Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Chief at New York State Public Radio

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

A regular contributor to 'New York NOW,' she frequently appears on the Reporters' Roundtable segment and often interviews newsmakers.

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.

She is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism from the Legislative Correspondents Association and was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women's Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Karen at a Mike Bloomberg press conference in Albany.
Karen at a Mike Bloomberg press conference in Albany.

Karen interviewing SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher
Karen interviewing SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher

Ways To Connect

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.

Pages