Common Sense: Odds and ends

December 31, 2015 JERRY KASSAR
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Governor Cuomo on just about the last day he could approve or veto legislation for 2015 signed a bill sponsored by State Senator Marty Golden (whom I serve as chief of staff) that might be one of the most important anti-fraud and waste pieces of legislation that has come out of Albany in years. Called the Enterprise Fraud Law, it’s not the type of legislation that catches the headlines unless you run a good government group or watch government closely.

The bill requires agencies and public authorities to provide New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office with electronic data that can be analyzed. This is the type of data that is typically made available in the private sector to CPA firms doing audits. Due to the nature of the files, the information can quickly and efficiently be processed.

The end results should greatly aid the rooting out of waste and fraud. Of course, the comptroller simply audits and recommends. The agencies under the control of the governor will still need to adopt the audit recommendations. Like me, you are probably wondering why this was not already taking place and why it required legislation. Let’s just say that the governor was resistant to a change that allowed for additional oversight of his agencies.

The bill in the Assembly was sponsored by Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi whose father once served as state comptroller.
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Earlier in the year, the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG) did an assessment of the state legislature in which it rated the most productive legislators from the perspective of bills passed by their house and the legislature as a whole. Senator Golden was right there on top of both lists, making him the most productive legislator by this measurement in 2015. At that time, we did not know how many of these bills would be signed into law by the governor in as much as he had until the end of the year. And, in reality, the success of a legislator’s efforts are best judged by the bills that actually become law.

I am pleased to report that Senator Golden had 25 new chapters (bills signed into law by the governor), which will be the most or second most in the 213-member

legislature. These new laws range from the anti-fraud bill I discussed above to laws to help fight crime on the subways to enhanced benefits for seniors, new protections for EMS workers, and a variety of new laws affecting pensions and government employees. And this does not include programs and changes to the way government operates that the senator inserts into the state budget. Some of these are tax credits that have helped maintain and expand the digital industry in the city as well as secure the movie tax credit as a vehicle that produces thousands of jobs within the five boroughs

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As of this writing, there are three major national polls (FOX, Q AND NBC/WSJ) that show Donald Trump being trounced by Hillary Clinton. Those same polls show Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz either beating her or in a dead heat with Rubio doing somewhat better than Cruz. The national polling, unlike the Republican party polling, does not show Trump getting stronger in a national context but rather, as he continues to say just about anything on his mind, losing ground.

In just a matter of a few weeks, the Republican electorate will begin the process of deciding whether they wish to be competitive in November or possibly throw the election away. Of course, these Republicans will tell me that I am wrong and that Trump has a plan to turn all the groups he has offended around. I do not think so. The offended groups are numerous and the offenses very deep. They are not coming back to Trump.

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