Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This Just In: Farmers vs. Aubertine Round 2

Tom, did you see this one? And I thought the tax on grocery bags was outrageous!

Good ol' Aubertine is at it again, chuggin' away at disowning his own. This guy just doesn't get it. Who is Aubertine looking out for anyways?

Farmers unhappy with budget spending hikes

NY farmers are unhappy about the nearly 10 percent spending increase in the proposed state budget, which also cuts funding for programs to help boost production and improve markets.

“We can't uproot an apple tree or move cows to Mexico or China. The negative impact of higher insurance fees, higher energy costs, and a failure to address overall spending levels will be felt by our farmers for years to come as our members have less money to invest in their farms".

"To spend $10 billion more, and fail to fully fund long standing research, promotion, animal and plant health and economic development programs flies in the face of the reality of what farmers thought were difficult fiscal conditions."

State Sen. Darrel Aubertine, head of the Senate Agriculture Committee, had vowed to protect funding for farm programs in the state budget.


GET READY!!! More Taxes & More $ for Paterson's Staff & Travel

AP: No One Is Safe From NY's Wide Reaching Budget
Proposed $131.8B Tax-And-Spend Plan Has Critics Howling
Mar 31, 2009
Marcia Kramer NEW YORK (CBS) ―

Get ready to pay up.

The budget crisis in New York is so dire lawmakers are planning tax hikes on some of life's necessities, as well as some simple pleasures.

From bottled water, to beer, cigars and electricity, the cost could be going up for all of these and more.

Governor David Paterson said the new state budget is shared sacrifice, but its a tough sell.

If you live in New York City and suburbs there is only one thing you can do in reaction to the new state budget – gasp.

"This is not a happy budget," Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, said.

No kidding. Critics said there are so many taxes and fee hikes the average family of four in our area can expect to shell out an additional $5,000 -- for now.

"I would like to tell you that this budget brings to an end our fiscal crisis, but I can't do that. That would be intellectually dishonest," Paterson said.

The budget puts an added income tax on households earning over $300,000 to raise $4 billion.

"The rich are going to do their fair share in trying to close this budget deficit and now all those that were yelling for them to do it need to do the same," Paterson said.

And they will.

The details of the new budget include:

* Essentially flat state school aid. Aid to public schools would increase about $1.1 billion, according to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and eliminate the $700 million cut Paterson had proposed in December. But that results in almost no increase for schools that have gotten bumps of billions of dollars from lawmakers pressured by school districts back home. School aid will total more than $21 billion, one of the highest per capita levels in the nation. But school advocates expected $1.5 billion more this year, even after Paterson's cut was restored, under a promise by the state following a court decision it lost for not providing a sound basic education for years.

"There are going to be layoffs of teachers and other educators," said Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, a union-allied advocate for public schools. "There are going to be cutbacks of programs and kids in districts that are already underfunded, the problem is going to continue ... and that's a travesty of justice."

The last time school districts received far less state aid than expected local property taxes were subsequently increased by an average of 10 percent.

* About $3 billion of taxes and fees, from motor vehicle registration charges to public college tuition and other costs that would affect everyday life for most residents.

* No more tax rebate checks to residents, although the STAR exemption program and NYC STAR credit will continue to provide $3.3 billion in property tax relief.

* A bigger bottle bill. A nickel deposit would be required of bottled water, to go along with carbonated drinks. The state will get about $115 million of the unclaimed deposits, with bottlers keeping the rest under a last-minute deal worked out with lobbyists for the Coca-Cola Co.

* Taxing little cigars often called cigarillos at the same 46 percent rate applied to cigarettes, instead of the 37 percent rate now.

Meanwhile, Paterson had proposed more than $1 billion in cuts from health care in his mid-December budget to the Legislature. He sought to force more funding to be moved from traditional and expensive hospital care to more efficient community-based and preventive programs. The Legislature restored about 69 percent of funding to hospitals, 73 percent to pharmacies, 60 percent to home care programs and 43 percent to nursing homes.

The Legislature also restored:

* $340 million of critical funding to New York City, Silver said.

* Funding for teacher training centers and adult literacy and bilingual education programs.

* $125 million more to the State University of New York, for a total of $2.5 billion in funding; and $86 million more to the City University of New York, for a new total of $1.4 billion.

* $49 million in cuts to community colleges.

* Almost $50 million to the Tuition Assistance Program, which provides financial aid to college students.

The Legislature also created a $50 billion program to provide low-interest loans to residents attending college and rejected a proposal for a gas tax.

New Yorkers can't even begin to fathom what they've been hit with.

"You know it's a really difficult situation. There are no clear solutions. It just seems to tax too much," said Upper West Side resident Jamie Kalfus.

Critics, like Senate Minorty Leader Dean Skelos, R-Long Island, slammed the Legislature for secretly negotiating a $10 billion increase in spending at a time of fiscal crisis.

"These numbers are absolutely staggering, and the height of irresponsibility on the part of the Democrat leadership in this state," said Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos (R-L.I.). "The public should be outraged."

But Gov. Paterson vigorously defended the secret negotiations.

"Nobody wants to publicly, other than governors, who are charged to do it, put their issues on the table. That's part of what negotiations are about," Paterson said.

By the way, Paterson has a $20 million budget for his staff and half a million dollars budgeted for travel.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Sky is Falling on Gov. Paterson

The numbers pretty much speak for themselves here. It looks to us like Republicans in NY-20 should have tried to make their race more about Gov. Paterson then Obama. Both leaders are on their way to dwarf Bush's historic all-time-disapproval levels. But Paterson is such an obvious target because pretty soon if you ask 100 people in New York what they think of the Gov, 101 will tell you they hate him.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Aubertine's Taxes: Darrel Aubertine and the State Democrats are secretly plotting a slew of new taxes to replace some of the levies they triumphantly proclaimed dead just a few days ago, including a new one cent tax on plastic grocery bags. Media leaks on some of the proposals—including Thursday’s fleeting agreements on an income tax hike and more bottle deposits—are contributing to even more chaos, as some lawmakers cave to pressure from industry, special interests and constituents and back away from the deals. The budget is due on Tuesday, but lawmakers have left Albany for a long weekend break.

Patterson's Taxes: The Buffalo News hails electric ratepayers’ victory in defeating a NYPA plan to raise rates Upstate, but is appalled by Gov. Paterson’s plan to add a new tax to utility bills that will cost consumers even more. The budget plan is even more galling because New Yorkers pay the highest utility rates in the country for power that’s produced locally in Western and Northern NY, then shipped to other parts of the state.

Enough is enough already! These guys have gone off the DEEP end.


OBAMA: "We could set up systems so that everybody in each house have their own smart meters that, uhh, will tell you when to turn off the lights, when the peak hours are, can help you sell back energy, uh, that you've generated in your home through a solar panel or through, uh, eh, other mechanisms. All this can be done, but it also creates jobs right now. Our biggest problem, we don't have enough electricians to lay all these lines out there."

It's all here in a recent story w/ Rush. Have at it kiddies.

Friday, March 13, 2009

McHugh Supports Union Intimidation & Ending Secret Ballots?

I recently learned that Congressman McHugh is one of only 3 Republicans on the federal level who supports Obama's anti-union, card-check legislation.  All I can say is "WOW!?!?!"  We thought we could give McHugh, the porker, a pass when he was one of only 16 Republicans who voted for the massive Omnibus spending bill in late February (when 20 fiscally conservative Democrats voted against it).

Can anyone tell me what McHugh is thinking here?  Some speculated that maybe McHugh doesn't care what the Republican leadership thinks because he is retiring and he can vote however he likes.  Or perhaps McHugh isn't versed in how the card check law would affect jobs in the North Country.  Here are some of my favorite points, according to the Heritage Foundation, that members of Congress should consider before voting:

1) A recent Zogby poll found that 71% of union members believe that the current private-ballot process is fair. A McLaughlin & Associates poll found that fully 74% of union members favor keeping the current system in place over replacing it with one that provides less privacy.

2) Conservative estimates show that EFCA would reduce employment opportunities by 765,000 potential jobs in the economy over the next seven years. Other studies estimate even greater effects.

3) Instead of mutual consent, the federal government would then impose working conditions on both employers and employees, whether they were workable or not, and these conditions would be binding on the business for two years until the negotiations are reopened.  

That means employees are against the measure, we would lose jobs, and if EFCA goes into effect then these contracts will be run by government bureaucrats (and the contracts will be binding for at least 2 years).  It is simply shocking that McHugh could support such an undemocratic measure.  What is even more interesting about the debate is that at least six proponents of the Employee "No" Free Choice Act are now against it or now on the fence.   

"The legislation is divisive and distracting, said Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln in an interview Monday. The Democratic lawmaker, who was previously seen as a supporter, said the Senate should focus on creating jobs and improving the U.S. economy. 'I have 90,000 Arkansans who need a job, that's my No. 1 priority,' she said. The legislation, she said, would be 'divisive and we don't need that right now. We need to focus on the things that are more important.'

Sen. Lincoln is one of several moderate Democrats expressing doubts about the Employee Free Choice Act. The bill would allow unions to organize workers without a secret ballot, giving employees the power to organize by simply signing cards agreeing to join. A second provision would give federal arbitrators power to impose contract terms on companies that fail to reach negotiated agreements with unions. Both provisions are strongly opposed by business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor are among the Democratic lawmakers who have backed off their previous support."

Here is what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to say about the matter:

“This legislation goes against the fundamental right of political expression without fear of coercion.  As Americans, we expect to be able to vote on everything from high school class president to the President of the United States in private. Workers expect the same right in union elections.  To put it simply, the Employee ‘No Choice’ Act is undemocratic. To approve it would be to subvert the right to bargain freely over working terms and conditions. It would also strip members of a newly recognized union of their right to accept or reject a contract. In addition, this bill ushers in a new scheme of penalties which are anti-worker and which apply only to employers and not unions.  Even though we have regarded secret ballot elections as a fundamental right for more than a century, some Democrats still seem determined to strip that right away from American workers.  If this weren’t bad enough, a study released last week by economist Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar showed that, if enacted, Card Check legislation could cost 600,000 American jobs each year. At a time when all of us are looking to stimulate the economy and put Americans back to work, we threaten to undermine those efforts with this job-killing bill."

Someone please tell McHugh to stop this nonsense.  Can't he see where New York's economy has been going the past two decades?  Just last week the Watertown Daily Times had a story on Upstate New York's unemployment numbers:

"Lewis County had the highest January unemployment rate at 11.7 percent, up from 9.1 percent in December and from 7.8 percent in January 2008. St. Lawrence County posted an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent for January, up from 8.7 percent in December and from 7.6 percent in January 2008. Jefferson County's unemployment rate for January was 10.3 percent, up from 8.8 percent in December and from 7.5 percent in January 2008."

And as long as we are ending secret ballots for unions, why not end secret ballots for all federal, state, and local elections... would McHugh support that?  The business community and the US Chamber of Commerce have already called the bill, "the devil reincarnate" and "armageddon."

Since when did we become a country that no longer values freedom of association, a free and fair democratic process, and mutually beneficial labor contracts?  It all smells like socialism to me.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Aubertine is losing his street cred with the Agriculture community quicker than Citibank is losing on stocks.  

There has been a "tit-for-tat" between the Aubertine staff, and the NY Farm Bureau and the International Dairy Foods Association, both of whom oppose Aubertine's new MPC bill.   The details can be found in this article published in Valley News Online.  You have to check this out for yourself, but Aubertine gets bloodied up pretty badly for the way he drafted the bill and for not seeking comment from leaders in the dairy industry.  

I don't think folks in the North Country will forget about this one anytime soon.  Of course when we called Aubertine's press secretary for comment we didn't get an answer... he was probrably out gettin' something blazed or trying to spin the unemployment numbers of his member's district.

Who would have thought the fireworks would be happening over Aubertine's farm policy?  One farmer called Darrel's legislation "10 years too late."  That's one Darrel's opponent ought to save for the oppo books.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Gillibrand's Latest Flip-Flop Won't Be Her Last

What's with Kristen Gillibrand and guns?

A few weeks ago she put her foot in her mouth when she noted to the press that she had a few rifles under her bed... then her spokesman said they removed them. Kristen had a record of being pro-gun, but she has quickly been backed into a corner, not only with that recent fumble, but also on a key legislative vote this past week in Washington.

Some liberal reporters have called it a "turnaround," but in a stunning maneuver that would make an olympic gymnast blush, Kirsten Gillibrand has switched her position on gun rights in an effort to redefine her political worldview (and to appease liberals downstate including potential challenger Carolyn McCarthy, a radical opponent of the 2nd Amendment).

In sorting though all the madness this week, I read of Gillibrand's latest flip-flop in The Politico, a Washington, DC based paper. They said it best, "She's not sticking to her guns."

More here:

Gillibrand votes against DC guns

She's not sticking to her guns.

"New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand -- who signed a Supreme Court brief supporting a decision to roll back the District of Columbia gun ban last year -- has voted against a bill that would make it harder to restrict firearms in the district.

The pro-gun measure, which passed 62-to-36 earlier today, would prevent DC's government from imposing tough new restrictions on weapons of all types, including semi-automatic weapons."

And in the comments section of the story we found this gem from an anonymous observer: "Reid and Schumer got ahold of her and now she falls in line like an obedient comrade."

Looking back one has to wonder whether Governor David Paterson regrets that he didn't actually pick a principled leader to represent the state of New York in the US Senate, or did he know all along that Gillibrand would just take orders from the liberal Democratic playbook at the get-go?