Matt Ryan/WMHT

Budget negotiations, new Cuomo book

Will March go out like a lamb or a lion? Politically speaking, it appears the former. Most signs tell us that the state will be heading toward its fifth straight on-time budget (unheard of throughout most of the last three decades). In fact on Sunday night, a framework agreement was announced. Mike Gormley of Newsday, Laura Nahmias of Capital New York and Karen DeWitt of New York State Public Radio break down the last week of negotiations. Also, in anticipation of the new controversial...
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Matt Ryan/WMHT

The Keene barn: A photographer's best friend

On our way back from reporting on a story in the Adirondacks, we passed a familiar sight off of Route 73 in Essex County. If you've traveled that same stretch of highway on your way to Lake Placid, you've probably passed it too. The old Keene barn is a photographer's delight, no matter the season. If your still looking for that perfect shot, though, you better hurry. It's reaching the end of its life and there is nothing anybody can do about it. Watch our full story here. It starts at the 21...
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State lawmakers have not yet finished the budget, but they are already getting blowback from a provision that would give a tax break to owners of luxury yachts.

The budget includes a sales tax break for purchases of boats worth more than $230,000, as well as for private airplanes. That angers Ron Deutsch, of Fiscal Policy Institute, a union backed think tank that backs Governor Cuomo’s plan to give a property tax break for middle and working class homeowners who pay too much of their income on taxes.

Governor Cuomo began the budget season with an ambitious agenda than included a wide array of items that he tied to the budget, including raising the minimum wage, the Dream Act, and reforming the state’s grand jury process. In the end, the governor was forced to retrench on nearly every measure.

Cuomo spent a week in January rolling out his ambitious budget agenda, which contained plans for a new criminal justice system for teens who commit serious crimes, and a major upstate economic development program.  

Even before the final details of the education changes in the budget are revealed, teachers’ unions are already claiming partial victory in their war of words with Governor Cuomo.

Matt Ryan / WMHT

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a framework agreement for a budget deal late Sunday night and hope to begin passing bills today to meet the midnight Tuesday deadline.

There are still some details to be worked out, including the specific amounts of school aid to each district in the state from a $1.5 billion dollar increase, but Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says the deal is mostly complete.

“There’s still some open items and language to be discussed,” Heastie said. “ But we believe we have a framework of a deal.”

State lawmakers planned to hold some meetings throughout the weekend as they put the finishing touches on the state budget.

Senate Republicans are trying to modify Governor Cuomo’s proposal to require full disclosure of law clients in legislators’ outside business.

Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, who works part time at a private law firm, says he expects to agree on a “robust” new disclosure law, but concedes that it may only apply to new law clients, not existing business arrangements.

Photo: Matt Ryan / WMHT

The state Assembly, Senate and Governor Cuomo continue to work on sticking points in the state budget, as yet another item has now been dropped from the spending plan, raising the state’s minimum wage.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos emerged hopeful from a closed door meeting with Republican Senators. The Senate and Governor Cuomo have been at odds over ethics reform, including requiring financial disclosure of Senators’ law clients in their outside jobs as private attorneys.

The leader of the State Senate says raising the minimum wage is now out of the state budget, setting up a potential  conflict with the state assembly as the budget deadline draws near.

Add the minimum wage to a growing list of items that have been dropped from the state budget.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who’s been against Governor Cuomo’s proposal to further increase the minimum wage to $11.50 downstate and $10.50 upstate, says, the proposal won’t be part of the final state spending plan. 

Photo: Matt Ryan / WMHT

Governor Cuomo and the legislature are considering a  commission to design a new teacher evaluation plan, in order to break an impasse over the state budget. But even some lawmakers admit that the compromise is just kicking the can down the road.

Cuomo has demanded that education policy changes be passed along with the state budget, or he’ll hold up school aid increases.

Governor Cuomo and the legislature are making progress on the budget. Cuomo, after a private meeting with Senate Republicans, says he’s closer to an agreement on ethics reform, but the governor is getting some criticism for dropping some items out of the budget, including the Dream Act.

The governor made a rare visit to the Senate Republican conference meeting room where he says he talked about how to come to agreement on ethics reform. Cuomo signaled that he’s willing to make some concessions on his demands that legislators who practice private law identify their clients.

A protest to raise the minimum wage drew hundreds to the state Capitol, and included a brief occupation of the building’s Dunkin Donuts. Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers are considering hiking the minimum wage in the new budget, but protesters say it is not enough.

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