Karen DeWitt

Albany Reporter

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Campaign Finance Reform
8:22 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Comptroller opts out of public finance, saying test program is flawed

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli

The state’s comptroller says he won’t be participating in a new pilot public campaign finance program agreed to in the state budget, and government reform groups say, they don’t blame him.

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Lobbying
4:30 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Report shows record lobbying in NYS

A new record has been reached in spending on lobbying in New York, according to a report released by the state’s  ethics commission. It finds over $200 million was spent, mostly by a few top interests, to try to influence government  and policy in Albany.

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Campaign Finance Reform
5:17 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Advocate Says Cuomo Missed Chance to Counter Act Supreme Court Ruling

The U.S. Supreme court decision McCutcheon v. FEC, striking down some campaign donation limits, is expected to have an effect in New York.  Reform advocates say Governor Cuomo and lawmakers missed a key chance this week to counter act the ruling.

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Moreland Commission
5:51 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Moreland panel dismantled as part of new ethics reform deal

Credit File Photo

The recently enacted state budget also marks the end of a commission that was investigating corruption in the legislature. Governor Cuomo agreed to dismantle the Moreland Act panel as part of a deal on ethics reform.

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State Budget
5:43 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Cuomo, legislative leaders celebrate budget grand slam

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders are touting the virtues of the newly enacted state budget, but the spending plan has its share of critics.

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State Budget
6:00 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Some controversy surrounds new state budget

Protesters with Cuomo masks rally in Albany
Credit Photo by Karen DeWitt

Lawmakers were hurrying late Monday to complete work on the state budget before the midnight deadline, but the spending plan is not without some controversy.

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Politics
5:19 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Comptroller says public finance plan has serious flaws

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli

The state’s Comptroller says test public campaign finance plan that would apply only to his office is “seriously flawed”, and might even be unworkable.

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Local
8:47 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Legislators will vote on state budget today

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders have finalized the details on a $138 billion state budget and say they are on track to meet tonight's deadline. The budget includes a multi-step plan that could  lower property taxes and $340 million for schools to start pre-K programs.

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Local
4:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Comptroller's race will test campaign finance systen

The new campaign finance system will focus on the Comptroller's race and ignore Governor Cuomo's $33 million campaign treasury.
Credit WBFO File Photo

Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers have agreed to a very limited form of campaign finance reform in the state budget, it would only apply to the state Comptroller’s race.

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Local
5:34 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

State lawmakers move closer to budget agreement

Legislative leaders say they are working together and are close to a budget agreement, after a blow up that left the Senate and Assembly leaders negotiating separately with Governor Cuomo.

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Local
4:50 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Education advocates press Cuomo for more funding

Governor Cuomo finds himself under fire for the level of state education spending.
Credit WBFO File Photo

Education funding advocates, including actress Cynthia Nixon, made a last-minute pitch for extra money for schools in the state budget. Meanwhile, a new poll finds many New Yorkers think the quality of education in the state is deteriorating.

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Local
4:49 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Budget talks expected to heat up this week

The next several days will be crucial for negotiations on the state budget.

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Local
8:17 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Budget protesters arrested outside governor's office

Arrested protesters accuse Governor Cuomo of giving tax breaks to the wealthy while ignoring the state's social needs.
Credit Photo by Karen DeWitt

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders continue to meet behind closed doors to hash out a budget deal, while outside the governor’s offices around 25 angry protesters were arrested.

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Local
8:40 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Activists push for more Albany transparency

Government reform activists took their smart phones into Assembly Committee meetings to live stream meetings that so far have not been available on line to the public.

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Local
9:57 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Dream Act supporters vow to fight on

The Dream Act failed in the state Senate this week.
Credit File photo

Supporters of Dream Act legislation say they were “set up” when a hastily arranged vote on the bill in the Senate chamber late Monday led to the measure’s failure by just one vote. The focus is now shifting to Governor Cuomo. Backers say they will try to get the governor to put the measure into the state budget.

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Local
5:16 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Dream Act dies in State Senate

The Dream Act is dead for now in New York State, after the State Senate voted down the measure that would have granted college tuition aid to the children of undocumented immigrants.

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Local
4:55 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Albany budget battles to focus on education issues

Inside a Buffalo classroom.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Senate and Assembly are set to begin conference committee meetings today, now that both houses have finished with their resolutions laying out their positions.

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Local
8:38 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Assembly presents budget resolution

Protesters outside Governor Cuomo's office called for more education funding.
Credit Photo by Karen DeWitt

Assembly Democrats say there should be more money for schools and the environment, and major changes to Governor Cuomo’s plan to freeze property taxes.

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Local
9:00 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Three of four incumbents retain seats on Board of Regents

All Assembly Democrats, including Speaker Sheldon Silver, voted to retain incumbent members of the Board of Regents.
Credit WBFO file photo

The state legislature replaced one member of the State Board of Regents, but allowed three others to remain, in elections held for the state’s top educational policy board.  The vote featured complaints from Republican Senators who voted against all of the candidates.

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Focus on Education
8:43 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Regents vote being tied to Common Core frustration

Senate Republicans say they will break a long standing tradition of boycotting the election of new Regents. They now say they will attend a joint legislative session and that many will vote 'no' over dissatisfaction with the Common Core. It is uncertain whether all four of the incumbent Regents members will be reelected. 

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Local
10:00 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Fate of estate tax provision uncertain in State Assembly

The estate tax will be taken up this week in Albany.
Credit File photo

On Wednesday, both houses of the legislature are due to release their one-house budget proposals, which they will then use to negotiate a final spending plan with Governor Cuomo. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says Assembly Democrats are not yet on board with part of Cuomo’s plan to cut the estate tax.

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Politics
1:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Republican Astorino announces gubernatorial run

Rob Astorino is seeking the GOP nomination for governor.
Credit Facebook

A top Republican county official from New York City's northern suburbs is officially launching his uphill fight to unseat Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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Local
6:00 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Astorino set to announce campaign for Governor

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is expected to announce today that he will challenge Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 race for governor.
Credit Photo by Karen DeWitt

A Republican appears poised to become the first to officially announce his candidacy in this year's race for governor. After weeks of speculation, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino Wednesday will begin what most believe will be an uphill climb, against Governor  Andrew Cuomo.

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Local
5:00 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Cuomo, de Blasio speak at dueling education rallies in Albany

Gov. Cuomo led one of two rallies Tuesday in Albany.
Credit Karen DeWitt

Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at dueling rallies on education at the State Capitol Tuesday that highlighted the two politicians’ differences over education issues.

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Focus on Education
5:00 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Advocates say lack of money at core of schools' struggles

AQE's Billy Easton, CFE's David Sciarra and Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan (D-Queens) discuss the need for more school funding.
Credit Karen DeWitt

The deadline for the state budget is approaching and education issues are taking center stage. One day before massive rallies for universal pre-K and charter schools, other advocates said Monday they have gathered evidence for potentially another lawsuit for more state aid for schools.

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Local
8:44 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Cuomo starts new push for tax freeze proposal, while counties offer alternative plan

Governor Andrew Cuomo is starting a new push for his property tax freeze plan, while counties in the state say they have a better idea which they say could result in lower property taxes in New York for even longer.

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Local
8:02 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Assembly passes Dream Act

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is pressing the State Senate to also pass the Dream Act.
Credit WBFO File Photo

Assembly Democrats on Tuesday passed a one-house version of the Dream Act, a bill to give college aid to the children of undocumented immigrants. They urged the Senate to follow suit.

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Local
7:26 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Cuomo proposes to cut estate tax

E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center, calls New York's estate tax an "outlier."
Credit Photo by Karen DeWitt

Governor Cuomo’s plan to cut the estate tax is drawing praise from fiscally conservative groups, and condemnation from advocates for the poor.

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Local
8:02 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Hearings over, state legislature set to take on budget

The legislature has finished it’s hearings on Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal, and will be ready to start crafting a spending plan once they return from the President’s Day break.

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Local
8:52 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Support grows for minimum wage hike for cities

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The idea of allowing cities to set their own minimum wage has support from the head of the state’s black and Hispanic caucus, but the plan faces obstacles elsewhere.

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