Economy

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 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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House committee advances bill on SALT relief demanded by N.Y. Republicans

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State

The House Rules Committee on Thursday advanced a bill that could provide some added relief on state and local tax deductions, or SALT.

"The cap itself sunsets in [2025] and so I think the feeling at the moment is, we're going to advocate for what we think we can achieve to make a meaningful step toward providing relief as relates to state and local taxation," Republican U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro said.

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New York state Senate Labor Committee chair Jessica Ramos discusses strengthening the workforce

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul this week approved a plan for the state to hire migrants to fill 4,000 open entry-level state positions in roles including food service and equipment repair. The plan would help to cut down on the current 10,000 estimated vacant positions the state is seeking to fill.

Under Hochul’s proposal, the migrants would not need to take the state’s civil service exam. The Civil Service Commission voted to approve the measure on Jan. 18.

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Ride-sharing companies eye reform of New York lawsuit-lending industry

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Two of the largest ride-sharing companies in the U.S. are turning up the pressure on state lawmakers to impose stricter regulations on New York's growing lawsuit-lending industry — changes they argue will reduce insurance costs and boost drivers' pay.

Uber and Lyft joined the coalition Consumers for Fair Legal Funding, which relaunched a push Tuesday to rein in unregulated lawsuit lending, or loans to finance litigation paid before reaching a settlement.

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Some New York farmers cut hours for workers amid overtime changes

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

New overtime threshold rules for New York farmworkers have caused confusion for both owners and their staff, resulting in reduced working hours, farmers said in recent interviews.

Farmworkers say they are upset with changes that went into effect Jan. 1 that moved the overtime threshold in New York state down from 60 to 56 hours. The rule means farmers have to start paying overtime after 56 hours worked. Farmers are eligible to apply for a tax credit to offset what they pay their workers, but three upstate farmers said they are still cutting hours.

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Advocate, Office of Cannabis Management debate elements of New York's rollout

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

At 1 p.m. Wednesday, the New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) will meet in New York City.

Joe Rossi, the cannabis practice group leader at Park Strategies, is advocating that New York’s cannabis entrepreneurs attend the meeting, in person or virtually, to speak out on issues affecting the state’s cannabis rollout. Attendees may sign up here.

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Online gambling proposal is back on the table in New York

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Interactive gaming or iGaming is a form of mobile or online wagering.

New York legislators are currently considering a proposal that would include casino table games like poker, blackjack and roulette. State Senate Gaming Committee Chair Joe Addabbo is the sponsor.

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Meta proposes framework for federal teen social media protections

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Across the country, states are proposing or enacting legislation to regulate how kids interact with social media, including a New York bill Gov. Kathy Hochul is prioritizing this year.

Dayna Geldwert, a public policy manager for Meta, said the patchwork approach is not the answer.

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Fiscal Policy Institute wants Hochul, Legislature to make N.Y. taxes set to expire permanent

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

While advocates on the left and the right agree that something should be done about New York’s population loss, they don’t agree on how to fix the problem.

One example: The fiscally moderate Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) applauded Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision not to raise taxes on the wealthy. The CBC’s president stated, “Wisely, the Governor did not include a broad tax increase... Holding to this, and ensuring that temporary increases sunset on time, is critically important to New York’s competitiveness.”

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Hochul budget proposal includes language to expedite up to 5 prison closures

BY Ryan Whalen Albany

Legislation proposed in Gov. Kathy Hochul's executive budget would allow New York to close up to five correctional facilities with 90 days' notice.

The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) said the language allows the state to act "expeditiously to right-size and eliminate excess capacity," thus increasing operational efficiency.

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Hochul proposes $200M to create 4 high-tech workforce development centers across upstate

BY Justin Velazquez Central NY

In outlining her state budget plan Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed dedicating $200 million to open four workforce training centers along the state Thruway corridor connecting Syracuse, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo.

With Micron and other high-tech manufacturers coming to the Central New York region, the governor said it is vital to meet a growing workforce demand. If the training centers remain in the budget lawmakers pass later this year, Syracuse-based economic development organization CenterState CEO would coordinate the flagship center of the facilities in Syracuse.

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Cautiously optimistic for New York farmers, agriculture commissioner looks ahead at 2024

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

New York farmers faced many challenges in the past year, including severe weather, inflation and changes to the farmworker overtime threshold, but Commissioner of Agriculture Richard Ball said he is cautiously optimistic going into 2024.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty but I like our chances because farmers in New York have proved over and over again we’re resilient. When we take a beating or have a climate problem, we’ll be back. We’re not done,” Ball said Thursday at the annual gathering of the New York Agricultural Society in Syracuse.

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Hochul unveils plan to create consortium on artificial intelligence

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

A consortium would be created to promote research, create jobs and unlock opportunities related to artificial intelligence, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed Monday.

Known as Empire AI, the governor's plan would create and launch a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence computing center in upstate New York. The University at Buffalo is under consideration as a potential site.

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Texas-based company hopes to build power plants with carbon sequestration in Southern Tier

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration is investing heavily in a new technological process called “carbon capture, sequestration, and utilization," which, in theory, buries carbon dioxide.

A company called “Southern Tier CO2 to Clean Energy Solutions LLC” or more simply, Southern Tier Solutions, is in the process of asking landowners in Broome, Chemung and Tioga counties to lease over 100,000 acres to create test wells.

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Poll: Strong majority of New Yorkers support raising taxes on wealthy

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

A strong majority of New Yorkers support raising taxes on wealthy earners and profitable corporations to fund public programs, according to a new poll commissioned by Invest in Our New York Campaign and conducted by Siena College that was released Friday.

The poll found 74% of state residents believe taxes should go up for the highest 5% of earners. About the same percentage of respondents, and 72% of upstate residents, believe raising taxes on the rich should be the solution to address any state budget shortfall rather than cutting services, according to the poll.

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New York Sen. Sean Ryan plans to reintroduce non-compete ban bill

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As time was running out for the governor to sign legislation banning non-compete agreements in New York state, the bill's sponsor felt they had reached a compromise to alleviate some of her concerns.

State Sen. Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, said lawmakers were willing to allow the clauses for employees making $250,000 a year or more but the deal fell apart.

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Hochul wants to strengthen consumer protections in 2024

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday gave New Yorkers an early preview of plans she'll unveil in more detail in next week's State of the State address aimed to expand consumer protections, increase paid medical and disability leave and other proposals to make the state more affordable.

The governor wants to change the state's consumer protection law for the first time in 34 years to protect against abusive business practices, she said during a speech in her Manhattan office. It will embolden the state attorney general office's authority to enforce consumer protections and punish predatory debt collectors and operators.

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Phase-in of New York farm worker overtime change begins Jan. 1

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

With the beginning of the new year also begins the gradual lowering of the threshold for when farm workers will qualify for overtime pay in New York.

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, the overtime threshold for those employees will be lowered from 60 to 56 hours a week. It will then be reduced by four hours a year until 2032, when it will reach 40 hours a week.

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New York minimum wage increases coming in 2024

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo
UPDATED 12:16 PM ET Dec. 28, 2023

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Starting Jan. 1, the minimum wage in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County will increase from $15 to $16 an hour and from $14.20 to $15 across the rest of the state.

However, the Business Council of New York State's Director for the Center of Human Resources, Frank Kerbein, said the new scale is more complicated than that with different rates for tipped service employees, tipped food service workers and an adjusted threshold for staff exempt from overtime pay.

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Lake George gets $10M in downtown revitalization funds

BY Spectrum News Staff Lake George

Lake George will receive a $10 million grant as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday while visiting the region.

The governor did not specify what exactly will be funded at this time, but says the money will help the community jump start a new era.

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New York lawmakers propose rest stop bill aimed at Chick-Fil-A

BY Tim Williams New York State

This week, state lawmakers proposed legislation that would require restaurants in rest stops on the Thruway and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to be open seven days a week. The bill is aimed at Chick-Fil-A, the fast food eatery, which is in renovated rest stops on the Thruway, which is closed by company policy on Sundays.

Chick-Fil-A, as a matter of company policy, is closed on Sundays “to allow Operators and their team members to enjoy a day of rest, be with their families and loved ones, and worship if they choose.” The policy has been with the company since it opened its first restaurant in 1946.

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Report: 2007 recession, COVID-19 led to drop in local government workers in past 15 years

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The number of full-time local government employees located outside of New York City has shrank nearly 8% over the last 15 years, according to a report Thursday from New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The report found the number of workers in local government fell 7.9%, or nearly 39,000, between 2007 and 2022, from 491,102 to 452,298.

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N.Y. attorney general urges U.S. Court of Appeals to rule for organization supporting women of color entrepreneurs

BY Jack Arpey New York State

New York Attorney General Letitia James along with 19 other attorneys general say they are taking legal action to support women of color entrepreneurs.

The coalition is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to rule that the non-profit organization, the Fearless Foundation, can continue operating to provide grants, mentorship and assistance to women of color entrepreneurs.

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Advocates call for Gov. Hochul to sign bill banning neonic pesticide-treated seeds

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

Environmental advocates, doctors and organic farmers continued their call for Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign the Birds and Bees Protection Act, which bans the use of corn, wheat and soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides.

As the primary sponsor of the bill, Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal from Manhattan urged Hochul to approve the legislation to prioritize the health of New York residents.

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Hochul: $10 billion going to semiconductor research, development center at Albany NanoTech Complex

BY Jack Arpey and Luke Parsnow Albany

A $10 billion partnership will establish a semiconductor research and development center at Albany NanoTech Complex, Gov. Kathy Hochul and industry leaders announced Monday in Albany.

The collaboration by the state, IBM, Micron, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, and others will fund the construction of a cutting-edge High NA Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography Center – the first and only publicly owned High NA EUV Center in North America – that will support the research and development of semiconductors.

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State comptroller cautions lawmakers ahead of budget season with dismal taxpayer migration report

BY Bernadette Hogan New York City

New York’s top money manager released a new report showing the state’s tax collections were negatively impacted by people leaving the state due to the pandemic — issuing a word of caution to lawmakers ahead of budget season.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli published a review of the data from the state Department of Taxation and Finance, comparing tax collection information between 2020 and 2021 to pre-pandemic trends.

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Ortt believes Gaming Compact extension likely means Senecas and state are close to new deal

BY Ryan Whalen Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- If New York state and the Seneca Nation of Indians had not found a solution before Dec. 9, roughly 3,000 Seneca gaming jobs in Western New York could have have been in jeopardy.

However, the two sides agreed to an extension until March 31 of the current 20-year-old compact necessary for Seneca casinos to continue to operate.

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Injunction lifted that blocked some New York cannabis licenses

BY Capital Tonight Staff New York State

An injunction blocking progress for New York state's recreational marijuana industry is lifted as a judge signs off on a settlement agreement between the Office of Cannabis Management and four veterans.

The state had been blocked from issuing, processing or reviewing Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary Licenses, known as the CAURD program, since Aug. 7, preventing hundreds of licensees from opening a business.

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Hochul, Seneca Nation reach agreement on temporary Gaming Compact extension

BY Tim Williams New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Seneca Nation of Indians President Rickey Armstrong Sr. announced Friday evening a short-term extension of the current Gaming Compact with negotiations continuing on a long-term agreement.

The current compact was set to expire on Dec. 9. However, with the extension agreed upon on Friday, that deadline is now pushed to the day the state budget is due: March 31. Under the short-term extension, the three gaming properties operated by the Seneca Nation can remain open and operating. The current compact will stay in place after March 31 unless a new deal is reached or either party decides to end it.

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Company says state law could delay dismantling Indian Point by 8 years

BY John Camera Hudson Valley
UPDATED 1:00 PM ET Dec. 01, 2023

Environmental activists won big when Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a new regulation into law, prohibiting the release of nuclear wastewater into the Hudson River. But it could have some unintended consequences.

Village of Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker says closing the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant is going to have a huge impact. She says the village lost half of its revenue following the closure.

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Will individuals follow advertisers and leave X?

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The owner of X, formerly Twitter, Elon Musk issued an apology at the New York Times DealBook Summit this week for amplifying antisemitic conspiracy theories.

However, Musk was combative when asked about major companies including Apple, IBM and Disney pulling advertising from X earlier this month in response to his social media activity.

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New York state Sen. Sean Ryan on non-complete legislation, session, and Congress

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

On Tuesday, advocates made their way to the state Capitol to call for Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign legislation that would ban so-called non-compete clauses for employees.

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Sean Ryan, joined Capital Tonight to discuss the bill, respond to criticisms, and the latest on the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins.

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New York Farm Bureau makes final push for Gov. Hochul to veto pesticides bill

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member Central NY

A bill banning the use of neonicotinoids pesticide treated corn, wheat and soybean seeds awaits the signature of Gov. Kathy Hochul, but the New York Farm Bureau is making a final push for her to veto the legislation citing concerns about its impact on farmers.

“When we talk about seed treatments and especially this year with such a wet weather season, the pest pressures were very high and so farmers need seed treatments to control pests on their fields,” said Jeff Williams, director of public policy at the New York Farm Bureau.

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Examining the retail cannabis market in New York

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

The New York Office of Cannabis Management on Monday took a step forward in ending a lawsuit waged by disabled veterans by approving a settlement agreement.

Cannabis market advocates are hopeful this can help boost a slow rollout.

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Hochul signs bill into law aimed to protect freelance workers

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed a bill into law that aims to provide protections for freelance workers experiencing non-payment for their services, the governor's office said Wednesday.

The “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act establishes a right to a written contract with certain terms, timely and full payment and protection from retaliation and discrimination for exercising these rights.

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New York private sector jobs down 10,300 in October, report says

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The number of private sector jobs in New York state decreased over the month of October by 10,300, or 0.1%, according to preliminary seasonally adjusted figures released Thursday by the state Department of Labor.

The number of private sector jobs stands at 8,252,000.

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Parties appear to have reached agreement in CAURD lawsuit that has held up N.Y. cannabis industry development

BY Jack Arpey New York State

A group of New York service-disabled military veterans suing New York's Office of Cannabis Management's Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensaries program appear to be close to reaching a settlement with the state.

In a motion filed Monday, Brian T. Burns, counsel for the plaintiffs, said the parties had reached an agreement in principle.

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OCM: October inspections of unlicensed shops yield $6.2 million in cannabis seizures

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State

Inspections of shops in October led to the seizure of an estimated $6.2 million worth of unlicensed cannabis, according to the state Office of Cannabis Management.

The OCM and Department of Taxation and Finance conducted inspections of 47 shops "suspected of selling unlicensed cannabis," according to an OCM press release, throughout October. All told, they seized nearly 1,400 pounds of cannabis in various forms.

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Economist: New data shows ‘good news’ and ‘warning signs’ for economy

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce released data that showed the country’s gross domestic product grew, at a better than expected, 4.9%.

Russell Weaver, an economic geographer and director of research at the Cornell ILR Buffalo Co-Lab, told Capital Tonight that “there was a ton of good news in last week’s economic report” but adds there are “some warning signs” in the data as well.

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New York cannabis operators look to growing retail market

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

Earlier this week, New York lawmakers heard testimony from stakeholders and experts in the retail cannabis sphere.

On Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard from representatives from the medical marijuana side of things which will soon enter the retail market and heard from a retail cannabis retailer who recently opened their doors.

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New York lawmakers propose task force to examine crypto industry

BY Ryan Whalen City of Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York state Senate Banking Committee Chair James Sanders says it's time for the state to get ahead of the curve when it comes to the emerging industries of digital currency, cryptocurrency and blockchain.

"Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Is it something that New York state should push? Should we get to the head of this? Is this something that needs more regulations?" said Sanders, a Democrat from Queens.

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As games continue, sports betting grows in New York

BY Justin Velazquez Syracuse

According to a survey by the American Gaming Association, more than 73 million Americans plan on betting on the NFL this season, almost a 60% increase from last year. Despite being a huge football fan, John Wolohan, a sports law professor at Syracuse University, won’t be a part of that record breaking number.

“I do not bet on sports. I bet once and I was too nervous," he said. "I really do enjoy football and enjoy watching it, but the thing is if I put money on the game, it just ruins the experience.”

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New York comptroller: Third-quarter local sales tax collections up from last year

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Local government sales tax collections in New York totaled $5.9 billion in the third calendar quarter of 2023, which is up from the same period last year, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office said in a report released Tuesday.

The comptroller said the increase was 3.6%, or more than $205 million. This is the second consecutive quarter of collections returning to lower pre-pandemic year-over-year growth rates.

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Hochul announces investments in renewable energy projects

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced what she called the largest state investment in renewable energy in United States history, conducting of three offshore wind projects and 22 land-based projects, her office said Tuesday.

The state will commit $300 million and attract an additional $668 million in private funding.

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Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse win federal tech hub designation

BY Ryan Whalen and Keegan Trunick New York State
UPDATED 6:25 PM ET Oct. 23, 2023

Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse together as a region have won a federal tech hub designation, according to U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer's office.

The designation is part of the CHIPS & Science Act, which recognizes the role of semiconductor technology in national security. It focuses on domestic chip production and supply chain security in an effort to reduce reliance on foreign manufacturers.

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State comptroller predicts drop in Wall Street profits for 2023

BY Spectrum News NY1 New York City

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has issued a concerning report, predicting a drop in Wall Street's profits this year compared with 2022.

According to his analysis, the financial sector may see a decline of about $1 billion. DiNapoli elaborated on these findings during an interview on "Mornings On 1" Thursday.

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Hochul: 18,000 New York jobs available that migrants can apply for

BY Luke Parsnow New York State
UPDATED 1:53 PM ET Oct. 05, 2023

New York state has identified 18,000 job openings involving 400 employers who are willing to hire migrants and asylum seekers who have reached legal work status in the U.S., Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Monday.

Hochul has been imploring state business leaders over the last few weeks about securing employment for asylum seekers, which she has said repeatedly will solve two solutions at once: addressing the humanitarian crisis with the migrant influx in the state that has filled shelters while also addressing businesses' labor shortages.

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New York opens up applications for more cannabis licenses

BY Erica Brosnan and Spectrum News NY1 New York City

New York state on Wednesday began widening the pool of potential applicants in the latest effort to expand the legal cannabis market in the state.

The Office of Cannabis Management plans to issue as many as 1,000 licenses, including for cultivation, retail and processing. Licenses had been available on a limited basis since February 2021 to nonprofits and those with previous marijuana convictions.

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Farm industry asks court to halt enforcement of New York collective bargaining rules

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York's Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act has provisions that could require farms to enter into collective bargaining agreements guaranteeing workers continued employment for multiple growing seasons.

However, attorney Josh Viau said the federal H-2A program prohibits that kind of commitment for foreign workers on temporary contracts.

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Environmental advocates urge New York state to reject subsidies for proposed plastics factory

BY Ryan Whalen Lockport

LOCKPORT, N.Y. -- Eighty environmental organizations signed a letter Monday urging New York state agencies, including Empire State Development, the state Power Authority and the Department of Environmental Conservation to reject public subsidies for SRI CV Plastics, a company that wants to build a new factory in the town of Lockport.

Beyond Plastics National Organizing Director Alexis Goldsmith, whose organization is leading the pushback, said the company could be seeking as much as $300,000 in state tax breaks and incentives.

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United Auto Workers unit in New York joins nationwide strike

BY John Camera Hudson Valley

It’s been more than 120 hours since the 80 members of United Auto Workers Local 3039 walked out. The staff the New York parts distribution center for Chrysler in Tappan, in Rockland County, and are the first in the state to go on strike since a nationwide UAW strike started earlier this month.

It’s an important strike for Local 3039 President Jeffrey Purcell and his members.

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Unusual coalition urges Hochul to sign 'LLC Transparency Act'

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In 2021, at the "Summit for Democracy," U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen discussed the dangers of “the many financial shadows in America that give corruption cover.”

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are one such tool that can live among those shadows because they allow owners to remain anonymous.

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Hochul to New York business leaders: Employ asylum seekers

BY Seamus Lyman New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke to New York state business leaders Friday about securing employment for asylum seekers, alluring businesses to New York and tackling large budget deficits in the years ahead.

Hochul addressed the Business Council of New York State at the group’s annual retreat in Bolton Landing on Lake George. It features meetings focused on issues impacting business in the state over the next decade or more.

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New York Public Employees Federation members rally for law change to end workplace abuse

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Hundreds of state workers say they've had enough of perpetual bullying and abuse from their managers, and started an early legislative push Thursday to change state law and provoke a culture shift they say is decades overdue.

Hundreds of members of the state Public Employees Federation, or union that represents New York state employees, marched near the state Capitol and around the Empire State Plaza on Thursday calling for an end to a pervasive culture of workplace bullying and harassment.

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New York agencies ordered to freeze spending in budget proposals amid gap

BY Seamus Lyman New York State

New York state agencies are being ordered to freeze spending in their budget proposals for the next fiscal year as the state faces major budget gaps in the years ahead.

In a letter to agency commissioners Wednesday, New York state Budget Director Blake Washington Wednesday said budget requests should not exceed what was approved in this year's $229 billion budget. This is what's known as the annual "call letter" outlining the governor's priorities and any fiscal constraints.

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Gov. Hochul announces over $6 million in grants to protect farmland

BY Emily Kenny, Report for America corps member CNY

Over $6 million will go toward protecting 2,000 acres of farmland in New York through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

“Protecting our state’s farmland is a critical component not only to protecting our environment but also maintaining the viability of the state’s agricultural industry for generations to come,” Hochul said in a press release.

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Comptroller: State-funded Nourish New York program needs better oversight

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

An audit of a state-run program that sends surplus food from farms to people who are struggling with food insecurity found agencies managing it may have limited funding for certain food bank purchases, benefiting fewer farmers and needs better oversight, according to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.

Nourish New York originated from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when schools and restaurants had to shut their doors and the demand for products like milk plummeted. With nowhere to go with their products, many farmers were forced to dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk while at the same time thousands of New Yorkers lined up at food banks, many for the first time, leaving empty shelves and concerns over a possible food shortage.

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New York lands first major financial award of CHIPS Act

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced one of the first major awards from the CHIPS & Science Act is going to a New York-based consortium.

Known as the Northeast Regional Defense Technology Hub, the consortium will get $40 million from the Department of Defense’s Microelectronic Commons Program and aims to bring together academia, industry and government organizations to help New York’s chips industry with innovation, attract new companies, strengthen the workforce and bolster the industry.

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N.Y. convenience stores demand high-profile celebrities stop endorsing flavored vapes

BY Ryan Whalen New York State

BUFFALO, N.Y. — This week, the New York State Association of Convenience Stores sent cease and desist letters demanding rapper Snoop Dogg, former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan and former boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson pull their names from flavored nicotine vapes.

"We're trying to elevate this issue for policymakers to understand that a way forward is to stop making these products look so glamorous and start cracking down on the retailers and the manufacturers and distributors and now the celebrity endorsers," NYACS President Kent Sopris said.

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New lawsuit challenges cannabis third party marketing ban

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A new lawsuit in Albany County state Supreme Court lays out a timeline of what it calls New York's disastrous rollout of cannabis regulations, including litigation that has effectively stalled the industry's growth.

Amid all this, the Cannabis Control Board approved new regulations last week that appear to address concerns that resulted in a court-ordered pause on the approval of new licenses or opening of new dispensaries.

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New York comptroller: Sales tax collections up 4% in August

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Local sales tax collections in New York grew by 4% in August compared to the same month in 2022, according to data released Monday by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.

DiNapoli said collections reached $1.78 billion, which is higher than the $67.9 million collected in August of last year.

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New York tourism spending, economic impact was up in 2022, surpassed pre-pandemic levels

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York tourism spending and economic impact in 2022 returned to pre-pandemic levels and even exceeded previous records set in 2019, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Wednesday.

The state had a record 291.5 million visitors in 2022, the largest number in the state's history. Those visitors generated more than $78.6 billion in direct spending and $123 billion in total economic impact, a 4% increase from 2019, the governor's office said.

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New laws signed aimed to bolster public sector workforce in New York

BY Kate Lisa New York State

As members of the Civil Service Employee Association, the state's largest public labor union, rallied Thursday morning in Albany about an increasing shortage of public service workers, Gov. Kathy Hochul joined them to sign two pieces of legislation to help fill thousands of open positions.

The new laws will require the state Department of Civil Service to notify public school districts, colleges and universities, local Board of Cooperative Educational Services and certain job training programs of upcoming civil service exams. The organizations will soon be able to sign up for electronic announcements of exam dates and other information.

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New York state food banks pushing to raise minimum SNAP benefit

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The minimum monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit is $23, a number that many hunger advocates agree is too low.

“New Jersey recently passed a law to raise the minimum SNAP benefit to $95,” FeedingNYS executive director Dan Egan told Capital Tonight. “[New York] is better than New Jersey."

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New York $1 cigarette tax hike goes into effect this week

BY Justin Velazquez New York State
UPDATED 6:30 PM ET Aug. 31, 2023

The state will raise its cigarette tax by $1 a pack on Friday, making New York one of the most expensive places in the nation to purchase cigarettes.

Effective Sept. 1, the cigarette tax increases to $5.35 a pack from $4.35, making it the highest cigarette tax in the nation. The increase was part of New York’s $229 billion budget plan approved this spring.

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Judge rules no exemptions as New York cannabis license injunction continues

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

A judge is ordering a preliminary injunction remain in place for conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CAURD) licensees and no exemptions be granted amid a lawsuit that claims some New Yorkers who applied for state-issued cannabis licenses were unfairly given preferential treatment.

This comes after the judge on Friday ruled to allow 23 cannabis stores to open in New York amid the injunction but asked the state Office of Cannabis Management to show that the 30 stores listed for exemption had completed everything needed in order to open. The office said it submitted those materials on Monday, but the judge said it did not provide clarity.

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