wrong side of a leadership fight in the minority conference.

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Mr. Quinn Goes to Albany

The anti-incumbency wave that swept the country in 2010 also made its way through the 58th Senate District in New York that year and handed Jack Quinn III the first election loss of his family’s political career.

The son of a congressman from the Buffalo area, he set out for a career in medicine before turning to law and eventually elected office. Quinn got elected to the Assembly at 26 and was vying for a seat in the state senate just six years later.

This extended episode of Poozer Politics features a conversation with Quinn about growing up in politics, the evolution of his personal ideology and the calculus that went into running for the state senate. He reflects on the Assembly debate over same-sex marriage, shares insights into his multiple campaigns and reveals the seat he almost ran for. Continue reading “Mr. Quinn Goes to Albany”

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.

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