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- 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
A bill passed earlier this week in Albany will allow several Westchester communities to use the old lever-style voting machines for upcoming elections on March 15.
Village clerks in Larchmont, Port Chester, Scarsdale,Hastings, Bronxville,Tarrytown, Tuckahoe and Pleasantville had asked a contingent of Westchester State Assemblymembers to support and pass the legislation citing the cost and availability of the new electronic voting machines which feature optical scanning technology.
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.
Reaction to the Governor's first-ever State of the State address is largely positive.
Republican State Senator Greg Ball said he liked what he heard and said he supported the Governor on such issues as a property tax cap. Said Ball, "Hopefully that message will make its way into law and tax relief and doing what needs to be done. This state is hemorrhaging jobs, we're hemorrhaging people, folks are voting with their feet, and they need a governor and legislature to work together to get this state back on track."
Rye Brook Mayor Joan Feinstein today announced passage of legislation that will allow the Village of Rye Brook to alleviate the property tax burden on businesses and families through a new revenue source--an occupancy charge on Rye Brook hotel rooms.
Earlier this year, the Village made a home rule request to be granted authority to impose a hotel occupancy tax. The measure passed up in Albany.
A bill sponsored by Westchester Assemblyman George Latimer (D-Larchmont) has been signed by Governor David Paterson. The measure, which was sponsored in the State Senate by Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx), allows for senior citizens who hold health care insurance parties to designate a third-party individual such as a spouse, an adult child, or a friend, lawyer or advisor -- to receive urgent notices from the insurance carrier concerning policy provision changes.
Said Latimer, "In some cases, seniors may be unable to fully grasp the importance of a mailed notice, which might govern the change in a premium, possibly termination of the policy, and so forth. The expectation is that the third-paerty individual notified will be able to identify the urgency of the message and assist the senior in maintaining that policy in force."
As local governments across the state are looking for ways to fund government services without raising property taxes, Assemblyman George Latimer (D-Westchester,91 A.D.) is sponsoring a bill that would give local villages, towns,cities and counties greater flexibility in leasing naming rights for government-owned facilities in return for money.
Just minutes after word came this afternoon that Governor David Paterson's top aide, Peter Kauffmann is resigning, Westchester Assemblyman, George Latimer (D-Larchmont) said the time has come for the Governor himself to step down.
Kauffmann is the third administration official to quit after last week's domestic violence bombshell. Said Kauffman via email to reporters, "I have been honored to serve the people of New York during a difficult time in our state's history," adding, "Unfortunately, as recent developments have come to light, I cannot in good conscience continue in my current position."
Latimer told Westchesternewsonline.com, "The Governor's resignation is really a matter of time. The inability to govern effectively with the clouds of scandal above you, even if you can clear your name on one of them or two of them, is gonna make it impossible for him to function the way he needs to function."
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