Andrew Cuomo

An anti-corruption commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has deepened its investigations in recent days. The probes are intensifying as Cuomo comes increasingly under fire, accused of trying to control the panel and even suppress some subpoenas.

A corruption commission appointed by Cuomo has voted to send subpoenas to some key members of the legislature to find out more about their relationships with private law clients.

A corruption commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has voted to issue subpoenas to some members of the legislature to force them to disclose money paid to them by private law clients.

The Moreland Act commission wrote letters to state senators and assemblymembers who make more than $20,000 a year from outside legal clients, a figure that includes all of the major party legislative leaders. The legislature hired attorneys, who said no.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

Anti-gambling activists took a sledgehammer to a slot machine in front of the New York State Capitol to demonstrate their opposition to a ballot amendment to legalize gambling casinos in New York state.  

Wielding a sledgehammer, anti-gambling advocates took turns smashing up a Lucky 7 slot machine, at a park with the New York State Capitol in the background, as TV news cameras recorded the event.

David Blankenhorn, with the Institute for American Values, organized the event.

“It felt great,” Blankehorn said. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to be setting the stage for a tax cut next year. Recently, he’s appointed a new commission to look at cutting property and other taxes, and has said the state may have a budget surplus to pay for them.

The governor announced a new tax policy commission headed by former Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, and former state Comptroller Carl McCall, a Democrat. Both are past political rivals of Cuomo.

Cuomo charged the new panel with finding a way to cut taxes.

Google Maps

Some abandoned prisons in the upstate area could become home to start-up companies under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Start-Up New York initiative.

The initiative aims to provide major incentives for companies to relocate, develop, or significantly expand in New York by offering state and local tax-free zones on university and college campuses.

ChrisYunker / via Flickr

A state Supreme Court judge heard arguments Friday in regards to whether the state Board of Elections should change the wording of a casino gambling amendment that critics say improperly advocates for the measure’s passage.

Zack Seward / WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state’s health study of hydrofracking doesn’t need a “do-over” as a member of his administration’s review panel charged Wednesday.

Cuomo appeared unfamiliar with Binghamton Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo’s call for a new health review when asked about it in Utica on Thursday.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Utica finally looks ready to become New York state's second major hub of nanotechnology with the announcement of a six-company investment in the city on Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on the campus of the State University of New York's Institute of Technology in Utica to announce a $1.5 billion investment. He predicted 1,000 new jobs would come to the computer chip facility under construction at the school.

"And the industry is just starting," Cuomo said.

WBFO

A Binghamton assemblywoman on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's hydrofracking advisory panel is asking for a do-over of an ongoing heath review, saying the secretive process has compromised public confidence.

News reports in recent days portray Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission on corruption as possibly going off the rails. Government reform groups say they are concerned and want some answers.

Cuomo appointed the Moreland Act Commission at the close of a legislative session that saw numerous lawmakers arrested, indicted and jailed for corruption, and with no agreement on any reform measures. Cuomo said at the time that he wanted wrongdoers punished, and commission co-chair, Syracuse area District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, described how that would be accomplished.

Search begins for new State Fair director

Oct 4, 2013
Stu Gallagher / New York State Fair

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets announced Wednesday it is searching for a new director for the New York State Fair. While in Syracuse Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters the new director should be someone who can move the fair forward.

"What's the next evolution of the fair, right? How does the fair continue to grow and develop, so we attract even more people? And if fair management is becoming more and more sophisticated and they're now multi-entertainment venues,  someone who brings that expertise I think would be great."

A new state law amends New York's land bank legislation introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration in 2011. Land banks are mechanisms for acquiring or demolishing abandoned properties that are delinquent on their taxes. The bill removes previous barriers that restricted counties and municipalities from purchasing properties without judicial authorization, allowing them to bid at public sales. Republican state Sen. Mark Grisanti sponsored the legislation.

Upscale hotel coming to Syracuse's Inner Harbor

Oct 4, 2013
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

An upscale hotel chain has signed on as the first tenant in the redevelopment of Syracuse's Inner Harbor.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced Thursday that will build an $18 million, 130 room "Aloft" hotel at the former barge canal, as part of a larger redevelopment of the now rarely used site.

In all, COR Development is working on a $350 million overhaul of the site. It plans more commercial and residential space.

Cuomo projects budget surplus, looks at tax cuts

Oct 3, 2013

New York’s budget could have a surplus within a few years, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which has prompted him to look at ways to cut taxes.

Cuomo credits on time budgets, controlled taxes and a rebounding economy for the positive budget news. That’s why the governor formed a commission this week to look at ways to cut taxes by $2-3 billion.

“I think we can do even more,” he said in Syracuse Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is appointing a new tax cutting commission that he has charged with finding ways of slicing state revenues by $2 to $3 billion next year.

Cuomo turned to the man who beat his father in the 1994 governor’s race, George Pataki, to co-chair the commission. Pataki, a Republican, defeated Mario Cuomo on a platform that included tax cuts.

Pataki, who says the state spends too much and costs too much, says he’s happy to serve on the commission, but at first thought a mistake had been made.

ChrisYunker / via Flickr

A new poll finds language on a referendum on New York state's November ballot to portray the expansion of casino gambling in a positive light is working, and gaining support among potential voters.  

Another anti-gambling group has released a study debunking Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature’s claims about the benefits of permitting more casino gambling in New York.  So far opponents have been more vocal than supporters about the November 5 ballot referendum.

A budget watchdog group says New York’s new 10 year plan of how it will spend more than $174 billion in road, bridge and numerous other projects lacks transparency and needs more details on how it will all be paid for.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, for the first time, has compiled a list of all the state improvement projects anticipated for the next 10 years, for a total estimated cost of $174.4 billion.

Zack Seward / WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state Thruway will offer more places to pull over and answer text messages or make cell phone calls, in an effort to prevent texting while driving incidents.

The New York state Thruway will now have 91 official sites designated as texting and calling areas, to reduce texting while driving. The governor, speaking at the New Baltimore rest stop on the Thruway just south of Albany, says statistics show distracted driving has now become more deadly than drunk driving. He says one out of five accidents today are attributed to distracted driving.

The second hearing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission, which is targeting corruption in the legislature, will be held Tuesday evening in Albany. Government reform groups are scheduled to testify, and some say the commission should be looking at some of the campaign contributions to the governor himself.

This November, voters in New York will decide whether the state will allow up to seven new resort-style gambling casinos, when they vote on a constitutional amendment. But the wording of the actual referendum on the ballot may increase the odds of the new casinos being approved.

Most ballot referendums proposing constitutional changes are written in very drab, and even confusing language. But the proposal to change the state’s constitution to allow up to seven new gambling casinos is different.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said threats in Congress to defund Obamacare won’t have any effect on the federal Affordable Health Care Act going forward in New York.

Cuomo said even if Congress is gridlocked over funding for the federal health care act, New York will still be going ahead on Oct. 1 with the required health care exchanges.

 “The health exchange is up and running,” Cuomo said on a trip to Niagara Falls. “I don’t believe there’s going to be any effect on the state.”

Raise the Age New York

New York is one of only two states that prosecutes 16 and 17-year-olds as adults. But a broad-based coalition, made up of governmental and community groups, is hoping that getting the word out about the issue will lead to legislation raising the age that juveniles are put in the criminal justice system from 16 to 18.

Zack Seward / WXXI

The primaries are over and the general election in November is still weeks away, but already many in the political world are thinking about the next significant contest on the horizon -- the 2014 statewide elections. State GOP Chairman Ed Cox, in an interview with New York State Public Radio and Television, says he’s working to finding a Republican candidate to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and says several people are interested.

An environmental group says budget cuts at the state’s environmental agency has meant up to 75 percent fewer inspections of polluters like power plants and hazardous waste sites.

David Gahl, with Environmental Advocates, says years of budget cuts at the state Department of Environmental Conservation, known as the DEC, has led to a one-third reduction of staff, and an even greater decrease in the number of inspections of potential polluters.

“DEC is looking less and finding less,” Gahl said.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The shooting last year at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut just before Christmas and leaving little children dead looked for a moment like it would change gun laws. It didn't, expect in a couple of places. New York was one. That state quickly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but it was hugely controversial, especially in rural parts of the state.

knittymarie/flickr

The school year starts for New York children this week and next week. It comes amid concerns regarding low test scores for many of the state’s students, and harsh rhetoric from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying he wants a “death penalty” option for dealing with failing schools.  

Most of the state’s school children did not measure up in new tests administered last year. Only 31% passed the new math and English exams, according to the State Education Department. Numbers were higher in suburban schools and lower in urban and rural areas.

Karen Dewitt/WRVO

Senate Republicans held a hearing on how to cut taxes, while also questioning whether some targeted special tax breaks are worth the money. Meanwhile, some groups complained that they’d been unfairly excluded from the discussion.

WBFO

An upstate pro-business group says regions of the state north of Westchester need special attention in the coming months to help the floundering economy. The group Unshackle Upstate is proposing a series of tax cuts, as well as a start to hydrofracking as the remedy.

Matthew Powell/flickr

This November, voters will get a chance to decide whether or not to expand gambling in upstate New York. But because of a quirk in the election calendar, it’s likely that downstate voters will be the ones to make that decision.

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