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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announcing their tentative budget agreement on March 20, 2013. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57782386@N06">Flickr</a>
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announcing their tentative budget agreement on March 20, 2013. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office via Flickr

Who's paying taxes in new NYS budget?

The new state budget that lawmakers are enacting this week contains a tax package that includes both tax breaks and tax increases.

The spending plan comes just two months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there would not be any new taxes in the budget.  Go to full article
Jeff in class. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Alternatives to Incarceration: One man enters the system

When Governor Nelson Rockefeller pushed through his landmark drug laws in New York forty years ago, he argued that any alternatives to his new tough on crime zero tolerance approach had failed:

"I was on this kick of trying to get the addict off the street, into treatment. Now this was a beautiful concept, except it just didn't happen to relate to the realities because the pushers keep finding new people. And I have to say that as far as I am aware, there is no known, absolute cure for addiction."

But in recent years, those Rockefeller Drug Laws have gone through a series of reforms. These days, cash-strapped states like New York are struggling to reduce inmate populations so that they can close expensive prisons. Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to mothball two more correctional facilities downstate this year.

And reducing the number of people behind bars means experimenting with diversion programs for non-violent drug offenders: States are offering counseling programs, rehabilitation and therapy, and opening alternative, "drug courts." The goal is to battle drug addiction without incarceration.

This week, as part of our Prison Time Media Project, Natasha Haverty follows the journey of one man through a system that's trying to turn away from mass incarceration. Here's part one of her three-part series.  Go to full article
People line up to testify before the Vermont Public Service Board on Thursday, March 21, 2013. Photo: Sarah Harris

VT, NY weigh in on proposed natural gas pipeline

A proposed natural gas pipeline from Vermont to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga, New York, has some Vermont residents up in arms.

But International Paper and the North Country Regional Economic Development Council argue that supplying the mill with natural gas is vital to the North Country economy.  Go to full article
Photo: <a  href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/freefoto/">freefotoUK</a> CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">some rights reserved</a>

Jefferson County school district could cut 23 jobs

State budget numbers released late Tuesday show the General Brown Central School...  Go to full article

Midnight votes keep budget on schedule

Another overnight session in Albany as the New York State Senate pushed to finish up work on the state budget.

The governor and legislative leaders decided to...  Go to full article

Book review: "Safekeeping"

Vermont author, Karen Hesse, earned the Newbery Medal and a MacArthur Fellowship. Her new book for Young Adults is set in Vermont and explores a world gone wrong. Betsy...  Go to full article