Coverage of Albany and New York State government

  • Governor Appoints Advisory Panel to Address New York City-Area Mass Transit, Traffic Issues
  • Governor Criticizes President Trump, FEMA for Puerto Rico Storm Response
  • Governor: Special Legislative Session May Be Needed to Address Federal Health Care Funding Cuts
  • Comptroller: New York Sends Million More to Washington Than it Receives
  • State Identifies Offshore Areas for Potential Wind Development
  • SUNY Will Offer In-state Tuition to Students from Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
  • Political Update
  • Coming Up

Governor Appoints Advisory Panel to Address New York City-Area Mass Transit, Traffic Issues

Last Thursday, Gov. Cuomo announced the appointment of “Fix NYC,” an advisory panel that will develop proposals to address traffic congestion on New York City roads and highways, while producing a dedicated funding stream for the MTA. The Governor has directed the panel to issue a report in December so that they can be considered during the 2018 legislative session.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“New York City is home to some of the most gridlocked streets in the nation and with this new advisory panel, we take a major step forward in coming up with a real solution to tackle the issue of congestion while helping to fund mass transit moving forward. I look forward to hearing the panel’s proposals to help bring relief to millions of New Yorkers and visitors who drive on our streets and rely on mass transit every day.”

Governor Criticizes President Trump, FEMA for Puerto Rico Storm Response

Last Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo criticized the response by federal emergency response officials to the post-storm recovery in Puerto Rico, saying that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not adequately prepare for the hurricane before it hit the island.

He also criticized President Trump for not traveling to the island territory earlier, saying his presence would have brought comfort to the residents recovering from the devastation.

The Governor made his remarks at Westchester County Airport, where he announced that the state was sending emergency medical supplies and medical personnel to assist in the island’s recovery.

Governor: Special Legislative Session May Be Needed to Address Federal Health Care Funding Cuts

Last week, Gov. Cuomo said that he may call the Legislature back to Albany before the end of the year to address federal health care funding cuts.

On October 1, cuts in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments, which are federal funds that help hospitals cover the cost of serving poor and uninsured patients, went into effect.  State budget officials said that the cuts, if not restored, will result in a loss of $1 billion in CHIP funding and $1.1 billion to hospitals throughout the state over the next 18 months.

At a news conference, the Governor said that he may call the Legislature back to Albany “if we know the cuts will not be restored by Dec. 31.”

Comptroller: New York Sends Million More to Washington Than it Receives

Last Tuesday, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released a report which finds that in 2016 New York State received 84 cents for every dollar that its residents sent in taxes to the federal government.  This deficit – now at $40.9 billion — has grown since DiNapoli prepared a similar report in 2015.  The national average is $1.18 received from Washington per dollar sent.

Comptroller DiNapoli said:

“New York sent an estimated $40.9 billion more in tax payments to Washington in 2016 than it received back in federal spending.  While the Empire State fares well in some areas, in total it receives significantly less per tax dollar than the vast majority of states. Federal decision makers should consider this imbalance as they debate proposed budget and policy changes that could significantly impact New York and other states.”

State Identifies Offshore Areas for Potential Wind Development

 Last week, the New York State Energy & Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that it has asked the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to consider identifying and leasing at least four new Wind Energy Areas off New York’s Atlantic Coast.

Each area is capable of accommodating at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind generation and are at least 20 miles from the Long Island and New Jersey coasts, so they will not be visible from shore.

The proposed sites are recommendations; BOEM will ultimately identify the wind energy areas and issue long-term leases for their use. New York plans to launch bids for offshore wind energy contracts starting in late 2018 or early 2019

New York has a goal of 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 from federal waters primarily off the Long Island coast.

SUNY Will Offer In-state Tuition to Students from Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

On Friday, the SUNY Board of Trustees voted to allow students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin to pay in-state tuition if they transfer to a SUNY college. The islands were significantly impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma last month.  The City University of New York is expected to take similar action later this month.

SUNY board chairman H. Carl McCall said:

“SUNY has a responsibility, as a public institution, to step in and help students when circumstances beyond their control may affect their ability to attend, pay for, and succeed in college.”

Political Update

Poll:  De Blasio Has Massive Lead in Mayoral Race

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week shows incumbent New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio having the support of 61 percent of likely voters.  His Republican opponent Nicole Malliotakis has 17 percent support; Reform Party candidate Sal Albanese is polling at 8 percent; and independent candidate Bo Dietl gains 6 percent support.

Political Reporter to Run for State Senate in Brooklyn

On Tuesday, Ross Barkan said that he plans to run for the State Senate seat currently held by Republican Marty Golden as a Democrat.  Barkan, who has written for the Village Voice and other publications, plans to highlight healthcare; local transportation issues; tenant protections; and political reform.

Golden has represented the 22nd Senate District, which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Marine Park, Manhattan Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, and parts of Midwood, since 2003.  He ran unopposed in 2016.

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

On October 12, the Assembly Agriculture Committee is holding a public hearing on oversight of the SFY 2017-2018 State Budget for the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The Board of Regents holds its next meeting on October 16 and 17.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) holds its next meeting on October 19.

The state Gaming Commission holds its next meeting on October 23.

The State Board of Elections holds its next meeting on October 23.

On October 24, the Senate Government Operations and Investigations Committee is holding a public hearing in Manhattan “to examine cyber security in New York State, including methods that can be employed to protect its citizens.”

On October 30, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) is holding a public hearing on its proposed lobbying regulations and proposed source of funding regulations.

Also on October 30, the Assembly committees on Corrections and Health are holding a public hearing on ‘Healthcare in New York correctional facilities.’

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) holds its next meeting on October 31.

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