Author Archive

Ravitch Likes Pre-K Focus, Not the Politics

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Daily, Heard Around Town

Expanded pre-kindergarten in New York has the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, although a great deal of the attention has been paid to the the differences between the governor’s proposal to use state money to phase in programs and de Blasio’s push to fund them locally by raising taxes on the wealthy. Richard Ravitch, the former lieutenant governor and co-chair of the State Budget Crisis Task Force, said that he is delighted by the backing… [More]

Environmentalists Say More Money Still Needed for Protection Fund

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Environment, Features, Heard Around Town, News

After his State of the State address disappointed environmentalists, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a few green-friendly initiatives in his budget, such as reforming and expanding New York’s brownfields program. But advocates say more money is still needed for the state’s $153 million Environmental Protection Fund and to restore state Department of Environmental Conservation staffing cuts—hot topics certain to come up at today’s environmental conservation joint legislative budget hearing. Assemblyman Robert Sweeney recently acknowledged some positives in the budget, but wants… [More]

Fight to Legalize MMA Back on in the Capitol

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Features, Heard Around Town, News, Other News

The battle over mixed-martial arts is back on. This morning, Ultimate Fighting Championship executives are joining Assemblyman Joe Morelle and state Sen. Joseph Griffo in Albany to once again push for legalization of the controversial sport—but critics are swinging into action, too. “After a year of men behaving badly in Albany, do our lawmakers really want to send a message to parents and communities in New York that we are going to allow a viciously violent sport into the Empire… [More]

Stringer Names Key Deputy Comptroller

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in News

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is set to name Marjorie Landa as his deputy comptroller for audits today, filling a key position in his office. One of the comptroller’s chief responsibilities is auditing city contracts, and Stringer has pledged to be aggressive in holding contractors accountable, especially in light of the hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments in the CityTime payroll scandal that plagued the Bloomberg administration. Stringer said that Landa would bring valuable experience in legal investigations, government oversight and management.… [More]

De Blasio Greeted Warmly in Chilly Albany

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Features, Heard Around Town, News

In his first official visit to Albany as mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio moved slowly from event to event throughout the morning, and perhaps for good reason. The new mayor paused often to shake hands and have conversations that went beyond simply exchanging pleasantries with legislators and well-wishers who stopped him in the halls of the Capitol. He also walked slowly as he spoke with some he picked up along the way to join his entourage of aides and… [More]

Cox Back Tracks On Astorino Run

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in News

Two days after saying that Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino would run for governor, state Republican Committee Chairman Ed Cox would only say that Astorino would be a good candidate, declining to reiterate the same remarks he made to The Buffalo News on Monday. “Some candidates have an extra special X-factor or whatever it is. He’s got it,” Cox said following the State of the State addressWednesday. “That’s why he’s going to be an outstanding candidate for governor.” A story on Monday quoted Cox as saying,… [More]

De Blasio, Miner Applaud Cuomo’s Agenda, But Call for Changes

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Economic Development, Government Operations, News

On his first trip to Albany as mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio played up what he has in common with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and emphasized that he shares many of the goals that the governor laid out in the State of the State address. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Cuomo’s hand-picked co-chair of the state Democratic Party, was singled out by the governor in Wednesday’s speech as a role model for her efforts to cut costs by sharing… [More]

Cuomo to Address Aging Airports in State of the State

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Daily

In a rambling ode to infrastructure investment, Vice President Joe Biden criticized the condition of U.S. airports, which he said are outdated. “If I blindfolded you and took you into an airport in China or Hong Kong, and you looked around, and I asked you where you were, assuming it was totally empty, most of you would say, this is what I want, this must be America,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s disaster relief plan. “The most… [More]

Cuomo’s Local Government Consolidation Proposal Draws a Mixed Response

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Daily, Government Operations, Labor/Unions, News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is renewing his push to consolidate the thousands of local governments in New York, and this time around he is making his proposal more enticing by linking it to a tax credit in his new tax cut package. Cuomo, who made consolidation a policy goal as attorney general, took aim at the nearly 10,500 towns, villages, water districts, sewer districts and fire districts in New York, arguing that their sheer numbers are driving up property taxes and… [More]