Pataki announces presidential run

In a steamy little town hall in the birthplace of the Republican Party former Governor George Pataki announced he is seeking the nation's highest office. After flirting with the idea of a presidential run for years, the Peekskill native and current Essex County resident said he's "prepared his whole life for this moment." Speakign to a room full of around 100 supporters or so, he took jabs at the Clintons while highlighting his gubernatorial record as a Republican in a very blue state. POLL ...
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Budget funds to create logger training program

It seems like a long time now, with the arrest of Dean Skelos and the ascension of new Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, but the state budget passed just seven short weeks ago. We've heard a lot about the new teacher evaluation plan, school aid and ethics reforms but this week on New York NOW we'll take a look at what a small fraction of the $142 billion spending plan is helping create - a logger training program.
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The former leader of the State Senate was formally indicted on federal corruption charges Thursday. Senator Dean Skelos resigned as leader earlier in May after the accusations against him were announced by the US Attorney.

The indictment alleges that Senator Skelos and his son, Adam,  “ engaged in a  corrupt scheme to monetize” Dean Skelos’ position as head of the Senate. It accuses them of obtaining  hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, and extortions from campaign donors to enrich the younger Skelos, who was struggling to find a steady job.

Matt Ryan/WMHT

In the final weeks of the legislative session, groups are lobbying for some of the major remaining issues still on the table, including the Mayor of New York, and groups who want a property tax break for homeowners struggling to hold on to their houses. And both accuse Governor Cuomo of not taking an active enough role.

New York State has a new education commissioner. The state board of Regents, after a lengthy closed door session, chose Mary Ellen Elia, a former Western New York school teacher who was most recently the superintendent of a large school district in Florida.

Matt Ryan / WMHT

A new poll finds Governor Andrew Cuomo with the lowest approval ratings since he took office, in a year where corruption scandals have dominated news at the Capitol.  

There’s a push by business groups and Republicans in the State Senate, as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to make the state’s 2% per year property tax cap permanent. Backers have issued a report to bolster their views, and say public opinion is on their side.    

Governor Cuomo has been steering clear of public events at the State Capitol recently, after a second major party legislative leader, the head of the Senate was forced to resign over corruption charges. But the governor is still finding ways to press for his legislative agenda in the last weeks of the session.

A near record number of school budgets were approved around the state in Tuesday’s vote. Many are attributing the relative lack of controversy to the three year old property tax cap that limits tax levy increases, as well as an increase in state aid.

99.7 percent of school budgets that stayed within the state’s property tax cap were approved in this week’s vote, according to the New York State School Board Association. The School Board’s Dave Albert says the tax cap, enacted by the governor and legislature three years ago, has played a role, but is not the only factor.

Assembly Democrats are approving a one house bill to strengthen New York City’s rent regulations in favor of tenants. The rent law renewal and many other issues, including an education tax credit and the Dream Act, are in flux as the final weeks of deal making approaches.  

The legislature will be finishing up its work in the next couple of weeks with two new legislative leaders- one in his third month, the other in just his second week on the job.

Now that the State Senate has stabilized, after weeks of turmoil over corruption charges, legislative leaders and Governor Cuomo are looking at what they can reasonably finish with just five weeks left in the session.

Karen Dewitt

Now that the leadership crisis in the Senate is settled, Governor Cuomo and the legislature are pushing their education priorities.

Cuomo, in the remaining days of the session, is pressing for one of the items in his education initiatives- a tax credit for big money donors to send students to private schools and pay for extra curricular programs for public schools. The governor campaigned on Long Island and in Buffalo with New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan.  The Catholic Church backs to donor credit to help finance students who want to attend Catholic schools.

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