New York state budget

5:55am

Wed April 2, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo, legislative leaders admit some unfinished budget issues

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are touting the virtues of the newly enacted state budget, but the spending plan has its share of critics.

Cuomo says one of the most important accomplishments achieved by him and the legislative leaders is that the budget was passed on time, for the fourth year in a row. And he used a baseball metaphor, complete with baseballs and bats for props, to describe the feat.

“This is the grand slam budget,” Cuomo said. “I’m pleased and proud.”

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7:40am

Tue April 1, 2014
Politics and Government

State lawmakers pass budget before deadline

The New York state Assembly voted to approve the state's budget last night, along with the Senate.
-JvL- Flickr

Lawmakers hurried to complete work on the state budget before the midnight deadline, but the spending plan is not without some controversy.

Legislators held a marathon voting session on several budget bills, in an attempt to beat the April 1 deadline. Some of the legislation was not technically printed until the wee hours of Saturday morning, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent an emergency message to waive the three day waiting period required by law.

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7:43pm

Sun March 30, 2014
Politics and Government

State budget finalized, voting on Monday

Wallyg Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have finalized the details on a $138 billion state budget and say they are on track to meet the April 1 deadline.

The budget includes a multi-step plan that could  lower property taxes, $340 million for schools to start pre-K programs, and a limited test program for public campaign financing.

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5:55pm

Fri March 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Budget negotiations continued at Capitol

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are still struggling to come to a final budget agreement, after the time for an expected announcement came and went on Friday.

Optimistic lawmakers had predicted a final accord on the budget by mid day Friday, but in the end, were unable to achieve that goal.

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7:00am

Fri March 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Budget deal could be reached Friday

Update as of 7:00 a.m. Friday:

Legislative leaders say they expect to have a final agreement on a state budget later today. They need a deal by midday in order to be on schedule for an on time budget when the fiscal year ends on Monday.

Update as of 4:45 p.m. Thursday:

Legislative leaders are less hopeful now that a budget agreement can be reached Thursday because there are too many unresolved details.

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9:24am

Thu March 27, 2014
Politics and Government

Albany budget deal provides little information to the public

When the budget deal is finally reached in Albany, average New Yorkers will have had little access to the details of the important items that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers are discussing. That's because the longtime Albany tradition known as "Three Men in a Room" continues.

The only difference from the decades long tradition of three men in a room budget negotiations is now there are four men in a room. The Senate is led by a coalition of Republicans and breakaway Democrats, and so has two co-leaders.

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8:39pm

Wed March 26, 2014
Education

State lawmakers say delay of Common Core effects likely in state budget

Wallyg Flickr

State lawmakers say it’s likely the state budget will include a moratorium on the effects of school exams administered in connection with the controversial Common Core learning standards.

The state Assembly already passed a bill to delay the effects of the new Common Core tests on students and teachers, after widespread complaints that schools and the state education department were not adequately prepared to make the needed curriculum changes.

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7:01am

Wed March 26, 2014
Politics and Government

Lawmakers come closer to budget agreement

Legislative leaders say they are working together and are close to a budget agreement, after last week's blow up that left the Senate and Assembly leaders negotiating separately with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The legislative leaders, following a two-hour, closed-door meeting with the governor, seemed in high spirits. Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos gave his oftentimes rival Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver a hug.

“Look how much I love Shelly,” Skelos said with a laugh.

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6:39pm

Tue March 25, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo pushes property tax proposal, but admits opposition

Zack Seward WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped away from budget negotiations in Albany on Tuesday to stump for his plan to consolidate local governments and reduce property taxes, even though he admitted afterward he may not be able to push the plan through those budget talks.

Cuomo told a crowd at the DeWitt community room that after the property tax cap he pushed through earlier in his first term as governor, this was the next step in righting the state's fiscal ship. 

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3:48pm

Fri March 21, 2014
Politics and Government

Dispute ends budget meeting

Wallyg Flickr

The next several days will be crucial ones in Albany for negotiations on the state budget. Tensions ran high at a closed-door meeting between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders.

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos abruptly left the final leaders meeting before the weekend early, complaining there was too much emphasis on the needs of the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, at the expense of the rest of the state.

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5:34am

Mon March 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Education fights will dominate final weeks of budget talks

The state Senate and Assembly are scheduled to begin conference committee meetings on Monday, now that both houses have finished with their resolutions laying out their positions. 

Sticking points include funding for charter schools. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans want to restore changes made by  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to three charter schools. The mayor says the schools can no longer  have rent-free space in existing public school buildings.

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11:42pm

Wed March 12, 2014
Politics and Government

Assembly presents budget resolution

Education funding protesters outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office Wednesday.
Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

Assembly Democrats say there should be more money for schools and the environment, and major changes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to freeze property taxes. It’s all part of a one-house budget resolution, the first step in reaching agreement on a final spending plan by the end of March.

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5:08pm

Mon March 10, 2014
Health

Governor proposes offering low-cost 'basic health care plan"

People who are finding it difficult to pay for a health insurance policy offered through New York sate’s health care exchanges, may find a more affordable plan, if a proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget goes through.

The governor’s proposed spending plan would allow New York to offer what’s called a "basic health care plan," according to Mary Clark, regional director of Citizen Action League of New York.

“That would really opens the doors to provide coverage at extremely low cost to families at 200 percent of poverty,” she said.

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7:58am

Tue March 4, 2014
Politics

DeFrancisco says pre-K funding battle could complicate state budget talks

John DeFrancisco says he doesn't believe the pre-K debate will hurt the chances of another on time budget. (file photo)
Durrie Bouscaren WRVO

The debate over pre-K funding in New York has pit Gov. Andrew Cuomo against New York City area politicians. But one influential Syracuse-area state politician is hoping it doesn’t get in the way of successful budget negotiations, which ramp up this month.

New York state has had an on time budget each year since Cuomo took office four years ago. Sen. John DeFrancisco hopes the pre-K debate doesn’t break that streak.

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7:39am

Tue March 4, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo spends on ads to promote budget priorities

A screenshot of Gov. Andrew Cuomo during an ad for his upstate New York budget plan.
Cuomo Committee Vimeo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is dipping into his multi-million dollar campaign war chest to run ads promoting his state budget priorities.

The ads, which begin with Cuomo speaking directly into the camera, focus on the governor’s pitch for his tax cut plan and an ethics package that includes public financing of political campaigns and a crack down on bribery.

Karen Scharff, with Citizen Action, says the ethics ads are a good sign.

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7:47am

Tue February 25, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo's estate tax cut plan draws mixed reviews

EJ McMahon, President of the Empire Center.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to cut the estate tax is drawing praise from fiscally conservative groups and condemnation from advocates for the poor.

The governor's proposal would raise the threshold for New York’s estate tax from the current $1 million to $5.25 million, which is the current federal rate of taxation. EJ McMahon, with the fiscally conservative think tank The Empire Center calls the levy a death tax. He says it’s about time New York got in synch with the rest of the country, where many states have already eliminated the tax altogether.

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3:49pm

Thu February 13, 2014
Politics and Government

Winter snowstorms blow through state budget

file photo
Some rights reserved by digital Battuta

Gov. Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for nearly all of Eastern New York including New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley into Albany, as another winter storm hits the region.

The governor says the frequency of storms this winter has depleted the state’s budget for plowing, sanding and salting, but he says his budget staff will find the money from other parts of the budget to deal with the storm and potential future storms this year.

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5:19am

Wed February 12, 2014
Politics and Government

Union activists protest governor's budget plan

Protestors rally against Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget plan in front of the state office building in Syracuse.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Local union activists and community organizers are hoping to send a message to state lawmakers about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget: they don’t like it. And they suggest it will increase the income gap between the rich and the poor.

On a snowy day in Syracuse, union activities and community organizers gathered to rally at the state office building in Syracuse against the governor's budget plan

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8:45am

Mon February 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

State comptroller says highway fund mostly used for state debt, operating costs

A recent report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office found that most of the state's highway an bridge trust fund is being used for other things.
Ellen Abbott WRVO file photo

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says last fiscal year, less than a quarter of the state's dedicated highway and bridge trust fund was used to pay for infrastructure maintenance. He says the rest of the money was spent on state debt payments and other operating costs.

Republican Sen. Joe Griffo, who represents Utica, Rome and Massena, is one of several state lawmakers supporting the BRIDGE Act, which would require that funds added to the account are used only for infrastructure projects.

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5:52pm

Mon February 3, 2014
Education

Will a free ride to college boost STEM study in N.Y.?

ECC.edu

In his 2014 agenda, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed giving college scholarships to high school students as a way to boost study of science, technology engineering and math, or STEM.

But some educators say a scholarship may not be the best way to get more kids involved in these subjects.

Cuomo’s idea is to give a free ride at SUNY schools for students who are in the top 10 percent of their class and study STEM. The catch is they have to stay and work in New York for five years after they graduate.

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3:22pm

Mon January 27, 2014
Politics and Government

Investigation launched into student debt relief industry

Some rights reserved by Marsmettnn Tallahassee

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.

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3:22pm

Mon January 27, 2014
Health

American Lung Association says New York needs to spend more to help people quit smoking

Dale M Moore Flickr

New York state received mixed grades in the annual American Lung Association report card.  But the advocacy group says more can be done to help people quit the smoking habit..

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in this country, in New York state that translates to about 25,000 people who die every year from smoking-related diseases. So while the state got good grades as far as smoke free air and the nations highest cigarette tax, it got failing grades when it comes to helping people quit.  

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7:51am

Mon January 27, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo's budget reads like reelection agenda

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces the voters in November, and his budget plan, with many of the major initiatives phased in over the next few years, can be viewed as a blueprint for the governor’s reelection.

Many of the major components in Cuomo’s budget -- including universal pre-kindergarten and business tax cuts -- take three to four years to be fully phased in. Even the property tax freeze is a multi-year proposal.

Implicit in the plan’s success is that Cuomo remains governor for the next few years to carry out all of the proposals.

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7:13am

Fri January 24, 2014
Education

Education advocates express budget concerns

Local advocates are calling for more dollars in the state budget to be put toward education
Credit 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.

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8:11am

Thu January 23, 2014
Politics and Government

State groups respond to Cuomo's budget plan

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his annual budget address Tuesday. (File photo)
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.

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8:02am

Wed January 22, 2014
Technology

Budget paves way for statewide information sharing for police

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.

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9:13pm

Tue January 21, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo's budget phases in pre-K, tax cuts

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his budget speech Tuesday.
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.

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