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Albany

  • In Albany, De Blasio and Democrats Push ‘Mansion Tax’

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    De Blasio in Albany (photo: Rachel Silberstein/Gotham Gazette)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio journeyed to Albany Wednesday to rally with Democratic legislators and activists for the extension of the “millionaires’ tax,” set to expire this year, as well as the “mansion tax,” a proposal the mayor has been pushing since 2015. De Blasio and his allies called for both to be part of the new state budget due by April 1.

    Citing the threats of deep federal budget cuts from President Donald Trump’s administration and a

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  • Assessing the Aftermath: Top Takeaways for NYC from 2016 Albany Session

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    De Blasio and Cuomo in 2014; photo via The Governor's Office


    Mayor Bill de Blasio has made it clear that he feels like he’s often fighting for New York City’s interests against both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Senate Republicans, with Assembly Democrats as his key allies. In his initial statement reacting to the recent end of the 2016 legislative session in Albany, de Blasio put a thank you to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and company at the forefront, never mentioned Cuomo, and gave his take on what he assessed as a mixed bag

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  • Major City Issues at Play in Politically Charged, Post-Budget Legislative Session

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    Gov. Cuomo announces the budget deal (photo via The Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed the idea of extending state government's legislative session this year to tackle ethics reform during an appearance in Binghamton on Wednesday. "We have a relatively light agenda because we did so much work in the budget," the governor said. "We passed the minimum wage increase, we passed paid family leave, we passed a great package for the middle class, we passed a great package for upstate New York, more education

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  • Forget the Brooklyn Presidential Debate, the Real Battle is New York State

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    Albany of yesteryear (photo via The Governor's Office on flickr)


    With an April 14 date set for the Clinton-Sanders Brooklyn debate, New York and Kings County are now center stage in the ever-engrossing presidential election. Though bringing the ninth Democratic presidential debate to Brooklyn might help New Yorkers become more informed voters, it also sadly serves as a timely distraction from the latest setback to progressive governance reforms in the Empire State.

    Thanks to the ...

  • Everyone Agrees Albany Needs Ethics Reform, Except the People Who Matter Most

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (l-r) (photo via The Governor's Office)


    "Top of my agenda is going to be ethics reform," said Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking on NY1 on Jan. 3. "We have done a lot in Albany, but we haven't done enough. And I'm going to push the legislature very hard to adopt more aggressive ethics legislation, more disclosure, more enforcement, etcetera."

    While the governor

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  • For State Budget, Leaders Choose 'On Time' Over Open

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (l-r), June 2015 (photo via The Governor's Office)


    As negotiations over the state's $150 billion budget sputtered on Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ramped up pressure on legislators to accept a deal. Speaking with reporters, Cuomo implied legislators could jeopardize a potential pay raise if they can't deliver an on-time budget.

    "So they're gonna need to be able to make that case not just to the pay commission but to the people of the State of New York in November when they go to seek re-election," Cuomo said. "So

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  • Oft-Criticized Ethics Watchdog Names Cuomo Aide as Executive Director

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    Gov. Cuomo gives an ethics reform speech in 2015 (Governor's Office via flickr)


    The state's independent ethics commission took the first official ethics-related action in Albany since the convictions of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on Tuesday when it appointed a man with ties to both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders as its new executive director.

    Seth Agata, who JCOPE - the Joint Commission on Public Ethics - says it hired after a nine-month,

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  • State Senate GOP Plays Politics with Anti-Semitism at CUNY

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    CUNY School of Law


    New York State Senate Republicans are using the existence of anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses as their latest excuse in a ruse to gut the city university system's budget by $485 million, and shifting the financial burden of the cuts to CUNY students and their families.

    Last week, Senate Republicans including Senator Kenneth LaValle, who chairs the Senate Committee on Higher Education, vowed to slash CUNY funding in order to "send a message" about anti-Semitism and intolerance on CUNY campuses. This message that Republican senators are sending is

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 21

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will be another busy one when it comes to budgets: the City Council continues its preliminary budget hearings and state budget negotiations enter their final ten days - a state budget is due by April 1 and some say a deal could be announced before the end of this week. Don't count on it, though, state budgets usually come in just before (or, as was the case last year, just after) the March 31 midnight

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  • In Albany, Sunshine Week Starts with Darkness

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    Heastie, Cuomo, & Flanagan (l-r) in 2015 (photo via The Governor's Office) 


    The first Sunshine Week following the convictions of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos got off to an inauspicious start Monday as representatives of the state's major good government groups gathered in Albany to give their evaluation of the ethics reforms put forward in the one-house budgets released by the Assembly and Senate majorities over the weekend.

    "Unfortunately with a late Friday release what we're

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  • Democrats and Republicans Run Parallel Races in Special Elections Created by Corruption

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    Chris McGrath, Republican candidate for state Senate (photo: @McGrath4Senate) 


    Both groups are accustomed to scrapping for power and attention. With two recent federal corruption convictions, each saw an opportunity to grab more. And now, in downtown Manhattan and Nassau County Long Island, Republicans and Democrats are running parallel campaigns to seize upon a chance to flip one seat in each of the two houses of the New York State Legislature. 

    Assembly Republicans and Senate Democrats again find themselves in similar

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  • Heastie Outlines Assembly Ethics Plan

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    Carl Heastie (photo: Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


    In a major departure from his predecessor, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie publicly laid out his conference's proposals for government ethics reform during a wide-ranging speech and interview Friday morning. At a breakfast event hosted by Crain's New York Business, Heastie explained the proposals for preventing government corruption that will be contained in the Assembly's one-house budget, the release of which is key to intensifying negotiations with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority

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  • The Right Model to Follow for Diversity at Specialized High Schools

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    Student debaters (photo: @NYCschools)

     


     

    Last week, 5,000 eighth graders got the exciting news that they were offered admission to one of the city's eight test-in Specialized High Schools, which offer a quality public school education unmatched in the country. But while the vast majority come from poor, working class and immigrant families, as has always been the case, once again far too few come from the black and Latino communities.

    Black and Latino students comprise a large majority in the city's public school system and should

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  • Next Steps the State Must Make to Create and Maintain Affordable Housing

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    photo: a groundbreaking, via the Governor's Office


    As the Legislature moves ahead with its 2016 session in Albany, a top priority must be creating and maintaining affordable housing across the state. We cannot be content with fellow New Yorkers sleeping in three-quarter houses, with too many to a room, because it’s the only alternative. It is only so long until the next severely rent burdened tenant - spending more than 50 percent of their earnings on rent - ends up homeless because they cannot afford their

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  • In Albany, Bharara Challenges Lawmakers to Act, Not Enable

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    Preet Bharara (photo: Buck Ennis)


    Asked how he can spur legislators to enact major ethics reforms during his visit to Albany on Monday, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said he has a "particularly blunt incentive...the avoidance of prison." The reminder from Bharara comes as legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are quietly discussing possible ethics reforms behind closed doors--reforms none of them have appeared interested in discussing publicly since Cuomo outlined his platform in his State of the State address last month.

    Speaking before a captive audience, Bharara

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  • Bharara Visits Capital He Upended

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    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (photo: @SDNYnews)


    For the last year a siege mentality has dominated the New York state capitol. And in some respect, Albany, or at least the political denizens who dwell within the capitol, does appear to be very much in the cross hairs of a conquering army headed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The main roads into town feature digital billboards flashing entreaties from the FBI urging New Yorkers to "REPORT CORRUPTION," along with a number for

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  • Calls for Public Discussion of New Affordable Housing Incentive Program

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    The REBNY gala (photo via REBNY on Facebook)


    Earlier this year developers and labor unions failed to reach a deal to renew the controversial 421-a tax abatement program that is designed to entice the development of affordable housing. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators agreed to extend the program early last year while putting the longterm future of the program in the hands of the special interests that benefit from it--an unprecedented move that was met with loud criticism.

    With negotiations failed and the program expired, it appears that real estate

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  • In Albany, State Senators Ambush De Blasio on Property Tax Reform

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    Mayor de Blasio in Albany Tuesday (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio surely wasn't expecting a warm reception in Albany Tuesday, but he walked into an ambush. In front of a bipartisan group of state legislators, de Blasio sat for a grueling, nearly five-hour budget testimony. Senate Republicans peppered the mayor with questions about instituting a property tax cap in the city, taking away from any focus on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's ...

  • The Numbers on NYC's Property Tax Non-Problem

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    When Mayor de Blasio arrived in Albany on Tuesday, he had a lot to talk about: aid to CUNY, cost-sharing for Medicaid, mayoral control of the schools and more. Instead, upstate lawmakers wanted to talk about a property tax cap. New York City is the only place in the state that doesn't have one, and apparently that irks Republicans.

    The property tax is one of the few revenue lines that the city controls on its own. If it wants to raise other taxes, like the income tax, it has to go to Albany for approval. That fact is probably not

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  • De Blasio Heads to Albany to Fund Agenda, Fight Cuts

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Thirteen days after his most recent visit, Mayor Bill de Blasio heads back to Albany Tuesday morning to testify about the city's needs and progress, and to evaluate Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Budget.

    In front of members of the state Senate and Assembly at a joint legislative budget hearing, de Blasio is expected to push for increased state funding for key aspects of his inequality-fighting agenda and an extension of mayoral

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  • Green Jobs Gone Missing

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    Solar City


    ***The following is an investigative series by our partner City Limits News, with CUNY Graduate School of Journalism***

    In 2009, New York State officials said the Green Jobs/Green New York program would retrofit a million houses and create 14,000 jobs. The results fell well short. Are there lessons to be learned for Gov. Cuomo's new wave of energy innovation?

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  • 'Dangerousness' Aspect of Cuomo's Bail Plan Troubles Reformers

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    Gov. Cuomo delivers his State of the State


    In his recently-released policy agenda for 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a plan to reform the state's bail system. While it has not been fully fleshed out yet, Cuomo's proposal dictates that judges would use a scientific assessment tool to determine an individual's "risk to public safety" while setting bail, a proposal similar to one Mayor Bill de Blasio recently made, with both coming under fire from criminal justice reformers.

    De Blasio made ...

  • De Blasio Calls for Albany to 'Make Right' on Program at Center of Rift with Governor

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    Cuomo and de Blasio in 2014, photo via Governor's Office


    When Mayor Bill de Blasio exploded in frustration with Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 30 of last year, there were three key issues that set him off. The mayor felt that in the final negotiations of the Albany legislative session that had just ended, Cuomo had not been an ally on rent regulations, mayoral control of city schools, and the 421-a tax break program meant to spur affordable housing development, each of which was extended in a way that the mayor and many other city officials saw as

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  • Cuomo Heads Into State of the State After Big Announcements, With More to Say

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    Governor Cuomo is going big. Decrying a state that has lost its ambition for transformative projects like the Erie Canal, the governor has spent the past week traveling the state and announcing major infrastructure, transportation, and economic development plans. Cuomo has also revealed new pieces of his $15 minimum wage campaign and criminal justice reform policies, among others, as he sets his agenda for 2016 and frames budget negotiations in Albany.

    So far, Cuomo has outlined 14

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