• High Profile Races on the General Election Ballot
  • 2017 Ballot Propositions
  • Comptroller: State ‘Faces Serious Fiscal Challenges’
  • Governor Announces $59 Million for Weatherization Assistance
  • Governor Announces Launch of New York Green Business Program
  • Attorney General Proposes SHIELD Act to Protect Against Data Breaches
  • Political Update
  • Coming Up

Today is Election Day. Be sure to go out and vote!

High Profile Races on the General Election Ballot

There are relatively few “high profile” profile races on this year’s General Election ballot.  Those that are getting a significant amount of attention include:

Westchester County Executive

Two-term incumbent Republican County Executive Rob Astorino is seeking a third term; he is being challenged by Democratic State Senator George Latimer.  Democrats have a 2-to-1 registration advantage among active voters in the county, but Astorino has a significant fundraising advantage.

Nassau County Executive

Incumbent County Executive Edward Mangano, who has been indicted by the federal government for fraud and bribery, is not running for re-election.  Democrat Laura Curran and Republican Jack Martins have both made anti-corruption proposals central components of their respective campaigns.

Curran was a newspaper reporter and school board member; she has served on the county legislature for the last four years. Martins served as mayor of Mineola from 2003 to 2010 and as a State Senator from 2011 to 2016. He lost a race for Congress in 2016.

Rensselaer County Executive

Republican County Executive Kathleen Jimino has decided not to run for a fifth term; Republican Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin and Democrat Andrea Smyth are competing to replace her.  McLaughlin appears to have the advantage in this race.

Syracuse Mayor

Incumbent Democratic Mayor Stephanie Miner cannot run again due to term limits; the race to replace her features Democrat Juanita Perez Williams and Ben Walsh, an independent running on the Reform Party, Independence Party and Upstate Jobs Party lines.

Judicial Races

There are also a number of judicial races being contested throughout the state.  The NY Courts’ Judicial Candidate Voter Guide provides information about candidates for judgeships in the 2017 General Election.

2017 Ballot Propositions

There are also three statewide proposals on voters’ ballot this Election Day — all of which are listed on the back of the ballot.

Proposal One – Constitutional Convention

Proposal One is a once-in-a-generation question which asks voters whether or not to approve a convention that would provide for the election of delegates (in 2018) to hold a state constitutional convention (in 2019), which would then go to voters for their approval or rejection.  If the question is rejected, no convention will be convened and voters will next get the chance to approve a convention in 2037.

Proposal Two – Pension Forfeiture for Public Officials

Proposal Two would allow judges to strip elected officials and other top office holders of their pensions if they are convicted of a felony directly related to their public work.

Proposal Three – Adirondack and Catskill Land Bank

Proposal Three would amend the “Forever Wild” in the State Constitution, which limits development in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves. If approved, it would allow public utility development and bicycle paths on certain parts of the forest land, and would also create a land bank that would allow governments to develop up to 250 acres of preserve for health and safety purposes if they replace it with other undeveloped land.

Comptroller: State ‘Faces Serious Fiscal Challenges’

Last Tuesday, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released a report that expresses concerns about the state’s fiscal situation, finding lower-than-expected tax revenue and a $4.1 billion budget gap.

The report, which looks at the first six months of the state’s current fiscal year, found tax collections totaled $36.1 billion, or $386.6 million below estimates. Personal income tax collections total $22.2 billion, a decline of $1.3 billion. The Comptroller noted that some tax collections could be influenced by potential federal tax law changes, but if tax receipts continue to fall below projections, the state’s 2018-19 projected $4 billion budget deficit could grow.

Comptroller DiNapoli said:

“New York faces serious fiscal challenges. Projected budget gaps, weaker than expected personal income tax collections and cuts to federal programs combine for a triple threat of budgetary risks.  Any federal funding reductions not already assumed in the Financial Plan could force difficult decisions regarding the funding of important programs and services.”

The state’s new fiscal year begins April 1, 2018.

Governor Announces $59 Million for Weatherization Assistance

Last week, Gov. Cuomo announced that the state is making $59 million in funding through the Weatherization Assistance Program to reduce energy costs for approximately 9,200 income-eligible families and seniors across the state. Funds will be provided to non-profit organizations to undertake energy-efficiency efforts such as air sealing; insulation; upgrading heating systems; and diagnostic testing to identify potential hazards.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“This program has helped thousands of families cut utility costs, save money and build stronger, more energy efficient homes.  I urge any New Yorker who qualifies for this funding to see how we can help make your house more energy efficient, less expensive to maintain, and more resilient for whatever Mother Nature decides to throw our way.”

Governor Announces Launch of New York Green Business Program

Last Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo announced the launch of the New York Green Business program “to formally recognize New York businesses operating sustainably and celebrate businesses that are implementing projects that go above and beyond relevant State laws and regulations to preserve and enhance New York’s environment.”

Gov. Cuomo said:

“New York leads the nation in furthering environmental protections and supporting renewable energy, and we know that businesses and communities benefit from working together to build a cleaner, greener New York.  The New York Green Business Program will encourage other businesses to pursue sustainable practices, attract new customers and foster sustainable innovation that will benefit everyone.”

The program is accepting applications for membership through December 15, 2017. More information on the program is available here.

Attorney General Proposes SHIELD Act to Protect Against Data Breaches

Last Wednesday, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he has proposed a bill that is intended to protect New Yorkers against breaches of personal security data. The proposal comes in the wake of the Equifax breach in which the Social Security numbers of 143 million Americans were exposed.

The bill would impose a legal responsibility on businesses to adopt “reasonable” administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for sensitive data.  It would also expand the types of data that trigger reporting requirements to include username-and-password combinations; biometric data; and HIPAA-covered health data. It would also provide companies that obtain independent certification that their data security measures meet state standards with a “safe harbor” from state enforcement actions.

Attorney General Schneiderman said:

“It’s clear that New York’s data security laws are weak and outdated.  The SHIELD Act would help ensure these hacks never happen in the first place. It’s time for Albany to act, so that no more New Yorkers are needlessly victimized by weak data security measures and criminal hackers who are constantly on the prowl.”

Political Update

New Executive Director for the State Democratic Party

The New York State Democratic Party announced this week that Geoff Berman will succeed Basil Smikle its Executive Director.

Smikle, who was appointed to the position in 2015, will continue to serve as a senior advisor to the party.  Berman previously served as field director for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign in New York, and was artistic director for the Atlantic Theater Company.

Winners & Losers

Each week, City & State New York publishes a list of the week’s political “winners” and “losers.”  Read last week’s list here.

Coming Up

The State Board of Regents holds its next meeting on November 13 and 14.

On November 13, the Assembly committees on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry and Small Business are holding a public hearing in Albany on “oversight of the economic development programs that leverage state funds to translate technology advancements into viable long-term business development and economic growth.”

The Public Service Commission holds its next meeting on November 16.

The State Board of Elections holds its next meeting on December 15.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) holds its next meeting on November 28.

Also on November 28, the Assembly Election Law Committee is holding a public hearing in Manhattan on “Protecting the Integrity of New York State’s Election Systems.”