The Trump effect in special elections

The Donald Trump administration has existed now for nearly 100 days – that arbitrary yet significant milestone attached to every new presidential administration. Beyond the Neil Gorsuch appointment to the Supreme Court, activities have been limited mostly to executive orders, many of them just proposing to study an issue. The only notable legislation that reached Trump’s desk and was signed was a bill that made it easier for people who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and are in need of assistance with performing their daily functions to purchase guns. That bill was signed in private. Continue reading

How Pigeongate may end

This blog, Alan Bedenko’s extensive work in The Public, and Buffalo News reporting have certainly detailed the rise and fall of Steve Pigeon over a very long period of time. Things are starting to move at a quicker pace now.

The infamous raids on the homes of Pigeon, Steve Casey and Chris Grant occurred nearly 23 months ago. Except for Pigeon’s situation, we don’t yet know what purposes those events served. Continue reading

The State doesn’t need to spend $25 million for a train station

As the state’s 2017-18 budget finally fell into place we found that among the financial decisions is a pile of goodies from the state. Governor Cuomo provided the Buffalo Billion II, which is actually one half billion dollars – a lot of money. There is also $385 million more stuffed in the budget for projects in Western New York and statewide that the governor and the Legislature will separately award. Continue reading

Nuclear options

The country, it seems, is drinking in national and international politics through a fire hose these days. So it’s probably practical, from a commentary point of view, to combine issues wherever possible.

The United States Senate today will vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Given the partisan divide in the country, Gorsuch will only get a few more than the bare minimum number of votes needed for confirmation. Continue reading

Taxes need to be on the table as Erie County considers future budgets

There is an old saying that is very true: those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

Erie County government in its present County Charter form is 57 years old. County executives, comptrollers and legislators have come and gone. Many years all has run smoothly. Some years, not so much.

There have been three significant financial meltdowns of county finances over the past forty years. Each one resulted in higher taxes and reduced services. For each one, working through the calamity took several years. Continue reading