Karen DeWitt

Budget Talks Take Place Behind Closed Doors, As Usual

Mar 27, 2014
Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

When the budget deal is finally reached in Albany, average New Yorkers will have had little access to the details of the important items that Governor Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers are discussing. That’s because the long Albany tradition known as three men in a room continues.

Government reform activists took their smart phones into New York Assembly Committee meetings to live stream meetings that so far have not been available on line to the public.

Karen DeWitt

New York Assembly Democrats were passing a one house version of the DREAM Act on Tuesday, a bill to give college aid to the children of undocumented immigrants. They urged the Senate to follow suit.

Patients with serious health conditions, including children with a severe seizure disorder, came to the Capitol on the first formal day of the legislative session to urge passage of a bill to more fully allow access to medical marijuana in New York.

Calita Kabir/Flickr

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

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor 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. 

Karen DeWitt

Reform groups are focusing attention on New York Governor 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.

Calita Kabir/Flickr

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s commission to study tax cuts appears likely to miss the Friday deadline to report its findings by December 6, after controversy over former Governor George Pataki’s desire to cut income taxes for all wage earners, including the wealthy. 

Karen DeWitt

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

Karen DeWitt

Advocates and lawmakers at the Capitol are reacting to New York Governor 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.

Karen DeWitt

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission is meeting Monday for the final time and is expected to issue a report this week (as early as Tuesday).

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Today is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, an effort begun by anti-cancer groups nearly four decades ago to help people quit smoking. This year the Cancer Society in New York is using the day to call attention to a decline in state spending on anti-smoking programs.

New York State’s Education Commissioner, John King, faced a bi-partisan grilling by liberal and conservative Assemblymembers at a hearing on growing concerns over student privacy.

Calita Kabir/Flickr

Taxes and tax reform are likely to be a major topic in the next legislative session, which begins in seven weeks. New York Governor 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.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

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

Alberto G. /flickr

A coalition of unions and government reform groups are calling for a ban on standardized testing for New York’s school  children in second grade and younger.

wikipedia commons

New York State’s Teacher of the Year testified at a Senate hearing that even she could not receive high marks in her teacher evaluation process, due to what she and others say is the dysfunctional implementation of  the new Common Core standards.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Advocacy groups are encouraged by recent statements by the co- chair of New York State Governor  Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission, who says he now favors public financing of political campaigns.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Now that this year’s elections are over, the political world is gearing up for the 2014 contests.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to seek another term, and so far no one has officially said that they will run against him. 

Now that elections are over, deadlines for the state budget are rapidly approaching. New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has released a largely positive budget outlook for the New Year, though he warns of some uncertainties.

WAMC/Allison Dunne

A coalition of women’s groups is relaunching the Women’s Equality Act, which failed in the legislature earlier this year, with a new strategy that they say could help them win passage in 2014.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did not lose any time in publicizing a win on a gambling expansion amendment in Tuesday’s voting. The governor made two public appearances in regions that are now authorized to build resort style casinos.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Two of the six amendments on Tuesday’s ballot deal with land swaps in New York’s Adirondack Park. One of the proposals has split environmental groups.

Picture of a judge's gavel
bloomsberries/FLickr

A proposal on Tuesday’s ballot would raise the retirement age for some New York judges from 70 to age 80. Supporters include the state’s 68 year old chief judge, while opponents say the measure is too flawed to be approved. 

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission held another hearing Monday evening focusing on reforming the state’s campaign finance system.  A reform group is out with a report that they say raises questions about five million dollars spent on lobbying and donations by the pharmaceutical industry.

medication tablets
wikipedia commons

A reform group is asking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission to probe cash donations to state lawmakers by the pharmaceutical industry, to find out if there’s a connection with some pro-consumer bills dying in legislative committees.

Pat Arnow

Governor Cuomo and his Lieutenant Governor, Robert Duffy, offered high praise for one another during an event at the Capitol Monday. As Karen DeWitt reports, their remarks come as questions are raised about the Lieutenant governors’ political future.

wikipedia commons

A proposal on the November ballot to allow some judges to serve until they are 80 years old is not drawing a lot of support, and one court expert says that’s a shame.

Triin Q's photostream Flickr

The first ad is out promoting the ballot amendment to build new casinos in New York.  It focuses on the benefits the casinos might bring, and not on actual gambling activity.

Courtesy NYS OSC

A report by New York State’s Comptroller Tom DiNapoli finds that the dysfunction in Washington may take a bite out of Wall Street profits for the remainder of this year.

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