EJ McMahon

Doug Kerr / via Flickr

When the state budget is approved next week it will likely not include a discount for frequent users of the New York State Thruway. The legislature has rejected Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to use some of the state’s surplus to subsidize tolls.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A left leaning thank tank is out with its assessment of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget. They say there’s a lot to like and dislike about it.

Ron Deutsch is with Fiscal Policy Institute, a progressive leaning think tank in part funded by the unions. He said Cuomo deserves credit for pushing a phase in for a $15 minimum wage for all low income earners in the state.

“It would be the first in the nation,” Deutsch said. “We think now is the time to get that done.”

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been touting a massive infrastructure plan, but budget experts say much of the funding for the projects, estimated to cost $100 billion,  remains unresolved, even with the release of Cuomo’s new budget plan. They also question what they say is a cost-shift from the state to New York City.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has some big ideas for rebuilding the state’s neglected infrastructure. But, will it come with a big price tag?

Cuomo began the week with an ambitious proposal to add a third track to the Long Island Railroad, to cost around $1 billion. The governor also wants to spend $5 million on a feasibility study for a tunnel under Long Island Sound to either Connecticut or the Bronx or Westchester in New York.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The New York State Senate held a hearing on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats support the phase in to a higher wage, many senators remain uncommitted.

Roxanne Mourhess says the milk trucks roll by her antique store every day. The store is a 150-year-old former church on the main drag in Campbell, New York, a small town near Corning. The store is just down the street from the weathered, light blue grocery store. In the other direction, a Kraft plant puffs out steam by the railroad tracks. Mourhess couldn’t believe it when she heard that the plant was slated for closure. 

“Your immediate reaction is, ‘Oh my gosh, another manufacturing industry in our town, and thus our country, is not going to be here,’” she says.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

State lawmakers said a few years ago they would no longer permit the controversial member item program to continue, but critics said the old system, which gave taxpayer money to legislators’ pet projects, is being revived in a new form.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be  pushing for a bill to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $15 an hour in the new legislative session, but some say it could backfire and result in fewer jobs.

Cuomo, speaking recently at an event with Vice President Joe Biden, quoted from his own father, former Gov.  Mario Cuomo’s famous "tale of two cities" speech at the 1984 Democratic convention, saying he wanted to continue his father’s cause of economic justice by making a $15 an hour universal minimum wage in New York a top priority.

Whatever is the outcome of Tuesday’s primaries, most mayors who win a new term in cities across the state will face a similar challenge - how to get their municipalities back on secure financial footing.   

The next political leaders of New York City, smaller cities upstate, and even large suburban counties like Nassau County, will all face a big test once they take office; how to solve mounting fiscal difficulties.

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.

Talks are taking place behind the scenes on changes to New York’s tax code that could result in the wealthy paying higher taxes.  Governor Cuomo, who is asking for the changes, is also proposing a gambling expansion and  other initiatives which he is asking the state legislature to consider later this week.

The governor says he’s waiting for some uncertainties in the world markets to stabilize before updating the state’s financial picture, and has delayed releasing the state’s mid year budget report, which was due in late October.

Cuomo budget officials have said they are also waiting to count some tax collections delayed by the hurricanes. They’ve also post poned some scheduled budget hearings that have been part of an effort in recent years to jump start the budget process.