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News stories tagged with "government"

Paterson's cuts could redefine local government, jobs in North Country

As we've heard, New York state faces massive budget deficits that are expected to continue for years. Many of the spending cuts now being debated in Albany would have a direct impact on local governments here in the North Country. In many cases, county employees deliver the health and social service programs funded by New York state. Stephen Acquario is executive director of the New York State Association of Counties. He says people who rely on local governments - for everything from jobs to health care -could see painful reductions in the next year.  Go to full article
Mark Barie (Source:  SUNY Plattsburgh)
Mark Barie (Source: SUNY Plattsburgh)

At North Country tea parties, sounding the alarm over big government

Through the summer, the conservative "tea party" movement gained momentum across the country. Activist groups protested against what they view as a bloated Federal government. They also sparked controversy with fierce rhetoric opposing the policies of President Barack Obama. Here in the North Country, Plattsburgh businessman Mark Barie has helped to organize a group called "UNYTEA". It stands for The Upstate New York Tea Party. He spoke about the project with Brian Mann.  Go to full article

Constitutional convention gains support

Events over the past couple of years in Albany, including the resignation of a governor and a month long coup in the state Senate, have given weight to a growing movement to hold a constitutional convention. Supporters hope to remedy some of state government's ills. Karen DeWitt spoke to one legislator who has been spearheading the effort.  Go to full article

"Coup" consequences and 2010 elections loom as senators return to Albany

State Senators meet in Albany to vote on mayoral control of NYC schools, but the bigger story is the political climate in the capitol. It is the Senate's first day together since a failed Republican "coup" and a stalemate over majority power that brought all other business to a dead stop for five weeks. Two New York City Democrats switched sides June 8 to join Republicans in a coalition that gave the GOP the majority. The two eventually switched back, restoring a slim Democratic majority, and gaining leadership posts for themselves in the bargain.

Albany Times-Union state editor Casey Seiler talked with All Before Five host Jonathan Brown about the coup, the upstate-downstate effects of the new Democratic majority and today's special session.  Go to full article

Governor plans 1,300 job cuts in state prison system

Governor Paterson want to cut more than 1,300 jobs from the state prison system over the next year. That includes corrections officers and civilian workers. The massive downsizing plan would mothball inmate work camps and prison farms across the North Country, including Camp Gabriels north of Saranac Lake, Mount McGregor in Saratoga County, and part of Clinton Correctional in Dannemora. The Governor also wants to use parole and alternative-sentencing programs to shrink the number of inmates behind bars. Brian Mann reports has details.  Go to full article

Wall Street crisis looms over North Country governments, economy

The economic meltdown in New York City could have devastating repercussions here in the North Country. Across northern New York, local governments, including counties and school districts, are often the biggest employers. They provide crucial services from food stamps to education to health care. But much of the money that pays for those programs comes from taxes collected on Wall Street. Officials in Albany say the state revenue available to help local governments is drying up fast. Brian Mann spoke about the crisis yesterday with Stephen Acquario, head of the New York State Association of Counties.  Go to full article

Spitzer, Little seek local gov cost cuts

Last week, Governor Eliot Spitzer unveiled a new statewide task force designed to cut the cost of local government in New York. The state has more than 4,200 local government entities. Here in the North Country, some towns and villages serve only a few hundred people. In a statement, Spitzer said some government entities might be outdated. The Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness will include two elected officials from the North Country. Mayor Jamie Rogers, from the village of Lake Placid, and state Senator Betty Little, with both take part. Sen. Little has already made local government efficiency an priority in the state Senate. She spoke about the issue with Brian Mann.  Go to full article
Tax protest leader Robert Schulz from Queensbury (Source:  We The People website)
Tax protest leader Robert Schulz from Queensbury (Source: We The People website)

Federal government targets North Country tax protester

The deadline for filing state and federal income taxes hits next Tuesday. It's a day that millions of Americans dread. Around the country, a small group of tax protestors claim that the collection of income taxes is illegal and violate the U.S. Constitution. One of their leaders, Robert Schulz, lives in Queensbury and runs an organization called "We the People." Critics say Schultz's arguments amount to little more than an urban myth. But according to the Federal government, thousands of people have been misled by Schultz's amateur tax advice at a cost to the treasury of more than 20 million dollars. As Brian Mann reports, the Justice Department is now suing Schultz in an effort to end what they call a "tax scam."  Go to full article
Brett Rogers photo
Brett Rogers photo

A long Valentine's Day For the plowmen

We've been hearing about the emergency workers and road crews who've been hard at work the last couple of days, digging out from the Valentine's Day snowstorm. The guys on the front line of that effort are the plow drivers who worked round the clock struggling to keep roads and highways open. Brian Mann hitched a ride for a couple of hours on a plow in Saranac Lake. He sent this audio postcard.  Go to full article

Griffo looking for specifics

Joe Griffo is watching Albany from the inside the state Senate for the first time. Griffo was elected in November to represent the district stretching north from the Utica area to Massena. He succeeds his fellow Republican Ray Meier, who stepped down to run, unsuccessfully, for Congress. Like Meier, Griffo came to the state senate from the office of Oneida County executive. Before that, he was mayor of Rome for three terms. Griffo is one of only two new Republicans joining the majority in the Senate; this week he was named chair of the Senate Election Committee. He also will serve on the higher education, environmental conservation and energy committees, among others. He was in our studios yesterday. He told Martha Foley he's encouraged by the new spirit of cooperation in Albany, and new initiatives to reform ethics laws and the budget process. But he's looking for progress on specifics.  Go to full article

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