Politics and Government

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.”

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

8:25am

Thu March 27, 2014
Politics and Government

FBI investigating alleged corruption in state Assembly, Senate

State lawmakers in the Assembly and the Senate are coming under scrutiny from the FBI. The state Capitol offices of an assemblyman were raided, and a state senator gave a tour of her home property in an attempt to debunk allegations from federal investigators that she engaged in an illegal land deal.

Assemblyman William Scarborough's offices were raided by the FBI, over allegations that he overcharged for travel, lodging and meal reimbursements paid to lawmakers when they gather in Albany for weekly sessions.

Scarborough says he's innocent.

Read more

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.

Read more

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. 

Read more

7:28am

Tue March 25, 2014
Education

Last minute push for school aid amid voter dissatisfaction

Actress Cynthia Nixon speaks at an event in Albany in early June 2013. (file photo)
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Education funding advocates, including actress Cynthia Nixon, made a last-minute pitch for extra money for schools in the state budget. Meanwhile, a new poll finds many New Yorkers think the quality of education in the state is deteriorating.

"Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon has a child entering college as well as one in kindergarten. She says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education policies in New York have increased inequality and led to two separate school systems within public schools, one for the rich and one for the poor.

Read more

7:10am

Tue March 25, 2014
Politics and Government

New Siena poll finds state electorate not optimistic

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A new poll finds the majority of New Yorkers say they aren't better off now than they were four years ago, but these sentiments do not seem to be hurting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s chances for reelection.

The Siena poll asked voters whether they felt things were better now under Cuomo than they were before he was governor. It found that in several key areas including business climate, taxes, corruption and public education, less than a quarter think the situation has improved.

Read more

7:54am

Mon March 24, 2014
Politics and Government

Advocates, lawmakers lobby for more spinal cord research funding

GreenFlames09 Flickr

Lawmakers joined advocates for neurological research in Albany recently to lobby the legislature to refund a program they say could change the lives of people living with spinal cord injuries.

Heidi Greenbaum’s son Corey was left paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident six years ago. She says people with spinal cord injuries aren’t as permanently broken as some may think.

Read more

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.

Read more

6:51am

Fri March 21, 2014
Politics and Government

Dozens arrested at Capitol as budget talks continue

Protesters rally at the state Capitol on Thursday.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders continue to meet behind closed doors to hash out a budget deal, while outside the governor’s offices dozens of angry protesters were arrested.

Cuomo is calling legislative leaders into his office for twice-a-day private meetings to hash out details of the $145 billion state budget.

Read more

6:54am

Thu March 20, 2014
Politics and Government

Activists take to their smartphones to webcast Assembly meetings

-JvL- Flickr

Government reform activists took their smartphones into Assembly Committee meetings to live stream meetings that so far have not been available online to the public.

To mark what’s known as Sunshine Week, to promote a more open government, the activists took their smartphones into several Assembly Committee meetings. Using simple software, they pressed record and streamed the proceedings live on the Internet.

Read more

7:04pm

Tue March 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Dream Act supporters vow to fight on

Assemblyman Francisco Moya speaks at a news conference held by supporters of the Dream Act at the Capitol Tuesday.
Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

Supporters of Dream Act legislation say they were “set up,” when a hastily arranged vote on the bill in the New York State Senate chamber late Monday led to the measure’s failure by just one vote.

The focus is now shifting to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Backers say they will try to get the governor to put the measure into the state budget.

Supporters of the measure to give state aid for college tuition to children of undocumented immigrants say they are disappointed and saddened that the measure lost in the Senate by just one vote.  

Read more

8:08am

Tue March 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Syracuse has a comprehensive plan for three decades of planning

The city of Syracuse now has a document to base its urban planning decisions on for the next three decades.

Read more

7:19am

Tue March 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo pushes property tax freeze

Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought local leaders from both parties to the Capitol to promoted his property tax plan.
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo enlisted the aid of some local government leaders to promote his tax freeze proposal, which has been losing ground in the New York state legislature.

Cuomo, surrounded by several county executives from across the state, promoted his plan, which is not supported in the state legislature. He says he’s signed up 150 local government leaders as supporters.

“It is a bold proposal, I understand that,” said Cuomo. He predicts the more people hear about it, the more they will support it.

Read more

7:16am

Tue March 18, 2014
Politics and Government

Dream Act dies in New York State Senate

Wallyg Flickr

The Dream Act is dead for now in New York state, after the state Senate voted down the measure that would have granted college tuition aid to the children of undocumented immigrants. The 30 to 29 vote defeating the Dream Act left leaders of rival Democratic factions pointing fingers.

Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein , who is in a ruling coalition with the Republicans, says he’s disappointed that two Democrats joined the GOP to vote no on the bill to allow tuition aid for children of undocumented immigrants.

Read more

5:15pm

Mon March 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Schumer calls for more airline passport checks

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) during his visit to Syracuse Monday.

As the search continues for a missing Malaysian Airlines plane, Sen. Charles Schumer is proposing legislation that would close what he calls a "major gap" in airline security, exposed because of the incident.   
Schumer notes that two passengers on the plane got on board using stolen passports, apparently very easily. And he says most countries don’t require airlines to check the Interpol database to see if passports are stolen.

Read more

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.

Read more

6:47pm

Sun March 16, 2014
Politics and Government

Senate public finance provision raises questions

The New York state Senate for the first time includes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan for public campaign financing in its budget resolution.  The sparsely worded proposal has left supporters and opponents trying to sort through the political tea leaves.

The inclusion of public campaign financing would seem to signal an abrupt change of policy for Republicans, who co-lead the Senate. The GOP has long maintained that a matching small donor plan using public funds is a waste of the taxpayers’ money, and would only lead to more annoying robo-calls.

Read more

5:58am

Fri March 14, 2014
Politics and Government

Business groups knock Cuomo's tax freeze plan

Both houses of the legislature are making changes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax freeze plan in their budget proposals. And now small business groups are speaking out, saying the proposal favors some homeowners at their expense.

The state Assembly’s budget replaces Cuomo’s plan to distribute widespread rebate checks to homeowners with an alternative to benefit New Yorkers who can least afford to pay their property taxes. The Senate is also making changes, even though Republicans in the majority say they still want to reduce property taxes.

Read more

8:30am

Thu March 13, 2014
Politics and Government

Syracuse lawmakers set to vote on comprehensive plan, after delays

After a year of delays and re-writes, Syracuse lawmakers are finally set to vote on a new comprehensive plan for the city.

City planners had been working on the vision for how the city should look in 2040 for two years. Then it went to the council, where lawmakers had a lot of questions and proposed changes, which caused them to continually delay voting on it.

Read more

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.

Read more

7:26pm

Tue March 11, 2014
Education

Three incumbent & one new Regent elected

The state legislature replaced one member of the State Board of Regents, but allowed three others to remain, in elections held for the state’s top educational policy board.  

The vote featured complaints from Republican Senators, who voted against all of the candidates  to demonstrate their displeasure with the state’s implementation of the new Common Core.

Senate Republicans, who attended the joint legislative vote for the first time in several years, voted against nearly all of the Regents candidates.  

Read more

2:55pm

Tue March 11, 2014
Casinos

Oneida Nation begins sharing casino profits with New York state

O World of Photos via Flickr

The Oneida Indian Nation has begun cutting checks to New York state and county governments out of the profits from its Turning Stone casino. The profit-sharing will enable the Oneida to maintain its dominance over casino gambling in central New York.

Read more

8:14am

Tue March 11, 2014
Politics and Government

Oswego city reporting app still a success, even with drawbacks

The home screen of Oswego's City Sourced app.
Credit Jason Smith / WRVO

It's been about six months since the city of Oswego launched a mobile app allowing residents to report problems directly to city departments. The app, which cost $5,000 to build and $2,000 to maintain, has had a reduced number of reports recently, but Common Councilor Eric VanBuren said it has still been helpful for the city.

VanBuren helped get the app passed by the city last fall and said there are more than 400 users of the program.  He said the app has been a good investment even though the winter season has reduced the number of reports received.

Read more

3:08am

Tue March 11, 2014
Education

N.Y. Governor Says College For Inmates Will Pay Off For Taxpayers

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:28 am

Inmates at New York's Coxsackie Correctional Facility. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says reinstating state-funded prison college programs will ultimately save taxpayers money.
Mike Groll AP

America used to have a robust college education system for prison inmates. It was seen as a way to rehabilitate men and women behind bars by helping them go straight when they got out.

Those taxpayer-funded college classes were defunded in the 1990s. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would like to bring them back in the state, prompting a fierce new debate over higher education in state prisons.

Read more

8:10am

Mon March 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Fate of estate tax provision uncertain in state Assembly

On Wednesday, both houses of the legislature are due to release their one-house budget proposals, which they will then use to negotiate a final spending plan with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, in an interview with PBS's New York Now and public radio stations, says Assembly Democrats are not yet on board with part of Cuomo’s plan to cut the estate tax.

Read more

Pages