Politics and Government

3:47pm

Thu January 9, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo outlines emergency preparedness initiative

Carlet Cleare/WXXI

In his annual State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a major initiative to ramp up New York’s capacity for dealing with natural disasters.

Part of the multi-million dollar proposal involves installing a state-of-the-art weather detection system to provide more accurate, real time warnings.

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5:50pm

Wed January 8, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo's fourth State of the State focuses on taxes, economics

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address in Albany Wednesday
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered something for everyone in his fourth State of the State message, as he faces a re-election year. He outlined programs ranging from property tax cuts to an education bond act, to allowing medical marijuana.

Cuomo began his speech focusing on tax cuts and job creation. He highlighted a plan announced earlier in the week to cut the corporate tax rate, and property taxes , in a scheme that would hinge on local governments freezing spending, and consolidating.

“The highest property tax in the country is in Westchester County,” said Cuomo.

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6:47am

Wed January 8, 2014
Politics and Government

Taxes, marijuana and infrastructure to be discussed in State of the State address

Ryan Delaney WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives his annual State of the State speech Wednesday. Cuomo has already introduced some of his key agenda items, but there are still some surprises left.    

Cuomo has already released a plan to cut business taxes, the estate tax, and a multi-step process to freeze property taxes.

He also invited Vice President Joe Biden to the Capitol to help lay out his plans for better handling future weather disasters.

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2:41am

Wed January 8, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo, Biden meet on infrastructure rebuilding plans

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosted Vice President Joe Biden to talk about new ways of rebuilding infrastructure after damaging storms. The two are potential presidential contenders in 2016, if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run. But they had nothing but praise for one another.  

New York state received $6 billion in federal aid after Superstorm Sandy, and Cuomo Biden to the State Capitol, to show him how he’s spending the money.

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4:00pm

Tue January 7, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo to push government consolidation; Onondaga County executive says it's already working

In Wednesday's State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is going to propose a plan the would encourage localities to consolidate services with other government entities.

His plan to freeze property tax rates for two years is dependent on local governments and schools demonstrating that they are consolidating and sharing some services with other governments in the second year. If they fail to do that, property taxes would go up after all.

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8:06am

Tue January 7, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo tax cut plan reduces business and property taxes

Ryan Delaney WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a key portion of his State of the State address early. He unveiled a plan to cut business taxes, and potentially freeze local property taxes for two years.

Surrounded by business leaders, Cuomo outlined a plan Monday that would cut business taxes, and result in property tax reductions for businesses and homeowners, if local governments and schools comply with a set of requirements in the next three years.   

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7:56am

Tue January 7, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo wary of wider marijuana legalization

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who plans to introduce a limited program for medical marijuana in his State of the State speech Wednesday, says he does not see it leading to the legalization of the drug at this time. But some in the legislature disagree.

Cuomo is using his authority through the New York State Health Department to allow up to 20 hospitals to prescribe medical marijuana to some patients. Cuomo says he favors a limited experiment for now to work out any potential problems.

“If it goes bad, we can correct or improve it, all within our own control,” Cuomo said.  

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7:56am

Mon January 6, 2014
Politics and Government

Cuomo faces challenges from political right and left in 2014

File photo
Zack Seward WXXI

All 213 members of the state legislature are facing re-election later this year, as is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But Cuomo also has the challenge of balancing competing interests as he tries to win another term by a big margin.

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2:38pm

Fri January 3, 2014
Politics and Government

Storm moves out of New York state, but extreme cold temperatures remain

Durrie Lawrence/WRVO File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the worst of the winter storm is now over, but New Yorkers now face another challenge -- extreme cold.

In a conference call with reporters, Cuomo says the storm, which dropped several inches of snow, is moving east and out of New York.

“Mother nature has moved on, somewhat,” Cuomo said.

And he says all roads are now open. Cuomo defended his decision to close parts of the New York State Thruway, the Long Island Expressway, and I-84 overnight.

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6:30am

Thu January 2, 2014
Politics and Government

State Assembly Speaker wants minimum wage hike fast-tracked

The state’s minimum wage is now $8 an hour, after a new law took effect Dec. 31. It’s part of a phased-in increase that will result in a $9 an hour rate for the state’s lowest income earners by 2016. But a leading lawmaker says the hike should be phased in faster, and advocates that tip earners, like wait staff, should also be included.  

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4:04pm

Wed January 1, 2014
Politics and Government

New state laws bring tax cuts, health screening and casinos

A number of new state laws take effect in New York Jan. 1.  They include a few tax cuts and tax breaks, and even a new regulation that could impact the health of baby boomers.

Hitting the books in the new year are the first of three new tax cuts for small businesses and an additional nearly 10 percent tax cut for manufacturers.  Middle-income families are also getting tax relief in 2014. That affects people who make between $40,000 and $300,000 a year and who have at least one dependent child.

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5:34am

Wed January 1, 2014
Politics and Government

Will 2014 be the year of reform?

2013 saw more state lawmakers indicted, jailed, convicted, and even participating in the wire tapping some of their colleagues. The continued corruption spurred Gov. Cuomo to appoint a commission to look into the legislature. Will 2014 be the year Albany finally sees reform?

After a new wave of indictments against state lawmakers in the spring, Cuomo tried to convince the legislature to adopt public financing of campaigns, the closing of loopholes for large donors, and better policing of the laws.

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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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