Father-Son tag team in Albany

Ed Lasky
American Thinker has occasionally noted the enormous fiscal  holes the governors of some states - with the assist of  their state legislatures - have dug. New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and New York have been highlighted as examples of how not to run a state.

Bloated budgets-with exceedingly generous contracts for teachers, transit workers, government workers, and other union employees - have brought about crises in these states. Tax hikes to try to meet state balanced budget requirements have led to exoduses of both people and businesses from those states; people voting with their feet have only exacerbated the problem.

Now we have news that Dave Paterson, governor of New York State, who has been on a campaign to tax his citizens to the breaking point - has a father who has been richly rewarded for representing union workers over the years. The son and the governor enjoy a very close relationship; living very near each other (in rent-stabilized apartments) and they gab regularly about politics. That might not be the only subject they gab about, according to this New York Post article by James Fanelli and Isabel Vincent.

It turns out that the elder Paterson is a force in state politics. Says one legislator, "
"It's very clear from this legislative session that [Basil] has a lot of influence." The legislator asks rhetorically how much the unions have sacrificed in Paterson's latest budget; "So far, not at all," he said.

Just who is Basil Paterson?


The elder Paterson is a senior partner at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, a Long Island-based law firm and lobbying juggernaut in Albany.

Since 2005, the lobbying wing of Meyer Suozzi has raked in at least $4.45 million from scores of clients, including many unions, for work on state and city issues, lobby records show.

Basil Paterson's major clients included the local SEIU, teacher's unions, and transit workers - three of the most powerful unions in the state. Meyers Suozzi's clients included almost 40 unions.

Conflict of interest anyone?

The Post reporters list some strange coincidences where unions represented by Basil Paterson received benefits:


The family ties have led some observers to wonder if Basil was behind major policy decisions his son made in the last 10 months, including:

* His signing, over objections from his agency bosses, of a bill last July that allows correction officers to become detectives without passing a civil-service exam. Basil's firm lobbied for the law on behalf of the Suffolk County Correction Officers Association, which has paid it $53,000 since 2005.

* The governor's decision in March to drop an 8 percent theater-ticket tax he had proposed in his December budget plan. The levy vanished after outcry from Broadway and lobbying by his father's firm, which was paid $2,000 to fight it by Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians of Greater New York, which had poured $42,000 into Meyer Suozzi lobbying coffers since 2005 and spent $15,000 on legal representation by it in 2008.

* His scratching of a health-insurance levy from his budget proposal that would have taxed companies, municipalities and unions that self-insure. Five unions paid Basil's firm $63,000 between January and February to lobby against the tax. The measure would have generated $120 million for the state in 2010.



There was also an unusual directive that made it easier for hospitality workers to organize at new hotels and conventions centers that received state funding or tax breaks.

The SEIU, the transit union and the teachers union should be noted. They SEIU is closely linked with Barack Obama-its leader proudly stated that his union spent over 60 million dollars to elect Barack Obama, and has become a sub-branch of the executive branch of our government. Or so it seems, as a raft of executive orders and presidential steps have been signed and taken to help that union and its members. This includes threatening Californian that it would lose its stimulus funds if it tried to trim the wages of SEIU workers in that state.

The SEIU clearly works on the state political level, as well. The transit union members are the beneficiaries of gold-plated contracts that provide stellar medical care benefits and hugely generous pensions, that allow early and well-funded retirement. Despite the munificent contracts , they always are on the verge of striking and crippling the commuters of New York city.

The teachers' unions are a key constituency of the Democratic Party, and a particularly powerful force in New York. Despite salaries in New York city that are quite generous - even taking into accounting the cost of living in New York city - the educational stats show that taxpayers are not getting much for their money. However, it appears that unions are getting much for their money that they pay to the Governor's father to represent them in Albany.

But not to worry. Americans who live in responsibly governed states will come to the rescue. The stimulus bill will send billions to these fiscal basket cases to help them bail out of their own self-inflicted crises. That is you, Mr. and Mrs. America.

The Unionized States of America-here we come.

American Thinker has occasionally noted the enormous fiscal  holes the governors of some states - with the assist of  their state legislatures - have dug. New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and New York have been highlighted as examples of how not to run a state.

Bloated budgets-with exceedingly generous contracts for teachers, transit workers, government workers, and other union employees - have brought about crises in these states. Tax hikes to try to meet state balanced budget requirements have led to exoduses of both people and businesses from those states; people voting with their feet have only exacerbated the problem.

Now we have news that Dave Paterson, governor of New York State, who has been on a campaign to tax his citizens to the breaking point - has a father who has been richly rewarded for representing union workers over the years. The son and the governor enjoy a very close relationship; living very near each other (in rent-stabilized apartments) and they gab regularly about politics. That might not be the only subject they gab about, according to this New York Post article by James Fanelli and Isabel Vincent.

It turns out that the elder Paterson is a force in state politics. Says one legislator, "
"It's very clear from this legislative session that [Basil] has a lot of influence." The legislator asks rhetorically how much the unions have sacrificed in Paterson's latest budget; "So far, not at all," he said.

Just who is Basil Paterson?


The elder Paterson is a senior partner at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, a Long Island-based law firm and lobbying juggernaut in Albany.

Since 2005, the lobbying wing of Meyer Suozzi has raked in at least $4.45 million from scores of clients, including many unions, for work on state and city issues, lobby records show.

Basil Paterson's major clients included the local SEIU, teacher's unions, and transit workers - three of the most powerful unions in the state. Meyers Suozzi's clients included almost 40 unions.

Conflict of interest anyone?

The Post reporters list some strange coincidences where unions represented by Basil Paterson received benefits:


The family ties have led some observers to wonder if Basil was behind major policy decisions his son made in the last 10 months, including:

* His signing, over objections from his agency bosses, of a bill last July that allows correction officers to become detectives without passing a civil-service exam. Basil's firm lobbied for the law on behalf of the Suffolk County Correction Officers Association, which has paid it $53,000 since 2005.

* The governor's decision in March to drop an 8 percent theater-ticket tax he had proposed in his December budget plan. The levy vanished after outcry from Broadway and lobbying by his father's firm, which was paid $2,000 to fight it by Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians of Greater New York, which had poured $42,000 into Meyer Suozzi lobbying coffers since 2005 and spent $15,000 on legal representation by it in 2008.

* His scratching of a health-insurance levy from his budget proposal that would have taxed companies, municipalities and unions that self-insure. Five unions paid Basil's firm $63,000 between January and February to lobby against the tax. The measure would have generated $120 million for the state in 2010.



There was also an unusual directive that made it easier for hospitality workers to organize at new hotels and conventions centers that received state funding or tax breaks.

The SEIU, the transit union and the teachers union should be noted. They SEIU is closely linked with Barack Obama-its leader proudly stated that his union spent over 60 million dollars to elect Barack Obama, and has become a sub-branch of the executive branch of our government. Or so it seems, as a raft of executive orders and presidential steps have been signed and taken to help that union and its members. This includes threatening Californian that it would lose its stimulus funds if it tried to trim the wages of SEIU workers in that state.

The SEIU clearly works on the state political level, as well. The transit union members are the beneficiaries of gold-plated contracts that provide stellar medical care benefits and hugely generous pensions, that allow early and well-funded retirement. Despite the munificent contracts , they always are on the verge of striking and crippling the commuters of New York city.

The teachers' unions are a key constituency of the Democratic Party, and a particularly powerful force in New York. Despite salaries in New York city that are quite generous - even taking into accounting the cost of living in New York city - the educational stats show that taxpayers are not getting much for their money. However, it appears that unions are getting much for their money that they pay to the Governor's father to represent them in Albany.

But not to worry. Americans who live in responsibly governed states will come to the rescue. The stimulus bill will send billions to these fiscal basket cases to help them bail out of their own self-inflicted crises. That is you, Mr. and Mrs. America.

The Unionized States of America-here we come.