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Capitol Bureau

One of the top issues remaining before the state Legislature adjourns for the summer is fixing problems in the state’s economic development contracts. That’s after a scandal led to federal corruption charges against nine former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A bill by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to reinstate the comptroller’s ability to oversee economic development contracts is gaining momentum in the Legislature.

Voters get a chance to decide in the fall whether the state should have a constitutional convention. Both legislative leaders, however, say they are against it.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader John Flanagan appeared together Tuesday at a forum sponsored by the Albany Times Union’s Hearst Media Center.

Some lawmakers are pressing the state’s comptroller to divest the state’s pension fund from the fossil fuel industry. But Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said he believes he can be more effective in changing the companies’ behavior by acting from the inside.

Some of New York’s leaders are expressing outrage over the Republican House of Representatives vote to undo the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned for months that the proposed repeal of the ACA would blow a multi-billion-dollar hole in the state budget and potentially cost state and local governments and New York’s hospitals $4.5 billion.

Those who get their health care through the New York Exchange, set up under Obamacare, could lose $400 million in tax credits. And 1 million New Yorkers could lose their health care. 

Karen DeWitt

Democrats in the state Senate remain hopeful that they will regain the numerical majority and control of the chamber after a special election is held later this month. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo dampened those expectations, in remarks made Wednesday in New York City.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said she expects the seat of former Sen. Bill Perkins, a Harlem Democrat who won a City Council post, to be filled by another mainstream Democrat when a special election is held on May 23.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Governor Andrew Cuomo took a swipe at President Trump’s recent tweet saying that the federal government needs a “good” shutdown.

Cuomo rarely criticizes President Trump by name, though the New York governor does frequently rail against federal Republican proposals, like repealing Obamacare.  Cuomo was  asked by reporters about Trump’s tweet saying that a government shut down in the fall might reap positive results. He says when he was HUD Secretary for former President Bill Clinton, he lived through two shutdowns, and he says it’s a “failure of the process”.

Karen DeWitt

New York state’s education commissioner said Tuesday that new state-specific learning standards will offer several improvements over the controversial Common Core standards.

Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia’s report came on a day when large numbers of students in some parts of the state were expected to once again boycott the required third- through eighth-grade math tests.

Elia said the timing was pure coincidence.

“This is about standards,” said Elia. “This is not about opt-out.”

Matt Ryan New York Now

Bills to improve voter access advanced in a state Senate committee, but their ultimate passage is uncertain.

The measures, which would allow same-day voter registration and early voting, were approved in the Senate Elections Committee and moved to a second committee.

Last year, the second committee, on local government, never met before the session ended, but advocates hope that 2017 is different.

Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan cast doubt on the measures, saying he has concerns about potential costs.

Assembly Democrats grilled Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s energy officials for more than four hours Monday about a plan executed by the Public Service Commission and a major energy company that will keep three upstate nuclear power plants alive for the next 12 years.

Utility ratepayers, mostly from downstate, will pay for the deal through a surcharge on their bills.

Assemblyman Steve Englebright, chairman of the Environmental Committee, said he’s “very disappointed” in what he said was an opaque process hastily decided last summer that ratepayers ultimately will have to finance.

WRVO Public Media

President Donald Trump’s tax cut plan is so far just a one-page outline, but it’s already raising some red flags for New York’s political leaders. 

The plan would slash corporate taxes and nearly double the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000.

But the proposal also would eliminate the practice of deducting state income taxes and local property taxes from federal income taxes, and that could harm taxpayers in states with high local taxes, like New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been worried about the potential change for a while.

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