Andrew Cuomo

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Nestled in the rolling hills of southern Oneida County sits the Village of Bridgewater. To the average eye, it looks the part of most upstate villages, but come March, the village and its two centuries of history could dissolve into a thing of the past.

Gary Comstock has been mayor of Bridgewater since the 1990s, but because of financial struggles, he wants to dissolve the village. he says the time has never been better to merge with the surrounding town, especially following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's clarion call for streamlining state and local governments.
 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO (file photo)

A combined $100 million redevelopment project for the western side of Onondaga Lake will bring new housing and street upgrades to the village of Solvay and a 17,000 seat entertainment venue to the shoreline of the lake.

It's not the project Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney hoped to bring Gov. Andrew Cuomo to town to announce, but when Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner derailed Mahoney's and Syracuse University's idea for a new athletic stadium in the city, the county executive quickly shifted to this one.

"This project hits it exactly right," said Cuomo.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Central New York should soon have answers about a mystery redevelopment project on the western shore of Onondaga Lake. In his budget released last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed spending $30 million of state money on an economic development project in Onondaga County. He’s expected to outline those details during a visit to Onondaga County Wednesday.

The Onondaga County Legislature is also expected to chip in some money in the early stages of what would be a massive economic development project.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO/file photo

The state’s education commissioner testified at a legislative budget hearing, where he once again heard complaints from concerned lawmakers regarding the fast track adoption of the new national Common Core standards.

Lawmakers, calling the roll out of Common Core a nightmare and a mistake, grilled state Education Commissioner John King and asked for more time to adopt the new federal standards.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York's state comptroller says the Cuomo administration racked up a record $611 million in overtime payments over the past year.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the 16 percent increase in overtime payments between 2012 and 2013 comes mostly from employees in institutional settings, like prisons and psychiatric centers. The state police also paid troopers $35 million in overtime payments, at an average of over $74 an hour.  

DiNapoli says the uptick comes at a time when state government has been downsizing employees.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s newly formed Student Protection Unit has launched an investigation into the student debt relief industry.

Led by the state Department of Financial Services (DFS), it’s designed to be a consumer watchdog for New York students. And, one day after being established in the 2014 Executive Budget address, the unit issued subpoenas to 13 companies in its first official action.

DOT to determine scope of rooftop highway study

Jan 27, 2014

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in his budget address, $2.5 million has been allocated to analyze the Route 11 corridor in the North Country. But state transportation officials say they have not yet determined what kind of highway study they're going to do.

When Cuomo mentioned Interstate Route 98, aka the rooftop highway, between Watertown and Plattsburgh in his budget speech last week, he acknowledged a range of opinions on the decades-old idea.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Education advocacy groups are giving Gov. Andrew Cuomo bad grades when it comes to spending on education in his proposed 2014 budget, as Syracuse parents and community members believe the state needs to come through with substantially more money for schools in the spending plan.

Cuomo’s proposed budget, unveiled this week, includes a $608 million increase in education funding. The increase is well short of what education advocates like former Hannibal school teacher and Citizen Action of New York Board Member Bill Spreeter say is needed.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Reactions are pouring in after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his 2014 budget plan, ranging from praise to criticism.

Business groups are among the happiest so far with the governor's budget. The Business Council of New York swtate, reacting to Cuomo’s calls for a corporate tax cut, a faster phase out of an energy tax and a reduction in the estate tax and property taxes, say they applaud the governor’s continued commitment to improve the state’s business climate.

Four years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations could spend unlimited amounts of money on politics, a central New York group is calling on New York state to stand up to the ruling.

Members of Move to Amend are lobbying state officials to pass a resolution opposing the Citizens United case. Michael Messina-Yauchzy says a constitutional amendment is the ultimate solution.

"Corporations need to be limited," he said Tuesday. "It’s 'we the people,' the corporations need to be controlled by the people. We establish the legal framework."

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Tuesday’s executive budget proposal address included a $10 million initiative from the Cuomo administration to create a statewide police information database.

The New York State Protection Cloud is designed to make it quicker and easier for local police departments to share information across jurisdictions.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his state budget Tuesday. The $137.2 billion dollar spending plan includes more money for schools, including a phase in of funding for universal pre-kindergarten programs. It would also freeze property taxes for two years -- if local governments cooperate.

The governor’s budget, which includes a 3.1 percent increase in school aid, a two-year property tax freeze and phased-in business tax cuts, offers something for everyone in a year where Cuomo and all 213 members of the legislature are up for reelection.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is beginning 2014 with high numbers, according to a recently released Siena College poll.

The governor has regained some lost ground, and now is viewed favorably by 66 percent of New Yorkers. Cuomo would also beat potential GOP opponents, Donald Trump and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, by almost 50 points, says Siena’s Steve Greenberg.

“He’s governor is sitting pretty,” said Greenberg. “His numbers, favorability, job performance, reelect, are the best they’ve been in about a year.”

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo releases his state budget proposal Tuesday afternoon, and many will be watching to see what it contains and how the numbers will work.

Wallyg / Flickr

Some top state lawmakers seem to be changing their minds over whether to call special elections for a growing number of vacancies in the legislature.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver now says he wants voters to pick new legislators to fill 11 vacancies. And Gov. Cuomo now says he is looking at the issue.

Silver had said special elections to fill the nine vacancies in the Assembly and two in the Senate might be pointless, since new members could not be seated before the budget is done, and that he did not expect the legislature to do much work after late March.

Sarah Cody / Flickr

A less-heralded aspect of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 agenda is a plan to increase the number of homes and businesses burning biomass for heat. It has industry advocates excited, even if they have moderate expectations for growth.

It didn’t make his State of the State speech to the legislature, but in the longer, written version of his agenda, Cuomo says he wants to cut down the number of homes that use heating oil.

To do that, Cuomo wants to launch a biomass heating program called Renewable Heat NY.

Thirty reform groups have written to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, asking that his new state budget plan include funds for campaign finance reform.

The groups are asking the governor to essentially put his money where his mouth is when it comes to campaign donation reform ideas like public financing and a new agency to police violations.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Central New York business leaders are very supportive about the latest tax reform plan coming out of Albany, and are lobbying for implementation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $2 billion tax relief proposal.

For CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson, January is usually a time he and other business leaders start playing defense; fending off budget proposals from Albany that include higher taxes and fees, and more government spending. But with the governor’s tax proposal on the table, it’s time to play offense.

-JvL- / Flickr

The New York state legislature now has 11 unfilled seats, after one Assemblyman resigned over a sexual harassment scandal and another was expelled after being convicted of a felony. But it could be another year before those seats are filled.

In recent days, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson of the Bronx was automatically ousted from the Assembly when he was convicted on felony bribery charges. Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, of Cheektowaga, resigned under pressure after seven women accused him of sexual harassment.

knittymarie/flickr

Hundreds of school children, parents and union members held a rally and sit-in at the state Capitol to build momentum for more spending on schools in the state budget.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

Patients with serious health conditions, including children with a severe seizure disorder, came to the state Capitol to urge passage of a bill to better allow access to medical marijuana in New York.

Kate Hinz is one of dozens of people who came to the Capitol on the first formal day of session to lobby for the bill to allow medical marijuana in New York as a treatment for a variety of medical conditions. Her daughter Morgan has Dravet’s syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that is incurable and very difficult to treat with conventional drugs.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Oswego's Common Council, mayor and department heads saw firsthand what Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2014 agenda will look like, during a recent presentation of his State of the State address at city hall.

The mayor of the city of Oswego says in general he supports Cuomo's budget plan for 2014, but the city's Common Councilors say rising costs and unfunded mandates make it hard to stay within the state's two percent tax cap.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

In his State of the State speech, Gov. Andrew Cuomo once again called for a reform package to address corruption in the legislature. Last year, bills to crack down on bribery and enact public campaign financing were never passed.  

The legislature failed in 2013 to act on any of the governor’s reform proposals, despite several arrests, indictments and imprisonment of lawmakers.

Cuomo comments on recidivism against backdrop of prison closures

Jan 10, 2014
governor.ny.gov

In his State of the State speech this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo once again blasted New York's state prison system, describing what he called the "madness" of mass incarceration in New York.  

That tough language follows Cuomo's declaration in his State of the State address three years ago that prisons should no longer be used to boost economic development in rural upstate communities.

Now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking steps to move ahead with the legalization of medical marijuana in New York state, there are some who are urging caution. The concern comes from experts who deal with drug addictions every day.

During his State of the State address earlier this week, Cuomo said he would enact a plan allowing 20 hospitals to dispense medical marijuana to those suffering from cancer and other ailments.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

The anti-hydrofracking movement was out in force during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday. Central New Yorkers who oppose controversial gas drilling method believe their continued protests are making a difference.

For those who oppose fracking, like Coleen Kattau from Cortland County, these pilgrimages to Albany are effective.

"The decision hasn’t been made about hydrofracking, because of people’s protests,” Kattau said.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered something for everyone in his fourth State of the State message, as he faces a re-election year. He outlined programs ranging from property tax cuts to an education bond act, to allowing medical marijuana.

Cuomo began his speech focusing on tax cuts and job creation. He highlighted a plan announced earlier in the week to cut the corporate tax rate, and property taxes , in a scheme that would hinge on local governments freezing spending, and consolidating.

“The highest property tax in the country is in Westchester County,” said Cuomo.

In Wednesday's State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is going to propose a plan the would encourage localities to consolidate services with other government entities.

His plan to freeze property tax rates for two years is dependent on local governments and schools demonstrating that they are consolidating and sharing some services with other governments in the second year. If they fail to do that, property taxes would go up after all.

Extreme weather conditions cause state of emergency

Jan 7, 2014
Catherine Loper/WRVO

Upstate New York is in the midst of a cold front that is bringing dangerous weather conditions and causing large parts of northern New York to essentially shut down. Businesses, offices, health clinics, courts and other facilities either closed for the day or closed midday due to treacherous weather conditions.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a key portion of his State of the State address early. He unveiled a plan to cut business taxes, and potentially freeze local property taxes for two years.

Surrounded by business leaders, Cuomo outlined a plan Monday that would cut business taxes, and result in property tax reductions for businesses and homeowners, if local governments and schools comply with a set of requirements in the next three years.   

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