News from the Associated Press - April 16, 2014

Associated Press
April 16, 2014

NY governor signs 'National Popular Vote' bill

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation to enter New York in an interstate agreement to award its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the majority of the popular vote.

The National Popular Vote agreement is triggered when 270 electoral votes are reached, enough to give the states who signed the compact a majority of the electoral votes.

Previously, nine states and the District of Columbia signed the measure, accounting for 136 electoral votes.

The bill signed by Cuomo adds New York's 29 electoral votes.

It is the second largest state, behind California — which has 55 electoral votes — to join the effort.

Cuomo says it would be more fair, ensuring candidates to appeal to voters in all states rather than focusing on early contests and swing states.

 

NY reports collecting $3.9B in evaded taxes

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York officials report collecting $3.9 billion in evaded taxes over the past year, an increase of about $200 million or five percent over the prior year.

The Department of Taxation and Finance says about 96 percent of the roughly $87 billion it collects in state and local taxes each year is remitted voluntarily by taxpayers.

Enforcement programs collect the balance, including $1.75 billion last year from audits and criminal investigations.

About $800 million was collected for local governments in the 2013-14 fiscal year that ended March 31.

The department says it also works with taxpayers to resolve debts and establishes payment arrangements.

Under a new program, the state reports suspending more than 8,100 driver licenses, resulting in full payments by some 7,000 taxpayers who each owed more than $10,000.

 

Foundation says law changes improve NY tax climate

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Washington-based Tax Foundation says recent changes in New York law would raise the state's corporate tax climate ranking from 25th to fourth best in the nation, while inching its overall ranking from last place to 48th, ahead of New Jersey and California.

In its new report, the nonprofit research group says New York's new tax laws, simplifying business taxes and cutting the corporate rate from 7.1 to 6.5 percent and manufacturers' rate to zero, will be phased in over a few years.

However, if in full effect now they would raise the state's 2014 rankings, which were based on last year's tax laws.

The foundation previously reported New York's state and local tax burden as a share of collective income had been a highest-in the-nation 12.6 percent in 2011.

 

'Red Tails' WWII airmen plan reunion in upstate NY

BIG FLATS, N.Y. (AP) — Some of the last surviving members of the original Tuskegee Airmen are planning to hold a reunion at an upstate New York aviation museum over Memorial Day weekend.

The Star-Gazette reports that six Tuskegee Airmen have been confirmed as guests for the event being held May 24 at the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center outside Elmira.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black aviators in the U.S. military. They enlisted in the Army Air Corps during the Second World War and trained in Tuskegee, Ala. They went on to become one of the war's most respected fighter squadrons.

The reunion is called "Return of the Red Tails," the squadron's nickname because the tails of their fighter planes were painted red.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Roscoe Brown Jr., a Red Tail squadron commander.

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