• Upcoming U.S. Senate Races to Watch

    FiveThirtyEight has some good news regarding the 2018 elections in an article entitled “The Democrats’ Wave Could Turn Into A Flood.”  The gist: a new CNN/SSRS survey puts Democrats ahead of Republicans by 18% in a generic congressional contest among registered voters.  And while the CNN survey’s lead is a bit above that of other polls, FiveThirtyEight’s own survey, at 12%, has some dire meaning for Republicans:

    That average, like the CNN poll, also shows Republicans in worse shape right now than any other majority party at this point in the midterm cycle since at least the 1938 election.

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  • What happened when North Carolina and Kansas Cut Taxes Like the GOP Did for the Country?

    “Research suggests the package did not stimulate the economy, certainly not enough to pay for the tax cut. This year, legislators passed a bill to largely rescind the law, saying it had not worked as intended.” – The NY Times, October 10th, 2017, referring to the outcome of Kansas tax reform

    It is interesting to learn that this scheme of giving tax breaks to the rich with the hopes of bolstering the economy has been tried recently in a couple of Red states. New York Times’ reporter Jim Tankersley wrote an October 10th story on the economic effect that this type of tax reform had on the state beginning in 2013. We also find another case clearly described by Washington Post reporter Todd Frankel in a December 3rd article on how this worked out for North Carolina who had tried a similar reform. Here is an excerpt from the Washington Post article recounting the experiences of Burglington, N.C., t-shirt factory owner, Eric Henry:

    “Conservative groups have hailed North Carolina as a model of a tax overhaul since it began slashing state corporate and individual tax rates four years ago. And one of the effort’s main architects, Thom Tillis, is now in the U.S. Senate, where early Saturday he joined 50 other Republican senators in voting for a $1.5 trillion federal tax overhaul — a plan that employs many of the same tactics already in use here [in N.C.].

    “But as Henry drove through the conservative, rural county he’s called home all his life, he had trouble seeing many benefits of the tax cut. Business was good, but it wasn’t good enough that he could give his 20 workers significant raises.

    “And there were growing worries that the lost tax revenue — estimated at $3.5 billion this year alone — was beginning to significantly hurt core public services such as schools.

    ‘I don’t know the people who this benefits,’ Henry said of the North Carolina tax cut.

    “Changing the national tax code is much different from changing a state’s code. But what’s happening today in North Carolina offers potential clues about the grand experiment with tax cuts the entire nation is close to embarking on, with Republicans appearing confident they can send final legislation to President Trump by year’s end.

    “The tax changes in North Carolina haven’t produced the fiscal calamity that led Republican legislators in Kansas this year to reverse dramatic cuts they passed a few years earlier, but nor have they produced the kind of win-for-all economic prosperity national Republicans say their effort will spur.

    “Instead, North Carolina has enjoyed the same steady growth as much of the country, making it challenging to estimate the impact of the tax cut compared with the many other factors shaping the state’s economy.”

    What has been noticed is the state’s increasing debt and the impact it’s had on schools, infrastructure, and other state-funded programs (emphasis added to some of the quotes below):

    “While North Carolina’s economy has chugged along, signs of strain on state spending have increased. The state budget has not kept pace with a growing population, said Alexandra Sirota, director of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, a left-leaning nonprofit.

    “’Pretty soon, we’re not going to have enough money,’ Sirota said.

    “The state legislature’s Fiscal Research Division agrees. It projects budget shortfalls of at least $1.2 billion starting in 2019.

    “The squeeze has already hit public schools.

    “In North Carolina, the state government provides the bulk of public education funding. And while the overall contribution is up, per-pupil spending, adjusted for inflation, is down. Plus, there are about 10,000 fewer public school teachers in the state, despite growing enrollment, said Mark Jewell of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

    “The school system serving Burlington is struggling, said Alamance-Burlington Schools superintendent Bill Harrison.

    Anyone claiming schools are better off after the tax cuts is ‘using smoke and mirrors,’ Harrison said.

    “Harrison rattled off a string of numbers to make his point. Funding for school supplies has dropped 20 percent, he said. His schools get 33 percent less money for textbooks now than a decade ago.

    “’I heard it every year: Why doesn’t my child have a textbook?’ Harrison said.

    “Henry’s wife, Lisa, taught preschool for children with disabilities for almost three decades. She retired in 2015 after watching several years in which state lawmakers made cuts to public schools, including by underfunding teacher pay raises.

    “’It just felt like a huge slap in the face,’ Lisa Henry said.

    “As the sun started to set, Henry drove back to his company. Just a few employees were still around. None of them said they’d noticed the state tax cuts.

    “’Other than the roads not getting taken care of,’ said Eric Michel, 33, chief logistics officer.

    And no one in the office has gotten a big pay raise since the tax cut, either.'”

    Results in the state of Kansas were even worse after its legislature voted to repeal all corporate pass-through taxes in 2012. Here is an excerpt from an October 17th, 2017 story by the New York Times:

    “The tax package reduced state revenue by nearly $700 million a year, a drop of about 8 percent, from 2013 through 2016, according to the Kansas Legislative Research Department, forcing officials to shorten school calendars, delay highway repairs and reduce aid to the poor. Research suggests the package did not stimulate the economy, certainly not enough to pay for the tax cut. This year, legislators passed a bill to largely rescind the law, saying it had not worked as intended.

    “’It caused a lot of budget instability,’ said State Senator Jim Denning, a Republican who led the effort to repeal the pass-through exemption this year. Mr. Denning, who earns pass-through income from his interest in a commercial real estate firm, said he had personally benefited from the exemption, but the state’s economy had not.

    “The pass-through exemption was responsible for $200 million to $300 million of that annual shortfall, according to budget researchers at the Tax Foundation in Washington.”

    It is difficult if not impossible to find data that will show that corporate tax cuts such as those enacted in North Carolina and now passed for the country will do anything but mirror the results found here and in Kansas. Will our politicians in Congress ultimately come to this same conclusion and vote to repeal this ill-conceived tax cut?

    For the complete story written by Washington Post contributor Todd C. Frankel, go here.

  • Pittsford Town Board Recognizes Groundskeeper Tim Romeo for Outstanding Service

    On November 21st, the Pittsford Town Board recognized volunteer groundskeeper Tim Romeo for his outstanding service as the caretaker of Pittsford Cemetery.

    Over the last three years, Romeo cleaned and repaired hundreds of headstones, painted fences, and maintained the grounds – all as a volunteer with no paid staff.

    “His efforts are an inspiration to others, and his kind and caring greetings, shared freely and frequently as he works, bring warmth and cheer to those he meets,” said Pittsford Supervisor Bill Smith in his commendation. ” . . . [his] efforts have helped maintain the dignity of final repose for the interred.”[1]

    Following his commendation at the Town Board, Romeo received a standing ovation.

    “Our region is lucky to have such a strong spirit of service and volunteerism,” said Monroe County Democratic Chairwoman Jamie Romeo. “It is people like Tim Romeo who make our hometowns truly feel like home.”

    [1] http://www.townofpittsford.org/files/minutes/townboard/minutes_current.pdf

  • Democrat Howard Maffucci Wins Seat on Monroe County Legislature

    On Tuesday, November 7th residents of East Rochester, Brighton, and Pittsford elected Howard Maffucci as their representative in the Monroe County Legislature.

    Maffucci, a long-time Pittsford resident served as Superintendent of East Rochester Schools from 1996-2010.

    “My goal as a County Legislator is to deliver smart, practical results for the county,” said Maffucci. “From the earliest days of my career, I’ve fought for the policies that mattered most to our children and our community.  As a school superintendent, I embraced a simple planning process – What do you want to do?  How do you want to do it?  How are you going to pay for it? – and emphasized finding creative solutions to organizational problems.” [1]

    Maffucci succeeds the term-limited Republican legislator Anthony Daniele.

    “I am evidence that our community can and will do better,” said Maffucci. “I am honored to be a county legislator.” [2]

     

    [1] https://www.maffucciforcountylegislature.com/the-maffucci-family

    [2] http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2017/11/07/election-2017-monroe-county-legislature-10th-district-results/841574001/

  • Democratic Challenger Steve Schultz Defeats Incumbent Henrietta Town Supervisor Jack Moore Pledging a New Era of Transparency and Accountability

    In an upset election, Henrietta residents elected Democratic Challenger Steve Schultz to replace Jack Moore as Town Supervisor.

    Schultz, the founder of Pictometry International ran on a platform of ethical government, financial responsibility, and transparency.

    “Personally, I am fiscally frugal. That does not mean I want to slash and burn programs—it simply means I want to run programs as cost effectively as possible and spend tax payer money (your money!) prudently and with proper oversight,” said Schultz.

    “I get very frustrated, for example, when I see how much we’ve spent on our Rec Center and how little we’ve gotten for it,” he explained.

    “Nearly $240 per square foot for what is essentially warehouse space. There are no locker rooms, no air conditioning in the gym, and not even an air handler that can deal with gymnastics chalk. So, what did we spend all that money on? Especially considering we used our highway department to prepare the site and our parks department to do the landscaping.” [1]

    For many residents, the election was as much about realizing Schultz’s vision as it was about removing Jack Moore from office.

    Multiple complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have been filed against Jack Moore for discrimination and racist remarks. [2]

    As News 10 WHEC reported:  “Witness testimony verifies that the Supervisor made the comment ‘this desk is heavier than ten dead n—ers’ while moving the Charging Party’s desk during her [an employee’s] involuntary transfer.” [3]

    Schultz hopes to usher in an era of transparency, accountability, and responsibility.

    “No more counting developments-in-progress as empty space. No more saying there are no proposals on the table when there have been. No more skirting referendum laws by holding off making capital payments until after everything is rezoned,” said Shultz. “We need to restore town trust.”

    Henrietta residents also elected Rob Barley and Michael J. Stafford to the Town Board, creating a fully Democratic town government in Henrietta.

     

    [1] https://chooseschultz.org/

    [2] http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2017/11/08/backlash-moore-democrat-steve-schultz-wins-henrietta-supervisor-race/843200001/

    [3] http://www.whec.com/news/eeoc-henrietta-town-supervisor-discriminated-retaliated-racial-slurs/4618062/

     

  • Pittsford Elects Local Democrats Stephanie Townsend and Kevin Beckford for Town Board

    On Tuesday, Nov. 7, residents of Pittsford elected two Democratic board members: Stephanie Townsend, a small business owner and adjunct professor at Nazareth College and St. John Fisher,  and Kevin Beckford, a business leader who has worked for Kodak, PNC, and Rochester General.

    “This is a very big change for our town,” Townsend said in a recent interview.[1]  “It’s been a very one-party board. And it has been for about 80 plus years. But one-third (of Pittsford residents) are Republican, one-third are Democrat, and one-third are Independent. That is a very different story than what the stereotype [about Pittsford] leads you to believe.”

    Both expressed the importance of using their new roles to support local businesses, seniors, and young families.

    “The town of Pittsford must harness the power of technology and innovation, support its small businesses, explore revenue opportunities, and develop a fair tax system that provides long-term economic security for our town and its residents,” said Beckford.

    The two new board members were sworn in on Tuesday, January 2nd.

    [1] http://trailblazerspac.com/2017/08/newcomer-no-more-stephanie-townsend-stakes-her-claim-on-pittsford-politics/

  • Jack Moore Does Not Speak for Us

    By now you have probably heard about the EEOC findings in the Town of Henrietta, where federal authorities found that there is “reasonable cause” to believe Moore has discriminated, finding “direct evidence of bias” by Supervisor Jack Moore against Town workers. This should not be surprising to us, as two years ago the Supervisor again was recorded using racist and bigoted language and still refused to step down.

    This disheartening part of the Jack Moore episode was the fact that he was re-elected to the position he still currently holds. That is why now more than ever, we need your support to make sure every voter in the Town of Henrietta knows they have a choice on Election Day, November 7th, and to send a clear message to our community that Jack Moore does NOT speak for us.

    You can start by joining us at the protest organized by MetroJustice outside of Henrietta Town Hall (475 Calkins Rd, Rochester, NY 14623) on this Wednesday, October 4th from 630pm to 730pm. Many members from the Henrietta Democratic Committee will be present and ready to get you mobilized to help talk to every voter in Henrietta so they know, they have the power on Election Day to make their voice heard in Town.

    After Wednesday, we hope to hear from you to get involved. You can check out the Henrietta Democratic Committee, and get more information on our candidates Steve Schultz for SupervisorRob Barley and Mike Stafford for Henrietta Town Board.

    Thank you, let’s get to work.

    – Jamie

    MCDC Chairwoman

  • We Remember

    Today marks the 16th anniversary of the 9-11 Terrorists Attacks, a day we take to reflect on the lives list, sacrifices made, and courage that brought us together as a Nation.  Our Democratic Family has lost some amazing members over the past week; each having contributed to the vision of a better community for our neighbors and the next generation. Rev. Vernice Warfield, a local civil rights icon and minister; Jacque Cady, a fierce advocate for the children in our community; Andrew Caverly, a longtime Democratic advocate; and Lauren Morelle, who took on cancer by the horns and courageously shared her path to help empower others families.

    Loss often drives us to reflect on our own lives and actions. Following the 2016 Election, a number of us found ourselves in a similar reflection on the state of our democracy, and what our roles are in it.

    Regardless of whom you support, MCDC will continue to work to make sure every voter can have access to the ballot box on Election Day. You may not be eligible in participating in a Primary Election as a voter, but you can volunteer those who need assistance getting to the polls. You can sign up here to pitch in here.

    Let’s all do our part to make our democracy stronger.

    Thank you.

    – Jamie

    MCDC Chairwoman

  • The Dust has Settled

    Last night, the voters decided and their will was clear. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has decisively earned a second term, and we have our Democratic Teams for Rochester City Council in Loretta Scott, Jackie Ortiz, Malik Evans, Willie Joe Lightfoot Jr., and Mitch Gruber; and for Rochester City School Board with Van White, Cynthia Elliott, and Natalie Sheppard.

    Many people heard President Obama’s call to action earlier this year and ran for office this year. We congratulate and commend each candidate for their efforts and enthusiasm; running for office is no small task and takes courage to put yourself out there. But more importantly, we hope you will stay involved and engaged and support our Democratic Team that has been chosen by voters yesterday. There is a place for everyone in our Party. We all are motivated by the same cause, to create positive change in our community. We may disagree on the methods and priorities, but no single level of government will be able to tackle the problems our community faces alone. We need to elect Democrats to bring our voices to governing boards across this County.

    We cannot take for granted the General Election that we have in November, both in the City of Rochester as well as in towns across this County. We have many candidates and volunteers from across this County, and a lot of experience and knowledge coming from our races yesterday within the City. We have many opportunities to support Democrats in November. We look forward to working with everyone as we continue the hard work towards November 7th.

    Thank you.

    – Jamie

    MCDC Chairwoman