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After Corruption Scandals, Advocates Renew Push For Reform

ALBANY (WSKG) - Several corruption trials are set for 2018 after a scandal involving nine of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former associates who worked on his administration’s economic development projects. Advocates say they will continue to push for reforms to prevent such problems from happening again. At an Assembly hearing this week, Alex Camarda, who is with government reform group Reinvent Albany, admonished lawmakers. He told them he’s disappointed that they failed to act on measures to change the way billions of dollars in state contracts are solicited and awarded, even though several of Cuomo’s former associates are facing federal trials on corruption charges next year. “In fact, the Legislature did not pass any legislation,” Camarda said.

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Binghamton Mayor David: GOP Tax Plans “Unfair” To New York

Binghamton Mayor Rich David is joining the chorus of lawmakers who oppose the Republican tax plans in Congress. David said the plan is unfair to New Yorkers, especially the limit to state and local tax deductions (SALT). The SALT deduction allows taxpayers who itemize their taxes to deduct their state and local taxes on their federal return. This helps offset the burden in high tax states like New York. This is something that we’re very concerned about," David said. "When the city, the county the school district talk about how to provide tax relief, with regard to our own budgets, it is counterproductive then at the federal level when you eliminate deductions that are very important to local taxpayers."  David said the deduction protects people from double taxation.

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Arrests At PA Capitol Rally For Redistricting, Gift Reform

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - Several activists were arrested Monday while blocking a hallway during a rally at the state Capitol.  Many had just finished a three-day walk from Lancaster to Harrisburg--the second one they've done this year. The group's goal is to call attention to stalled bills that would ban gifts to lawmakers and seek to make the redistricting process less partisan. The walk to the Capitol was 36 miles, and temperatures fell below freezing at times. But when the March on Harrisburg group reached the Capitol, their energy was high Several members dressed in the red stripes of children's book character Where's Waldo--a dig at House members, who had canceled their regular session day for an informal nonvoting session. Rachel Brewer, of national anti-corruption group Represent.US, called out Republican House State Government Committee Chair Daryl Metcalfe in particular.

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Ending Historic Tax Credits Would Harm Cities, Says Cuomo Official

ALBANY (WSKG) - The state’s top economic development official says a plan in Congress to eliminate the historic tax credit program  would harm efforts to revitalize cities in New York. Empire State Development Chair Howard Zemsky , testifying at an Assembly hearing,  says the tax incentives have been used to rehab crumbling historic buildings into shops and living spaces, and “have had a huge impact on driving economic development” . The program gives developers a tax rebate of 20% for five years after the projects are completed. Zemsky says it’s misguided to end the subsidies. “It has a disproportionately negative impact on older cities and upstate cities,” Zemsky said.