Relaxed drug laws drop number of prison inmates, resulting in security prisons and camps to close. Syracuse man in jail for violently attacking is wife and two sons. Autopsy scheduled to identify if the fire victim was a household resident. Maker of popular canoes in Lake placid rebuilds his business after fire.
Bloomberg, other NY mayors take on Cuomo budget
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to lead off a lineup of local government officials statewide to weigh in on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget.
Cuomo proposes to keep municipal aid flat, but offers some ways to help municipalities out of their fiscal crises. Monday's hearing by the Legislature is part of budget talks leading to a final state budget by April 1.
Cuomo is offering the same $715 million in unrestricted aid for the 2013-14 fiscal year as local governments are getting this year, as many outside New York City slip deeper into fiscal crisis.
Cuomo proposes a $143 billion budget that increases spending more than 5 percent, boosted by federal aid for recovery from Superstorm Sandy.
Anti-smoking groups: Cuomo budget cuts effort
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's top anti-smoking groups say Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal will again cut effective anti-smoking programs.
The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and other groups urge Cuomo to back off on what they say will be the latest of a series of state budget cuts for anti-smoking programs including TV ad campaigns. Their letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
Cuomo said in his 2013-14 budget presentation last week that his budget would be "expanding tobacco cessation efforts."
His proposal calls for consolidating 89 health awareness and prevention programs into six pools. Groups would compete for funds. Anti-smoking groups say that would ultimately reduce funding for their programs.
The budget proposes $40 million for all the programs, the same total the groups now receive.
NY looks at license suspension for tax delinquents
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants New York to be able to suspend driver's licenses for people who owe more than $10,000 in taxes.
Cuomo in his budget proposal this week asked for suspension power in tax delinquency cases once administrative and judicial reviews are exhausted.
Administration officials say there are about 9,000 New York taxpayers who owe more than $10,000, and they estimate the law could prompt 40 percent of them to settle. The law is expected to boost tax receipts by $26 million in its first year, though annual revenue is expected to drop after the initial bump.
The license suspension could be lifted once there's an agreement to start paying back taxes. The tax delinquents could be granted a restricted license for work and school.
NY expects further drop in prison inmates
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York officials project the state's prisons will shed 1,000 more inmates over the next four years, partly because of relaxed drug laws. That follows a 25 percent drop since 1999.
The inmate population is below 55,000 after peaking at more than 72,000 in 1999 under the harsh Rockefeller-era drug laws.
Over the same period, authorities report a nearly 20 percent drop in violent crimes and property crimes.
Several sentencing provisions have been eased since the drug laws were enacted in 1973. Gov. Nelson Rockefeller championed them to fight a drug epidemic and related crime.
The prisoner total is expected to fall another 4 percent in four years.
As a result, the state has been closing minimum- and medium-security prisons and camps.
Central NY man charged with attacking family
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) A Syracuse man is in police custody and his wife and two sons are in the hospital after a violent confrontation in the city.
Police say 46-year-old Lawrence Stokes Sr. is accused of stabbing his 17-year-old son Shaquill Stokes in the eye and chest shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday. He's accused of stabbing his 23-year-old son Lawrence Stokes Jr. in the face and striking him in the head with a hammer. He's also accused of hitting his wife, Carolyn Smith, in the head with a hammer.
Police also charged Stokes with stealing the wallet of an unidentified person.
Police Sgt. Tom Connellan said the motive for the assaults is under investigation.
Stokes is being held at the Onondaga County Justice Center Jail pending arraignment in Syracuse City Court.
Autopsy planned to ID body from NY house fire
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) An autopsy is planned to identify a body found in an Albany house after firefighters put out a fire.
Firefighters were called to the wood-framed one-family home shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday and found flames coming from both the front and back. After they put out the flames and searched the house, they found a body in a second-floor rear bedroom.
Albany Fire Chief Robert Forezzi says three people lived there but it's unknown whether the victim was one of the residents. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Maker of popular canoes loses NY shop to fire
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) The owner of Placid Boatworks says he's rebuilding his business after his shop was destroyed by a fire.
Joe Moore tells the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that nearly everything inside his Lake Placid building was destroyed by the fire early Friday morning. There were three other businesses besides his boat shop.
Moore said about 20 boats were burned up along with tools and boat molds. He posted a message on Facebook asking owners of his popular SpitFire and RapidFire canoes to let him use their boats to rebuild molds used to make the lightweight crafts.
He said he'll probably take up an offer of shop space at Spencer Boatworks in Saranac Lake.
Spencer Boatworks, which restores classic motorboats, lost its old shop to fire in May 2011.
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