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Watch now: "Buffalo Billion" transparancy; TZB politics

We travel up and down the state for this week's program as we discuss some of the pressing matters from the lower Hudson Valley all the way up to Western New York. First, we sit down with longtime Western New York journalist Jim Heaney. The editor of the Investigative Post, he has done extensive reporting on what he says is a lack of transparency regarding one of Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature projects, "The Buffalo Billion." Also, author Philip Plotch discusses the history and politics...
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Matt Ryan/WMHT

Cuomo discusses 421-a, infrastructure, ethics

Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the North Country today where he was honored by New York State Laborers and New York State Pipefitters and Plumbers at their respective annual meetings. The governor also signed a bill that would protect workers who are involved in mold cleanup After his first event in Bolton Landing, Cuomo talked to the assembled press about the event, as well as the 421-a legislation, infrastructure projects and whether he will call legislators back to Albany in wake of the...
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While supporters are declaring victory over New York’s new higher minimum wage for fast food workers, the action, by a state wage board,  highlights a larger question why are so many in the state dependent for their livelihoods on what are essentially entry level work force jobs.
 
The victory celebration by fast food workers and the state’s major union leaders also featured Governor Cuomo. The governor, who appointed the board when Republicans in the legislature were reluctant to act, predicts more actions to come.
 

A state wage Board has voted to phase in an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour,  making New York the first state in the nation to increase the wage for a single segment of the work force.
 

Karen Dewitt

Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act saw some successes in the legislature in 2015, after the most controversial of the measures, an abortion rights provision, was separated out from the rest of the items.
 
8 of the of the 10 provisions in the Women’s Equality Act passed in 2015, including anti human trafficking laws , protections for pregnant workers, broadening anti sexual harassment laws in the workplace, and making it easier for women to sue for equal pay, says the co –chair of the Women’s Equality Coalition, Suzy Ballantyne.    
 

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The state’s comptroller finds that local and school property taxes will increase by the lowest percentage in decades, under the rules of a tax cap program recently renewed by the legislature.

A wage board convened by Governor Cuomo is expected to vote to raise the hourly minimum rate for fast food workers from the current $8.75 cents an hour to as high as $15 an hour when it meets on Wednesday.
 
The board was appointed by Cuomo when Republicans in the State Senate did not agree to raise the minimum wage any higher than the current phased in increase, which will bring the minimum wage to $9 an hour by the end of this year.
 

Matt Ryan

In the legislative session that recently ended, Governor Cuomo saw the state legislature reject a number of agenda items he’d been pushing. The governor, perhaps taking a cue from President Obama, has used his executive powers  to  advance some of the proposals anyway.
 
Governor Cuomo was stymied by Republicans, who lead the State Senate, on a couple of key items.
 

Matt Ryan/WMHT

Governor Cuomo for the first time as governor, has an approval rating below 50% in a new Siena College poll that also finds only 39% of New Yorkers think he’s doing a good job in office.
 
Governor Cuomo recently wrapped up a rocky end of the legislative session, and has been feuding with New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio as well as the teachers union.   Siena College poll spokesman Steve Greenberg says the falling numbers, which have now reached a key milestone, are a trend that’s been developing for several months.
 

Karen DeWitt

The state’s new education commissioner has been on the job just over a week, and she’s been traveling the state on a listening tour to reach out to teachers, school boards and others who’ve been buffeted by an intense political climate during the most recent legislative session. Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia attended a meeting of the Rural Schools Association in Cooperstown.
 

A legislative session that featured the arrest of both of the top leaders of the legislature on corruption charges, saw no new ethics improvements included in the end of session agreements on a host of measures. One reform group is calling on the Governor and legislature to meet in a special session to address the state’s on going scandals.
 

Karen Dewitt

Governor Cuomo  has  appointed the state Attorney General as a temporary special prosecutor to over see cases where a civilian is killed by a police officer.
 
Cuomo  saying there is a “crisis of confidence” in the criminal justice system, signed an executive order to have the state’s Attorney General  take over from the local District Attorney, anytime  a unarmed civilian is killed in an encounter with police, and there are questions about what happened.
 

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