The New York State Legislature convened last week for its six-month session. Area lawmakers have varying hopes and expectations for 2015.
Another session is under way, but off to a slow start resulting from Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to move the State of the State address back two weeks following the death of his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo.
When Governor Andrew Cuomo gives his budget address on Wednesday, the state will begin the year with a $5 billion dollar surplus, a big change after years of budget deficits.
When Cuomo first came into office, the state was facing a $10 billion budget gap. Now, in 2015 the state has a $5 billion surplus, the largest since the 1940s. The money is a one time windfall from various bank settlements, over charges of improprieties during the financial crisis.
A Group lobbying to 'Rebuild NY Now' with state windfall funds brought its campaign to Albany Monday. Rebuild NY Now is a coalition with a mission: to raise public awareness about the issues impacting New York State's infrastructure, with its eye on $5 billion - described as "unexpected cash" - a “windfall” of revenue from recent settlements against overseas banks to pay for infrastructure upgrades.
New York state agencies racked up more than $316 million in overtime in the first six months of 2014, continuing a recent trend of sharply higher overtime costs for taxpayers.
The startling numbers come from a mid-year report issued Tuesday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who says the increase is troubling and should be addressed. Spending has skyrocketed $22 million over the same period in 2013.
Once the state's political leaders got past the congratulatory "atta-boys" and backslapping on their most recent effort to reform Albany, the public was left to dig through the details of the legislative agreement.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have finalized the details on a $138 billion dollar state budget and say they are on track to meet the April 1 deadline. The budget includes a multi step plan that could lower property taxes, $340 million dollars for schools to start pre-K programs, and a limited test program for public campaign financing.