Coverage of Albany and New York State government

  • Governor Announces New Council on Women and Girls
  • Governor Announces Disney/Netflix TV Productions
  • Governors Cuomo, Christie Announce New Leadership at Port Authority
  • State Releases RFP for Belmont Park Development
  • State Will Provide Records to Federal Voter Fraud Commission
  • Assembly Speaker Tours North Country
  • Political Update
  • Coming Up

Governor Announces New Council on Women and Girls

Last Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo announced the launch of the New York State Council on Women and Girls. The Council will be made up of two parts: the leaders of New York State agencies, who will be responsible for making sure that every policy enacted and each program created takes into account the experiences of women and girls and tries to further advance equality in our state; and a Steering Committee made up of leaders from academia, advocacy, business, media, and non-profits “who will inform and direct the Council’s work.”

Gov. Cuomo said:

“[W]ith the launch of the first-ever New York State Council on Women and Girls, we are sending a clear message to the nation and world that everyone deserves a chance to achieve the American Dream.  Chaired by the Secretary to the Governor and housed in the Executive Chamber, this council sends a clear message that its mission – to take the rights of women and girls into account when drafting policy – is central to all the work accomplished in this State. I look forward to working with the Council and Steering Committee members to make a real and measurable impact on the lives of New York’s women and girls.”

The Council, which will be chaired by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, will focus on education; economic opportunity; workforce equity; leadership; health care; child care; safety; STEM; and intersectionality.

Governor Announces Disney/Netflix TV Productions

Last Monday, Gov. Cuomo announced “the largest television production project commitment” in the state’s history with the filming of Netflix TV shows in New York. The companies have been filming in New York since 2014.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“New York is home to world-class entertainment talent and opportunities, and this historic commitment from Disney and Marvel Television studios underscores our position as the film and television capital of the world.  These productions will result in thousands of new hires and infuse our economy as we continue our momentum across the state.”

New York State provides $450 million on tax credits for film production annually, which has resulted in an increase in movie and TV shows being filmed in the state.   The program was recently extended through 2022.

Critics say that these tax credits have provided little or no positive impacts on employment or wage growth, and thus offer little benefit to the state’s economy. State officials insist that the program provides benefits, arguing that since 2011 film and television productions have spent more than $12 billion in the state.

Governors Cuomo, Christie Announce New Leadership at Port Authority

Last Tuesday, New York Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Christie announced the appointments of Kevin O’Toole as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners and Rick Cotton as Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and Jersey.

Mr. Cotton has served as Governor Cuomo’s Special Counsel for Interagency Initiatives since January 2015.  His responsibilities included overseeing most of the Governor’s major downstate infrastructure priorities including LaGuardia and JFK Airports, the Penn-Farley Complex, the new Tappan Zee Bridge and the expansion of the Javits Center.

State Releases RFP for Belmont Park Development

The state has opened the bidding process to redevelop land near the Belmont Park racetrack. Empire State Development (ESD), the state’s economic development agency, released the long-awaited RFP last Monday.  Belmont, which was last redeveloped 50 years ago, is considered some of Long Island’s most valuable real estate.

Under the terms of the RFP, bids should be “complementary” to the existing racetrack; maximize economic benefits to the state; use environmentally friendly design practices; feature “meaningful” participation from minority, women and veteran-owned businesses; provide jobs for area residents; and benefit the surrounding neighborhoods of Elmont and Floral Park. The deadline for submission of proposals is September 28.

Among the potential bidders are the New York Islanders hockey franchise, who are considering opting out of a 25-year license agreement to play at Barclays Center in Brooklyn after just two seasons.

State Will Provide Records to Federal Voter Fraud Commission

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the state Board of Elections, commissioners said that the State Board of Elections (SBOE) will provide most of the information that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity has sought through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.

SBOE will provide the Commission with the same information that it releases to political parties, campaigns and others for an “elections purpose” — voters’ names, dates of birth, home addresses, and how often they have voted. It will not provide the last four digits of voters’ social security number, their driver’s license or non-driver identification number or a copy of their signature.

In June, Gov. Cuomo said that New York State would not comply with the Commission’s request.  However, the Commissioners found no legal reason to withhold the information from the Commission.

Assembly Speaker Visits North Country

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D – Bronx) continued his statewide regional tour last week, visiting the Plattsburgh area.  Among other things, Heastie toured the Bombardier manufacturing plant. The facility was initially opened in 1995 to support projects for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), but has since expanded its operations to include rail car distribution to customers nationwide.

Speaker Heastie said:

“Visiting different regions around the state is always a humbling reminder of how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful state with so much to offer.  Today’s visit allowed us the opportunity to see some of the state’s investments firsthand, as well as the potential for future growth within the region. The Assembly Majority has long been a tireless advocate for economic growth and educational opportunities for every community across the state.”

Political Update

Syracuse Mayor May Challenge Governor in Democratic Primary

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) said last week that she is considering running for Governor in 2018.  Miner is term limited and cannot run for re-election to her current position this fall.

Miner was a Cuomo ally; in 2012, he chose her to serve as co-chair of the state Democratic Party.  But she has been critical of the Governor in recent years, accusing him of failing to address the dire financial condition of many of the state’s cities. She has also called for more state spending on infrastructure, including roads, bridges and water and sewer systems that are in need repair or replacement.

 Republican State Senator Exploring Possible Run for Governor

State Senator John DeFrancisco (R- Syracuse) said last week that he is considering a run for governor in 2018.  DeFrancisco, who serves as the Senate’s Deputy Majority Leader, said that he is meeting with key Republican Party officials around the state to see whether he can get enough party support to challenge Gov. Cuomo in 2018.

Winners & Losers

Each week, City & State New York publishes a list of the week’s political “winners” and “losers.”  Read last week’s list here.

Coming Up

The Board of Regents holds its next meeting on September 11 and 12.

The State Board of Elections holds its next meeting on September 15.