Politics and Government

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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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Surrounded by dozens of central New York firefighters in Syracuse on Wednesday, Sen. Charles Schumer launched a push to create a national firefighter cancer registry.  

The idea is to get a closer look at a cancer risk Schumer said can be double that of others because of exposure to toxic chemicals.

It used to be a badge of honor for a firefighter to come back to the station with a dirty, charred uniform. No more, according to Syracuse firefighter Mike Valenti.

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Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton face off in the final presidential debate tonight at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact checking from NPR reporters and editors.

Follow along on-air; the debate airs live starting at 9 p.m., uninterrupted. You can also tune in for the pre-debate call in show at 8 p.m. on WRVO.

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Pipeline companies are not having a lot of success in New York so far in 2016; opponents say they are dirty and continue New York’s over reliance on fossil fuels. Two projects have already been canceled. But a pipeline company representative says the projects are not as harmful as opponents say, and essential for the state’s current electric needs.

Until recently, expanding and building pipelines was not terribly controversial, as most people agreed that there was a common need to transport oil and gas for fuel and electricity.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

An experiment in government consolidation has failed in central New York -- a victim of a difference of opinion over how to create jobs and promote economic growth in Syracuse and Onondaga County and the continued deterioration of the relationship between the mayor and county executive.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

State lawmakers with disabled children, along with people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers, rallied Monday at the state Capitol for more money in the budget to pay caregivers a living wage. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature approved a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 an hour downstate and $12.50 an hour upstate, saying mega-companies like McDonald’s and Burger King can afford to pay their workers more.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Eight police departments in Onondaga County will now have needle and drug drop boxes installed at their facilities. They include the Baldwinsville, Camillus, Cicero, DeWitt, Geddes, Manlius, Marcellus and Syracuse police departments. It is part of an effort to reduce the number of heroin and opioid addictions in the county.

governorandrewcuomo / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has spent the past year walking a fine line between environmentalists who believe nuclear power is a necessary evil in reducing the state's carbon dioxide emissions and those who think the plants pose too great a danger. But, Cuomo is no stranger to this kind of juggling act on nuclear policy.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Reform groups say in light of the criminal charges against some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former associates, there are a number of changes that should be made to stop more corruption in the future.

The federal charges of bid-rigging and bribery center on Cuomo’s key economic development programs, including the Buffalo Billion.

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The Syracuse Common Council has passed legislation regulating how property owners can boot cars parked illegally on private property. Until now, property owners could charge whatever they wanted to have the boot removed.

Any property owners, who are booting in the city of Syracuse, will now have to get a license. They can charge $100 and the booter has to come and release it within 30 minutes from when they are called and the fine is paid.    

Alyson Hurt / Flickr

After several years of debate, the Oswego Common Council said it has finally taken a step toward resolving persistent complaints about the city's winter parking policy.

The council unanimously passed a new law Tuesday that will ban parking on city streets from midnight to 6 a.m. starting in December and ending in March. Residents without a driveway or adequate parking spaces can apply for one $75 annual permit per address to leave their vehicle on the street.

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The beleaguered head of SUNY Polytechnic Institute has formally resigned from his post after being placed on leave without pay following criminal charges from state and federal officials.

Alain Kaloyeros, who is accused of helping to engineer bribery and kickback schemes involving state contracts for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs, on Monday sent State University officials a letter of resignation from his post as president of SUNY Polytechnic. The letter was first made public Tuesday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Legislature has approved a $1.3 billion budget for next year. The spending plan includes the lowest tax rate ever in Onondaga County, and lawmakers agreed on a water agency consolidation that will save money down the road. But lawsuits and early retirement offers hung over much of the budget decision.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers will vote Tuesday on County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s $1.3 billion budget. Legislators have made some tweaks to the spending plan following budget hearings. But a dispute over staffing cuts in the comptroller’s department could be the most controversial issue.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Police Department is investigating an officer-involved fatal shooting that happened Sunday night in the Syracuse University area. This is the third fatal shooting involving police to occur in Syracuse this year.

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton face off in the second presidential debate tonight at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact checking from NPR reporters and editors.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, speaking Thursday at a panel on corruption in state government at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, took a shot at some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's actions.

Bharara, without mentioning Cuomo by name, seemed to criticize the governor’s actions. He said with the recent crime wave sweeping state government that’s led to Bharara’s successful prosecution of the former leaders of the Legislature, some recent actions have been inappropriate.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is hoping to establish a women’s suffrage commission that would help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920.

The underlying effort of this commission would be education says Gillibrand. And the concept takes her back to 1976, when she was ten years old and the Freedom Train came to town to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente’s proposed 2017 budget was met with thunderous applause from the Oneida County Board of Legislators Wednesday. It calls for no increase in the county’s property tax rate for the fourth year in a row. Picente said while the county's taxpayers may praise him, this trend cannot continue. 

“For us in county government there are no more airports to sell, retirements to defer or Nation agreements to settle," Picente said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Some environmental groups say Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration should reconsider an $8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants, saying the cost will be passed on to ratepayers.

Cuomo plans to transition 50 percent of the state’s power to renewable energy by 2030. Part of the program includes a multi-billion-dollar subsidy to Exelon, the company that now runs two upstate nuclear power plants — Nine Mile Point in Oswego and Ginna near Rochester — and is hoping to run a third plant, FitzPatrick, also in Oswego.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Oswego cut 17 firefighter positions this year, due to a budget deficit. But six of those firefighters have now been hired by the Syracuse Fire Department. Some Syracuse common councilors are upset that Syracuse residents were not considered for the positions.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The scandal over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs has led to more scrutiny of whether the projects are the best way to improve the state’s economy, and some watchdog groups are asking questions.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

A new law in Watertown will now require landlords to register their rental properties with the city. More than half of the homes in Watertown are rentals. Neighbors and city leaders say many of them are run down or empty. Some aren’t safe to live in. Watertown leaders say a list of property owners’ names and phone numbers will help stop the blight on neighborhood streets. 

Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence square off in the vice-presidential debate tonight. Coverage from NPR begins with a live call-in show at 8 p.m., followed by the full debate at 9 p.m.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact checking from NPR reporters and editors.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said much of the responsibility for the alleged corruption scandal touching his administration is on the state university system, specifically SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which oversaw many of the contracts.

But reform groups say the governor is not telling the whole story.

Cuomo has made a few public appearances since U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued criminal complaints against nine people, including several close to Cuomo and two major upstate real estate developers.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A new poll finds that Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is edging out her Democratic and third-party rivals in the race to replace retiring Republican Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) in New York's 22nd Congressional District. The poll from Siena College and Time Warner Cable has Tenney in the lead with 35 percent and Democratic Broome County Legislator Kim Myers close behind with 30 percent.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is distancing himself from the corruption scandal within his administration and placing the blame on others. But some say Cuomo might be better off making some changes instead.

Cuomo has made a number of public appearances across the state, continuing to promote economic development efforts, just as he did before U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged several of Cuomo’s former close associates and two major real estate developers with bribery and fraud in connection with the Buffalo Billion and other projects.

-JvL- / Flickr

It’s looking less likely that state lawmakers will be getting a long-awaited pay raise next year. A commission designed to take politics out of the issue is now coming under political pressure to not grant the salary increase.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It’s been a week since a federal corruption investigation exploded in New York state, bringing fraud and bribery and charges against developers and state officials for allegedly running a pay-to-play scheme involving upstate economic development projects.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo admits it’s been an emotional time for him personally because one of the accused, Joseph Percoco, is a former top aide and a longtime Cuomo family friend.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is making some changes to prevent any future bid-rigging in some of his major economic development projects. But critics on both the left and the right say Cuomo is failing to address the bigger picture — whether the $8.6 billion worth of programs are an effective use of public money.