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Another NYS gun maker leaving

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- In the wake of word that a Rochester-area firearms and ammunition company is moving to South Carolina, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association this morning offered up this headline on a press release: "NYSRPA asks if legislators are still proud of their SAFE Act votes?"

With quotes from their governor, South Carolina officials this week announced that American Tactical Imports is leaving the Rochester area to move down south.The company said it, in part, wanted to be in a state it considered friendlier to Second Amendment rights.

On the bottom of the company's web site: "Goodbye NY ... Welcome sunny SC!"

The Buffalo News in September wrote a story about mounting pressure -- both from customers and other states -- on gun manufacturers to leave New York state after passage this year of the New York SAFE Act.

Here is the full release on Monday from the South Carolina Department of Commerce:

American Tactical Imports (ATI), a worldwide importer of firearms, ammunition and tactical equipment to the United States, announced today that it will open a warehousing and distribution location in Dorchester County.

The Eastport Industrial Park location in Summerville also will be the site for limited firearm assembly, as well as the company’s headquarters, its customer service center and its sales office. The $2.7 million investment is expected to generate 117 new jobs.

“This move to South Carolina will help ensure a solid foundation for our company,” says Tony DiChario, president and founder of American Tactical Imports. “The relocation process will be smooth and we have ensured that the process will not affect customer service, product distribution or any other segment of our business.The people of South Carolina have welcomed ATI with open arms and we are excited about making our new corporate home there.”

ATI will begin the location process to Summerville next month.

“Today’s announcement is another testament that South Carolina is a destination for job-creating investments,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “We celebrate American Tactical Imports’ decision to invest $2.7 million and create 117 new jobs in Dorchester County.”

Since January 2011, South Carolina has recruited more than $500 million in capital investment and more than 4,000 jobs in the warehouse and distribution sector.

“South Carolina is the perfect location for companies like American Tactical that depend on the ability to move product efficiently,” said Secretary Bobby Hitt. “Our state’s business-friendly resources and excellent workforce further underscore what makes South Carolina just right for business.”

Factors that influenced the company’s decision included workforce availability, market access and the ability to import products through the Port of Charleston, which is the deepest port in the South Atlantic and known for its industry-leading productivity.

"The SC Ports Authority welcomes American Tactical as a new customer,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. “Our capable harbor will facilitate their ability to import goods from Europe and Asia, helping grow the resurgence of manufacturing in the U.S. This announcement is a testament to the fact that South Carolina is a great place to do business.”

“We are pleased to welcome American Tactical Imports to the region,” said Bob Whitten, chairman of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board. “The Port of Charleston, readySC’s customized training programs and our supply of highly skilled workers were critical factors in American Tactical Imports’ decision to locate its headquarters in Dorchester County. The company will be an asset to our community.”

“We welcome American Tactical Imports to Dorchester County,” said Dorchester County Council Chairman Bill Hearn. “The County’s skilled workforce and proximity to the Port of Charleston played a major role in the company’s decision. We are excited to welcome ATI to Dorchester County and look forward to a long relationship with them.”

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits.

About American Tactical Imports: ATI is one of the nation's top importers of firearms and firearm related products. Having created a unique channel of distribution, ATI has quickly become a single-source distribution provider for many manufacturers across the world. From its signature German Sports Guns (GSG) family of products, accessory lines like Drago Gear® and manufacturing its own line of ATI AR-15 complete rifles and components, ATI continues to be a leader in the industry.


Wednesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- I'm going farther afield than usual for today's top reads, save for the first one.

First, The New York Times asks the question all of Washington is asking: Is President Obama too disengaged?

And while I rarely would have any reason to recommend a story on a governors race in any state other than New York, The Washington Post's take on Terry McAuliffe's trip to Cuba is a real doozy, shedding important light into how the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia, close friend of the Clintons and Syracuse native really operates.

Finally, here's a story that will thrill anyone who loves upstate New York: The New Yorker's wonderful profile of the man behind the Greek yogurt boom.

Upbeat ballot wording a go-to device for NY governors

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – In the category of Andrew-Cuomo-didn’t-do-it-first, we offer this entry: rosy ballot language.

The governor has been getting much heat for his administration’s role with the Board of Elections in crafting the language appearing on next week’s statewide ballot to authorize up to seven new casinos.

Push poll-like in its word choice, the ballot asks if voters will approve the casino plan “for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated.’’

While most ballot questions over the years are far more neutral sounding than Proposal One, take a brief stroll down Albany’s not-to-distant ballot memory lane.

2005: George Pataki’s $2.9 billion transportation bond act “to promote and assure the preservation, renewal and improvement’’ of the state’s roads and bridges. It won.

1997: George Pataki’s $2.4 billion “School Facility Health and Safety Act," the wording of which said “promotes the health and safety of the children of New York” and pays for “critical’’ school renovation projects. It lost.

1996: George Pataki’s $1.75 billion “Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act,’’ which was all about “preserving, enhancing, restoring and improving the quality of the state’s environment.’’ It passed.

1992: Mario Cuomo’s $800 million “Jobs” bond act, which “promotes the creation or retention of permanent private sector jobs.’’ It lost.

1990: Mario Cuomo’s $1.975 billion “21st Century Environmental Quality Bond Act that was about the “preservation, enhancement, restoration, improvement and stewardship’’ of the environment. It lost.

1986: Mario Cuomo’s $1.45 billion “Environmental Quality Bond Act’’ that asked for money for the “preservation, enhancement and improvement” of the state’s environment. It passed.

1983: Mario Cuomo’s $1.25 billion transportation bond act with this -- see if it sounds familiar – title: “Rebuild New York.’’ It sought money for “preserving, enhancing, restoring and improving” New York’s transportation system. It passed.

Video: Erie County sheriff candidate Bert Dunn

Bert Dunn, the sheriff’s lieutenant, is running on a party line called Law and Order, which he created to complement the Democratic nomination he expected but lost.

The latest state Board of Elections records show Dunn spending nearly $320,000 on his campaign – almost all of it from his own wallet and far outpacing his two major-party opponents.

Dunn said that, if elected, he would study and embrace “best practices” from sheriffs and jail management officers across the country to ensure that deputies are “busy 40 hours a week and not six.”

Here is a video of interview and statements from the candidate:



Related content:

* Debate at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute

* Richard Dobson video interview

* Timothy Howard video interview

The News' campaign contributions database: Find out who gave what to candidates running for office in 2013

A look at key races in Erie County towns and cities


Tagliafierro named new JCOPE director

By Tom Precious

After hours of a closed-door executive session, the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics today tapped Letizia Tagliafierro, a longtime loyalist to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, as its new executive director.

Tagliafierro, who worked for Cuomo in his Buffalo regional office when he was state attorney general, has been acting director of the agency that has jurisdiction over the lobbying industry and can investigate state workers and lawmakers for ethics violations.

The commission has been criticized for having its top staff dominated by Cuomo insiders. At Tuesday's meeting, commission member Ellen Yaroshefsky, a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, tried to get the agency to hire a search firm to find a new executive director. The board quickly ended the public session and went into executive session.

After the meeting, Yaroshefsky told Gannett's Albany bureau that she was quitting the commission. Yaroshefsky is an appointee of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose office could not immediately confirm that she quit.

Tagliafierro worked for eight years as an assistant district attorney in Erie County. She went to work with Cuomo in 2008 and then joined his gubernatorial administration in 2011.

Pro-casino group raising hundreds of thousands a day

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – The major pro-casino group pushing for passage of Nov. 5 Proposal One has topped the $3 million mark for raising money from labor and casino interests.

Two new disclosures showing up today on the state election board’s web site reveal New York Jobs Now received $200,000 from UNITE HERE, which represents unionized workers at casinos, hotels and food establishments, and $50,000 from Georgia-based Scientific Games, a supplier of lottery and gambling devices and technology.

That brings the total amount raised by the group the past few weeks to $3.1 million to help pay for consultants, mailings and television commercials. The main anti-casino group has not created a political action committee to spend any money on ads.

The board of elections is open a few more hours, so the $3.1 million is likely to change - upward - in the afternoon. New York Jobs Now is being run out of the Business Council of New York State, with advice from advisors to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who proposed the casino expansion.

Rodriguez knocks Brown's 'penchant for secrecy'

By Jill Terreri

Republican Sergio Rodriguez seized on a story today in The Buffalo News about the city's decision to put up license plate readers at intersections around the city without the public's knowledge. 

"The Mayor and his appointed Police Commissioner took the liberty to install these controversial devices without so much as informing the Common Council members whose districts are impacted," Rodriguez said today.  "When the public's privacy is compromised, they have the right to know and the right to weigh in on the issue." 

Continue reading "Rodriguez knocks Brown's 'penchant for secrecy'" »

Gaughan, Mychajliw take comptroller campaign to TV

By Robert J. McCarthy

   The contest for Erie County comptroller is now being waged on the airwaves.
   Democrat Kevin P. Gaughan today launched a new ad promoting his candidacy, following an ad started earlier this week by Republican incumbent Stefan I. Mychajliw that is critical of Gaughan's tax problems with the IRS.
   Neither candidate has proven proficient in raising campaign money for the 2013 election, but both have now raised enough at least to enter the television advertising realm in the week before Election Day.

Tuesday's must-reads from Washington

WASHINGTON -- If you're wondering why people in conservative, rural parts of the country supported the government shutdown, today's top read, from the Washington Post, explains why.

Meanwhile, Politico reports that between the shutdown and the furor over Obamacare, the battle lines are drawn for the 2014 congressional elections.

And The Hill reports that Snyder native Thomas E. Perez is producing a blizzard of new regulations at the Labor Department.

Video: Week in Washington with Jerry Zremski

Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski looks at the Affordable Health Care Act and problems with the federal website.

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |