Politics and Government

6:52pm

Tue December 31, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse elected officials sworn in, look to challenges ahead

Syracuse Common Council members just before they were sworn in
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Two Syracuse City Council members and three city school board members were sworn in at city hall on Monday. The new and returning office holders acknowledged there will be many tough issues for them to face in their terms.

Friends and family members cheered on as their elected officials took the oath of office in the packed Common Council Chambers.

President of the Syracuse Common Council Van Robinson was sworn in for a second term. He says it's his job to assure the people that Syracuse will not go down the road of bankruptcy, and that the city needs to grow.

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5:34am

Tue December 31, 2013
Politics and Government

Ethics panel meets for final time in 2013

The state ethics board held its final meeting of the year, and announced no major decisions or initiatives. Critics say that’s normal for the controversial Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), and they say that’s part of the problem.

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9:06am

Mon December 30, 2013
Politics and Government

Taxes likely to top agenda for governor, state legislature

One of the top issues of the 2014 legislative session will be taxes. While Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to cut taxes, some -- including New York City Mayor elect Bill de Blasio -- want to raise them. 

In a year where Cuomo and all 213 of the state’s legislative seats are up for reelection, it’s not a big surprise that the legislative session would focus on tax cuts.

Cuomo appointed two tax commissions to study the issue, but even before they were finished, he was already signaling his intentions.

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2:19pm

Fri December 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Comptroller says state probably can afford tax cuts, but just barely

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he’ll need to see more details and end of the calendar year state revenue figures before deciding whether the state can afford $2 billion in new tax cuts that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is likely to propose.

Governor Cuomo says he thinks if state spending is held to a 2 percent growth rate next year, there will be enough money in the state budget to finance $2 billion worth of property and business tax cuts.

Comptroller DiNapoli says he’s not so sure it will all add up.

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8:21am

Fri December 20, 2013
Politics and Government

State comptroller's audit finds double dipping at state agencies

N.Y. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A new audit by the state comptroller finds that out of a sample of state workers at New York agencies and authorities, more than one fifth were double dipping, being paid for two jobs while only doing one.

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7:55am

Thu December 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Bankrupt hydrofracking company sues Cuomo administration over delays

File photo
WBFO

A bankrupt energy company is suing the Cuomo administration over the long delayed decision on whether to allow hydrofracking in New York state. Their attorney says the action was prompted by remarks made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his health commissioner earlier this week.  

Norse Energy had once hoped to frack natural gas in New York’s Marcellus Shale. But they say as the Cuomo administration’s environmental review languished, they we're driven out of business. They say around $100 million in assets has been obliterated, along with 100 or so jobs.

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2:39pm

Wed December 18, 2013
Politics and Government

Congress saves fire hydrants from scrap yard over lead rules

New fire hydrants stockpiled at the Onondaga County Water Authority.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Public water departments have been saved from being required to scrap thousands of brand new fire hydrants.

Congress has passed legislation that will exempt hydrants from stricter federal rules about lead in plumbing. The Senate passed the bill last night and the House version had already been approved.

Under the Environmental Protection Agency's new lead in drinking water rules that were set to go into effect in January, hydrants as they’re made now would be deemed unusable because they contain too high of an amount of lead.

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7:53am

Wed December 18, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo says reform is a priority, but not the first priority

File photo
Zack Seward WXXI

The new legislative session is just a few weeks away. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’ll still make anti-corruption measures a high priority as he did in 2013, but he’ll likely deal with economic issues, like proposed tax cuts, first.  

Cuomo tried unsuccessfully to get the legislature to enact reforms to the state’s dysfunctional campaign finance system. When they adjourned for the year back in June without acting he created an anti-corruption commission, using his powers under the state’s Moreland Act, and asked them to report recommendations before the end of the year.

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7:57am

Tue December 17, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo says hydrofracking decision may come after Election Day

File photo
Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he may not decide whether the state should go ahead with hydrofracking for natural gas until after the November 2014 election.

Cuomo, who previously said he’d decide on whether or not to okay the controversial drilling process known as fracking in New York before Election Day 2014, now says he wants to give his health commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah, all the time he needs to complete an ongoing health review, which began over a year ago.

“I don’t want to put any undue pressure on them that would artificially abbreviate what they’re doing,” said Cuomo.

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7:28am

Tue December 17, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo says reduced spending won't be needed to enact tax cuts

File photo
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director outlined more details of the governor’s tax commission's proposal to cut property and business taxes in the state.

Cuomo is under pressure from Republicans to cut income taxes, and from New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to raise income taxes on the rich. But he says the state, which already has a temporary income tax surcharge on the wealthy, needs to address its highest in the nation property taxes right now instead of personal income taxes, also known as the PIT.

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8:01am

Mon December 16, 2013
Politics and Government

IDC introduces its Affordable NY plan

Sen. Dave Valesky promotes the IDC's Affordable NY plan.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The independent group of Democrats in the state Senate says its 2014 legislative agenda will have a positive impact on the greatest number of New Yorkers.

Following state Republicans and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tax commission, the Independent Democratic Conference has put forward its ideas on how to use the projected $2 billion budget surplus next year.

The IDC is calling its plan "Affordable NY." It targets middle class New Yorkers through extended maternity leave and allowing college students to lock in tuition rates at public universities.

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4:27pm

Sun December 15, 2013
Politics and Government

Madeleine Kunin on the Campbell Conversations

Madeleine Kunin
madeleinekunin.org

  On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with former Vermont Governor and U.S.

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7:47am

Thu December 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Factions form over Cuomo's tax commission plan

Divisions are forming in the upcoming debate over tax cuts that’s likely to dominate the new legislative session.  

Business groups are largely supportive of the findings of a tax commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The commission recommends cuts to the corporate tax, faster phase out of an energy tax and easing of the estate tax. They also propose a reduction in property taxes by encouraging local governments and schools to cut spending and consolidate.

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7:33am

Wed December 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo tax commission would cut $2 billion in property, business taxes

File photo
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax commission is recommending a $2 billion package that includes a temporary freeze on property taxes, and a cut in corporate taxes to a 40 year low.  

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7:46am

Tue December 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Reform groups focus on state Board of Elections

Reform groups are focusing attention on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission’s recommendations to beef up the anemic state Board of Elections, but say they have not given up hope of public campaign financing for state wide races.

The reform groups say the state Board of Elections in its present form is useless and incompetent when it comes to enforcing campaign violations, and needs to be replaced.

Blair Horner is with the New York Public Interest Research Group.

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5:07pm

Mon December 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei says partisan politics hurting Farm Bill legislation

Ian Lamont Flickr

Farmers aren't the only ones worrying about Congress' failure to come to an agreement on the Farm Bill. Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei says partisan politics have gotten in the way, and are hurting Congress' ability to move legislation forward.

Maffei says the Farm Bill, and the legislation connected to it, which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, should be passed, though both Republicans and Democrats need to compromise on their positions.

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8:16am

Mon December 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's tax commission report delayed

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s commission to study tax cuts has missed its December 6 deadline to report it’s findings, after facing controversy over former Gov. George Pataki’s desire to cut income taxes for all wage earners, including the wealthy.  

Although the tax commission has now bogged down over co-chairman George Pataki’s push to lower income tax rates, its original charge was to look at ways to lower New York’s highest in the nation property taxes, as well as find ways to reduce business taxes.

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8:12am

Thu December 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Future of public campaign finance uncertain

One of the most controversial recommendations in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission report released this week is to enact public financing of campaigns for statewide elections.

The majority of the 25 Moreland Act commissioners say a public campaign finance system modeled on New York City’s matching donor system is the only way to curb the undue influence of big money donors in state government.

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8:04am

Thu December 5, 2013
Government

Fire hydrants could have to be scrapped under new EPA rule

Sen. Charles Schumer (D - N.Y.) wants the EPA to exempt fire hydrants from lead requirements for drinking water products.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Water authorities are in danger of having to scrap thousands of brand new fire hydrants if a new federal environmental requirement is allowed to go through as written.

The Onondaga County Water Authority keeps a stockpile of 200 fire hydrants on hand to replace broken or damaged ones. They cost $1,200 each.

The EPA is lowering the amount of lead that can be in things that touch drinking water, like sink faucets, but it could also render local water authority's stockpile of hydrants useless.

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7:40am

Wed December 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Moreland Commission report draws reaction from both sides

Matt Wade Flickr

Advocates and lawmakers at the New York Capitol are reacting to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission report. It offers scathing criticism of what the commission says is a corrupt culture in Albany, and recommends numerous reforms.

The Moreland Act Commissioners offer withering criticism of what they say is a pervasive culture of illegal corruption and what they call legalized bribery ingrained in a campaign finance system where large donors hold sway over which legislation gets approved, and which bills are suppressed.

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8:40am

Tue December 3, 2013
Politics and Government

Moreland Commission recommends public campaign financing, other reforms

Wallyg Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission issued a scathing report Monday evening that criticizes what the commission says is Albany’s culture of corruption and recommends numerous reforms.

The Moreland Act Commissioners describe their report as a blueprint to fix what they say is the pervasive dysfunction in Albany.

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9:20am

Mon December 2, 2013
Politics and Government

Southern Tier poised to provide exciting 2014 congressional race

Money is the lifeblood of any political campaign, especially in competitive races. And the race between Tom Reed and Martha Robertson is shaping up to be just that.

Steve Greenberg, a political pollster at Siena College, says it’s only recently that New York has seen truly competitive congressional races.

“We saw it five years ago, we saw it three years ago, we saw it last year and it seems almost certain that we are going to see it again next year,” Greenberg said.  

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8:53am

Fri November 29, 2013
Politics and Government

Senator DeFrancisco says Cuomo's Moreland Commission is a risky proposition

The commission that’s been delving into public corruption in New York state will release a preliminary report to Gov. Andrew Cuomo this weekend. The Moreland Commission, appointed by Cuomo, has held several hearings on the issue, and has been investigating the connection between private money and public officials, with an eye towards making policy proposals. One high ranking New York state senator has concerns though whether the commission’s work will be tangled in a question of separation of powers.

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6:27am

Tue November 26, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo criticizes state lawmakers fighting subpoenas on outside income

File photo
Zack Seward WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has some harsh words for state lawmakers who are fighting his commission in court regarding subpoenas that would force legislators to reveal their outside business with private legal clients.

Cuomo says state lawmakers fighting the subpoenas are acting like they are concealing something.

“Those that have nothing to hide, disclose,” Cuomo said. “Those that don’t, have an issue.”

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8:25am

Mon November 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo appears to distance himself from Common Core

James F Clay Flickr

Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo backing away from his support for the new Common Core curriculum in schools? In recent days, Cuomo seems to have cooled from his initial endorsement of the rapid transition to the adoption of the national education standards.  

Everywhere Cuomo goes these days, he’s dogged by questions from reporters about what’s widely perceived as a rocky start up for New York state’s adoption of the new national Common Core standards for school children.

Cuomo was asked essentially the same question in recent days in stops from Buffalo to Lake Placid.

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8:00am

Mon November 25, 2013
Politics and Government

State lawmakers fight Cuomo commission subpoenas in court

Leaders of the New York state legislature are in court fighting a request from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ethics commission that they turn over details about their private law clients.

Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans are asking a state Supreme Court Judge to quash subpoenas from Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission, demanding they reveal details of private law clients who pay them more than $20,000 a year. Their attorneys are arguing that it’s unconstitutional for the governor to directly investigate the legislature and it violates the separation of powers.

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7:14am

Wed November 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Progressive groups weigh in on tax reform

Taxes and tax reform are likely to be a major topic in the next legislative session, which begins in seven weeks. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is relying on two separate commissions for ideas about tax changes, while progressive groups and Republicans in the State Senate are also weighing in.

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3:01pm

Mon November 18, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's job performance hits all-time low in poll

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval rating is the lowest it’s been since taking office, according to a new poll. The Siena College survey also finds many New Yorkers are split regarding the implementation of the new Common Core standards in schools.  

The Siena College poll finds only 44% of voters like the job that Cuomo is doing as governor. A small majority, 56 percent, say he’s doing a fair or poor job. Siena’s Steve Greenberg says it’s the first time the governor’s approval rating has dipped below 50 percent.  

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8:25am

Mon November 18, 2013
Politics and Government

Landowners to file lawsuit against hydrofracking delays

File Photo
WBFO

A landowners group says it intends to file a lawsuit before the end of the year against what it says are the Cuomo administration’s unreasonable delays on hydrofracking.

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6:39am

Fri November 15, 2013
Politics and Government

Schumer says he supports Obama's Affordable Care Act promise

file photo
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer says he is glad President Barack Obama is keeping his promise to Americans by allowing them to keep insurance plans that would have been canceled for an extra year. The president announced yesterday that even if insurances plans do not comply with the Affordable Care Act, policyholders are now able to keep those plans through 2014.

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