Economic Development Hearing Features Heated Exchange

ALBANY (WSKG) - Testimony at an Assembly hearing Monday grew heated as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development chair defended some faltering job creation programs. Empire State Development Chair Howard Zemsky also signaled the state may be backing away from a key program to give tax breaks to startup entrepreneurs. Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, the chair of the Economic Development committee, asked Zemsky about the leadership of the Start-Up program, which offers tax breaks to entrepreneurial companies that agree to begin operations in New York. The previous director left 16 months ago and has not been replaced. “Has that been resolved yet?” Schimminger asked. Zemsky said the program, introduced several years ago with great fanfare by Cuomo, will now be administered by several existing officials at the Empire State Development agency.


New York Democrats Heartened By Wins

ALBANY (WSKG) Democrats in New York are heartened by what they call a “blue wave” in this week’s election results in the state and the nation. This year is considered an “off” election year with no presidential race or statewide contests like a governor’s race. Nevertheless, Democrats in New York hungry for signs of encouragement after the 2016 election of President Donald Trump are very happy about Democratic wins in the county executive races in two suburban New York counties, Nassau and Westchester. Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed especially gleeful over the defeat of incumbent Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican who lost to Democratic state Sen. George Latimer. “He was trounced, trounced!” Cuomo said.


Reformers Plan Next Steps After “Con-Con” Fails

Supporters of holding a Constitutional Convention to fix problems in state government say they are disappointed with the resounding defeat of the measure in Tuesday’s voting, but they say they are not giving up. The League of Women Voters’ Jennifer Wilson says while a constitutional convention could have provided a great opportunity to repair flaws in state government, there are other ways, including the normal legislative process. She says both houses were opposed to the convention, saying there are better ways to improve government. She says now lawmakers have the chance to prove that they were right and can achieve changes.   “Now do it,” said Wilson. “Stop saying that you can do it and that want to do it, and actually get some things done.” Both legislative leaders opposed the convention, saying they feared it would be taken over by special interests from outside New York.


Cuomo Predicts Even More Democratic Wins In 2018

ALBANY (WSKG) - Governor Cuomo, one day after Democratic victories in elections in New York State and the nation, is calling on  warring democratic factions in the State Senate to unify.  Cuomo used some of his strongest language yet in urging rank and file Democrats in the State Senate to reunite with the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, saying all need to put their “egos” aside. “I’m calling for them to put their personal agendas aside and reunify, Cuomo said. “And if people have to lose a title or lose their office or lose their special license plate, I don’t really give a damn.” Cuomo has in the past touted his bipartisan deals with Republicans who rule the Senate, with the help of the breakaway Democrats. The governor did not specifically say he would help Democrats campaign against GOP Senators. But he says wins by Democrats in the county executive races in the New York City suburbs of Westchester and Nassau foretell more wins for all Democrats in 2018.    The governor says he hopes he’ll be included in those victories next year.


Schumer, Cuomo Denounce Federal GOP Tax Overhaul

Governor Cuomo and New York Senator Chuck Schumer are once again warning that New Yorkers will be hurt if the Republican tax overhaul plan in Congress is approved.  Schumer, who is Senate Democratic Leader, says while the tax plan has changed from the original version, 71% of the deductions that now benefit state residents would be eliminated. The plan would end deductions for state and local income taxes, and cap the property tax deduction at $10,000 a year.   “The plan will increase taxes on New Yorkers by $16 billion,” Schumer said in a joint conference call with Cuomo. Cuomo says the plan would undo seven years of work that his administration has done to keep taxes and spending steady in New York. “President Trump said this is a Christmas gift,” said Cuomo. “ If it's a Christmas gift, New York gets a lump of coal from Santa Trump on this one.” Cuomo and Schumer are calling on four New York Republican House members- Claudia Tenney, John Faso, John Katko and Elise Stefanik, who have all expressed reservations about the provision, to vote against the tax plan.


Here Are The 3 Propositions To Vote On In New York On Tuesday

Polls are open 6:00AM - 9:00PM. There are three propositions on the ballot: Prop. 1 - The Constitutional Convention: Every 20 years, New Yorkers have the chance to vote whether to hold a constitutional convention.Supporters say it’s an opportunity to reform unethical practices in Albany that have led to both former legislative leaders facing corruption charges. Nine former associates of Governor Cuomo have also been charged with crimes including bribery and bid-rigging. Opponents - including the state's major unions, environmentalists, gun rights groups and the Conservative Party - say the New York's constitution includes many rights.


Post-Impasse, Many In PA Want To See Changes In State Budgeting

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- After a tumultuous budget process that saw state lawmakers pass a plan they couldn't fully pay for, many are looking into changing how the system works entirely. For four months, the budget was in a sort of limbo. A $32 billion spending package passed just after the June 30th due date, so most state spending continued as usual. But the budget was over $2 billion out of balance, and stayed that way until late last month. A number of lawmakers--and others--want to keep that from happening again "It has to be one vote so we don't spend money we don't have, and frankly so politicians don't get to say, 'I want to spend this money, which is popular, but I'm not going to vote to pay for it because that's unpopular,'" Montgomery County Senator Daylin Leach said.


Poll Shows Constitutional Convention Sinking

ALBANY (WSKG) - A new poll finds that the ballot question on whether to hold a constitutional convention in New York has become widely unpopular with voters.  The Siena College poll finds likely voters in the Nov. 7 elections are leaning against Proposition One “by a better than two-to-one margin,” said Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg. The numbers are a change from earlier in the year, when a poll showed the majority of voters said they were in favor of holding a constitutional convention, despite the fact that they had not heard much about it. And the negativity about the proposed convention is widespread. Fifty-six percent of voters who identify as liberals and 60 percent of New Yorkers who say they are conservative are against the idea.


New York, California Governors Team Up Against Tax Overhaul

ALBANY (WSKG) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a conference call with California Gov. Jerry Brown, singled out two New York GOP congressmen for criticism after they voted for a budget measure that clears the way for a vote on the Republican plan to overhaul the tax system. Cuomo has been speaking out nearly every day against a proposal in the federal tax overhaul plan to eliminate state and local tax deductions from federal income tax filings. He calls it double taxation and a political attack on New York. The state comptroller has said New Yorkers would lose $72 billion in state and local tax deductions if the Republican plan in Congress were to be approved. That’s because New York has one of the highest local tax rates in the nation.