News 12 from June on State Budget…

With the legislature back in Albany this week I thought I would post a clip up of an appearance on News 12 Long Island’s LI Talks program from late June.  Since nothing has changed since then I think this analysis holds up….

The Week Ahead

This week should be fun.  In New York, Governor Paterson has called the State Legislature back to Albany for an “Extraordinary Session”  It’s possible they will finalize the budget this week and tie up some of the loose ends left from June.  One can hope.

Nationally its 100 days till the mid-term elections and there should be a flurry of activity this week.  As I stated in an earlier post, the GOP should have a successful election season as is the trend, but the Tea Party has pushed the party so far to the right and forced so many primaries across the country that it will likely reduce the amount of seats they pick up.  Even if this is a national referendum, House elections are local affairs and candidates matter.

I will be on Fox News Strategy Room Tuesday Morning at 10am talking politics.  Log on to watch and send your questions and comments.   

My Column from today’s LIBN….

Hahn: Break the stalemate

by Christopher Hahn
Published: July 23, 2010
Yet another town decided to kill a promising project. The system ensures that it almost always comes down this way. The Lighthouse project is too big an idea for town government to process. We need a better way. Let’s have the state do it.
Ed Mangano should call Gov. Paterson and sell him the project’s property. Paterson and the Legislature should create the Nassau Coliseum Redevelopment Authority. Empower it with two key functions: zoning and bonding.
This authority’s board should be appointed by the governor and the Legislature with one seat from the Town of Hempstead and one from the county, and it should be chaired by the chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Board.
The authority should determine what is economically viable and work with developers to build it. Turning this property over to the state allows the authority to bypass local zoning laws that are not equipped to deal with projects of this magnitude.
This project is too significant to the region to allow parochial interests to stop it. An authority appointed for a single term would not have to worry about getting re-elected and therefore would do the right thing. The only flaw in this plan? It would require the state to work quickly and leaders to agree on something, neither of which seems possible right now.
Town officials must be responsive to local concerns; that’s their job, even in towns as large as Hempstead. It’s good politics, but bad policy. You rarely lose an election by rejecting a project, even one as high-profile as the Lighthouse. The region loses thousands of jobs, millions in tax revenue and countless opportunities for new businesses to emerge.
This isn’t a criticism of the town. They took an overwhelming proposal and responded with something they felt their residents could stomach.
Communication among the town, the county and developers has been suspect throughout this process. Many town officials complained they had little opportunity to discuss components of the project. While the response from Hempstead is unfortunate, it wasn’t unexpected.
The area around the Coliseum is the last remaining place in Nassau for serious development.
Nassau needs accessible downtowns with housing options, entertainment, shopping and office space. Even if we ignore suggestions that this project is not viable without increased density, density equals smart growth. Greater density in a centralized area allows for the preservation of land outside that downtown. If this project fails it will be a lost opportunity and will mean tough choices in Nassau for years to come.


The conventional wisdom is that the GOP should come close to taking the majority in the House and pick up a few seats in the Senate in this year’s mid-term elections.  The party of the President almost always loses seats in the mid-terms.  This year will likely similar with one major difference.  The Tea Party movement has produced many candidates so outside the mainstream that it’s possible, if not likely, the rising GOP tide will not lift their boats.

Case in point Sharron Angle.  If you asked me in January what would happen to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in this years election I would have told you he would have plenty of time to enjoy Vegas come 2011.  A funny thing happened on the way to the GOP victory party.  They selected Tea Partier Sharron Angle in a contentious GOP primary.  Angle is among the most conservative Senate candidates running this year.  She is incredibly anti-government and has stated publicly on the record that Social Security should be eliminated.  Now I know she is new to politics, but the first thing I was taught about the business is that Senior Citizen’s always vote.  They also collect Social Security.  In Nevada, Seniors make up 30% of the electorate, their children and grandchildren  make up the other 70%.   She has also suggested that if conservatives don’t win this year, they should consider “2nd Amendment Remedies.”  Sharron if you’re saying what I think you are saying you’re suggesting treason.  The Constitution has a remedy for that.  This woman is so unprepared for the race that she refuses to meet with the press, local, national or otherwise.  Senator McConnell, the minority leader, announced today that he will not go to Nevada to campaign for Angle.  I am starting to like Senator Reid’s chances and I think Vegas will have to wait another 6 years for his retirement party.

All in all, the GOP is having an identity crisis when it comes to the Tea Party.  We know what the Tea Party is against, but what are they for?   If you’re a Republican candidate with an innovative idea for government, dare you campaign about it?  I mean, its a new government program that may actually require government spending.  What if you are an incumbent Congressman who secured an appropriation for a project? It’s going to be a tricky year.  I know the GOP will pick up seats, but not as many as you think.