WXXI AM News

Capitol Bureau

Governor Cuomo says he intends to take on what he calls the “education bureaucracy” this year.  Cuomo’s new budget plan, to be released Tuesday afternoon, will likely further that goal.

One day before he was to release his budget plan, Governor Cuomo spoke at the state’s Martin Luther King Day commemoration. He attacked the education establishment, continuing a theme he began in his State of the State message.

 

The State Comptroller finds that tax revenues are coming in at a lower than expected rate. The news comes just days before Governor Cuomo is scheduled to release his state budget.

 

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says three quarters through the fiscal year, revenues are still down by over $230 million dollars. He says the state will likely end its year in balance, though because of Governor Cuomo’s and the legislature’s  decision to continue an income tax surcharge on the rich that took effect on January 1st.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to release his state  budget plan on Tuesday.  New York faces a $2 billion dollar budget gap.  

 

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens says one day after the public comment period has closed, a 58 member staff is still opening boxes, but he expects the number of comments on a draft environmental impact statement for hydrofracking in New York State to reach 40,000.

Commissioner Martens says all of the comments will be soon be posted on the DEC website, but he can’t say how long it will take to review them all.  He says the process will likely take “months”, but not years.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens estimates the agency has received 40,000  comments in the public comment period  which just ended on January 11th on a draft environmental impact study to permit hydro fracking on some private lands in New York State.

Martens says a team of 58 staffers, mostly engineers, will go over all of the documents, and will shortly post all of them on the DEC website.

The public comment period for the Cuomo administration’s proposal for natural gas hydro fracking is in its final hours. Opponents are left wishing they had more time, while supporters say they’d like to see drilling begin soon.

 

As the deadline neared for the end of the public comment period for the hydrofracking proposal, advocates and opponents staged events at the State Capitol, for one last chance to sway public opinion and influence policy makers.  

 

 

Things got a little heated at a meeting of a legislative task force on redrawing new district lines, when the Senate Democrat’s representative complained he’d been left in the dark about the creation of 63rd Senate district by Republicans.  Senator Martin Dilan condemned part of the process  as a “farce” and “waste of money”.

 

The legislative task force on redistricting met for the first time since Republicans, who are in charge of the Senate, announced that they would be seeking an additional 63rd Senate seat in the new district maps.

 

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is defending his Republican Majority’s proposal to expand the Senate to 63 seats, while Senate Democrats are condemning the move.

Over the weekend, Senate Republicans posted a memo on  the legislature’s redistricting website from their legal counsel, justifying the creation of a 63rd Senate seat in the reconfiguring of district lines. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos says the extra district is legal, based on methodologies that were used ten years ago that withstood a court challenge.

Governor Cuomo, in his state of the state message, called for public financing of campaigns, based on a model currently in use in New York City.  Supporters,  including those who have studied the model as well as public finance systems in other states, believe it can work.

Cuomo would like to model the state’s system on the  New York City campaign finance system, which offers candidates matching funds, once they have solicited small contributions from individual donors.

 

In his State of the State speech, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a new commission to reevaluate the state’s education system.  One day later, it’s receiving a mixed response.

 

Cuomo set up a potential fight with the education establishment during an otherwise mostly congenial State of the State speech, when he chided them for what he says is putting their own interests before those of school children. He told the crowd that superintendents, principles, teachers, and janitors have their own lobbyists.

 

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