Politics and Government

7:34am

Mon March 3, 2014
Politics and Government

Westchester County Executive expected to become a GOP candidate for governor

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino speaks with reporters in Albany.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

It’s expected that Republicans will have an announced candidate for governor as early as this week. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has formed an exploratory committee and has expressed interest in what most believe will be an uphill climb against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is seeking reelection.

Astorino, a former radio executive, has twice won the county executive’s seat in Westchester County on the Republican line, in a region where Democrats now dominate.

Read more

6:01pm

Sun March 2, 2014
Politics and Government

Eleanor Powell on The Campbell Conversations

Eleanor Powell
politicalscience.yale.edu

What effects do campaign contributions and independent expenditures really have on the way that Congress works?  On this episode of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Yale political scientist Eleanor Powell, an expert on money and Congress.  Powell describes the complicated web of money’s influence, and considers what could realistically be done to change the system.

Read more

7:56am

Fri February 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Eight potential Maffei challengers attend GOP forum to make their case

Eight Republicans are vying for the chance to run against Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei in this November's election.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The race for Congress in the Syracuse area's 24th District is heating up. Republicans in the district that includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga and Wayne counties, and part of Oswego County, will decide who gets the party nod at a convention this weekend in Syracuse. The eight Republicans who want the chance to run against incumbent Dan Maffei got to make their case in front of a roomful of conservatives Thursday night.

Read more

7:20am

Fri February 28, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo begins new push for tax freeze proposal, counties have alternative plan

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is starting a new push for his property tax freeze plan, while counties in the state say they have a better idea which could result in lower property taxes in New York for even longer.

Cuomo has begun a new campaign to promote his multi-part property tax freeze plan. It’s aimed at enlisting the aid of the public to help convince the legislature. A video features average homeowners and advocacy groups endorsing his plan.

“Lower our property taxes,” say various people identified as homeowners and standing in front of suburban looking homes.

Read more

11:41am

Thu February 27, 2014
Public Radio Presents

Intelligence Squared U. S.: Was Snowden Justified?

Illustration by Thomas James
intelligencesquaredus.org

Has Edward Snowden done the U.S. a great service? There is no doubt that his release of highly classified stolen documents has sparked an important public debate, even forcing what could be a major presidential overhaul of the NSA’s surveillance programs. But have his actions—which include the downloading of an estimated 1.7 million files—tipped off our enemies and endangered national security?

Read more

7:39am

Thu February 27, 2014
Politics and Government

Fine dead, Syracuse looks for another sidewalk shoveling answer

People shovel snow along East Fayette St. following a February snowstorm. (file photo)
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Since Syracuse lawmakers handily defeated the idea of fining property owners who don’t clear snow from their sidewalks, they’ve begun discussing a bigger picture solution for snow-filled walkways.

Some Syracuse city councilors sat down Wednesday with public works, school district and parks department officials. They also talked to heads of community groups that organize sidewalk shoveling teams in the winter.

Read more

7:05am

Thu February 27, 2014
Politics and Government

State Senate ruling coalition gains a new member

The ruling coalition in the state Senate has grown by one member. Sen. Tony Avella, of Queens, has left the minority Democrats to join the governing coalition of Republicans and Independent Democrats.

Avella is a progressive-leaning Democrat who’s been called a maverick. He says he’s become convinced he can get more accomplished by joining the Senate’s ruling coalition, which includes all of the Republicans and a few break away Independent Democrats.  

Read more

7:29am

Wed February 26, 2014
Politics and Government

New Siena Poll finds New Yorkers divided on Common Core

A new poll finds New Yorkers remain confused about the worth of the new Common Core learning standards, which schools in the state are in the process of adopting.

The Siena College poll finds voters are divided over the program, with around the same amount saying they are not confident that Common Core will result in better preparing students to be college or career ready, as those who say that the new learning standards are on the right track.

Read more

7:18am

Wed February 26, 2014
Politics and Government

Assembly leader urges Senate to pass Dream Act, says no consensus on free college for prisoners

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver discusses the Dream Act while in Albany.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Assembly Democrats passed a one-house version of the Dream Act, a bill to give college aid to the children of undocumented immigrants, and urged the Senate to follow suit.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who calls the Dream Act a top priority, blamed opposition among Senate Republicans for the measure’s failure to advance in the upper chamber. And he says the breakaway Independent Democrats in the Senate, who are in a coalition government with the GOP, need to work to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

Read more

10:40am

Tue February 25, 2014
Infrastructure

Syracuse patching twice as many water main breaks as normal

Crews work to repair a water main break on East Fayette Street in Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Water department crews have spent a lot more time this winter digging into frozen ground, shoveling asphalt and sifting through mud to find holes in Syracuse’s plumbing as an unusually high number of water main breaks is putting a strain on city resources.

Since the beginning of the year, the city’s century-old water system has sprung more than a hundred leaks. That’s more than two a day that city works crews have had to patch and twice the number the city normally deals with.

Read more

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.

Read more

3:43pm

Mon February 24, 2014
Government

Schneiderman proposes more efforts to reduce vacant properties

Jinjian Liang via Flickr

  New York's attorney general wants to reduce the number of vacant properties in the state's cities by creating more land banks and a registry to track foreclosed on homes.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has proposed legislation that will double the number of land banks in the state to 20. The first ten land banks, including one in Syracuse, began working over the past two years. Their mission is to seize vacant and severely tax delinquent properties and put them back on the tax rolls.

Vacant properties are a drain on municipalities to maintain, Schneiderman said.

Read more

4:47pm

Sun February 23, 2014
Politics and Government

Larry Wilmore on The Campbell Conversations

Writer and satirist Larry Wilmore, left, speaking with Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher

February is Black History Month, but in this edition of the Campbell Conversations, humorist Larry Wilmore explains why he’d rather African-Americans got casinos instead of the celebration—which is also the title of his recent book.  The writer and performer also discusses his experiences as the “senior black correspondent” for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Read more

7:05am

Fri February 21, 2014
Politics and Government

Green party voters may get primary race in 21st

It's been just about a week since the Democratic Party announced documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf as its candidate for the 21st District congressional seat Bill Owens currently holds, but Woolf has yet to make a public appearance or return emails since then. A brief statement last week said an official campaign announcement would be made "in the coming days."

Read more

7:54am

Thu February 20, 2014
Politics and Government

GOP in 24th Congressional District prepares to endorse candidate for November election

With Election Day only about eight months away, the Fulton Republican Committee has thrown its support behind John Katko, a 51-year-old retired federal prosecutor who plans to run against Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei to represent central New York in Congress.

The 24th District covers all of Onondaga, Wayne and Cayuga Counties, along with the western portion of Oswego County. So far, the race has already drawn support from ten candidates, who all believe they can win the seat.

Read more

6:58am

Thu February 20, 2014
Politics and Government

Syracuse sidewalk shoveling fine may not be dead

A fine for not shoveling sidewalks after big snowstorms for Syracuse residents may not be dead, despite being handily defeated in the Common Council a few weeks ago.

When councilor Bob Dougherty proposed fining residents $100 for not clearing walkways after snowfall, he found little support. Only fellow councilor Khalid Bey voted for the law with Dougherty.

Read more

8:09am

Mon February 17, 2014
Politics and Government

As hearings conclude, lawmakers set to take on budget

The state legislature has finished its hearings on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal, and will be ready to start crafting a spending plan once they return from the President’s Day break. One of the final hearings focused on the governor’s tax cutting plans, and lawmakers had plenty of questions.

Legislators at the hearing quizzed Cuomo’s tax commissioner on a plan that could result in a freeze of local property taxes. Tax Commissioner Thomas Mattox admits it’s a complex plan.

“This is clearly a very complicated space,” Mattox said.

Read more

6:50am

Mon February 17, 2014
Politics and Government

New York Conference of Mayors has one focus

NYCOM President and Minoa mayor Dick Donovan addresses the New York Conference of Mayors in Albany.
Credit Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail

Mayors from across the state have a bone to pick with the Cuomo administration. It is the governor’s proposal for a two percent tax freeze over two years. It would reward communities with property tax rebates if local governments implement austerity measures to keep their growth under the cap.

It sounds great on the surface, but according to the New York Conference of Mayors in Albany recently, looks can be deceiving.

Read more

6:25am

Fri February 14, 2014
Education

Pre-K funding fight fuels upstate-downstate divide

James F Clay Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to have gained the upper hand and some new allies in his policy skirmish with New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio over how to fund pre-kindergarten, as the fight threatens to turn into an upstate downstate split.

DeBlasio has been seeking permission from Cuomo and the legislature to raise income taxes on the wealthy in New York City in order to pay for access to pre-kindergarten for almost 75,000 four-year-olds there, arguing that it would help ease income inequality.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.   

Read more

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

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Pages