Unlike what Jerry Kassar might have you believe — Cardinal Dolan’s published remarks look like there might be a problem for both Republicans and Democrats who failed to deliver on their professed support for the Educational Investment Tax Credit
I can’t tell if Jerry Kassar is doing a war dance or his happy dance in his weekly column in the Home Reporter, this week entitled “Common Sense: ‘A Catholic Problem’.” According to Mr. Kassar, “Reading the comments by Cardinal Dolan as well as other Catholic Church leaders in the days following the demise of the Educational Investment Tax Credit, one might wonder if Governor Andrew Cuomo is developing a ‘Catholic problem.’ *** Although there is certainly plenty of blame to go around, with Assembly Speaker Silver deserving his share, Cuomo seems to be the focus of the church’s anger....” (See “Common Sense: ‘A Catholic Problem’ ” by Jerry Kassar, 4/8/14, Home Reporter/ Sunset News [http://www.homereporternews.com/opinion/common-sense-a-catholic-problem/article_461a20e4-bf69-11e3-8504-001a4bcf887a.html]).
Kassar went on to say this: “The Catholic Church leadership is essentially saying that [Cuomo] broke a commitment. They are suggesting he had the ability to move the issue into the final budget, but choose not to apply the significant powers of his office in the final push. The leaders have thrown around a lot of tough words to describe his actions including betrayed.” Well, maybe the Catholic leadership is saying that — then again, maybe it isn’t. I don’t think somebody like Kassar can be relied upon to be an accurate spokesman of the Catholic Church position on this particular bit of budgetary legerdemain and the almost identical political sleight of hand that led up to it — all of it leading to the failure to pass any Educational Investment Tax Credit in the 2014-2015 NYS Budget .
What is particularly odd about all of this is that even though Kassar acknowledges that there is certainly plenty of blame to go around, Kassar thinks that the GOP NYS Senate leadership and even Kassar’s own boss, Marty Golden, don’t have a full share of “A Catholic Problem” coming out of the demise of the Educational Investment Tax Credit. After all, wasn’t this part and parcel of this year’s budgetary dealing that resulted in a “Budget Deal”; and didn’t those so-called conservative Republicans in the NYS Senate gladly vote in favor of that very problematic budget — the very budget that contained no Educational Investment Tax Credit in it.
A statement by Cardinal Dolan that appeared in the Daily News earlier today seems to be equally critical of Governor Cuomo and GOP NYS Senate Co-leader Skelos for giving him assurances that they could not deliver on ( See “EXCLUSIVE: Timothy Cardinal Dolan is outraged that Albany did not approve promised tax credits” by Glenn Blaine, 4/10/14, NY Daily News [http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/timothy-cardinal-dolan-outraged-state-approve-tax-credits-article-1.1751311]).
These chickens might come home to roost personally on State Senator Martin Golden’s doorstep. Golden specifically is on the record as saying that he proudly backed the NYS budget that recently passed for 2014 and 2015. Some of what he had to say “on the record” follows: “State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, 22nd District)... is today applauding the significant achievements of the 2014-2015 New York State Budget [on a matter clearly passed at the expense of the Educational Investment Tax Credit]....” (See Release by State Senator Martin Golden, 4/1/14 [http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/senator-golden-applauds-state-budget-achievements-new-york-seniors]); “I am proud to have voted for a New York State budget last week that included [ another matter also clearly passed at the expense of the Educational Investment Tax Credit]....” (See Release by State Senator Martin Golden, 4/9/14 [http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/senator-golden-statement-early-intervention-funding-including-2014-2015-new-york-state]). None of Golden’s laudatory releases about his support of the 2014-2015 budget, and his mention of specific items in it, contained any explanation of the failure to include the Educational Investment Tax Credit in the overall budget, nor did Golden mention any remorse for the failure to follow through on commitments made to Catholic leaders and other supporters of the Educational Investment Tax Credit.
To paraphrase Kassar, in a question pointed at him and his boss: Could the demise of the Educational Investment Tax Credit become a campaign talking point against another Golden term in the State Senate ? Time and Golden’s future answers on his votes surrounding these issues will tell that unfolding story.
BACKFILL: THE “PLENTY OF MONEY FOR THINGS OTHER THAN THE EDUCATIONAL INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT” EDITION
GOVERNOR, AND LEADERSHIP OF ASSEMBLY AND STATE SENATE TOGETHER ON NYS BUDGET FOR 2014-2015 — WITH PLENTY OF INCREASED SPENDING AND TAX BREAKS, BUT NOTHING FOR THE EDUCATIONAL INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT
According to Governor Cuomo, “... This budget contains the framework that will allow us to build a new New York, and I commend the members of the Senate and the Assembly who have joined us to continue that progress....” (See “Cuomo: New York State budget a 'grand slam' ” by Chelsea Bishop & Kelly McCarthy, 4/1/14, 12WBNG Action News [http://www.wbng.com/news/local/New-York-State-budget-passes-on-time-253314581.html]).
“Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced the historic passage of the State’s fourth consecutive on-time budget. ...***... Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Dean Skelos said, “I am pleased that we are acting today on a bipartisan budget that delivers property tax relief to hardworking families, reduces taxes for businesses so they can create new jobs and gives every student the resources they need to be successful. Our enacted budget includes a new property tax rebate program, a reduction in the Gap Elimination Adjustment for schools, expansion of the EPIC program for seniors, and elimination of the corporate tax for manufacturers. I congratulate Governor Cuomo for achieving comprehensive, bipartisan ethics and election reforms that will increase transparency and restore confidence in government. Working together, we will pass the state’s 4th consecutive on-time budget, a symbol that state government is functioning and getting results. I thank the Governor for his strong leadership and our partners in the Legislature, Senator Klein and Speaker Silver, for their hard work and commitment to the people of this state.” ( See “Governor Cuomo and Legislative Leaders Announce Passage of 2014-15 Budget” Press Release by Governor Andrew Cuomo, 3/31/14, Governor's Press Office [http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/03312014Budget]).
According to Governor Cuomo’s release and other reports, “The New York State Legislature approved the 2014-2015 state budget .... the fourth on-time budget in a row to start the new fiscal year. Again, the budget is a series of compromises and serious trade-offs.... The spending plan totals $138 billion and continues the state’s fiscal discipline by holding spending growth to less than two percent for the fourth consecutive year. *** Historic investment in education. The 2014-15 state budget increases school aid by $1.1 billion, or 5.4 percent, which is $551 million over the Governor’s proposal....” (See “Summary of 2014-2015 State Budget” by Patricia Fahy, 4/2/14, Albany Times Union [http://blog.timesunion.com/fahy/summary-of-2014-2015-state-budget/181/]).
Needless to say, for those interested in the issue, even though there was plenty of money for countless other initiatives such as real estate, movies and other business development, and for many, many public school based programs, there was no provision in the 2014-2015 state budget for any Educational Investment Tax Credit.
UPDATE: THE "MORE OF THE SAME FROM THE BROOKLYN CONSERVATIVE PARTY" EDITION
UNDER KASSAR THE BROOKLYN CONSERVATIVE PARTY WILL HELP KEEP DEALS IN PLACE TO BENEFIT GOLDEN
Most of this week's "Common Sense" column by Jerry Kassar was more preening about Brooklyn Conservative Party bells and whistles --- none of which advances conservatism or fundamental conservative principles (See "Coomon Sense: Bad Idea/Worse Timing" by Jerry Kassar, 4/15/14, Home Reporter/ Sunset News [link omitted]).
The only relevant political news was that Kassar, the Conservative Party's Brooklyn chairman, stated that the Conservatives intended to have a full slate of congressional candidates --- by the notable omission of other offices, one has to assume that there will NOT be a full slate of State Senate and/or Assembly candidates. Supporting GOP-Conservative candidates for the assembly and state senate might run afoul of a few deals that GOP-Conservative Golden still has with incumbent liberal Democrats.....