- Pitchforks, Torches and Facebook
- A Better Place to Get Better
- Westchester Politics, Never Boring..
- Relentless Mother Nature Pummels Westchester Again!
- Stray Dogs. Why do People Let Them Stray?
- Don't put away that shovel just yet...
- Olympic Hopes Dashed
- Squeezing Blood from Upstate Stones
- Take Nothing for Granted
- He WILL Get That Dinner... and a New Spirit of Political Cooperation
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has promised to make Indian Point its first and top priority in its review of seismic risks at 27 nuclear power plants throughout the country.
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and Director of State Operations, Howard Glaser met today at NRC headquarters in Maryland with top NRC officials on the issue of safety regarding the Buchanan nuclear power plants.
Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone paid a visit to Albany today along with Yonkers Schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino calling on state legislative leaders to restore severe school funding cuts to Yonkers. They had a series of meetings with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Senator Jeff Klein, Senate Finance Committee staff and others.
Education funding for the state's fourth largest city was cut more than $20 million in the Governor's proposed budget. The budget adopted by the NY State Senate last week cut an additional $15 million in education funding which was taken from VLT(Video Lottery Terminals) revenue from the Empire City Cacino at Yonkers Raceway.
Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone was encouraged by the meeting, "Today we took some very important steps toward restoring the deep cuts made to Yonkers' education funding in the state budget. Although we are not all the way there yet, we gained commitments from key legislative leaders and have an agreement to work together to restore as much school funding as possible."
Said Amicone, "Specifically, our meetings with Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his staff were very productive and promising. Senator Skelos has a clear understanding of our city's and school district's needs and has agreed to work closely with us over the next couple of weeks to restore education funding cuts to Yonkers, mainly the much-needed VLT revenue we collect from Yonkers Raceway."
Last year, the Yonkers City School District was forced to cut 234 teachers. Another 439 were given an early retirement incentive. Amicone says unless changes are made with regard to state madates and the current cut in aid to the City, additional cuts in personnel and programs will be necessary.
State lawmakers have until April 1 to get a new budget approved.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law legislation that will permit villages that administer their own elections to continue to use lever voting machines in next week's elections.
The measure was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck).
"As villages throughout Westchester County prepare for local elections on March 15, government officials expressed concerns about shifting over to the new (optical scanning) technology. Many of the villages in my Senate district came to me because they did not think they would have access to the new voting machines and the time or funds to train their staff and test the machines properly before the upcoming elections," said Oppenheimer.
Saying, "the message is simple, New York spends too much money, period!" New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today presented his proposed 2011-2012 budget to hundreds of students and political leaders gathered at Manhattanville College in Purchase.
The Governor said his spending plan had three basic goals: to clean up Albany, balance the budget and get the economy running again and create more jobs for New Yorkers.
Cuomo reiterated his belief that "New York is at a crossroads. I guarantee that whatever we do now will shape the state for years to come."
He said New Yorkers are taxed too much. When property taxes are factored in, New Yorkers' tax rate is 96% above the U.S. average.
The trick he says is to "realign and redesign" New York's government to keep spending in line with income, much like the average homeowner does. According according to Cuomo, New York should not continue to keep throwing money at the problem, but instead "reject a system of automatic and unrealistic budget increases that for years, has caused spending to skyrocket to unsustainable levels."
He says in addition to cutting state operations by 10%, he plans to meet with labor leaders to further reduce the $10 billion budget deficit. The Governor warned, however, that if labor agreements are not reached, some 9800 layoffs would be in the cards "as a last resort."
Cuomo says he believes education should be incentivized and that schools should be rewarded for keeping costs low as well as for academic achievement. He also suggested school salaries, pensions and benefits need to be brought in line with the private sector.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo today took the wraps off his proposed budget for 2011-2012.
He's promising the $132.9 billion spending plan will eliminate the state's expected $10 billion deficit without any new taxes. The governor said he plans to reduce the cost of state government by cutting 10% from state agencies and working with employee labor unions to achieve cost savings. He threatened, however, that if an agreement isn't reached, nearly 10,000 state workers will face layoffs.
The proposed budget calls for a 7.3% cut in state aid to schools.He's also calling for a roughly 3% cut in Medicaid spending.
Republican Westchester Assemblyman Robert Castelli of Goldens Bridge said he liked what he heard but that "the devil is in the details." Said Castelli,"There is in in this budget enough pain for everyone, but the fact of the matter is you're looking at some bold strokes here. The cuts to education and Medicaid are less than 3% each, so we're not looking at laying waste to these programs."
Democratic Westchester Assemblyman George Latimer agreed, "Some of the specifics indicate government aid to local municipalities will come to about 2%. I think that while not a welcomed bit of news it can be absorbed by the communities I represent." Latimer went on to add, "But we do know that there just isn't any money out there that's going to be coming as found money so we're gonna have to do with what we've got.
The state is hoping to have a budget approved by the April 1 deadline.
With the State Senate poised to vote today on Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed 2% Property
Tax Cap, Senator Greg Ball is urging residents to call their state lawmakers and urge bi-partisan support for the measure as well as mandate relief.
State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers 35th District) and William Mooney, President of the Westchester County Association are among several leaders and officials from Westchester and the Hudson Valley named to Governor Andrew Cuomo's new "Mandate Relief Design Team."
The concept of the team was unveiled during the Governor's State of the State address earlier this week and it is tasked with reviewing existing unfunded and under-funded mandates imposed by New York State on school districts, local governments and other local taxing districts.
The team includes representatives from private industry, labor and government and will look for ways to reduce the costs of mandated programs, identify mandates that are ineffective and outdated and help determine how school districts and local governments can have greater ability to control expenses.
The Team is chaired by Senior Advisor to the Governor, Larry Schwartz.
Around the Country
- Southwest to Cancel Flights as Jets Checked for Cracks - BusinessWeek
- Schumer: Dems slicing budget with scalpel, Tea Party using meat ax - CNN (blog)
- Duke lacrosse accuser arrested in boyfriend's stabbing - CNN International
- House GOP: $4 trillion in cuts - CNN
- Bachmann bids for 'bama eyes - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Around the Planet
- Afghans Continue Protests Over US Quran Burning - Voice of America
- Japan's nuclear workers try to trace leak, dump radioactive water - Los Angeles Times
- OSCE raps Kazakh election, presses for reforms - Reuters
- Newsmaker: Yemen survivor Saleh juggles forces to keep power - Reuters
- France says finds bodies in Atlantic crash wreckage - Reuters