Governor Cuomo’s primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, has joined up with the state’s Working Families Party to criticize what she says is a Wall Street hedge fund takeover of the state’s educational policies.
Opponents of hydrofracking say they want Governor Cuomo to declare a three to five year moratorium on fracking in New York. The gas drilling process has been on hold for several years.
A coalition of groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, say Cuomo should immediately issue an executive order postponing any gas drilling in New York for the next three to five years. NRDC’s Kate Sinding says that’s preferable to trying to get a bill passed through a divided state legislature., where the Senate will be controlled by the Republicans in January.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the $5 billion dollar plus pot of money due to settlements with banks and other financial institutions over alleged wrongdoing in the Wall Street crash should not be looked at as a budget surplus.
“I wouldn’t call it a surplus,” Di Napoli said. “It’s really more a windfall.”
And so, the Comptroller says, it should not be used for recurring expenses, like tax cuts or increased school aid, as some legislators have suggested.
State lawmakers are pushing for their first pay raise in fifteen years, and they say in exchange, they might even be willing to give up the practice of a daily stipend for each day they spend in Albany, known as per diems, that has sometimes led to abuse.
Legislators receive $172 dollars for every day that they spend in Albany, above normal travel and lodging expenses, and in addition to their $79,500 a year base pay.