17 March 2009

NYC NEWS: Paterson Rejects Senate MTA Rescue plan; Drummer Dies @ St. Pats Parade & more.

March 17, 2009 1:26 PM

NY governor says he will try to work with Republican senators to deal with transit agency’s deficit.

(AP) - Gov. David Paterson is rejecting a compromise offered by the Senate's Democratic majority to avoid steep increases in New York City transit fares.

Now the Democratic governor says he will reach out to Republican senators, who are desperate to show up the Democrats who took the majority just three months ago.

Mr. Paterson and the Senate Democrats are so far apart a week before a deadline to bail out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that they claimed each other's math was wrong.

The Senate plan includes a tax of 25 cents per $100 of payroll, which is about 25 percent less than recommended by a state panel to deal with the MTA's deficit. It would also increase commuter fares 4 percent, down from a proposed 8 percent.


Drummer dies at St. Pat's parade

March 17, 4:36 PM

A drummer from a New Jersey pipe and drum corps collapsed and died while marching in the St. Patrick's D
ay Parade today in Manhattan.

The band later completed its performance in his memory.

The Police Pipes and Drums of Bergen County had marched about 35 blocks up Fifth Avenue when Steve Dunne collapsed around noon near 75th Street, news reports said.

Officers in the band and members of the NYPD tried reviving Dunne, 59, to no avail.

Dunne, a retired city court officer and a founding member of the band, was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s Hospital at 12:36 p.m. of an apparent heart attack, authorities said.

"It’s a tragic loss," drum sergeant Jim McMorrow told the Bergen Record. "He would have wanted us to finish this."

The band then took a bus to the New York City Armory on Lexington between 26th and 27th streets, where it finished its performance, the newspaper reported.


Judge rules NYC tobacco suit can proceed.
March 17, 2009 12:55 PM

Ruling allows city to continue litigation seeking $195 million in back taxes from tiny Long Island Indian reservation.

(AP) - A federal judge says New York City's lawsuit against cigarette stores on a tiny Indian reservation on eastern Long Island can proceed.

New York is suing eight smoke shops on the Poospatuck Indian Reservation, claiming they sell huge quantities of untaxed cigarettes to smugglers. The city wants $195 million in back taxes.

U.S. District Judge Carol Amon rejected arguments Monday that the smoke shops are sovereign entities exempt from state and city laws. She also said the reservation does not have federal recognition as Indian land.

Harry Wallace, the owner of a smoke shop and the chief of the Unkechaug Nation, called the judge's decision preliminary. He predicts the businesses will ultimately prevail.

The reservation is about 75 miles east of Manhattan.



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