Economy

New York's Unemployment Picture Continues to Vary

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Think of the map of New York like a funnel: On the edges are parts of Upstate New York like Albany and Ithaca where unemployment is high, but at a relatively lower level than New York City.

And New York City would be the funnel's mouth: A yawning 13.9% joblessness rate that's higher than the statewide 9.7% average in September, according to regional labor statistics released on Tuesday.

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New York's Unemployment Falls to 9.7% in September

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York's statewide unemployment rate fell in September from 12.5 percent to 9.7 percent as the private sector added 75,300 jobs, according to numbers released Thursday by the state Department of Labor.

In New York City, unemployment fell from 16 percent to 14.1 percent as the tourism and hospitality industries continue to face the brunt of the pandemic's aftershocks.

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New York City's Billon-Dollar Restaurant Industry Takes Deep Hit

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The restaurant industry last year in New York City was a multi-billion sector of the economy, generating more than 300,000 jobs and doing $27 billion in taxable sales.

It's a much different picture in the plague year of 2020, however, as the industry has been battered by the coronavirus and economic shutdown to halt its spread.

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Housing Advocates Wanted a Better Debate, Too

BY Nick Reisman New York State

This week's presidential debate between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden was more of a food fight than exchange of weighty policy issues.

But that's left out some key issues for advocacy groups that affect basic tenants of life -- issues like affordable housing.

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Unemployment Rates Vary Across New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Statewide, New York's unemployment picture is this: Declining from Depression-era unemployment earlier this year due to the pandemic-induced shutdown, the state's unemployment rate fell from 15.9 percent in July to 12.4 percent in August.

But across the state, the joblessness picture is less clear. It's not a tale of two states; it's a tale of four or five states.

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How to Fix the Upstate Economy? One Group Has a Proposal

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Delaying an increase in the minimum wage upstate, halting an expansion of farmworker labor benefits and reducing sales and income taxes are among the proposals from the pro-business Unshackle Upstate in a report meant to boost growth in the region's economy.

The report comes as upstate New York, like the rest of the country, is struggling amid the recession created by the coronavirus pandemic.

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How One Small Business Group Is Judging Albany This Election Year

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The NFIB on Thursday is set to release its voting record report, assessing two years' worth of economic and small business issues put before lawmakers in Albany.

The group, which represents small businesses, included measures for small business regulatory reform, expanded labor rights and benefits for farmworkers, an expansion of the prevailing wage and a measure meant to reduce the state's carbon footprint.

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MTA Faces Dire Need for Federal Help, NY Officials Say

BY Nick Reisman New York City

New York City's mass transit system is in dire need of a federal aid package or risk a potentially costly borrowing plan and fare hikes, state officials on Thursday warned.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's finances were devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown. Commuters stayed home or largely avoided trains, buses and subways and fares plummeted to levels never seen before, starving the MTA of revenue.

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Recession Creates Hunger; How People Are Pitching In

BY Nick Reisman New York State

When you meet Sister Betsey Van Deusen the first impression you get is she's tough to keep up with.

It's understandable given how busy she is these days as the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on the economy. Millions of people are out of work. Social safety nets spread thin. People on the margins can fall through the cracks.

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New York's Unemployment Rate Remains High, But Jobs See Gains

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York's unemployment rate continued to climb, reaching 15.9% in July even as the private sector added jobs last month, the state Department of Labor on Thursday reported.

The state saw an increase of 244,200 jobs, a 3.6% increase in July. But issues remains as the coronavirus pandemic-induced recession lingers across the economy.

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Sales Tax Continued Slide in July

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Revenue from the sales tax for local governments fell $116 million or 8.2 percent during a similar period last year, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Wednesday said, as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The revenue decline is the latest monthly drop in sales taxes amid a pandemic that has closed businesses and left millions of people out of work.

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Why New York City's Finances Could Spell Trouble for All of New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York City was not in a good position to withstand the economic headwinds created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism has disappeared. Broadway has shuttered. Restaurants have been severely curtailed and many have closed. Sure, the stock market is doing well, but that's wholly different from middle and low-income jobs that have been lost or small businesses that have closed.

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Cuomo: $3 Billion New York Environmental Bond Act Postponed

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, which would have been the largest in state history, was supposed to reduce the risk of flooding for vulnerable communities, restore habitat, and prepare the state for climate change.

It’s become another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Undocumented, Excluded Workers Need Pandemic Relief, Report Says

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Undocumented immigrants and excluded workers who do not currently qualify for unemployment aid should receive assistance through a special state fund, a progressive group found in a report to be released later Thursday.

The report from the Fiscal Policy Institute outlines the argument for the fund, which would affect about 5 percent of the state's workers and the 40,000 people who are being released from incarceration.

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Local Governments Have Lost Billions in Economic Activity

BY Nick Reisman New York State

County governments and New York City have lost a combined $13.5 billion in economic activity over two fiscal years that could lead to cuts in spending for services as well as a permanent loss of jobs, the New York State Association of Counties warned in a report released on Monday.

The report comes as Congress is negotiating the next coronavirus stimulus package that could include billions of dollars in aid to governments on the state and local level around the nation after their finances were devastated by the pandemic-induced recession.

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New York's June Unemployment Rate Hit 15.7%

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 4:25 PM ET Jul. 16, 2020

New York's unemployment rate increased to 15.7 percent last month, despite the private sector adding jobs to the economy, the state Department of Labor on Thursday announced.

In New York City, which had been an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, more than one in five people are unemployed, a rate of 20.4 percent.

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As Economy Opens, New York Revenue Still Down

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

As New York's economy was in the process of reopening last month, state tax revenue still lagged, a report released Thursday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office found.

Tax receipts in June were down $1.5 billion from the previous year, missing the mark by 17.3 percent.

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DeWitt Planning Board OKs Amazon Plant

BY Spectrum News Staff DeWitt

The Town of DeWitt Planning Board has approved a second proposed Amazon warehouse.

The future site splits the area off of Interstate 481 and Kirkville Road into two separate lots.

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Senate Democrats Open To Loan Approval For New York City

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York City should have "limited" authorization for a loan to bolster its coffers as the pandemic has ripped through the ciity's finances, but Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also urged patience in developing a plan.

The top Democrat in the state Senate over the weekend in a statement backed the concept of granting loan approval for New York City, a key step for Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration.

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Bill Would Expand Earned Income Tax Credit as Pandemic Recession Will Likely Linger

BY Nick Reisman NY State of Politics Blog

A bill would expand the state's earned income tax credit in order to benefit low-income households that were likely hit hard by the economic fallout created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure, sponsored by Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, is meant to provide a boost to those households amid widespread job losses and virtual lack of economic activity during the spring months in New York that shriveled tax coffers at all levels of government in the state.

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Cut to Services, Higher Taxes, and Debt: What Counties Face With Loss of Sales Tax Revenue

BY Nick Reisman New York State

In Erie County, 40 percent of its 2018 revenues came from the sales tax. Onondaga County's sales tax share was nearly 43 percent. And Broome County's sales tax accounted for more than a quarter of the cash it took in that year.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a significant budget problem for county and local governments that rely on sales taxes as a source of revenue as commerce drew to a standstill in mid-March and the economy is slowly reopening over the last several weeks in New York, a report released this week by Moody's found.

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Lawmakers Want to Tax the Rich to Fix Pandemic Battered Economy

BY Capital Tonight Staff City of Albany
UPDATED 10:15 AM ET Jun. 19, 2020

New York's richest residents should see their taxes increased in order to shore up a budget battered by the coronavirus pandemic, according to statement backed by 99 members of the state Assembly and Senate to be released on Thursday.

The statement, also backed a range of politically key labor unions and progressive organizations, calls for tax increases to offset the revenue losses in order to avoid deep cuts to spending to areas like health care and schools.

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Small Business Tax Credit For PPE Purchase Considered

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Congressional lawmakers on Wednesday announcd a propsal that would create a tax credit of up to $25,000 for small businesses to purchase personal protective equipment.

The tax credit would also benefit non-profits, veterans' organizations, independent contractors, farmers and those who are self-employed.

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New York Tax Receipts Tumbled In May

BY Morgan McKay City of Albany

State tax receipts for May were down 19.7 percent compared to the year before, according to the monthly state cash report.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced the state was down $766.9 million in monthly tax earnings, pointing to a closed economy as the reason for this decline in revenue.

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5 Upstate Regions to Enter Phase 3 On Friday

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Five regions of New York will enter the third phase of the economic reopening on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday, as the state's progress on turning back the coronavirus continues to show gains.

The North Country, Central New York, Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, and Mohawk Valley regions will enter the next phase, as tens of thousands of tests statewide show an average infection rate of less than 2 percent.

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Phase 2 Begins Today For Capital Region

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York's Capital Region is set to begin the second phase of the economic reopening from the coronavirus pandemic today as hospitalizations from COVID-19 continue to plummet statewide.

The reopening means office workers can return, retail stores can open for customers in their stores and, yes, you can get a haircut.

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Cuomo To Meet With Trump on Jump-Starting Post-Pandemic Economy

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Governor Andrew Cuomo will meet with President Donald Trump on Wednesday to discuss ways of jump starting the New York economy through major infrastructure projects.

Cuomo on Tuesday sought to highlight efforts of reviving the flagging economy in New York, which has been brutally damaged by the coronavirus pandemic over the last two months.

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New York's Jobless Rate Hit 14.5 Percent In April

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Monthly records were broken in New York state as the number of unemployed continues to skyrocket and numerous businesses start to close their doors for good.

Unemployment rates in New York rose to 14.5 percent in April, according to data released Thursday by the Department of Labor.

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Bill Would Allow Bars, Restaurants To Continue Take-Out Drinks

BY Nick Reisman New York State

A socially distant "cheers" could still be in order after the current state of emergency ends for restaurants and bars.

State Senator Brad Hoylman on Thursday proposed allowing eateries and bars to continue offering wine, beer, and cocktails for take-out and delivery two years after the emergency declaration ends.

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SNAP Expansion Urged For Meal Delivery

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition of groups, along with the ride hailing firm Uber, is urging state lawmakers to approve a measure that would expand the SNAP program to allow its use for delivered meals ordered through apps.

Meal delivery and curbside pickup in New York have been the sole options for restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic as non-essential businesses have closed since March.

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Western New York Permitted to Begin Reopening Tuesday

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Western New York is now set to start reopening on Tuesday, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, after it hired 525 contact tracers over the weekend.

Western New York will now be the sixth upstate region to start Phase 1 of the reopening process which allows construction companies, manufacturing companies and curbside pickup for retail stores to open back up.

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New York's Tax Revenue Collapsed in April

BY Nick Reisman New York State

File this under not surprising: New York’s revenue took a nosedive in April as the coronavirus pandemic shutdown the state’s economic activity, a report released Friday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found.

New York’s tax receipts totaled $3.7 billion, falling $7.9 billion from the previous April. That’s a 68.4 percent decline.

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Cuomo Signs Executive Order Approving Reopening For 5 Regions

BY Nick Reisman New York State

An executive order issued Thursday night by Governor Andrew Cuomo began the process of reopening some sectors of the economy in New York for 35 upstate counties.

Spread over five regions, the order in essence expands what is considered an “essential” business during the pandemic to businesses in construction, manufacturing and some retail for curbside customer pickup.

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Sales Tax Revenue Declined Sharply In April

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Sales tax revenue for local governments in April plummeted 24.4 percent compared to the same period last year, a report released Tuesday by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office found.

The sharp decline in revenue is the latest sign of the COVID-19 pandemic's toll on the health of the economy in New York and on local governments. This, in turn, could lead to cuts in spending for local governments or an increase in taxes elsewhere to make up the lost revenue.

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3 Upstate Regions to Begin Phase 1 Reopening on Friday

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that three regions of New York state are set to start Phase 1 of reopening on Friday, May 15.

So far, only the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, and the Southern Tier have met all seven metrics the governor created as a way to start safely reopening regions while also keeping track of numbers and staying prepared in case there is a second wave of the COVID-19 virus.

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3 Children In New York Die From Potentially COVID-19-Linked Illness

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The number of new coronavirus-related hospitalizations in New York continued to decline, though the death toll from the pandemic continued to remain above 200 people over the last 24 hours, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday.

And three children in New York have now died from a mysterious new illness believed to be linked to COVID-19.

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More Than $5.8B In Unemployment Benefits Paid Out in New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York has paid out more than $5.8 billion in unemployment benefits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — a sign the economic toll from the crisis is a deep and widening one.

About 1.5 million New Yorkers are receiving benefits, and the Department of Labor on Wednesday said an additional 470,000 New Yorkers who did not receive their benefits because of certification errors.

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Labor Officials: Employers Must Provide Information For Unemployment Benefits

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York labor officials on Thursday called on the state’s employers to provide workers with the information they need when filing for unemployment benefits, including employer registration numbers, federal employer identification numbers, and full names and addresses of employers.

The missing information has been partially attributed to the backlog of claims at the Department of Labor during the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic crisis.

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New York Assemblywoman Fahy Wants Federal WPA-Style Program

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy is reaching back to a Depression-era jobs program to jumpstart the economy and aid the millions fo people who have become unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fahy, an Albany Democrat, wants a modern-day version of the Works Progress Administration, a creation of President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration meant to boost employment during the depths of the depression.

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Unemployment Benefits Reach $3.1B in New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

More than $3 billion in unemployment benefits have been distributed by the state Department of Labor since the pandemic began to the 1.4 million New Yorkers who requested help.

The money includes those who received aid under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

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DiNapoli: Pandemic Will Create Long-Term Financial Problems For New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State
UPDATED 9:57 AM ET Apr. 22, 2020

The economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic will take a multi-year toll on New York’s finances, with delayed tax payments this month alone costing the state as much as $10 billion, a report released Wednesday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found.

The report comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has urged the federal government to provide direct relief to states during the pandemic.

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Gillibrand: IRS Guidelines Could Block Federal Relief Payments

BY Nick Reisman New York State

President Donald Trump’s administration needs to modify IRS guidelines that could hurt access to relief payments for millions of low-income people in the country, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Tuesday.

Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, pointed to IRS procedures for receiving federal benefits. People who receive federal benefits and do not need to file taxes to receive relief under the CARES Act — those who receive Social Security, disability benefits and survivors insurance — have until noon today to register child dependents who are eligible for additional $500 payments.

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New York Farm Bureau Cheers Billion Dollar Aid Package for Farms

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The federal government will direct billions of dollars to struggling farmers around the country and in New York to offset the economic panic caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The move will free up $1.6 billion to farms, along with $3 billion for meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable product purchases.

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Siena Poll: New York Business Leaders Split Over Long-Term Pandemic Damage

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Only a third of upstate business leaders expect the New York economy will return to the way it was prior to the coronavirus pandemic within the next six months, a Siena College poll released on Thursday found.

The poll found only five percent of businesses have not suffered due to the virus and the virtual shutdown of the state’s economy as a result of preventing the spread.

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Assembly GOP: Help Needed For New York Dairy Farms

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Republican lawmakers in the state Assembly on Wednesday released a letter to the state’s top leaders urging them to approve legislation that would help provide support to farmers amid a national decline in overall demand for food products.

With schools and restaurants shutting their doors, farmers are finding it difficult to sell their product. In some cases, farmers have been forced to dump thousands of gallons of milk.

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NFIB Urges Congress To Bolster Paycheck Protection Program

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday pushed Congress to provide more support for the Paycheck Protection Program — a key relief provision for small businesses struggling during the pandemic.

The program provides a loan of up to six weeks for a small business to cover expenses like payroll and utility bills. If jobs are preserved during that time, the loan is converted into a grant.

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State Senate GOP: OK Pay Raises For Essential Workers in New York

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Republican lawmakers in the state Senate sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, urging him to approve scheduled pay raises for essential state employees.

The state is delaying a 2 percent pay hike for 80,000 state workers for at least 90 days as the state’s tax revenue has run dry during the pandemic.

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Bill Would Give New York Pandemic Workers a Tax Break

BY Morgan McKay New York State

A bill introduced this week in the state Senate would give tax breaks to the state's frontline workers.

State Sen. Joe Griffo introduced legislation that would create a state income tax exemption for medical professionals and first responders that are combatting the coronavirus in New York.

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New York Unions Say Raises are Being Delayed

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Unions that represent public workers in New York on Wednesday said the state was moving to delay the implementation of contractual raises for 90 days.

It’s not clear how many workers are affected by the delay, or which segments of the workforce.

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Small Business Optimism Drops in New York Amid Pandemic

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Optimism among small businesses has dropped sharply amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the National Federation of Independent Businesses found in a survey released on Tuesday.

The survey — an index of optimism of small business owners — dropped 8.1 points last March, the largest monthly decline in its history.

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Jobless Claims Soar In New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

More than 80,500 jobless claims were filed in the last week in New York, according to the state Department of Labor, amid the deepening public health crisis surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The initial increase for unemployment insurance is a 520 percent rise. Each of the state's 10 labor markets saw a minimum 284 percent spike in unemployment insurance claims, state officials said.

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New York Counties Could Take $1B Hit From Coronavirus

BY Nick Reisman New York State

County governments in New York could face an economic hit of $350 million to $1 billion in lost revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a report released Wednesday from the New York State Association of Counties found.

The report comes a day after Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in a revenue report found the pandemic will lead to a revenue loss of between $4 billion and $7 billion.

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Cuomo Orders Private Sector To Keep Half Its Workers Home

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday ordered businesses to keep at least half of its workforce at home or have them work remotely in order to further prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There are exemptions to the order: Businesses that provide food, shipping, pharmacies, medical services, as well as the media, are not included.

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Coronavirus Spread Could Strain Unemployment Insurance

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Unemployment insurance is expected to be strained as workers stay home or are temporarily thrown out of work amid efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday states can amend their laws to allow for unemployment insurance to be provided for multiple reasons surrounding the coronavirus, even if that person is still employed.

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Gig-Economy Platform Launches Ad Campaign

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Opposition to a proposal that would reclassify workers in the on-demand or "gig" economy is continuing on Tuesday as the platform Handy will launch a digital ad campaign against the measure.

Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are discussing a measure that would provide more traditional labor benefits for companies that provide on-demand services through the web or phone apps like food delivery, ride hailing or handy services.

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NYSUT Launches Ad Campaign for Taxing the Rich

BY Nick Reisman New York State

An ad campaign to be launched Friday by the New York State United Teachers union will push for a tax increase for wealthy people in the state in order to add more spending for school aid and education.

The ad being released Friday is part of a half-million dollar buy.

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CSEA Elects Mary Sullivan to Full Term as President

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Members of the state's largest public workers union on Thursday handed Mary Sullivan a full term as the labor group's president.

The Civil Service Employees Association re-elected Sullivan, who had been serving on an interim basis after the retirement of longtime leader Danny Donohue.

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Del Lago Casino Touts Economic Impact in Seneca County

BY Nick Reisman Tyre

The Finger Lakes-based casino del Lago Resort & Casino last year had a $270 million impact on the economy of the area, a fiscal impact study released by its parent company found.

The money includes $157 million in gambling revenue as well as $113 million in non-gaming sales and revenue -- including assistance to local governments and nearby businesses.

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Small Businesses Like Proposed Tax Cut, But Say More Help is Needed

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Small business groups have had little to applaud in Albany in the last 10 years or so.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $178 billion budget proposal includes a tax cut aimed at small business owners, a move the National Federation of Independent Business says is a necessary and welcome step.

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Here and Now: January 14

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Good morning! It's going to be a busy first lobby day of the new year in Albany. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, is departing for Puerto Rico. Here's today's schedule: At 8:15 a.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo will hold a press briefing before departing for Puerto Rico. JFK International Airport, Queens.

At 9:30 a.m., Assembly Real Property Taxation Committee Chair Sandy Galef will take testimony to examine changes to the STAR Program provided in the State Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget. Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

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State AFL-CIO Launches Digital Ad Backing Reclassification Of Gig Workers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York AFL-CIO on Monday launched a digital ad campaign in support of changes to how gig economy workers are classified.

The ad is the harbinger of a larger debate coming over the labor benefits of workers in the on-demand field, like Uber and Lyft drivers, and others who provide services through apps.

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