Economy

New York dairy farmers to get $21M for manure management

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

New York dairy farmers will get $21 million to implement on-farm projects to protect water quality and mitigate the impacts of climate change, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said Tuesday.

The funding will help CAFO-permitted farmers to help offset some of the cost of implementing projects for better manure management systems that reduce carbon and preserve nutrients used as fertilizer on fields. It can also fund precision feed management programs that reduce methane emissions.

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Hochul appoints new leadership to N.Y. state Office of Cannabis Management after assessment

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul made three new leadership appointments to the New York Office of Cannabis Management, her office said Monday, following an assessment of the office targeted to find opportunities for improvement amid the legal cannabis rollout.

Among the appointments is Felicia A. B. Reid as the executive deputy director and acting executive director. A nationwide search is underway for a permanent executive director and Hochul said the governor’s office will work with an experienced recruitment firm to identify qualified candidates from across the state and the country.

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Assembly passes bill to fix problem with farmworker overtime reimbursement

BY Spectrum News Staff Central NY

The New York state Assembly on Friday passed legislation related to the state's new farmworker overtime law that, if signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, would make it easier for some farm businesses to receive reimbursement.

Currently, some farms are ineligible to file for the reimbursement if they have a management company or LLC for payroll purposes or if they go through a thrid-party contractor for paycheck services.

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N.Y. Assemblymember Catalina Cruz: Bill to allow migrants to take professional licensing exams may not pass this session

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

With jobs waiting to be filled, some argue that it’s a no-brainer to allow undocumented immigrants to take professional licensing exams.

But according to New York state Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, legislation to do just that is having a hard time navigating the Legislature this late in the session.

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Big tech companies: Amended New York social media crackdown bills lack clarity

BY Kate Lisa New York State

As New York is slated to become the first U.S. state to regulate social media algorithms and young New Yorkers' addiction to the digital platforms, legislation amended late Monday is expected to clear the state Legislature at the end of the week to require people under the age of 18 to verify their age and mandate parental controls for minors who use the platforms.

The bill, known as the SAFE for Kids Act, would require social media companies have addictive algorithms turned off for New York users under the age of 18 — making the chronological feed the platform default for minors — unless a parent or guardian gives consent.

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How farmworker overtime rules left some dairy farmers without reimbursement options

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

Before the legislative session ends in Albany this week, dairy farmers and advocates are pushing for a change to the language of the overtime tax credit that so far has excluded some farm businesses from getting reimbursed.

Keith Kimball, owner of La Casa de Leche, a dairy farm in Alexander, Genessee, is one of the farmers currently ineligible for a tax credit that offsets increased overtime costs due to new state regulations.

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Expert: Some upstate New York cities heading for a 'fiscal cliff'

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Many of New York state’s mayors celebrated a long-awaited bump in state funding for their municipalities in the recently passed state budget.

AIM, or Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, will see a $50 million boost in unrestricted funding for cities — the first in 15 years.

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There's a push to end subminimum wage for people with disabilities in New York

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

People living with disabilities have a tough time finding work. But in New York, there’s another issue: If a person with a disability finds a job, there’s a chance that he or she will be paid a subminimum wage.

In 1938, during the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt signed section 14C of the Federal Labor Act into law, allowing the lower wage. Many people living with disabilities think it’s time for New York state to make the subminimum wage for people with disabilities a thing of the past, as 16 other states have done.

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Digital ad campaign targets lawmakers about NY HEAT Act support

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

Environmental advocacy groups like We Act 4 Change are making passage of the NY HEAT Act their top priority as legislative session nears its close.

Climate Justice Campaign Manager Annie Carforo said the legislation aims to align state policy with climate goals already on the books.

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Job market numbers a warning or return to normal?

BY Lacey Leonardi Syracuse
UPDATED 11:53 AM ET May. 29, 2024

There have been many uncommon and historic aspects of the economy over the past several years. Experts say the job market is only now starting to resemble pre-pandemic conditions. What does that mean for those looking for employment opportunities?

The nation’s unemployment rate has remained below 4% for more than two years. Hiring at the beginning of 2024 was more robust than all of 2023, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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New York Farm Bureau's new CEO discusses end-of-session bills

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The New York Farm Bureau’s new CEO Deanna Fox grew up on family farms in Chenango and Madison counties in Central New York, where her family raised dairy cattle, tapped maple sugar and raised horses.

In her new role, Fox told Capital Tonight that the organization is strongly supporting one bill and strongly opposing another in the few weeks left in the current legislative session in Albany.

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N.Y. film industry boosters push back on tax credit research

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Last year, New York state expanded its film tax credit to $700 million a year. The hope was that filmmakers would opt to make their movies here in New York rather than in Los Angeles or Vancouver or Atlanta.

The problem is that the film tax credit is paid for with taxpayer money, and several studies have come out showing that the return on this kind of investment isn’t that good. One consulting group the state paid to figure out whether the tax credit was worth it said that it is "at best a break-even proposition and more likely a net cost for the state.”

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House Farm Bill expands big programs, but sets up fight over SNAP and climate change

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

The House Committee on Agriculture released a nearly 1,000-page document drafting the long-awaited 2024 Farm Bill totaling $1.5 trillion – the first trillion-dollar farm bill in history.

“The Farm, Food and National Security Act of 2024 is the product of extensive feedback from stakeholders and all members of the House and is responsive to the needs of farm country through the incorporation of hundreds of bipartisan policies,” House committee chair Glenn Thompson, a Republican, said in a press release.

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Bankruptcy judge approves Genesis Global plan to refund $3 billion to creditors, crypto customers

BY Associated Press Albany

A bankruptcy court judge has approved a plan by the cryptocurrency lender Genesis Global to return about $3 billion to its creditors and investors, including thousands of people who New York regulators say were defrauded by the company.

The plan and settlement approved Friday by Judge Sean H. Lane includes up to $2 billion to settle a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who said the company misled investors about the risks of putting their money into a company program known as Gemini Earn.

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Declining membership, high-impact debates are priorities for New York Farm Bureau’s CEO

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

With declining membership, rising costs and heavy impact legislation debated in the halls of the state capitol and Congress, the new New York Farm Bureau leader says she hopes to push for new youth career initiatives and advocate for support for Empire State farmers.

CEO Deanna Fox grew up on a dairy farm in Chenango County, and many of her family members were farmers.

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Hochul announces $14.7 million to improve food supply chain

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY
UPDATED 3:35 PM ET May. 16, 2024

Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, New York will offer $14.7 million in funding for farmers and food businesses to strengthen the infrastructure of the food supply chain, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul's office.

“The Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program provides critical funding to support our food supply chain by investing in projects that modernize agricultural facilities, improve training and facilitate the purchase of new equipment,” Hochul said in a statement.

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State audit finds poor financial management by Central New York Regional Market Authority

BY Luke Parsnow and Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY
UPDATED 1:57 PM ET May. 14, 2024

The Central New York Regional Market Authority's financial position has deteriorated and will continue to see annual net losses if measures are not taken to increase revenues and reduce expenses, according to an audit released Tuesday by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.

The audit found the Syracuse-based public authority, which operates a farmers market and flea market to help vendors sell their products and has programs and services to promote agriculture in the region, has seen a total net decline from $6 million at the start of fiscal year 2020-21 to $4.9 million at the end of fiscal year 2022-23. Cash available to pay operating costs declined from $502,807 to a deficit of $6,539 over the same time period.

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Analysis finds IDA deals are costing New York public schools millions annually

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In 2015, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued new rules requiring state and local governments to disclose certain tax abatements in annual financial reports. This new requirement makes information about tax abatements at the state and local government levels available for the public to review, according to the Tax Policy Center.

The organizations Good Jobs First and Reinvent Albany recently published an analysis of that public information.

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New $50 million modernization project set for Genesee Brewery

BY Brian Campbell Rochester
UPDATED 3:16 PM ET May. 06, 2024

Rochester's Genesee Brewery is set to undergo a $50 million modernization project, its parent company FIFCO USA announced Monday.

The project will increase the brewery’s capacity with the installation of new tanks and equipment. Plans call for the facility to help supplement the Canadian production and shipment of Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light lines of beer, making this the first facility to produce these lines in the United States.

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Push grows to expand New York's liquor shipment, container laws

BY Kate Lisa New York State
UPDATED 8:49 PM ET May. 03, 2024

State lawmakers want to expand the types of alcoholic beverages that can be directly shipped to New York consumers and how restaurants buy alcohol in the state before legislative session ends in about five weeks.

The $237 billion state budget extended to-go alcoholic beverages for five years through 2030, and allows movie theaters that serve food to get a liquor license. Several lawmakers plan to make alcohol-to-go permanent in the future.

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New York insurance industry warns coverage crisis could be looming

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. - An April report by the New York Civil Justice Institute finds in most cases, the insurances costs in the state are higher than anywhere else in the country.

Scott Hobson, of Big I New York, an industry advocacy group, said while high premiums are always an issue, the report lays out an even bigger concern.

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New York small business owner: Don't mess with TikTok

BY Brooke Reilly Orange County

President Joe Biden signed a bill last week that could lead to a ban of TikTok nationwide.

While the potential of a TikTok ban is still a little way’s away, small business owners are concerned that banning the app could negatively impact their businesses.

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University at Buffalo expects synergy between Empire AI and Micron

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York state has already announced its Empire AI Consortium, named the University at Buffalo as the program's hub and even secured private contributions.

However, UB Vice President of Research and Economic Development Venu Govindaraju said it wasn't until lawmakers passed the budget over the weekend, including $250 million for the initiative, that it officially became a reality.

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New York small businesses concerned over possible TikTok ban

BY Louis Finley Manhattan

A TikTok video put Abbey Kowalec and her business on the map.

“I find that when someone reaches out to me, the first thing they say is, ‘Oh, I found you on TikTok,’” Kowalec said. “I would say 70 to 80% of my customer base comes from TikTok.”

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Biden to visit Syracuse on Thursday following Micron funding deal

BY Luke Parsnow Central NY
UPDATED 11:38 AM ET Apr. 22, 2024

President Joe Biden will visit Central New York on Thursday on the heels of an announcement of funding for Micron, Spectrum News 1 learned Monday.

The president will visit Syracuse to discuss the economic impact of the CHIPS and Science Act, the White House said. The exact details of his visit have not been released.

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Fiscal Policy Institute shares analysis of state budget

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

As lawmakers vote on the remaining budget bills, the Fiscal Policy Institute’s Nathan Gusdorf joined Capital Tonight to share an early analysis of the budget that will be in place for the next fiscal year.



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N.Y. cannabis farmers blast pushback to expedite retail licenses

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Stakeholders in New York's cannabis industry are growing apart about how regulators must fix its dragging rollout as the state Office of Cannabis Management undergoes a state executive review.

The Cannabis Farmers Alliance on Wednesday blasted the Cannabis Association of New York in response to a letter that the organization sent to the Cannabis Control Board last week warning against the swift issuing of several more retail licenses. As part of its ongoing OCM review, the executive chamber is pressuring board members to expedite hundreds of retail licenses to defeat the state's thriving illicit market.

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Progressive advocates call for higher taxes on high earners in New York

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

For many New Yorkers, tax day isn't a day to celebrate but advocates in New York state used the day to call for higher taxes on the highest earners here in the Empire State.

Michael Kink, the executive director of Strong Economy for All, joined Capital Tonight on Tax Day to talk about tax revenue and spending priorities.

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Online tool shows only half of New Yorkers earning living wage

BY Shalon Stevens Syracuse
UPDATED 7:03 AM ET Apr. 15, 2024

A researcher from Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations designed a free tool, The Wage Atlas Tool, that allows users to look at wage data by profession and different demographic variables. The tool shows that only half of New Yorkers are making a living wage.

Compassion Coalition is a non-profit that runs Bargain Grocery in Utica. He knows food insecurity is an issue across New York State.

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Alcohol law changes under discussion as New York state budget negotiations continue

BY Jack Arpey New York State

New York is currently taking a look at state liquor laws that many criticize as being antiquated and harmful to businesses.

Some of that is up for discussion in the state budget, including a pandemic-era policy allowing restaurants to sell to-go cocktails that is scheduled to sunset next year. Another would allow bars and restaurants to purchase a limited quantity of liquor from a nearby store.

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Broker says real estate settlement will bring change but unclear how much

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The real estate industry, home buyers and sellers are currently waiting on a judge's approval of a settlement agreement reached last month.

The suit brought by sellers against the National Association of Realtors argued the current commission process violated anti-trust rules. NAR, with more than one million members, denies wrongdoing but agreed to pay $418 million and develop a new set of rules.

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Last call for dry towns? New York weighs lifting post-Prohibition law that let towns keep booze bans

BY Associated Press New York State

New York towns and villages that have post-Prohibition bans on alcohol sales would be forced to lift such restrictions under a bill moving through the Legislature.

The bill, which is up for a state Senate vote after advancing out of a committee last week, would strike down a 1934 law passed right after Prohibition that allowed towns and cities to opt to stay dry.

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Confusing start ends with judge voiding New York cannabis third-party marketing rules

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Canterra is a prospective Buffalo dispensary that was originally planning to build downtown.

Founder Matt Krupp said there were complications with that location though so his group pivoted and recently received approval from both the state and city to open what would be the first licensed shop in the city's busy Elmwood Village.

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New York lawmakers push increase in TAP income threshold in final budget

BY Jack Arpey New York State

New York lawmakers are pushing for more higher education funding in the final enacted state budget.

While Gov. Kathy Hochul’s excutive budget includes significant funding, those lawmakers are hoping to go further, making changes to the Tuition Assistance Program, or TAP, which helps eligible New York residents pay tuition at approved schools in New York state.

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Fiscal Policy Institute argues under proposed N.Y. spending plan, inflation-adjusted state funding is falling, again

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

While some New York state budget watchdogs are warning lawmakers to rein in spending, the union-backed Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) has recently released an analysis that shows the Legislature is simply proposing spending growth that would return the state to its 2014 level of spending, before former Gov. Andrew Cuomo implemented tax cuts and a 2% spending cap.

Nathan Gusdorf, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, discussed spending, inflation and raising taxes with Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter on Thursday.

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Proposed tax credit would help New York local news organizations

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York state is losing thousands of journalists and the stories they would tell.

Empire State Local News Coalition Founder Zachary Richner said in the past two decades the state has lost roughly half of its newsrooms, including recently, three prominent Westchester newspapers.

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Facing growing challenges, New York maple producers call for more federal help in farm bill

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

Cabbage, strawberries and maple syrup are among specialty crops that aren’t covered with insurance, but farmers and advocates are pushing to change that in the new farm bill.

“We have a lot of specialty crop producers in New York, and we’re working to ensure all farms have access to these programs,” said New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher during a press conference highlighting their national priorities.

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App-based food delivery workers see first annual minimum pay rate hike

BY Patrick Adcroft New York City

The minimum wage for app-based restaurant delivery workers in New York City increased Monday thanks to a rule the city issued last summer requiring their pay to be adjusted for inflation each year.

Delivery workers for apps like Uber Eats and Grubhub will now earn at least $19.56 per hour, before tips, Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference.

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U.S. economic growth for last quarter is revised up slightly to a healthy 3.4%

BY Spectrum News Staff and Associated Press Washington, D.C.

The U.S. economy grew at a solid 3.4% annual pace from October through December, the government said Thursday in an upgrade from its previous estimate. The government had previously estimated that the economy expanded at a 3.2% rate last quarter.

The Commerce Department's revised measure of the nation's gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services — confirmed that the economy decelerated from its sizzling 4.9% rate of expansion in the July-September quarter.

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Port Authority of N.Y., N.J. can help prevent supply chain disruptions caused by Baltimore bridge collapse, governors say

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a joint statement Thursday that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey can take on additional cargo in an effort to minimize supply chain disruptions caused by the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland earlier this week.

“We are ready to support Governor Moore and the people of Maryland in any way,” the statement reads. “We have seen over the past several years that indefinite port closures can impact national and global supply chains, which hurt everyday consumers the hardest.”

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Citizens Budget Commission warns against hiking taxes and high spending in state budget

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

On Wednesday, New York state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins confirmed that the Legislature will be pursuing a budget extender as talks will likely go past the April 1 deadline.

With the extra time for negotiations, Patrick Orecki, director of state studies at the Citizens Budget Commission, is urging lawmakers to rethink their spending plans.

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6 New York villages designated in fiscal stress, state comptroller says

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Six villages in New York have been designated to be in fiscal stress, according to a report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office released Wednesday.

Using the Fiscal Stress Monitoring System, the comptroller’s office’s evaluation of local governments found one village in “significant fiscal stress,” one in “moderate fiscal stress” and four as “susceptible to fiscal stress.”

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Advocates push for minimum wage parity between upstate and NYC; business leaders express concern

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Advocates and some state lawmakers are pushing for consistency between the minimum wage upstate and in New York City.

Known as the Upstate Parity and Minimum Wage Protection Act, the bill would create a statewide minimum of $17 per hour. As of Jan. 1, the minimum wage in New York City, Westchester County and Long Island sits at $16 per hour. In upstate New York, it’s $15 per hour.

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Seneca Gaming Compact 'deadline' is March 31

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It's a deadline perhaps in the loosest terms of the words.

In December, New York state and the Seneca Nation agreed to extend their current gaming compact another quarter to March 31. But they also agreed quarterly extensions would continue until they reached a new deal or either side decided to stop them.

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Report: New York business owners found new opportunities despite COVID's obstacles

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York business owners continued to find and pursue new opportunities despite the multiple obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis released Monday by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

“New Yorkers have always had a great entrepreneurial spirit and drive, and that was no different even during some of the more difficult times of the pandemic,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Policymakers should encourage small business growth, and particularly initiatives to spur entrepreneurship and foster successful businesses that reflect the diversity of our state.”

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Hochul launches assessment of N.Y. state Office of Cannabis Management

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

An assessment of the New York Office of Cannabis Management will aim to find opportunities for improvement amid the legal cannabis rollout, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said Monday.

Jeanette Moy, the state Office of General Services commissioner, will serve as lead and executive sponsor of the effort.

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Syracuse city auditor calls for more state funding for localities

BY Tim Williams New York State

Syracuse's newly minted city auditor Alexander Marion is calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to devote more money to Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, or AIM funding, and commission a task force to redesign the formula.

In a letter sent to Hochul on Thursday, Marion argues “funding for municipalities needs to be a priority for New York state.”

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A war of words over tax hikes, affordability when it comes to why people are leaving New York

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The New York state Assembly and Senate will release and vote on their own one-house budgets this week. One of the big questions the budgets will answer is this: Will lawmakers push for a tax hike on the state’s wealthiest citizens or not?

New York relies heavily on the Personal Income Tax (PIT) tax, so a perennial argument in Albany balances whether to increase taxes on the wealthy to bring in needed revenue, against the possibility of the wealthy fleeing the state.

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Advocates push for cost-of-living adjustment increase for N.Y. human services workers, including some nonprofit employees

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Pushing for a cost-of-living adjustment for human services workers was the subject of a rally at the New York state Capitol on Monday.

Not only that, but also at hand was the urge to form a panel that would ensure wages not be allowed to slump to levels that have brought groups out multiple times already this session.

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Land-based fish farms in New York face challenges in quest to grow seafood industry

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

With only a handful of land-based aquaculture operations in the state, producers and state officials look to grow the industry, but know they face challenges from regulatory and water use to profitability and start-up costs.

New York’s aquaculture industry is dominated by marine aquaculture, and more specifically, oyster farming off Long Island, said Michael Ciaramella, a seafood safety and technology specialist with New York Sea Grant, which is part of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

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N.Y. has recovered private-sector jobs lost during pandemic, state data shows

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Nearly four years after the onset of COVID-19 forced many businesses to close and threw thousands of people out of work, New York appears to have recovered the number of private-sector jobs lost during the pandemic, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor.

Preliminary seasonally adjusted figures show the number of private-sector jobs in the state increased in January by 47,000, for a total of 8,346,200 jobs statewide. New York had about 8,333,800 private-sector jobs before the pandemic hit in March 2020, data shows.

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Farm Bill and H-2A labor among national priorities for New York Farm Bureau

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

The New York Farm Bureau highlighted reforms to the H-2A wage rates and continued its push for an updated Farm Bill to support specialty crop producers, dairy farmers, climate smart agriculture and mental health resources.

“We need Congress to pass an updated Farm Bill as much has changed since the passage of the 2018 bill. We had a pandemic, record high inflation, rising supply costs and global unrest. Updating the farm safety net to help farmers manage risk is necessary to keep America’s food supply strong,” said New York Farm Bureau president David Fisher in a press conference Thursday.

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Schumer, Gillibrand secure $16.4 million for North Country local projects

BY Luke Parsnow Northern NY

New York's North Country would receive nearly $17 million in funding for local projects in water infrastructure, child care and emergency response times should the biparisan spending package for Fiscal Year 2024 pass the U.S. Senate as expected, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Thursday.

The package passed the House of Representatives 339-85 on Wednesday evening.

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Panel says New York, Maryland and maybe California could offer internet gambling soon

BY Associated Press New York State

With Rhode Island this week becoming the seventh U.S. state to launch internet gambling, industry panelists at an online gambling conference predicted Wednesday that several additional states would join the fray in the next few years.

Speaking at the Next.io forum on internet gambling and sports betting, several mentioned New York and Maryland as likely candidates to start offering internet casino games soon.

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N.Y. lawmakers, advocates call for increased wage replacement benefits

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

In 1989, a gallon of gas cost around a buck, and a ticket to the movies took less than $5 out of your pocket.

That year was also the last year that the wage replacement benefit in New York was increased. Now, state lawmakers, including Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Cooney, of the Rochester area, is looking to increase that benefit from $170 per week to $1,100. Cooney joined Capital Tonight to break it down.

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Advocates say New York state isn't holding up its end of the bargain on Tier 6 pension

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Advocates and lawmakers joined forces at the state Capitol on Tuesday to rally for reform to the state’s pension system.

Beginning in 2012 with the introduction of what is known as Tier 6, advocates say employees in public service who entered under that designation have received less benefits and security than previous generations doing the same work.

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Oneida County awarded $23.6M to develop semiconductor supply chain campus

BY Luke Parsnow Oneida County

Oneida County has been awarded $23.6 million to develop a premier semiconductor supply chain campus on a parcel at Griffiss International Airport, County Executive Anthony Picente’s office said Tuesday.

The funding will allow for the county and its partners — Griffiss Local Development Corporation (GLDC) Mohawk Valley EDGE, C&S Companies and the City of Rome — to complete infrastructure and transportation improvements to a 332-acre site known as the “Triangle Site” to support up to 3.9 million square feet of developable area. This includes electrical upgrades, water and sewer extension, transportation and access upgrades, natural gas extensions and more.

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Farmers prep to lobby New York Legislature ahead of budget talks

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Farmers from around the state will lobby state lawmakers Tuesday before state budget talks grow serious to increase funding to support local food production and small family farms grappling with increased costs and green energy mandates.

Hundreds of members of the New York Farm Bureau kicked off the annual agricultural lobbying effort with a reception in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Monday night — showing off dozens of locally produced vegetables, fruits, craft beverages and other products.

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New York legislative Labor Committee chairs renew effort for minimum wage parity between upstate, downstate

BY Tim Williams New York State

On Monday, New York state lawmakers and advocates will join together at the Capitol to announce that the newly minted chair of the Assembly Labor Committee, Rochester’s Harry Bronson, will be the prime Assembly sponsor of legislation that would create a minimum wage parity between upstate and downstate New York.

The bill, known as the Upstate Parity and Minimum Wage Protection Act, would create a statewide minimum wage floor of $17 per hour. As of Jan. 1, the minimum wage in New York City, Westchester and Long Island sits at $16 per hour. In upstate New York, that figure rests at $15 per hour. By 2026, the minimum wage in non-upstate areas will rise to $17 per hour, while upstate will rise to $16 per hour.

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NYCOM again pushes for increase in state funding for local governments

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The New York state Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM) is once again reiterating a request to increase funding for local governments that pays for things like supplies and wages for police officers and firefighters, according to a letter it sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders.

AIM funding, which stands for Aid to Municipalities, has totaled about $715 million a year since 2012 and has remained relatively stagnant since that time. Mayors from across the state have been pushing for an increase after AIM funding level remained the same in the governor's executive budget proposal.

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New York lawmaker introduces bill to ban dynamic pricing amid Wendy's plan to test it on their menus

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

A New York state lawmaker introduced legislation on Thursday that aims to ban dynamic pricing on food items in response to fast food chain Wendy's plan to test a system where prices for various items could fluctuate based on demand.

Democratic state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, of the Capital Region, introduced the "Fair Food Pricing Act," which his office said is meant to protect consumers from potential exploitation and manipulation.

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Hochul: $45M going to 7 N.Y. locations to attract high-tech manufacturing businesses

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

More than $45 million has been awarded to improve seven locations in New York so that they may attract high-tech manufacturing businesses, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Friday.

The money comes from the FAST NY (Focused Attraction of Shovel-Ready Tracts) program, which is designed to prepare and develop sites to increase the chances of large employers and high-manufacturing companies to settle on those locations.

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Jackpots of 3 New York draw games generate $63.9M for schools, small businesses

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Jackpots for three of New York’s popular draw games — Mega Millions, Powerball and NY LOTTO — have generated more than $63.9 million for public schools and small businesses, the state Gaming Commission said Thursday.

Individually, as of Thursday, the jackpots for Mega Millions have generated $23.8 million; Powerball $17.8 million; and NY LOTTO $13.4 million. Sales for the three games have also generated $8.9 million in commissions for lottery retailers, according to the commission.

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Hochul penalizing Google maps for illegal pot shop surge

BY Bernadette Hogan New York City

Up against at least 1,500 illegal marijuana shops in New York City, Gov. Kathy Hochul slammed social media companies Wednesday for listing the stores online.

It’s been a two-year challenge for state regulators charged with writing and enforcing the rules tied to the legal cannabis market.

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Two perspectives on the updated New York packaging reduction bill

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

If you’ve ever purchased anything from Amazon, you’ve probably had to open a plastic bubble mailer and then a second or even third plastic wrapper to get at the thing you ordered.

It’s one reason why more than 300 advocates and elected officials converged on Albany Tuesday to push lawmakers to pass a bill to reduce packaging. Advocates argue that single-use plastic is one of the most serious issues facing the environment.

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Upstate New York's tech hub application due next week

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- This week, Saratoga County-based GlobalFoundries announced a plan to invest $12 billion in private and public funds over the next decade to triple its capacity to meet a growing demand for advanced semiconductor microchips.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made it his goal to make upstate New York a center for the burgeoning industry.

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New York farm worker unionization can resume after restraining order lifted

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Roughly 500 farm workers at five New York state farms were in the process of unionizing in October when a temporary restraining order froze the state law allowing them to organize.

However, on Wednesday in Western District Court, Judge John Sinatra Jr. lifted all but one piece of the order following a hearing on motions for a preliminary injunction. The United Farm Workers said they should now be able to resume organizing.

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New York Liquor Authority special committee starting to make progress on application backlog

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

For nearly three months now, a special committee formed by the New York State Liquor Authority has been addressing what was a backlog of roughly 6,000 applications.

Since its formation in late November, the SLA says the committee has reviewed 272 applications. The committee has approved 67 so far and 61 failed to meet program criteria which requires that applications do not face opposition or involve complex or controversial issues. Another 144 are pending approval upon receipt of additional information or conditions met by the applicants.

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Biden admin., Schumer announce proposed $1.5B grant for chip production in N.Y. and Vermont

BY Joseph Konig New York State

The White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will announce on Monday a proposed $1.5 billion grant to a semiconductor manufacturer for facilities in New York and Vermont.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Schumer said that the projects the grant will help fund are expected to create more than 10,000 jobs.

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New York's finances stabilized since pandemic and budget gaps reduced, but challenges remain, comptroller report says

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York state Comptroller Tim DiNapoli says the state’s finances have stabilized after the years-long disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, and along with the state Division of the Budget, is forecasting reduced budget gaps while pointing out that fiscal risks and challenges remain, according to a report on the budget his office released Thursday.

“New York state has taken positive steps to stabilize its finances with higher reserves and lower projected budget gaps,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Still, the Executive and the Legislature face the difficult challenge of ensuring adequate funding for our schools, health care programs, and other critical needs while improving the state’s affordability."

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New York comptroller: State's housing cost burdens among nation's highest

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York continues to rank as one of the states with the highest cost burden for housing, according to a report released Wednesday by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The report found almost 3 million New York households are dealing with housing costs that consume more than 30% of their household income, with one in five households experiencing a housing cost of more than 50% of their income.

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Steep drop in number of farms in New York, new report shows

BY Vince Briga and Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

Farmland continues to disappear from New York state, with dairies alone dropping by one-third in the past five years, according to new federal data.

“I’m concerned about the state of agriculture and food production in this country,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in a press conference today.

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Fiscal watchdog: New York ranks top in nation for taxes, second for spending

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York and its localities ranked top in the nation in taxes and second for spending in 2021, according to a report released Tuesday morning by the Citizens Budget Commission.

The report found the state led in taxes in both collecting the most per person and the most per $1,000 of personal income, at $135. Spending was 50% more per capita than the national average in 2021 and was only lower than Alaska.

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Why the USDA expects farm income to plummet in 2024

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member and Justin Velazquez Central NY
UPDATED 9:19 PM ET Feb. 12, 2024

Projections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture say net farm income is expected to decrease $43.1 billion in 2024 compared with 2023 – the largest year-to-year drop in history.

“It aligns with what we have been seeing because commodity prices have been dropping and expenses have been going up,” said Steve Ammerman, a spokesperson for the New York Farm Bureau.

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New York farming advocates, lawmakers lay out agricultural budget priorities

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Members of and advocates for New York’s farming industry came to Albany this week to outline their legislative priorities, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted that farm income in the US will decline by record levels in 2024.

“Agriculture and Markets is the industry’s economic development arm, there are so many things in the governor’s executive budget that farmers rely on,” said Jeff Williams, director of public policy for the New York Farm Bureau.

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NYCOM makes argument for increased 'Aid to Municipalities' funding

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The money that municipalities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany receive from the state is called Aid to Municipalities, or AIM funding. Cities use AIM to pay for things like supplies and wages for police officers and firefighters. AIM has totaled about $715 million a year since 2012.

Using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator, if you spent $1,000 on supplies and wages back in 2012, they would cost you $353 more in 2024.

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New York state park visits hit another attendance record in 2023

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

A record number of people visited New York state parks, historic sites, campgrounds and trails in 2023, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Wednesday.

The number of visits to those sites totaled 84.1 million last year, an increase of nearly 4.7 million, or 6%, compared to 2022, which also set its own record for the 11th consecutive annual increase. Over the last two decades, state park attendance has climbed steadily, increasing nearly 60%.

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Hochul: More than $15M going to 19 tech, manufacturing projects in New York

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

More than $15 million will go to support 19 projects involving technology, business redevelopment, manufacturing and transportation across New York as part of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Monday.

This round of funding included core capital grant and tax-credit funding from Empire State Development.

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Wine in New York grocery stores up for debate again this year

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Whether or not to allow grocery stores to sell wine in New York is an issue that comes up nearly every legislative session.

"I think the revenue that will come off of it will be significant," Business Council of New York Executive Vice President Paul Zuber said.

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