Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dollinger SLAMS Skelos and his do nothing senate


"Today, we were joined by Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who also chairs the New York State Property Tax Relief Commission, at a rally in downtown Rochester, calling for drastic property tax reforms and real solutions to upstate New York's fiscal crisis. In the wake of Democratic urgings, Albany Senate Republicans, led by Majority leader Dean Skelos, have called for a special session to address a tax cap, in a transparent political maneuver that is too little, too late. If Senate Republicans were truly committed to solving our states problems they would begin by committing to a relief package that includes a tax cap, a circuit breaker, and a halt to unfunded mandates.

"After ten years of being asleep at the wheel, Republicans have finally agreed to talk about a tax cap. While a tax cap is the least Republicans can do, and a first step to solving a much larger statewide problem, we find it inexcusable that Republicans Joe Robach and Jim Alesi have failed to take action year after year. Unfortunately, the Senate Republican proposal to pass a property tax cap bill will fail to meet the needs of the working families in New York, and can simply be summed up as too little, too late."

"Today, we are calling on Senate Republicans to wake up to the real issues of a crumbling upstate economy that has been accompanied by an even more dire outlook for middle class families in New York State. And, asking when they return to Albany to commit to the development of a true relief package that includes the tax cap, a circuit breaker, and a halt to unfunded mandates. The time for partisan agendas and excuse making is over; we need real change, and real results in Albany."

Can you hear him now, Joe Robach?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Joe Robach is lying about pay raises

I guess Joe Robach is having a John Kerry moment. It looks like his flip flop of the day is being for raising his own pay before he was against it....

Sen. Joe Robach has a problem keeping his word on issues and legislation. There was the flip-flop on fair pay by Robach, who was in favor of fair pay but then failed to get it through the Senate. Robach also sponsored legislation that would reduce the impact of lead on children only to let that bill die in the Senate.

So it isn't too surprising that Robach has flip-flopped on yet another issue. This time, Robach has denied he ever voted or supported a pay raise even though there is evidence to the contrary.

Robach was on the radio today and was asked if he had ever voted for a pay raise. He said, "We did not do pay raise, I have never voted for a pay raise for myself, and I don't see that happening in the near future." However, Robach was one of the cosponsors for S5313, which would do the following:

Provides for annual increase in the compensation paid to the judges and justices of the unified court system and New York city housing judges; establishes commissions to annually determine the compensation payable to the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney-general and state commissioners; provides for the biennial adjustment of the compensation payable to the members of the legislature; appropriates $48,200,000 for judicial pay raises.

The vote for S5313 was 34 to 24. Here is the tally:

04/30/07 S5313 Senate Vote Aye: 34 Nay: 24

Nay Adams Aye Alesi Aye Bonacic Nay Breslin
Aye Bruno Nay Connor Aye DeFrancisco Aye Diaz
Nay Dilan Nay Duane Aye Farley Aye Flanagan
Aye Fuschillo Aye Golden Nay Gonzalez Aye Griffo
Aye Hannon Exc Hassell-Thompson Exc Huntley Nay Johnson C
Aye Johnson O Nay Klein Nay Krueger Exc Kruger
Aye Lanza Aye Larkin Aye LaValle Aye Leibell
Aye Libous Aye Little Aye Maltese Aye Marcellino
Aye Maziarz Nay Montgomery Aye Morahan Aye Nozzolio
Exc Onorato Nay Oppenheimer Aye Padavan Nay Parker
Nay Perkins Aye Rath Aye Robach Nay Sabini
Aye Saland Nay Sampson Nay Savino Nay Schneiderman
Nay Serrano Aye Seward Aye Skelos Nay Smith
Nay Stachowski Nay Stavisky Nay Stewart-Cousins Nay Thompson
Aye Trunzo Nay Valesky Aye Volker Aye Winner
Aye Wright Aye Young

There you have it. Robach did in fact support a pay raise for legislators. He can deny his support for it (like he has done time and time again with other issues) but this is on record. And not only did he express his support for it, he voted in support for a pay raise.

The people of SD-56 have a choice to make. Do they really want two more years of flip-flopping and voting against the best interests of the district? Do they want two more years of Joe Robach and his "changes with the weather" legislative style?

We need leaders, not flip-floppers. We also need to be told the truth, not lies about one's record as a legislator.

I'm sick of having a State Senator who thinks we're all dumb.

Dollinger interviewed at Albany Project blog

First he got a website and now websites are interviewing him the Albany Project website has an interview with our next State Senator Rick Dollinger.

QUESTION: What are the issues impacting the 56th Senate District and issues that you will address at the state level?

DOLLINGER: Lack of job development. We have lost 30 percent of our manufacturing jobs since 2000. It is an attrition of jobs. The Empire Zones and IDAs have failed to deliver, are poorly designed and have done little to stem the flow of jobs to other places. We need to be building jobs, not demolishing them.

The high cost of government is another issue. The ballooning state spending and property taxes and the Senate Republicans have made New York a difficult place to live and prosper.

I was the ranking Democrat on the Senate Health Committee. The cost of health care is reaching crisis levels. I am the only employer in this race. I have a small law firm with eight to ten people. I pay for their benefits out of pocket. The premiums are ballooning by double digits. Health care is a very expensive commodity. We need to increase accessibility [to health care] and find ways to lower costs. People are choosing between paying for [their] health care, buying gas or buying food. They really have little or no choice. Working families face those kinds of dilemmas daily. Families look to the government to help them out but they haven't seen any help.

These were all issues on the table in 2002. The Senate Republicans have done nothing [to address these issues] in six years.

Q: What would you do to reform the Empire Zones and IDAs?

DOLLINGER: We need to go back to square one. We need to abolish the Empire Zones. The poor parts of New York were transformed into tax dodges that could benefit contributors and favored parties. We should abolish the Empire Zones and replace them with a direct investment bank for Western New York. (Note: When Dollinger says bank, he means a bank strictly for financing projects that the Empire Zones normally would give tax breaks for. Instead of handouts though, this bank would provide accountability to the process.)

IDAs haven't provided enough high quality jobs. We need to reexamine the IDAs and look at the wage structure.

Q: On the issue of property taxes, do you see yourself more in line with a tax cap or a "circuit breaker" being supported by the Working Families Party?

DOLLINGER: I like the concept of the circuit breaker better. I'm not opposed to some kind of cap, but the better solution is a circuit breaker geared toward middle income families.

The Senate Republicans, in a Rip Van Winkle-like way, have awaken to the fact that property taxes are too high. Where have they been in the last 20 years? There has to be some accountability.

(Author's note: It was at this point in the interview where Dollinger told me to take a look at the Drum Major Institute's Legislative Scorecard. Not the whole scorecard per se, just the individual scores for Sen. Robach (see here and here). Robach's score is abysmal. His 27 percent score was tied for the worst among all state senators.)

Q: You mentioned state spending. How do you plan on reining in state spending?

DOLLINGER: From 1996 to 2002, I sponsored legislation that would have created a constitutional amendment that would require a super-majority of votes from the Legislature to approve any increase in taxes and spending. The co-sponsor of that legislation was then-Assemblyman Joseph E. Robach. When I left the Senate, the bill never reemerged. At the time, both of us agreed on a spending cap for the state of New York. I still agree with it. I don't know if he does.

Q: Where do you stand on marriage equality?

DOLLINGER: I will vote for a marriage equality bill. The time has come.

Q: How do we address the problem of health care costs?

DOLLINGER: We need more children covered through Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus. There needs to be a change in D.C. which would allow New York to go farther. Instead of investing so much into critical care, those resources should be invested into preventive care. The best way to save money is to put money into preventive care rather than critical care. An ounce of prevention is worth, in the case of health care, several tons of care.

Q: What are your thoughts on Joe Robach?

DOLLINGER: [Robach] is in lockstep with the Senate Republicans. He broke with colleagues in favor of the Senate Republicans' stance on the pay equity bill. The Senate GOP squelched it. Robach is a conservative Republican - a George Bush/George Pataki Republican. He has voted like a conservative Republican in Albany and is out of touch and out of step with people in the district.

This is the home of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. He is inconsistent with that tradition. I will put people before politics. His record is putting politics before the people. He has supported the NRA and is in opposition to choice (a woman's right to choose). He flip-flopped on pay equity and on middle-class family initiatives, Robach has been on the wrong side for too long.

Q: What will you do regarding ethics reform and creating open government when elected to Albany?

For four years I served as chair of the Task Force on Legislative Reform. In 60 days, we will implement the Brennan Center recommendations and within six months, we will produce a bill regarding campaign finance reform. The Senate will do that. We will pass a campaign finance bill.

(Note: When Dollinger gave me that answer, I asked him what kind of campaign finance reform he was talking about. His answer follows.)

I would like to see a clean money, clean elections bill. But I think there would be more support for this if the bill is modeled after the New York City system. The point of view is needed for passing a bill. (Most of the legislators in the state hail from New York City.) All have seen the New York City financing model. The Legislature could pass the New York City model.

There will be substantial improvement on the "Wild West" rules we have for campaign finance. We will do it in six months. It will be done.

Rules changes will change the Senate forever. It will function like a democracy again. The Republicans like the "cracy." The Democrats like the "demo."

(Explanation: I looked up democracy to remind myself of what the two different parts of the word meant. "Demo" or "demos" means common people, while "cracy" or "kratos" means "rule, strength.")

Q: What will you during your first month in office?

DOLLINGER: (1) We will change the rules, open up the government and have bills debated in full with canvasses in agreement. Muzzled debate will be over.

(2) You will see bills passed by both houses in 2009. Bills like pay equity, protecting choice, budget and move resources targeted for Western New York job development through.

(3) There will be a complete transformation. New York was where some of the cornerstones of the New Deal lie abolishing child labor, putting in regulations like fire and safety codes began. You will see the same transformation in the Democratic Senate. It will be fairly, justly and efficiently.

Dollinger also mentioned his endorsement from the Working Families Party and the importance of that support. As you can see from this interview, Dollinger is ready to lead. He is ready to represent the 56th Senate District in a much better way. He is ready to lead and he will lead in Albany beginning in January 2009.

I'll be voting for Rick Dollinger.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Finally! Rick Dollinger has a website

The man who will finally rid us of Joe "two black eyes" Robach finally has a website. It's about time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Joe only raised 120K

I guess Joe Robach doesn't really understand that he has a real competitor in Rick Dollinger. It's either that or maybe no one wants to give him money anymore. The Albany Project blog has the numbers from his latest filing and they are so weak.

This is one of the bigger races in New York. Republican Sen. Joe Robach is defending his seat against Democrat and former state senator Rick Dollinger. However, Robach doesn't have incumbent-like money. For example, Sen. Jim Seward is facing off with Don Barber. Seward has over $490,000 cash on hand, which is a pretty strong figure. Other Senate incumbents have plenty of money. Sen. Tom Libous has over $752,000 in the bank and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has over $1.3 million cash on hand.

The same cannot be said of Joe Robach. In his filing, it shows us that Robach only raised $121,625.00 and now has $270,048.95 cash on hand. That figure is very small considering fellow Republican incumbents have double, triple or even six times that amount (like Skelos does).

Ha ha!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

That Golisano money is driving Robach CRAZY

Three different people have told me that Joe Robach is going completely batty about how Tom Golisano is going to back Rick Dollinger with loads of money.

Ha ha!

Robach and Bruno could have done something about campaign finance reform. But they didn't.

I bet they wish they had now, huh?

Monday, July 7, 2008

More on Schumer

From the Rochester Turning blog:

I really like the way Schumer emphasizes the upstate economy and the benefits of having two State Senators like Nachbar and Dollinger in Albany working as a team. We really need that teamwork for upstate New York. Also, having interviewed both candidates personally, I’ve been pleased with their willingness to answer questions and with their indepth knowledge of the issues important to voters.

Both candidates emphasized lowering taxes, job creation and change in Albany in their statements thanking Schumer for his support. I think the teamwork has already begun and that is a good thing for not only the constituents in NY-55 and NY-56 but all of upstate.

I agree 100%.

Senator Schumer Endorsed Rick Dollinger

From The Albany Project blog

Chuck Schumer, New York's senior Senator, today endorsed Rick Dollinger and David Nachbar in their campaigns for State Senate. Nachbar is challenging Jim Alesi in the 55th Senatorial District, while Dollinger is challenging Republican Joe Robach in the 56th.

"We're looking forward to real change in the White House, but we need change just as badly in Albany," said Schumer, who serves as Chairperson of the US Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. "Rick Dollinger and David Nachbar have the strength and determination to help make New York the great state it can be."


"Each year, I travel to every county in New York State, and each year I see how it's getting harder and harder for working families in upstate New York. Property taxes, gas prices and the sagging economy keep families in a state of perpetual economic uncertainty, and it has to stop," explained Schumer. "Dave Nachbar has spent his career creating jobs, and Rick Dollinger will return to the Senate with the know-how to deliver for Monroe County. They're a great team that will do great things for the families they represent."

"I want to thank Senator Schumer for his support, and for all that he's done for our community," said Nachbar. "If we're going to turn upstate around, lower people's taxes and create good jobs, we need more leaders like him fighting for the people of New York State."

"Senator Schumer is a friend and a real leader in Washington, and I'm honored to have his support in my campaign," added Dollinger. "New Yorkers are calling out for change, and a Democratic majority in our State Senate will be the change that moves New York forward again. Property taxes are overwhelming, families are being split up because of the lack of good jobs, millions lack basic health coverage, and our communities are looking for new leadership. The days of the do-nothing State Senate are over - it's time to get things done."

Will Robach get an endorsement from McCain? He could, I guess. But he won't be getting one from a senator from NY.

P. S. That post also says that Dollinger has a ActBlue page now too. Dollinger's Actblue page.