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NCPR News Staff: Karen DeWitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent
Karen DeWitt has covered state government and politics at the New York State Capitol for public radio for ten years. Before that she worked at WINS, New York. She has also written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life, Empire State Report, and Metroland. E-mail

Stories filed by Karen DeWitt

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a charter school rally in Albany yesterday. Photo: Karen DeWitt
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a charter school rally in Albany yesterday. Photo: Karen DeWitt

Cuomo and NYC mayor de Blasio talk education at dueling rallies in Albany

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke yesterday at dueling rallies on education at the State Capitol that highlighted the two politicians' differences over education issues.  Go to full article
A still from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new ad on upstate tax cuts.
A still from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new ad on upstate tax cuts.

Cuomo splashes out on ads promoting his budget priorities

Governor Cuomo is spending some of his multi-million dollar campaign war chest on ads to promote his state budget priorities.

The ads, which feature in part Cuomo speaking directly to camera, focus on the governor's pitch for his tax cut plan and an ethics package that includes public financing of political campaigns and a crackdown on bribery.  Go to full article
AQE's Billy Easton , CFE's David Sciarra and Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan D-Queens, discuss need for more school funding. Photo: Karen DeWitt
AQE's Billy Easton , CFE's David Sciarra and Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan D-Queens, discuss need for more school funding. Photo: Karen DeWitt

Education advocates seek more state aid for financially stressed schools

The deadline for the state budget is approaching, and education issues are taking center stage. One day before massive rallies for universal pre-K and charter schools, other advocates say they've gathered evidence that may lead to another lawsuit for more state aid for schools.

The Albany-based organization Alliance for Quality Education has been touring schools around the state to document what they say is erosion in districts in economically depressed areas.

AQE's Billy Easton says his organization has found schools forced to choose between offering music or art, band or Spanish. In some schools, there are no guidance counselors, or librarians. "These are serious resource deficiencies," Easton said. "The state is not doing its job."  Go to full article
Rob Astorino and family. Photo: <a href="http://www.robastorino.com/?mf_portfolio=35">RobAstorino.com</a>
Rob Astorino and family. Photo: RobAstorino.com

Cuomo's likely GOP opponent is Westchester County Executive

It's expected that Republicans will have an announced candidate for governor as early as next week. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has formed an exploratory committee, and has expressed interest in what most believe will be an uphill climb, against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is seeking reelection.

With Donald Trump potentially in the race, it's not yet clear whether Astorino would be the only GOP candidate for governor.  Go to full article
Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivering the 2014-15 Executive Budget Address. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/12075674644/sizes/z/in/set-72157640020641724/">Flickr</a>
Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivering the 2014-15 Executive Budget Address. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office via Flickr

Do NYS counties have a better property tax cut plan than Cuomo?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is starting a new push for the property tax freeze plan he outlined in his state budget address this January. Meanwhile, counties in the state say they have a better idea, which they say could result in lower property taxes in New York for even longer.

Cuomo's campaign is aimed at enlisting the aid of the public to help convince the legislature to approve the plan.  Go to full article
The NY Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC): Senator Diane Savino, Senator Tony Avella, Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein, and Senator David Valesky. Photo: IDC
The NY Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC): Senator Diane Savino, Senator Tony Avella, Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein, and Senator David Valesky. Photo: IDC

Queens Democrat joins NYS Senate's ruling coalition

The ruling coalition in the state Senate has grown by one member. Democratic Sen. Tony Avella, of Queens, has left the minority Democrats to join the Senate's ruling coalition, the Independent Democratic Conference.

Avella is a progressive-leaning Democrat who's been called a maverick. He says he's become convinced he can get more accomplished by joining the IDC, which includes all of the Republicans and a few breakaway Independent Democrats.  Go to full article
Saranac Lake middle school students take the state standardized English language arts test. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy  Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Saranac Lake middle school students take the state standardized English language arts test. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Poll finds New Yorkers divided on Common Core

Even as New York's public schools are in the process of adopting the new Common Core learning standards, a new poll finds New Yorkers remain confused about their value.  Go to full article
Inside the Capitol. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stgermh/">Holley St. Germain</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Inside the Capitol. Photo: Holley St. Germain, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

No consensus on prison college plan in Assembly

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed plan to fund college education for prison inmates doesn't have a consensus in the state Assembly, Speaker Sheldon Silver said Tuesday.

"It's always good to look at reducing recidivism," said Silver, who said he personally supports the governor's proposal. "Many of our members support this, and there are others who have expressed reservations."

The Speaker says he'll discuss the issue in a closed-door party conference in the coming weeks.  Go to full article
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today urged New York's state senate to pass the NY DREAM Act. Photo: Karen DeWitt
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today urged New York's state senate to pass the NY DREAM Act. Photo: Karen DeWitt

NYS Assembly speaker urges Senate to pass NY DREAM Act

Assembly Democrats Tuesday, by a vote of 82 to 46, passed a one-house version of the NY DREAM Act, a bill to give college aid to the children of undocumented immigrants. They urged the Senate to follow suit.  Go to full article
Gov. Cuomo, on the road yesterday in western New York, talked about his Executive Budget. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/page2/">Gov. Cuomo's office</a>, via Flickr
Gov. Cuomo, on the road yesterday in western New York, talked about his Executive Budget. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office, via Flickr

Would cutting the estate tax help New Yorkers?

Governor Cuomo's plan to cut the estate tax is drawing praise from fiscally conservative groups, and condemnation from advocates for the poor. Cuomo's proposal would raise the threshold for New York's estate tax from the current $1 million to $5.25 million, the current federal rate of taxation.  Go to full article

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