Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways To Connect

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

  The state budget could end up in court under some scenarios, as state lawmakers are discussing possible legal action against Governor Cuomo’s budget, and his proposal to link a number of unrelated items, like ethics reform and education changes, to the spending plan.

It was the charter schools’ turn to rally at the State Capitol Wednesday in support of Governor Cuomo’s proposal to allow 100 more charter schools in New York.

Thousands of charter school students on 450 buses, along with their parents and teachers, came to the Capitol for a rally that was billed by organizers as a school field trip.  They heard nearly two hours of speeches, watched dance performances, and saw celebrities like Grammy winning singer Ashanti.

Among the speakers, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

..::WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas::..

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking credit for the state budget’s turn around from huge gaps to healthy surpluses, but a watchdog group says Cuomo is relying on future funds that have not yet materialized.

Cuomo often lists his achievements as governor when he gives speeches, and he likes to recount how he turned the state’s finances around, as in his Inaugural address earlier this year.

“We turned a $10 billion dollar deficit into a $5 billion dollar surplus,” Cuomo said on January 1st.

nysut.org

Teachers have been holding rallies all around the state protesting Governor Cuomo’s education proposals, and hundreds are expected to converge on the Capitol late Monday to protest over reliance on standardized tests,   and other issues.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Budget talks began Wednesday, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo met behind closed doors with legislative leaders to discuss school aid, economic development proposals and ethics reform. Cuomo’s push to reform practices in the legislature comes at a time when his nearly $1 million dollar book deal is coming under closer scrutiny.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

    Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly threatened to hold up the state budget over ethics reform and other issues, like education policy. Now, a poll finds that voters would rather that the budget be on time. The spending plan is due March 31st and lawmakers return to Albany Wednesday to begin several weeks of negotiations.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

A state wage board has agreed to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers form $5.00 to $7.50 an hour. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the change at a rally with union leaders.

Cuomo, speaking to the union members,  renewed his call to raise the state’s minimum wage for non-tipped workers to $10.50 an hour, $11.50 in New York City. Cuomo says businesses are making “record profits.” 

“Business is doing well, God bless ’em,” Cuomo said. “But it is time that they share. We are looking at a polarization of income in this country like we’ve never seen before.”

Not everyone was pleased with the increase. The state’s Restaurant and Tavern Association says it’s disappointed that the Governor’s wage board did not limit the minimum wage for highly tipped workers to $6.50 an hour.  The group predicts that it will slow job growth, and is considering legal action. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo has outlined his plan for greater transparency of state lawmakers’ outside income, and has made it part of his budget proposal. Good government groups say they wish he had gone farther.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Once the President’s week break is finished, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature will have to start discussing the 2015 budget.  But the traditional style of budget making in New York, known as "three men in a room," is coming under criticism, by among others, the U.S. Attorney currently investigating corruption at the Capitol.  Some are wondering whether it’s time to end the secretive practice.

Albany, NY

For the first time in months, the state’s highest court has all seven judges on the bench, now that the State Senate has confirmed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s two newest choices on the court.

The confirmation of Judges Eugene Fahey and Leslie Stein sailed through the State Senate, after Governor Cuomo put off announcing his choices, and the Senate delayed scheduling hearings, despite state laws requiring that vacancies on the court be filled promptly.

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