Politics and Government

Political news

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 gaps in the New York State budget, for the current year and the new fiscal year, are widening.  Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers are considering a number of options, including a special session, and revamping of the state’s tax code a means of generating more money for state coffers.

A report by a policy think tank finds that 500,000 job opportunities were lost in New York in the three year long economic slump, representing a total income loss of $31 billion dollars a year. 

Public trust in government—especially the federal government—is at a modern all-time low point.  What are the biggest challenges to a well-run government?  What are the best ideas for improving it?  Which government agencies are particularly well-run, and which not so well-run?  As the Managing Director of the Strategic Issues Team at the U.S.

Governor Cuomo’s budget office is released some bad news Monday. The state’s budget gap is even bigger than expected, with a $350 million dollar shortfall for the current year and a $3.5 billion dollar gap next year.

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.

Watertown mayoral candidates show similarities

Nov 8, 2011

The mayor's race in Watertown pits long-time incumbent Jeff Graham against a challenger with similar longevity on the City Council, Jeff Smith. Graham has said the city's doing well and he has the experience, knowledge and contacts to continue to keep Watertown on a good track. Smith says his candidacy represents new leadership and a new vision for the city. Both candidates for mayor have years of experience on City Council, and both are small business owners who say they're committed to fiscal discipline. 

Governor Cuomo’s budget office has delayed releasing its mid-year budget report and future financial forecast, citing uncertainties over the European debt crisis and delays in collection of some business taxes, due to two hurricanes that hit the state in late summer.

If, like many Americans, you’re worried about the future of Medicare, you’ll want to listen closely to this conversation about the program and the contentious politics surrounding it.  In a very information-rich interview, nationally recognized expert and University of North Carolina professor Jonathan Oberlander breaks down the elements of Medicare, the different proposals to change it, and explains why this huge—and popular—government program has become such a political lightning rod in recent years.  He also prognosticates about different possible futures in terms of Medicare’s structure

State worker union members have ratified a contract that will prevent nearly 3500 lay offs , though members make several concessions, including a three year pay freeze. Cuomo says he’s “very happy”, and has rescinded the lay off notices that were to go out Friday.

The votes will be counted for the second time this fall on a contract offer between the state worker union, the Public Employees Federation, and Governor Andrew Cuomo after the first offer was rejected. This time, if the contract is rejected, the governor has vowed to follow through with 3500 lay offs.

Plans for a racino near Hancock Airport in Syracuse have hit a snag, but supporters are still optimistic.  

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a supporter of extending the tax on millionaires, says he believes his side can “ultimately” prevail.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is stating in no uncertain terms that he intends to veto the redistricting lines now being devised by a joint legislative commission, because they are not independent and non partisan.

In this week’s segment, the Campbell Conversations returns to the upcoming November elections, with a discussion among six of the nine candidates for State Supreme Court Justice in the six-county fifth judicial district—a district that encompasses much of WRVO’s listening area.  This program is presented on-air in two parts. Part one on Friday, and the second Saturday. The audio available here is the entire hour long discussion. 

The state’s environmental agency says  a key advisory panel will not be issuing a report on the impacts of hydrofracking by a November 1 deadline, delaying part of the process of allowing the natural gas drilling on some private lands in New York until early next year.

The State’s Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens, says the report from the advisory committee, will be not be issued next month as originally planned, partly  because data on costs of fracking  to other state agencies, including  the departments of health and transportation, aren’t ready yet.

Carl McCall, the newly appointed Chair of the State University of New York Board of Trustees, is no stranger to New York politics and policy making. He sat down Monday to talk about his goals for SUNY and what he discerns in the Occupy Wall Street and now Occupy Albany movement.

Occupy Albany protesters camped out across the street from the State Capitol for the fourth day say they have no intention of leaving anytime soon.

Leaders of the state worker union, the Public Employees Federation, are waging a campaign style effort to try to convince members to vote yes this time on a new contract. Governor Cuomo says he will not give the union a third chance, and will issue lay offs in less than two weeks if the second contract is rejected.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says defense cuts are coming, and they will be big.  She says at least $450 billion in cuts are expected in the next decade, and that number could go higher depending on what happens with the congressional super-committee in the coming months. 

Members of the state worker union the Public Employees Federation will be voting on a new contract proposal, now that the union’s executive board has signed off on a rejiggered proposal agreed to with Governor Cuomo to avoid 3500 lay offs. 

Perhaps the most intriguing local race this November is the match-up in the fourth City Council district between Democrat and Working Families Party candidate Khalid Bey and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins. Hawkins has run for many seats in the past, including governor and U.S. Senator, and not come close to winning, but the last time he ran for city council he garnered about 40 percent of the vote.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state worker union, the Public Employees Federation, are going down to the wire over a deal to forge a new contract agreement  or face 3500 lay offs. 

The State Comptroller finds that Wall Street is having another bad year, and that could have a negative impact on New York State's budget.

What is the state of American democracy?  What are the roots of our democratic shortcomings, and what do we need to do to improve the health of the political process?  Jean Bethke Elshtain, democratic theorist, ethicist, and noted public intellectual at the University of Chicago—and author of Democracy on Trial—wrestles with these mighty questions in this substantively rich interview.  Elshtain has also written an influential book on just war—Just War Against Terror—and she considers the American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan through that lens.  Was the war justif

Governor Cuomo says he understands the “frustration” of the demonstrators taking part in the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and the nation this week, but admits the state depends on revenues from the financial industry to balance its budget.

Cuomo says protests are an “important part of democracy”, and says he understands the frustration and anger of the demonstrators in downtown Manhattan over the stagnant economy.

“When people are feeling pain, they look for an outlet,” said Cuomo.

The groups delivered 180 water powered alarm clocks to Governor Cuomo’s office door, as part of their request for more time for the public to comment on proposed rules to allow hydrofracking in New York on some private lands.

 Katherine Nadaeu, with Environmental Advocates, says more time is needed to determine potential health effects of the gas drilling process, which uses chemically laced water to bore into underground
shale deposits in order to extract the gas.

Governor Andrew Cuomo opened the door to avoiding  the layoffs of 3500 state workers after a union contract was rejected, but he says it’s entirely up to the union leadership whether the job cut backs occur or not.

The Public Employees Federation is floating the idea of some so called tweaks to the tenets of the rejected labor contract, including, perhaps charging more for health care on a sliding scale
based on the amount of a worker’s pay.

In an interview with public radio, Governor Cuomo says he’s “open” to talking about the proposals .

 

Two days after one of the state’s two major worker unions rejected a contract, the Public Employees Federation President says he has “new ideas” for a contract settlement, and is anxious to meet with
Governor Cuomo to discuss options to avert the 3500 layoffs ordered by the governor.

ALBANY (August 12, 2011) - A poll finds that for the first time, President Obama has a negative rating in New York State.

WRVO's capitol correspondent Karen DeWitt reports.
 

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