New York state budget

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders plan to meet all week, but no agreements are finalized yet on a state budget that’s due Friday.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

Republican senators have proposed a state budget for this year that includes $3 million towards helping upstate farmers recover from last summer’s drought, the worst the state has seen in decades. In some cases, the dry summer weather resulted in the loss of entire crops. The federal government designated more than 20 counties national disaster areas due to the severity of the drought.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Several proposals in Washington could mean multi-billion-dollar budget gaps for New York state. With the budget due in one week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders think that at the very least, they may have to come back later in the year to revise the spending plan.

formulanone / Flickr

Another sitting state legislator, Sen. Rob Ortt, has been indicted on corruption charges, along with George Maziarz, who held the western New York Senate seat before him. The indictments come as ethics reform proposals in the state budget are faltering.

Ortt is accused of creating a no-show job for his wife to pad his own salary while he was mayor of North Tonawanda in Niagara County.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

As negotiations on the state budget head toward an April 1, advocates for more spending on infrastructure are keeping up the pressure on lawmakers in Albany.

Rebuild NY Now, a statewide advocacy group, is calling on state leaders to make sure infrastructure gets its due in the state budget. Infrastructure spending is a part of the current budget discussin, with $2 billion proposed in the governor’s budget and an extra $5 billion in the GOP Senate proposal.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The next two weeks at the New York State Capitol are going to be very busy as lawmakers face the deadline for a new budget. Several issues remain unresolved.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The smallest faction in the divided state Senate, the Independent Democratic Conference, has been permitted by the ruling party Republicans to issue its own alternate spending plan. That has angered the rest of the Democrats.

Currently, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have the same amount of members – 31 each – but the Democrats are divided, with eight members in a breakaway group that forms an informal ruling coalition with the GOP.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

The state legislature’s one-house budgets make some changes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $163 million proposal to offer free tuition at public colleges in New York to some middle-class students.

Cuomo’s plan would have the state pay the tuition at public colleges and universities for students who have a combined family income of up to $125,000 a year when the plan is fully phased in in two years.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York State Senate and Assembly will release their one-house budgets this week, as the March 31 deadline for a new spending plan draws near. They’ve already given some hints as to what the plans will include.

Senate Republicans are rejecting, for now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s extension of a tax on millionaires. They say they also are against pretty much all of the other taxes and fees in the governor’s budget, including a proposed new tax on internet purchases, a surcharge on prepaid cellphones and higher fees at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

New York’s health care system is bracing for big changes to the Affordable Care Act. No one knows for certain how it will be altered, but it will almost certainly cost the state a significant amount of money.

Just one month before the state budget is due, numerous interest groups are converging on the state Capitol, asking that they be included in the budget.

Among the more impassioned efforts is one from developmentally disabled people and their caregivers. They are seeking $45 million in state subsidies to pay workers more money to comply with the rising minimum wage in New York.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A leading budget watchdog group is accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo of fudging the numbers in his state budget to appear to stay within his self-imposed two percent per-year spending cap.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

Environmental groups are pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to codify into law some of the steps he’s taken to protect the environment and cut down on pollution related to climate change. At a budget hearing Monday, lawmakers were focused on a more immediate concern — clean drinking water.

Legislative budget hearings were interrupted once again, this time by anti-climate change activists shouting that they want “climate justice in the budget.”

Alliance for Quality Education

The Alliance for Quality Education says Gov. Andrew Cuomo is misleading the public in a debate about school funding. The school advocacy group has published a new report that criticizes the governor's proposed education spending plan and his attempts to defend it. 

BaronBrian / Flickr

Famous public health advocate Erin Brockovich is leading a campaign to pressure New York state lawmakers and officials to focus more resources on combating the deadly Legionnaires' disease. Brockovich says New Yorkers are at risk of seeing even more cases of the disease if major steps are not taken.

Southern Arkansas University / Flickr

An allocation in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget could resolve a dispute over casino revenues in the Mohawk Valley. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The leader of the Senate Republicans said he’s not happy with what he said is over $800 million in new taxes and fees tucked away in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new state budget.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said he’s upset over about new proposed fees that a preliminary analysis shows total $803 million – with $250 million in new Department of Motor Vehicles fees alone.

Flanagan said he’s also not happy with the way Cuomo presented his spending plan to lawmakers. He said Cuomo failed to mention all of the new fees in a private briefing at the executive mansion.

Onasill ~ Bill Badzo / Flickr

One of the chief arguments over the state budget will be whether to renew an income tax surcharge on New York’s wealthiest.

The state is facing a $3.5 billion deficit, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to add a billion dollars to the state’s public schools. He also wants to offer free tuition at public colleges for families making less than $125,000 a year.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr (File Photo)

One of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature economic development programs is being downsized in his new state budget. Start-Up NY is being rebranded as other economic development projects have suffered setbacks.

The Start-Up NY program — which offered 10 years of freedom from income, business and other taxes to companies that sought to begin a business on a college campus — initially was a centerpiece of Cuomo’s big plans for more jobs in upstate New York.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget is not just facts and figures about what taxes to collect and how to spend them. Cuomo also has put unrelated changes into the spending plan — everything from allowing ride-hailing services to expand in the state to enacting ethics reforms.

From allowing Uber and Lyft outside of New York City to imposing term limits on lawmakers, the governor’s budget includes many items that normally would be considered policy changes and debated and approved in the regular part of the session.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Some state lawmakers are rejecting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to extend a tax on millionaires. Cuomo spent Tuesday rolling out his spending plan to individual groups of lawmakers in private briefings, then at night, released details to the public.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Some state lawmakers are rejecting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal to extend a tax on millionaires.

The spending plan was outlined to some lawmakers at a lunch at the governor’s mansion, but won’t be available to the public until later this evening.

Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan said he’s against a plan by Cuomo to once again extend the tax.

“I like cutting taxes,” Flanagan said.

Courtesy David Irish

In Betsy Irish’s room, it’s all about the music. There is a big boom box in the corner, framed CD jackets and a special box just for Christmas music.

She’s hanging out with her dad, David Irish, at her group house in a suburb of Rochester. They’re doing one of their usual activities — reading the dictionary.

“L is for letter,” she says.

“That’s what the mailman brings, a letter,” her father answers. “You could write a letter.”

“To?” she responds.

“Who you going to write to?” he eggs her on.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is due to release his budget on Tuesday, and agencies that work with those with intellectual disabilities are among those hoping for more funds. They say they need help to pay workers the new higher minimum wage.

New York’s minimum wage is going up over the next few years, to $15 eventually in New York City and lesser amounts upstate. Groups that provide services for the developmentally disabled rely on Medicaid reimbursements to pay their workers, and they say they’ll have a hard time meeting the higher wages without more money from the state.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

After several years of budget surpluses, New York state tax revenue is coming in at a lower-than-expected rate.

That could affect big-ticket programs like school aid and health care as well as a multi-year tax cut planned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators.

Income tax collections are down nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars from what Cuomo’s budget division projected in April, at the start of the state’s fiscal year.

Wallyg / Flickr

Some homeless advocates are dismayed by what they say is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s failure at the end of the legislative session to follow through with promises to fund five years of new supportive housing and other services for the homeless. Their complaints come as the state comptroller recently issued a scathing report on the state of homeless shelters across New York.

Onondaga Community College

It’s going to cost more to attend Onondaga Community College this fall. The Onondaga County Legislature approved a budget that includes a tuition hike. OCC President Casey Crabill says tuition is going up just under 3 percent for the 2016-1017 school year.

"It’s going up $70 for a full-time student, $6 a credit unit for part-time students. We would like to work to go a year without a tuition increase, but that’s been really difficult.”

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is introducing a new Hunger Games-style competition, this time aimed at downtown revitalization. Struggling communities in regions across the state will compete for their share of $100 million. Watertown’s mayor thinks his city has what it takes to compete.

A shrinking population? Check. A struggling economy? Check.

But Watertown’s' downtown development hasn't been all doom and gloom. Quite the opposite. The old Woolworth building was renovated into apartments. Mercy Hospital was torn down and a mixed-use building is going up in its place.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

“We have a government in hiding,” said Dadey. “A government that operates in the shadows and makes big decisions on behalf of the public without any public scrutiny.”

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

State lawmakers were down to the wire on meeting the state budget deadline and voting went beyond the midnight deadline, into Friday, once all of the budget bills were finalized.

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