Politics and Government

5:16pm

Wed February 12, 2014
Education

Poll intensifies Cuomo-deBlasio debate over pre-K funding

A new poll finds that New Yorkers statewide favor Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to fund pre-kindergarten over New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio’s proposal.

The Quinnipiac poll finds that the majority of New Yorkers prefer Cuomo’s plan to finance expanded pre-K through state funds, than favor deBlasio’s proposal to tax the wealthy to get the money.

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6:59am

Wed February 12, 2014
Politics and Government

Pre-K funding fight not letting up at state Capitol

The debate regarding universal pre-kindergarten shows no signs of slowing down at the New York Capitol. The Democratic Mayor of New York City is not backing down from his plan to tax the wealthy to pay for pre-K, while upstate and suburban Republicans in the state Senate say they will block a vote on the tax proposal.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, in his State of the City address, stuck to his plan to continue to ask state lawmakers for permission to tax the wealthy to fund universal pre-K. De Blasio says he’s not advocating for a statewide income tax hike.   

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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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7:40am

Mon February 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Tax hearing set for Monday

Wallyg Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax commissioner is set to testify before a legislative budget hearing Monday morning, and he’s expected to get plenty of questions about a plan to freeze property taxes and cut some income taxes. Critics, who are also scheduled to speak, say the governor should focus more on lower income New Yorkers, as well.

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7:30am

Mon February 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Supporters push for GMO labeling bill

Sponsors of a bill to require the labeling of genetically modified foods, or GMO's, say they hope they have better luck this year advancing the legislation after it died in committee late last session.

The bill would require that all genetically engineered food sold in New York be clearly labeled. Assembly Sponsor Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat, says the measure would give consumers the choice of whether they want to buy genetically altered food, or not.

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7:29am

Mon February 10, 2014
Politics and Government

County executives split on Cuomo's consolidation agenda

County legislators at the annual conference for the New York State Association of Counties.
Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) wrapped up its annual meeting in Albany this week where county executives discussed the unique needs of New York’s regional governments.

One prominent issue was consolidation. During his budget presentation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo renewed his push for local governments to share more resources as part of a plan to freeze property taxes if counties stay within a two percent cap.

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6:07am

Fri February 7, 2014
Politics and Government

State report shows thousands of regulations impede New York businesses

While tax breaks are the cornerstone of some of the programs in New York state meant to boost business, there are other areas where the state can become an impediment to anyone wanting to do business. A state report released recently points the finger at a bureaucracy that gets in the way.

There are 750,000 regulations on the books in New York state, many of them outdated and never reviewed. And many of them can get in the way of New York's businesses.

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7:07am

Thu February 6, 2014
Politics and Government

Lawmakers skeptical medical marijuana program can be ready in a year

The Cuomo administration is moving ahead with a bill to allow limited access to medical marijuana. The governor's health commissioner told lawmakers at a budget hearing that the program could be up and running within a year, but his claims were met with some skepticism.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah, told lawmakers at a recent budget hearing that he prefers the governor’s plan for limited medical marijuana in New York, rather than a broader program backed by some in the legislature.

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3:34pm

Wed February 5, 2014
Politics and Government

With robocalls rising, Schumer pushes for tougher enforcement

Despite the national "do not call" list, the number of telemarketer violations has tripled in New York state.

Sen. Charles Schumer says that likely has to do with companies using computer-generated robocalls to target households.

Schumer has introduced a new bill, called the QUIET Act, that he says will strengthen penalties against companies that violate the rules. He says new technology is allowing robocallers to skirt the current laws.

"The robocall industry is blatantly ignoring federal laws, so we have to fight fire with fire," Schumer said.

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6:40am

Wed February 5, 2014
Politics and Government

Legislative leaders call for delay in Common Core standards

James F Clay Flickr

The leaders of the New York state legislature are urging the state Board of Regents to delay the effects of the new federal Common Core standards for at least another two years.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is asking the state Board of Regents and the state Education Department to slow down their rapid adoption of the Common Core standards. Currently, the results of student scores on the new high stakes testing will be used to evaluate teachers this year, but Silver says that should be delayed for another two years.

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9:01am

Tue February 4, 2014
Politics and Government

Hanna seeks re-election, says there's more to be done in Congress

RichardHannaforCongress.com

Rep. Richard Hanna says he's seeking a third term in Congress because there's more work to be done.

The Republican announced his re-election intentions late last week. He was first elected to serve what's now New York's 22nd Congressional District in 2010. Hanna is from Barneveld, just north of Utica, and represents that city as well as Binghamton and areas in between.

He says there's a lot of opportunities in Congress right now.

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7:29am

Tue February 4, 2014
Politics and Government

Few details forthcoming on fracking health review

Anti-fracking protesters from Frack Action attend the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee's budget hearing on Monday, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah answered questions.
Matt Ryan NY Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner was questioned by lawmakers at a recent budget hearing about his ongoing review of health effects related to hydrofracking, but Dr. Nirav Shah provided few details.

State lawmakers peppered Shah with questions about the ongoing health review on hydrofracking, which critics say has proceeded in near secrecy.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, from Manhattan’s Upper West Side, asked Shah what he’s been doing since the review was announced a year and a half ago.

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7:17am

Mon February 3, 2014
Politics and Government

Fracking likely to be a topic at budget hearing

Anti-fracking protesters attend an environmental budget hearing in late January.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

The state’s health commissioner is scheduled to testify before the legislative fiscal committees Monday morning, and he’s sure to be asked about a long delayed health study on hydrofracking.

Dr. Nirav Shah, who was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as the state’s health commissioner, is expected to be asked by state lawmakers about a study he’s conducting on the potential health effects of natural gas drilling. The review has been going on for a year and a half now, and until it’s completed, hydrofracking is on hold in New York.

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7:11am

Mon February 3, 2014
Politics and Government

Is Cuomo's budget surplus for real?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been taking credit for a $2 billion budget surplus in his new spending plan. But critics say that claim is not entirely accurate because the windfall does not actually materialize for another two years, and only if certain conditions are met.

Cuomo is fond of comparing the differences in the state’s finances since taking office three years ago.

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7:30am

Fri January 31, 2014
Politics and Government

Village of Bridgewater faces decision whether to dissolve

Gino Geruntino WRVO

Nestled in the rolling hills of southern Oneida County sits the Village of Bridgewater. To the average eye, it looks the part of most upstate villages, but come March, the village and its two centuries of history could dissolve into a thing of the past.

Gary Comstock has been mayor of Bridgewater since the 1990s, but because of financial struggles, he wants to dissolve the village. he says the time has never been better to merge with the surrounding town, especially following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's clarion call for streamlining state and local governments.
 

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5:20pm

Wed January 29, 2014
Politics and Government

Maffei, Hanna positive about State of the Union

Central New York congressmen are generally reacting positively to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Fellow democrat and Syracuse-area representative Dan Maffei said he agrees with the president that Washington should focus on creating new jobs and expanding economic opportunities.

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7:10am

Tue January 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Mayors testify at annual Tin Cup Day in Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talk during a panel discussion.
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo Flickr

Mayors from around the state -- including Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner -- testified before the state legislative fiscal committees. In what’s traditionally known as Tin Cup Day, many asked for more money, while others asked for authorization to collect more money from their citizens.

First up was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who came armed with a new report that he says shows how he could enact universal access to pre-kindergarten at a “rapid pace,” in an expansion that he calls one of the largest in the nation’s history.

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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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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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4:03pm

Sun January 26, 2014
Politics and Government

Congressman Dan Maffei on The Campbell Conversations

Cong. Dan Maffei, at left, speaks with Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher

In 2012, the voters in the 24th Congressional district gave Dan Maffei a second chance when they chose him to replace Ann Marie Buerkle, after she had defeated him just two years before.  Now a year in to his new term in office, Maffei sits down with host Grant Reeher to discuss unemployment benefits, economic inequality, Obamacare, Afghanistan, and whether Congress is becoming more functional.

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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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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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8:32am

Tue January 21, 2014
Politics and Government

Siena poll shows Cuomo gaining popularity

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is beginning 2014 with high numbers, according to a recently released Siena College poll.

The governor has regained some lost ground, and now is viewed favorably by 66 percent of New Yorkers. Cuomo would also beat potential GOP opponents, Donald Trump and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, by almost 50 points, says Siena’s Steve Greenberg.

“He’s governor is sitting pretty,” said Greenberg. “His numbers, favorability, job performance, reelect, are the best they’ve been in about a year.”

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8:07am

Tue January 21, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo expected to cover education, tax cuts and campaign finance reform in state budget

Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the State of the State address on Jan. 8.
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo releases his state budget proposal Tuesday afternoon, and many will be watching to see what it contains and how the numbers will work.

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3:47pm

Mon January 20, 2014
Politics and Government

Rep. Maffei calls for investigation into electronic monitoring devices

To help prevent future electronic monitoring device failures, Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) is calling on the federal Government Accountability Office to investigate ways to improve the system.

During the Congressman's "Discuss it with Dan" meeting in Oswego last Friday, Maffei explained why he thinks it's necessary to look for more ways to improve the system.

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4:40pm

Sun January 19, 2014
Politics and Government

Rosalind Barnett on The Campbell Conversations

Rosalind Barnett
Brandeis University

In a recently published book, Brandeis University researcher Rosalind Barnett argues that there is a new “soft war” on women, which is reinforcing gender inequality and harming not only women, but also men and the general economy.  This war is being fueled in part by a growing “myth” that women have largely accomplished their historic struggle for equality.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher explores those arguments with Barnett, the co-author of 

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2:43pm

Fri January 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Assembly leader now calling for special elections to fill vacancies

Wallyg Flickr

Some top state lawmakers seem to be changing their minds over whether to call special elections for a growing number of vacancies in the legislature.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver now says he wants voters to pick new legislators to fill 11 vacancies. And Gov. Cuomo now says he is looking at the issue.

Silver had said special elections to fill the nine vacancies in the Assembly and two in the Senate might be pointless, since new members could not be seated before the budget is done, and that he did not expect the legislature to do much work after late March.

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9:00am

Fri January 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Live coverage: Obama announces results of intelligence gathering review

The Department of Justice, Washington D.C.
Matt Churchill Flickr

On Friday, Jan. 17, President Barack Obama will give a major speech announcing the results of the administration's review of US electronic intelligence gathering. The president will speak at 11 a.m. from the Department of Justice. The White House says the president will address the balance between national security, foreign policy and civil liberties, as well as maintaining public trust.

NPR is providing live coverage of the event, with analysis, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. You can listen to the coverage, when it begins, using the NPR module below.

7:17am

Fri January 17, 2014
Politics and Government

State lawmakers differ over Common Core fix

New York State Education Commissioner John King testifies to a state Senate committee during an early October meeting in Syracuse. (File photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO/file photo

There’s continued dissatisfaction over the state’s implementation of the new Common Core standards, which parents, students and teachers have complained has led to too much testing. But there’s disagreement in the state legislature over how to fix it.

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7:00am

Fri January 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Reform groups urge Cuomo to include public campaign funding in budget

Thirty reform groups have written to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, asking that his new state budget plan include funds for campaign finance reform.

The groups are asking the governor to essentially put his money where his mouth is when it comes to campaign donation reform ideas like public financing and a new agency to police violations.

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