We like to look in on members of our New York political comedy troupe from whom we haven’t been heard in a while. You may have wondered, for example, what was up with Tom Golisano, the eccentric billionaire and erstwhile independent gubernatorial candidate who was giving away millions last year to dozens of candidates to influence — or reform, depending on your POV — state elections, via his one-man PAC, Responsible New York, which recently called on state residents to fight unfair property taxes.
Well, Golisano seems to be giving up that battle: he announced in a speech today that he’s getting the hell out of New York, saying he can’t stick the high taxes anymore. “We’re driving people away from their families and their friends” with taxes, he says. “These are people who are building jobs and promoting businesses and what the state is doing is driving them out.”
What’s weird about this — aside from the spectacle of a former candidate for governor abandoning the state he wanted to run — is that up till last month at least, Golisano was still machinating in state politics: the leader of the state Independence Party, which has backed Bloomberg for mayor, told Erie County pols a few weeks back that Golisano would be calling the shots on endorsements.
We believe Golisano will continue to influence New York politics from whatever underwater supervillain lair he moves to. He says he’s hanging onto his team, the Buffalo Sabres, and Paychex, the company that made him rich.