Andrew Cuomo

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The head of the state’s largest teachers union predicts that the legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have to revisit new teacher evaluation laws passed as part of the state budget, now that almost one fifth of students have opted out of the tests.

New York State United Teacher’s President Karen Magee says the boycott of the third through eighth grade English tests by nearly 20 percent of New York’s students will undermine the new teacher evaluation system that relies more heavily on the controversial standardized tests.  

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

The New York state legislature returns for the second half of the legislative session, once again under a cloud of corruption, and with numerous unsettled issues.

The session begins Tuesday, after the spring break, and this time it’s the leader of the Senate who is the focus of a federal corruption probe. State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos confirmed that he’s the target of an investigation, after The New York Times reported that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has convened a grand jury that is looking into some of the senator’s business dealings, as well as those of his son.

NY Assembly Video (file)

The recently completed state budget was the first real test of the new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s leadership, who became the leader of that house in early February. 

By the time the state budget was voted on,  Heastie, the 47-year-old accountant and former budget analyst from the Bronx, elected to the Assembly in 2000, had  been in his new job for less than two months .

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

The New York legislature completed an almost on time budget, around 3 a.m. on the first day of the state’s fiscal year.

One of the final pieces to come together was an ethics reform package, which will provide greater disclosure of lawmaker’s outside income.

But critics say it does not go far enough.

The ethics changes would deny pensions for lawmakers convicted of serious crimes. The provision requires a constitutional amendment. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

This budget season in Albany has further eroded the relationship between teachers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

When Cuomo linked school reform to school spending in this year’s budget process, it ratcheted up the rancor from teachers, school districts and some parents across the state.   

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling the education reforms he was able to get into the just-passed state budget part of an ever-evolving process.

In an interview with The Capitol Pressroom, the Democratic governor says change can be traumatic, but it is necessary. Cuomo was able to convince lawmakers to change the teacher evaluation system, putting more emphasis on testing rather than classroom observations. 

"The only standard metric is going to be the test. The other side, the classroom observations, are going to be different in each classroom," he told host Susan Arbetter.

Chris Nelson / via Flickr

State lawmakers have not yet finished the budget, but they are already getting blowback from a provision that would give a tax break to owners of luxury yachts.

The budget includes a sales tax break for purchases of boats worth more than $230,000, as well as for private airplanes. That angers Ron Deutsch, of Fiscal Policy Institute,  a union backed think tank that backs Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to give a property tax break for middle and working class homeowners who pay too much of their income on taxes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo began the budget season with an ambitious agenda than included a wide array of items that he tied to the budget, including raising the minimum wage, the Dream Act, and reforming the state’s grand jury process. In the end, the governor was forced to retrench on nearly every measure.

Cuomo spent a week in January rolling out his ambitious budget agenda, which contained plans for a new criminal justice system for teens who commit serious crimes and a major upstate economic development program. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

As state budget negotiations continue, one of the proposals that hang in the balance is a plan to bring more Internet access to rural areas of the state.

A majority of homes and businesses in the North Country don’t have access to high-speed Internet. Gov.Andrew Cuomo has pledged to change that by connecting every New Yorker to the Internet by 2019.

Government officials from across the region gathered at Jefferson Community College in Watertown Thursday looking for more information on Cuomo’s New New York Broadband Program.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The state Assembly, Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo continue to work on sticking points in the state budget, as yet another item has now been dropped from the spending plan -- raising the state’s minimum wage.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature are considering a commission to design a new teacher evaluation plan, in order to break an impasse over the state budget. But even some lawmakers admit that the compromise is just kicking the can down the road.

Cuomo has demanded that education policy changes be passed along with the state budget or he’ll hold up school aid increases.

stgermh / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders say they are making progress on the budget. Cuomo, after a private meeting with Senate Republicans, says he’s closer to an agreement on ethics reform, but the governor is getting some criticism for dropping some items out of the budget, including the Dream Act.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

A protest to raise the minimum wage drew hundreds to the state Capitol, and included a brief occupation of the building’s Dunkin' Donuts. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers are considering hiking the minimum wage in the new budget, but protesters say it is not enough.

The protesters, who have been holding rallies every week, stepped up their efforts when around 100 stormed into the Capitol’s Dunkin' Donuts and demanded that the state’s minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

With just over a week until the state budget is due, there’s pressure to drop a number of unrelated items in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state spending plan.

Cuomo has tied ethics reform and education policy changes to the budget, and threatened to hold up the spending plan if the legislature does not agree. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A new poll finds voters disagree with most of Gov. Andrew’s Cuomo’s tactics during the current budget negotiations. Cuomo has tied ethics reform and education policy changes to the budget, and threatened to hold up the spending plan if the legislature does not agree.  

A Siena College poll finds that, while New Yorkers think ethics reform and school funding are important, they don’t want the issues linked to the budget, and they say an on-time spending plan is important to them, says Siena’s Steve Greenberg.

Office of Eric Schneiderman / Flickr

There’s still no final three way deal on an ethics reform proposal at the state Capitol.  And reform groups say a proposal offered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Assembly does not go far enough.

The plan by Cuomo and Assembly Democrats requires that lawmakers disclose the source of all outside income they receive above $1,000. Lawyers must reveal the names of their clients if they earn more than $5,000. They would also have to prove they are actually in Albany, through an electronic monitoring system, before receiving their expense payments.

Broome County


Among the issues up for discussion in budget talks this year is an overhaul of New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. It offers tax breaks for the development of contaminated industrial sites.

Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

Teachers from the Finger Lakes traveled to Albany Friday to deliver 1,000 local apples to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The purpose was not to share in the bounty of the agricultural region, but to make a point about what they say is the governor’s lack of commitment to school spending.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO file photo

 There’s just about a week-and-a-half left before the budget deadline, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers remain at odds over a number of issues, including whether ethics disclosure rules should apply to the governor as well as the legislature. They also disagree on a number of education reform proposals.

On Thursday, the Senate and Assembly called a public budget conference meeting. It lasted less than two minutes, and focused mainly on listing when subconference committees would meet and the relatively small amount of money they could haggle over.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the speaker of the Assembly say they hope the state Senate will sign on to their joint proposal for ethics reform, as a new poll finds the governor with dropping job approval numbers.

Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie took the unusual step of calling their ethics measure a deal, even though they need the Senate to agree to the plan in order for it to become law.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at his lowest ranking since taking office, with signs that the governor’s feud with the teacher’s union is taking a toll.

Cuomo’s job approval rating stands at 50 percent, down 8 points just from last December, before the legislative session began and the governor began a more public feud with the state’s teachers unions, says Quinnipiac University spokesman Mickey Carroll.

“It’s not very good,” said Carroll. “A governor should do better than 50."

Colleen / via Flickr

One of the most polarizing issues in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget is an education tax credit that would allow donors of up to $1 million to public and private schools to receive a tax benefit. Opponents say it benefits the rich, supporters say it helps poor children.  

Under the provisions of the education tax credit proposed by Cuomo, people and businesses can donate up to $1 million to a scholarship fund to send underprivileged children to private schools, or support enhanced programs at public schools. They would receive 75 percent of the money back in the form of a tax credit.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News


State lawmakers are moving ahead with approving some portions of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, now that  supporters are no longer demanding that all of the items, including an abortion rights provision, be tied together.

Cuomo campaigned last fall , along with his running mate, and now Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul on passing all ten of the provisions in his Women’s Equality Act,  including a measure to codify into state law the rights included in the federal Roe v. Wade decision.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

State Sen. Dave Valesky is optimistic that negotiators will come through with significant increases in public school spending when the state budget plan is finalized.  

The Oneida Democrat notes the both the Senate and the Assembly budgets include almost $2 billion increases in public education spending over last year.  

But, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he won’t approve big spending increases for education unless lawmakers agree to his package of controversial education reforms. Valesky says lawmakers don’t want the two dependent upon each other.

Mixy Lorenzo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reversed a policy that would have resulted in all emails by state officials and New York employees being deleted after 90 days.

Cuomo made the decision to end the newly enforced policy, after Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he would end the 90-day deletion policy for his office. It was first put in place when in 2007 when Cuomo was attorney general and Eliot Spitzer was governor, and when it was technologically much more difficult to store vast numbers of emails.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Pressure is mounting to include Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the only female legislative leader, in  the closed-door budget meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo that now consist of four men in a room.

The Black, Hispanic and Asian Caucus issued a statement saying it’s unacceptable to leave the senator, who is African-American out, and Stewart-Cousins spoke up at a public summit meeting for all of the legislative leaders, known as the "mothership budget committee," saying the process is “greatly flawed.”

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

  Gov. Andrew  says he wants ethics reform as part of the budget or he will hold up the state’s spending plan, while legislators say they want to negotiate the issue separately. Government reform groups say the key issue is that the reforms be real.   

Cuomo is threatening to make the budget late over an ethics reform package that the governor is seeking.  He repeated his demand this week at a business lunch in Rochester.

“This year a top priority is having ethics reform done in Albany,” Cuomo said. “Because at one point, enough is enough.”

New York Now

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie gave his first broadcast interview to public radio and television. In it, he expressed his frustrations over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to link numerous unrelated items to the state budget.

Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

In the latest step in the state budget dance, both houses have released their versions of a state spending plan. The Senate and Assembly each increase education well above Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed level, and each leave key elements of the governor’s plan out.

Both the Assembly and the Senate significantly increase school aid spending from Cuomo’s budget, with the Assembly recommending a $1.8 billion increase, and the Senate proposing $1.9 billion more.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

The New York State Assembly and Senate are each rejecting key proposals in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget. Both chambers are submitting what's called one-house budgets -- their counter proposals to the governor's spending plan.

In the Assembly, where Democrats hold the majority, the one-house budget does not include Cuomo’s education tax credit, which would allow donors to give money to the private or public school of their choice and receive nearly full credit for the donation on their state taxes.