Journal News excerpt from Latimer mailer prompts war of words

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An excerpt from a 2010 Journal News article is used in a new, pro-George Latimer mailer funded by Senate Democrats that is now heading to Westchester County homes. The quote points out that the Rye Assemblyman “favors a tax cap and relief from state mandates.”

It doesn’t mention, however, a seemingly pertinent piece of information: Latimer voted against the state’s 2 percent property-tax cap in 2011.

Latimer, a Democratic Assemblyman now running for state Senate, opposed the bill that created the now-implemented tax cap, explaining at the time (and ever since) that he didn’t believe enough was done concurrently to free local government’s from state-mandated costs, such as Medicaid payments.

The campaign of Latimer’s Republican opponent, New Rochelle developer Bob Cohen, pounced on the mailer.

“I have never seen such a blatantly dishonest mailer in my career,” Cohen spokesman Bill O’Reilly said in a statement.

Senate Democrats, however, defended the mailer and said the use of The Journal News excerpt was not misleading, noting that Latimer has consistently spoken out on the need to pair the property-tax limit with meaningful relief for local governments.

Latimer released a web video on his position on the tax cap last week, in which he quotes Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (ironically, also a client of O’Reilly) as saying “a property-tax cap without mandate relief is like running up a credit card debt on a fixed income.” (You can watch that video here.)

“Cohen and his extremist allies can try to lie and distort the facts but the truth is only George Latimer has provided tax relief to the people of Westchester,” Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy said in a statement.

The original article — from the Oct. 14, 2010 edition of The Journal News, when Latimer was running for re-election in the Assembly — notes that Latimer said he “favored sweeping changes in the way education and health care are funded by shifting away from property taxes,” but supports “tax cap and relief from state mandates” in the shorter term.

Latimer, meanwhile, has found himself on the receiving end of about a dozen direct-mail campaigns within his district, leading him to release a letter last week saying they “ruthlessly” misrepresent his record and accusing Cohen of spreading “negative lies.”

You can find the original Latimer mailer here, and read the full statements from Senate Democrats and the Cohen camp after the jump.

Senate Democrats spokesman Mike Murphy:

“The fact of the matter is George is the only candidate in this race that has actually cut taxes for Westchester. As Chair of the County Legislature he lowered taxes by 8% including overseeing the largest property tax cut in County history. He currently has legislation to permanently repeal the MTA Payroll tax, cut over burdensome local mandates and has legislation to continue to lower taxes on the people of Westchester. Cohen and his extremist allies can try to lie and distort the facts but the truth is only George Latimer has provided tax relief to the people of Westchester.”

Cohen spokesman Bill O’Reilly:

“I have never seen such a blatantly dishonest mailer in my career.
Mr. Latimer actually doctors a Journal News quote to suggest that he supported Governor Cuomo’s property tax cap and mandate relief efforts — when he voted against that tax cap and took a walk on Governor Cuomo’s Tier 6 mandate relief bill.

“That’s not even the half it it: Mr. Latimer raised property taxes 46% as a county legislator — more than anyone else running for office in Westchester — yet he incredulously claims in his mail piece that no one has fought to lower taxes more than he. He then suggests he is a leader in the fight against the MTA Payroll Tax — a tax he helped create!

“George Latimer has more than jumped the shark here; he has insulted the integrity of the voters and the democratic process itself. He mailed a piece of literature rife with untruths.”

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10 Comments

  1. Latimer’s problem is that although he’s smart enough to envision the realities, he’s afraid of the teachers’ unions and various other unions and as such, he vacillates and provides no effective leadership in fiscal matters.

  2. Dishonesty is the backbone of O’Reilly’s deceptive testimony of behalf of Cohen. One solid month of blarney on behalf of Darth Cohen, the hand-picked puppet of the Senate Republicans is now over. Now comes The Return of the Jedi.

    George Latimer is a true man who has STOOD UP against phony “solutions” and told the truth, even at the risk of it being manipulated by Cohen’s wealthy minions. The people who know him have rejected the load of bull tossed by O’Reilly and Cohen…and now the 37th SD will hear from the person who is the most underrated elected official in Westchester. He will make sense in Yonkers and Bedford, as he has long since done in Port Chester and Larchmont.

    George is strong and decisive and will impress all those who see and hear him, and those who look at his record, not the rhetoric from the wealthy Cohen Crowd, will realize George is the right person for Westchester in the Senate.

  3. I heard George say at The Nautilus Diner he could support a tax cap if it had real mandate relief…and that the bill presented did not have that relief included. It’s the same thing I’ve seen Rob Astorino say. George had the guts to vote no on principle.

    Nothing’s more disingenious than Cohen’s campaign – 46% tax increase? Tell people the truth – you added up numbers over 13 years. The annual # is less than 4% per year. By that standard, add up Rob Astorino’s votes.on the Mt. Pleasant School Board and Town Council, and HE’S Westchester’s biggest taxer.

  4. Latimer’s two-faced & will say whatever people want to hear to get elected. Typical yes man, never says no and always sides with the unions, especially teacher & state workers. Why else is he running on the Working Families Party? NY will never get its fiscal house in order with guys like Latimer in Albany and his voting record proves it.

    Vote Cohen.

  5. Vote Cohen for sure if you want a Republican rubber stamp. That’s what all the GOP operatives want.

  6. Larchmonter can’t you come up with anything better than that? Its just pathetic that you have NO specifics, but I’m not surprised you don’t want to bring up Latimer’s record.

    No GOP operative here, just a regular guy who’s fed up with the George Latimer types running NY into the ground while proclaiming how great everything is.

  7. Here’s your specifics, Bill.

    Bob Cohen SILENT on a $50 million waste of taxpayer money: George voted to condense two primaries (June and Sept) into one. The Senate Republicans said NO. Bob Cohen said nada.

    Bob Cohen SILENT on an expensive unfunded mandate for special ed students. passed by the Senate GOP majority. George spoke up AGAINST the Assembly Dem majority and voted NO. Bob Cohen said nada. Fortunately, Gov. Cuomo vetoed the boondoggle.

    Bob Cohen SILENT when Yonkers and Port Chester needed add’l school aid. His campaign brochure says he’ll be accountable…but he never even sent a letter to the Senate GOP leadership asking for one more dollar.

    Bob will keep his mouth shut…and take the campaign money from Skelos and Co.

    That’s a rubber stamp, brother.

  8. Tired of Bob’s daily attacks. Makes me wonder: who is funding all this? Certainly not average folk. BIG money interests who expect a big payoff from Senator Bob. Unshackle those who already have a lot and want to get even more.

    Bob the candidate for the well connected. George is the candidate for the rest of us.

  9. If you’re truly wondering who is funding what, check out the unions (SEIU) paying hordes of hecklers $11 per hour to harass Romney in Ohio.

  10. Larchmonter & Wage Earner, why do you so cluelessly tow the party line? Think for yourselves & think outside the box. Do both of these & there’s no way you’d vote for Latimer. Who really wants higher taxes? What we need is a smaller government. What programs, if any, has George ever proposed eliminating or cutting? I really don’t think there are any and certainly Latimer didn’t support reforming the state’s pension plan because he didn’t even vote. How lame is that?

    And New Rochelle’s already taxed well above & now you want voters to support Latimer? He’s sure to sponser/introduce a slew of bills to authorize new taxes just for New Rochelle residents and why would anyone want that?