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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."
More than a month after election day, Republican Robert Castelli has been declared the winner in the 89th Assembly District Race. His Democratic challenger, White Plains Common Council President Tom Roach, has conceded.
Castelli defeated Roach by just 112 votes.
In court today, New York State Suprem Court Justice Lester Adler denied a motion by Roach to block certification of the race an order a manual hand recount of all the ballots in the 89th Assembly District. Justice Adler also ordered the Westchester County Board of Elections to certify the race with Castelli as the winner.
Castelli was first elected to the position for a partial term of office after Adam Bradley left to take on the job as Mayor of White Plains.
Castelli's victory gives the Republican Assembly minority fifty seats in the Assembly Chamber.
Election day was three weeks ago, but ballot counting is still going on in some of Westchester County's too-close-to-call races.
Workers began counting thousands of absentee ballots Tuesday at the Board of Elections in White Plains.
Election Day 2010 may have come and gone, but there are several key races in Westchester County that are still undecided. The State Senate race in the 37th District between longtime incumbent Suzi Oppenheimer and Republican Challenger Bob Cohen is still too close to call. At last look, with 80% of the votes in the district tallied, Oppenheimer was leading Cohen by a slim 180 point margin. Elections officials say reported voting irregularities in the district have forced a recount of the votes, a move they say, could take at least another 3 days.
Saying "It's time to take a stand and say enough is enough," Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino today endorsed Republican candidates in several key State and Federal races.
Westchester Assemblyman Robert Castelli (R,C,I Goldens Bridge) was in Ossining today calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale region.
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
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- OSCE raps Kazakh election, presses for reforms - Reuters
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- France says finds bodies in Atlantic crash wreckage - Reuters