UPDATED: Lobbying by Westchester County businesses declined in ’11

UPDATED 3/23:

Check out the second half of our lobbying report, which looks into the firms that Westchester companies most frequently employed to lobby on their behalf, and how those lobbying firms have adjusted to regulatory changes implemented since last June — just posted to Westfair Online!

——————

We hear all the time about how lobbyists are supposedly dominating politics.

Well, in this week’s edition, I wrote about how lobbying among Westchester companies actually declined from 2010 to 2011 – by nearly 7.5 percent, in fact. In 2011, according to state records, 81 companies spent a grant total of just over $5 million on lobbying for state and local issues, compared to 84 companies spending just under $5.5 million in 2010 (note: federal lobbying was not part of the records).

Notably, 12 companies spent more than $100,000 each on lobbying in 2011, and four of the top ten spenders were in the health care field. The biggest spender was Entergy Corp. at $506,800.

Also of note, 30 companies spent at least $10,000 less in 2011 than in 2010, while 25 companies spent at least $10,000 more last year than the previous year.

The first part of the report was in this week’s edition, and can be found here. The second part of the report, which focuses on the lobbyists themselves, will be in our 3/26 edition and will be posted online tomorrow or Saturday – so stay tuned!

Preview of President Obama’s proposed corporate tax overhaul

Stay tuned at 11:30 this morning, when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will unveil a new corporate tax proposal that aims to lower the top income-tax rate for corporations to 28% (from 35%) while still generating more tax revenue by closing loopholes and deductions.

Mike Allen of Politico reported in this morning’s Playbook that the administration is pitching this as a win-win for businesses and the government, with officials saying it will simplify what is currently an unnecessarily complicated tax code, eliminate many of the tax benefits for special interests, and significantly reduce the top rate corporations pay.

According to published reports, the overhaul will:

1. Eliminate tax loopholes and corporate subsidies, such as those currently enjoyed by oil and gas companies, while lowering the top rate to 28%;

2. Enact a minimum tax rate for U.S. companies on foreign earnings;

3. Reduce the effective rate for manufacturers to a maximum of 25%; and

4. Simplify tax filings for small businesses.

Those reports also state the overhaul would not add to the deficit and would create more aggregate tax revenue by closing tens of billions of dollars in loopholes.

The timing on this announcement is very interesting: it comes on the morning of a crucially important GOP presidential debate in Arizona, the site of one of next week’s primaries. Again, stay tuned.

NY State Racing and Wagering Board not consulted in Cuomo bet

BREAKING NEWS FROM ALBANY: This just in – Gov. Andrew Cuomo reportedly did not consult the New York State Racing and Wagering Board before betting 46 cases of Greek yogurt, 46 dozen bagels and 46 cheesecakes that the New York Football Giants would win the Super Bowl. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has no comment                        

The wager – made between Cuomo and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick – will net Cuomo 46 Centerville Pies, 46 cases of ‘Food Should Taste Good’ chips, and an undetermined amount of Legal Sea Foods clam chowder should the Giants top the Pats. (Cuomo said he would donate his winnings to the Food Bank Association of NYS).

If you ask me, Gov. Patrick is getting the better end of this, but it’s all a moot point if the G-Men come home with the Lombardi. Lets Gooooo Giants!