Common Sense: A Golden session

State Senator Marty Golden (whom I serve as chief of staff) had a number of major legislative successes during the 2016 legislative session. The Senate passed a series of bills he introduced to deal with the heroin epidemic affecting our state. The legislature adopted a music and digital tax credit that will keep and expand the digital gaming industry as well as the music recording industry in the city and state. All in all, this credit will literally save and create thousands of well-paying jobs.

The senator also introduced and passed a bill in the Senate that would significantly raise and expand criminal penalties for developers and builders who knowingly participated in the renovation of a building resulting in an illegal conversion. The senator wrote and passed legislation that has gone to the governor for his signature that revises the definition of community theaters. This was important for groups like Narrows Community Theater which found themselves up against antiquated state laws.

The senator wrote and passed a bill, apparently ahead of its time, that he consulted with the Manhattan DA’s office in preparing, that dealt with cyber crimes and identity theft. And of course the senator placed in the Senate version of the state budget an Educational investment tax credit to assist the parents of public, private and parochial schools.

These are just some of the bills that Senator Golden got through the Senate and in many cases the Assembly that the governor signed. In a few weeks, NYPIRG will do its full assessment of the legislative session. For the past eight sessions, Senator Golden has been assessed by this independent group as being one of the most productive of the 212 New York legislative members, based on bills passed and signed into law. Based on my knowledge of this session, I suspect he will once again receive this distinction.

This might be one of the reasons why the senator has remained very popular in his district with all groups regardless of political affiliation, and is not facing a Democratic challenger in the November election.

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I am voting for Donald Trump. I certainly hope I am not the only one. He needs to begin to address his unusually high negative rating which in poll after poll hovers around 70 percent. In my mind, that is the reason that the Real Clear Politics Poll average — which is what is used by people in politics who do not have access to a campaign’s internal polls to assess a candidate’s standing — remains with Trump at 7.5 points behind Hillary. In June, this is large but not insurmountable in a presidential election.

I do not know who Trump listens to. Some people believe it is only himself. Others believe it is his children some of the time. Even Carl Palladino, Trump’s New York State chair, gave a speech in Manhattan the other night raising concerns over how Trump communicates. Trump needs to start listening to the majority of Americans who have a problem with Hillary but apparently have a bigger problem with him.

It is expected that 135 million Americans will vote for president in November. When you take in consideration the additional candidates besides Hillary and Trump who will appear on the ballot, the winner will need something like 66 million votes. Trump received 14 million votes in the primary. We are constantly reminded that is many more then Romney or McCain received in past primaries. Yet this is well below the 66 million he will need. And I would argue that his current 70 percent negative rating will make it difficult for him to get even close to this number.

Hillary is also running with a high negative rating. It hovers around 55 percent. She would be readily beatable under normal circumstances. An opponent with a 70 percent negative is not normal. Trump needs to do better and he needs to do better now.

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