News from the Associated Press - April 1, 2014

Associated Press
April 1, 2014

NY Legislature passes $140 billion budget

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York Legislature has passed a $140 billion election-year budget that expands pre-kindergarten statewide and provides tax relief to homeowners and corporations.

The Senate passed the budget around 10:30 p.m. Monday and the Assembly approved it 45 minutes later for a fourth consecutive on-time state budget. The new fiscal year begins Tuesday.

Cuomo and legislative leaders reached an agreement on the spending plan early in the weekend, but the governor had to waive the required three-day review period on the education and health bills that weren't printed until early Saturday.

The budget contains almost $138 billion for the coming year with an additional $5 billion in one-time federal aid for Superstorm Sandy rebuilding and the rollout of the Affordable Care Act for uninsured New Yorkers.


NY commission starts seeking casino applications

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State regulators selecting new casino operators in upstate New York say they will weigh local support from community groups and businesses.

The state Gaming Commission's Facility Location Board put out requests for applications Monday for casinos in the Albany area, the Catskills and the Southern Tier. Applications need to be in by June.

Regulators say they will seek exhaustive information from applicants on their finances, background and site plans. They also said they will consider a broad array of local opinion.

Around a dozen potential casino operators have expressed interest in putting up the $1 million casino application this year. New York already has five Indian casinos and nine racinos with slot-like video lottery terminals, but interested developers believe there is room for growth.


NY GOP governor hopeful blasts state's Common Core

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino says he will pull his children from New York's Common Core tests this week, claiming the new academic standards are turning children into guinea pigs.

The Westchester County executive on Monday released a video on his campaign website saying he and his wife are protesting Common Core by opting out of the exams this week for their children in third and fifth grade.

Astorino calls the standards "Cuomo's Common Core" and says New York's parents and teachers will lose local control over classrooms.

Cuomo has been a critic of the Common Core rollout. The budget being debated by the Legislature Monday will keep Common Core test scores off the transcripts of students in third through eighth grades through 2018.


NY college for inmates to remain privately funded

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A senior official says Cuomo administration plans to expand college classes for New York's prison inmates will be privately funded and not financed by taxpayers.

The administration official, who declined to be identified publicly under the terms of a background briefing with reporters, says Monday it's not part of the proposed state budget, noting lawmakers' opposition to spending state money.

However, he says nonprofits and foundations are interested.

The administration announced plans in February to offer associate's and bachelor's degree education at 10 prisons.

The governor's office says New York already spends $60,000 annually on each prisoner, and the $5,000 yearly education cost would sharply cut recidivism, save money and reduce crime.

Since 2007, the Department of Corrections has partnered with colleges including Cornell and Bard to offer privately funded degree programs at 22 prisons.

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