News from the Associated Press - March 24, 2014

Associated Press
March 24, 2014

NY Gov. Cuomo's ratings slip in Siena Poll

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo's rating among New York voters has slipped a bit in the latest Siena Poll, but he still leads Rob Astorino, the only declared Republican candidate for governor, by 35 points.

The survey released Monday by Siena College shows Cuomo leading the Westchester County executive 61-26 percent, down from 64-22 percent last month.

Voters say Cuomo has been an effective governor by a 64-28 percent margin. A year after the SAFE Act gun-control law was enacted, voters support it by a 2-to-1 margin. Voters support Cuomo's proposal for state-funded college for prison inmates by a 53-43 percent margin.

A plurality of voters, 47-43 percent, said a Republican can beat Cuomo in this election.

The telephone poll of 813 registered voters conducted March 16-20 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

 

Cuomo warning employers on minimum wage compliance

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning employers that they can face fines, charges and civil or even criminal punishment for failing to comply with the state's minimum wage laws.

The $8 minimum went into effect Dec. 31 and will increase to $8.75 at the end of the year and $9 at the end of 2015.

Cuomo said Friday that 374 cases have been opened based on complaints from employees about minimum wage and overtime violations. In 19 of those cases, where the only complaint was failure to pay the new minimum wage, the Department of Labor made contact with the employer to correct the error.

Workers looking to file a complaint or a business in need of assistance should call 1-800-469-7365 or email LSAsk@labor.ny.gov.

 

Fix only slows insurance hike for 60K New Yorkers

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of New Yorkers are likely to see flood insurance premiums rise as the government phases out subsidized insurance nationally in some of the most at-risk areas.

President Barack Obama signed a law Friday that put a halt to a 2012 overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program. It was supposed to end the subsidies for homes and businesses that were built in flood zones years ago.

The bill merely delays many rate increases. Data analyzed by The Associated Press shows about 49,000 primary homeowners in New York state will face annual rate hikes of up to 18 percent each year.

About 10,700 businesses and owners of second homes will face annual increases of 25 percent until they switch over to a risk-based rate.

 

Democratic candidates eye taxes to ease wealth gap

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Under the banner of fairness, Pennsylvania's Democratic candidates for governor are proposing tax-law changes that would tap wealthy taxpayers and businesses to ease the economic pain of the middle class and the poor.

Front-runner Tom Wolf is advocating an overhaul of the state income tax that would exclude from taxation every taxpayer's income below a certain amount. Income above that would be taxed at a still-to-be-determined flat rate.

All five Democratic candidates support a new tax on natural gas drilling.

One of them, state Treasurer Rob McCord, advocates a 10 percent tax on the net value of gas. Katie McGinty, a former state environmental protection secretary, wants all revenue from her proposed gas-drilling tax to go toward improving K-12 education.

Wolf and congresswoman Allyson Schwarz favor a 5 percent tax.

NY extends comment period on high-speed rail

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state Department of Transportation has extended the public comment period on plans for high-speed rail service between New York City and upstate New York.

The comment period was originally supposed to end Monday. Officials have received about 250 comments and held six public hearings across the state that attracted more than 500 people.

Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald says comments will be accepted through April 30.

The state's draft environmental impact statement lays out five alternatives for higher speed passenger rail service along the 463-mile Empire Corridor, from New York City to Niagara Falls.

Comments may be submitted through the DOT's website or emailed to empirecorridor@dot.ny.gov.

 

Chemung Co. recreation trail gets federal funding

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says more than $200,000 in federal funds has been awarded by state transportation officials for a recreational trail along a former railroad line in Chemung County.

The Lackawanna Rail Trail project in Elmira runs along the Chemung River as a 15-foot-wide recreational pathway for cyclists and pedestrians.

It extends 2.5 miles along the path of the former Lackawanna Railroad.

The northern portion weaves over the city's Eastside industrial center along railroad overpasses. The southern section follows Newtown Creek.

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