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WATCH - Mayor de Blasio comes to Albany

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made his annual trip to the capital city to testify at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing. He struck on a familiar theme when talking about the inequality that exists in his city. Our Matt Ryan was at the hearing and his press conference. He joins Casey Seiler, Ken Lovett of The Daily News and Karen DeWitt of New York State Public Radio to discuss what happened and the rollercoaster-like relationship between the mayor and Governor Cuomo. Watch the full episode: />
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WATCH: Gibson, I-81 and LLC loophole

In this week's program, Congressman Chris Gibson (Hudson Valley/Catskills) joins us to talk about his decision to make his current congressional term his last. Is he the GOP's best chance at winning statewide office in 2018?
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  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.

Governor 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.

 

Hundreds of teachers are rallied at the State Capitol late Monday, saying they are calling out Cuomo for what they say is his anti public school agenda.

The teachers, including New York State United Teachers Union Vice President Andy Pallotta say Governor Cuomo has declared a “war” on students, parents, and teachers, and is advancing a “test and punish” agenda.

“He has no respect for public education,” Pallotta shouted, as the crowd cheered.

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.

Newly elected Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie made clear one of his top priorities in his first news conference, where he called for passage of the Dream Act, which would offer college aid to children of undocumented immigrants.

Speaker Heastie says when it comes to helping young New Yorkers with paying for college, there’s a double standard.

Budget talks began Wednesday, as Governor 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.

Governor 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.

Governor 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.

Governor Cuomo says he’ll hold up the state budget if  lawmakers don’t agree to the new ethics reforms, but reform advocates say it’s possible to have both an on time budget and needed ethics changes. 

Blair Horner, with the New York Public Interest Research Group, says governor Cuomo and the legislature should be able to both finish the budget by the required April 1st deadline, and reform ethics practices, including conflicts related to outside income that have led to the arrest of the Assembly Speaker.  

Once the President’s week break is finished, Governor Cuomo and the legislature will have to start discussing the 2015 budget. But the traditional style of budget making in New York, known as 3 men in a room, is coming under criticism, by among others, the US Attorney currently investigating corruption at the Capitol. Some are wondering whether it’s time to end the secretive practice.

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