19 January 2010

Tuesday Bits and Pieces

Andrew Romanoff is staying in the race for the Democratic Party nomination to the United States Senate from Colorado, and out of the Governor's race. Mayor Hickenlooper has basically cleared the Democratic Party field. This leaves the questions of who will replace Hickenlooper as Mayor, if he is elected, and who will be named to run on the Lieutenant Governor ticket with Mayor Hickenlooper, open.

In that U.S. Senate nomination race, Bennet's staff is focusing their arguments on an alleged inability of Romanoff to raise the funds needed to be competitive statewide. Multiple polls in the race are out, and Bennet does not have a pronounced lead in polling over Jane Norton, the presumptive Republican nominee, at this point. Nobody is polling anywhere near the 50% level that incumbents usually need early in a race, but Bennet, who was appointed rather than elected and was a political unknown prior to becoming a U.S. Senator, is an exception to a lot of general rules.

Today, is the last day to declare a party affiliation necessary to participate in the March 16, 2010 partisan caucus that is pivotal in nominating candidates for the 2010 election.

* * *

Massachusetts readers: Go Vote!

Massachusetts is electing a replacement for the late Senator Edward Kennedy today. Martha Coakley is the Democrat, Scott Brown in the Republican. Polls show that the race is a tossup .

If the Democrat loses the race, the Democrats and those who caucus will them will lose a sixty vote, filibuster proof majority in the U.S. Senate. The benefits of that magic sixty vote number are limited, however, because independent Joe Lieberman and conservative Blue Dog Democrat support is necessary to secure sixty votes. Meanwhile there are still a few moderate Republicans in the U.S. Senate. As a result, relatively few filibuster votes fall on straight partisan lines.

* * *

The union that represents Safeway workers in greater Denver reached a tentative agreement with Safeway on a contract that is now going to the rank and file for a vote. King Soopers workers, who are represented by the same union, accepted a contract earlier, but Safeway workers rejected an almost identical deal. News reports don't make clear how the deal presented to them this time differs from prior offers. Presumably, it is better for Safeway workers because the existence of a King Soopers contract makes a strike more damaging to the company which would loose lots of market share, some of it permanent, to King Soopers, if it happened.

If the deal is accepted, we can all take a deep breath as a grocery stike in Denver has been averted for another few years.

* * *

Avaya, a Bell Company Labs successor in Colorado currently owned by private equity is planning on going public in the near future once it gets its house in order from a recent acquisition of a bankrupt telecom tech firm.

This is a departure from a general trend in which public firms have been going private, mostly due to tax benefits (public companies pay an entity level income tax, private equity firms don't) and the greater managerial capacity of private equity firms to regulate the firms that they own. The biggest downside of private equity for investors is that it is available only to wealthy and sophisticated investors ("accredited investors" in Securities and Exchange Commission language), and is less easily transferrable than public company shares locking investors into medium term bets on big dollar investments.

Meanwhile, and perhaps not unrelated to this move, Congress is still considering a bill that would increase the tax rate on the equity price derived part of private equity fund manager compensation. The new rate would be higher than the capital gains tax rate but less than the top ordinary income tax rate. The measure is being considered as part of the 2010 tax extenders bill which is still stalled while Congress considers the private equity issue, despite the fact that the 2010 tax year has already begun.

* * *

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that is likely to hold unconstitutional some campaign finance laws (given the nature of the oral arguments and preliminary court rulings in the case) is likely to be handed down tomorrow or next week.

1 comment:

Kevin Dickson said...

With the lack of females running, Jeanne Robb seems to be the choice for Mayor.