De Blasio’s Budget: Progressive or Aggressive?

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Features, Government Operations, Housing, Labor/Unions, News

What does a “progressive” city budget look like? During his preliminary budget presentation last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio attached his favorite buzzword to a supposedly apolitical document. Through the explicit and implicit priorities laid out in his financial plan, the mayor—who mere months ago dubbed himself a “fiscal conservative”—threw caution to the wind, etching his major policy items into the budget with or without the necessary cooperation from Albany, and despite the element of unpredictability stemming  from the city’s… [More]

De Blasio’s State of the City Marks A Shift In Tone From Bloomberg Era

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Features, Government Operations, Housing, Labor/Unions, Latest, News, Real Estate/Construction, Transportation

As is the case with most mayors less than two months into their administration, Mayor Bill de Blasio did not have a laundry list of accomplishments to point to during his State of the City address on Monday. But unlike his predecessor Michael Bloomberg’s first State of the City, which covered a wide range of topics and laid the foundation for his twelve years in office, de Blasio eschewed a long-term blueprint in favor of addressing the urgency of leveling… [More]

New State Caucus of Environmental Legislators Takes Root in Albany

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Environment, Features, Heard Around Town, News

Key environmental issues have a new avenue to reach the floor of the state Legislature with the recent formation of the New York State Caucus of Environmental Legislators. The 33-member group is made up of lawmakers from both parties and both houses. Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, NYSCEL’s chair, expects discussions within the caucus to help build consensus on which environmental issues are important and which ones can be accomplished. “A lot of the work in the Legislature happens within conferences or… [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]

Mark-Viverito Scores 100 on Environmental Scorecard, Ferreras Tied For Last

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Environment, Features, Heard Around Town, News

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito The New York League of Conservation Voters released its annual environmental scorecard for New York City Council members in 2012-2013, an evaluation of the members based on casting pro-environment votes or for co-sponsoring pro-environment legislation. The report lavishes praise on former speaker Christine Quinn, calling her “the most pro-environment speaker New York City has seen thus far,” noting Quinn’s achievements on solid waste management, food access, and green buildings. Eleven Council members received perfect scores of 100, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito,… [More]

Amid Protests, Cuomo Stays Silent on Fracking

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Daily, Energy, Environment, Latest, News

While hundreds loudly voiced their thoughts on high-volume hydraulic fracturing outside the Empire State Plaza Convention Center Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was mum on the topic inside. Cuomo’s roughly hour-long State of the State address touched on issues ranging from economic development to educational improvements, but missing was any mention of “hydrofracking.” That issue has turned the state’s Southern Tier into a battleground for environmentalists and those pushing for the state to lift a moratorium on the natural gas drilling… [More]

On Inauguration Day, a New City Government Doubles Down on Progressive Vision

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Features, Government Operations, Health Care, Housing, News, Other News, Public Safety

A bitterly cold, gray New Year’s Day greeted New York City’s new government leaders on Wednesday afternoon in front of City Hall. The standard political party mix of Bruce Springsteen and various Motown and soul numbers thumped from the sound system, though if there were any dancing it was likely an attempt to keep blood flowing to the extremities. City and state dignitaries and several celebrities were in attendance, glad-handing, smiling through chattering teeth, and waiting patiently for the man… [More]