Cuomo heckled during address; wants to spend $700M from settlements on Thruway projects

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ALBANY, N.Y. — The latest on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address and budget presentation (all times are local):

3:15 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to dedicate $700 million from windfall legal settlements with financial institutions to pay for Thruway projects, including the continuing construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge over the lower Hudson River.

That's in addition to nearly $1.3 billion in similar funding in the current fiscal year that ends March 31.

The governor's office also says the extra funding will also enable the Thruway Authority to freeze tolls for all drivers at least until 2020.

Another $200 million from the windfalls from settlements with banks and insurers would help upgrade other roads, bridges and infrastructure around the state.

The administration says the current budget is using $4.6 billion on capital projects to bolster infrastructure and support economic development.

Cuomo outlined his budget proposal Wednesday

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2:40 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed spending $20 billion over five years as part of an effort to reduce the growing number of New Yorkers who are homeless.

Cuomo says during his State of the State address Wednesday the state will add 100,000 permanent affordable housing units, 6,000 new supportive housing beds and 1,000 emergency shelter beds. It will also continue supporting 44,000 units of housing with supportive services and 77,000 shelter beds.

He says each community providing services will be asked to assess the size and precise needs of each homeless subgroup within its population.

He has also enlisted the state and city comptrollers to audit and inspect existing shelters to push them to improve conditions, making them cleaner and safer.

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2:20 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for 12 weeks of paid family leave that could be used for caring for a new baby or sick relative.

The governor's office says that should particularly benefit low-income workers who often lack benefits or job security, while it "has the potential to serve as a great equalizer for women."

His budget proposal on Wednesday says 47 percent of New York's work force now consists of women, with people working more hours, retiring later and often counting on two incomes to make ends meet.

Under a proposal already before lawmakers, workers caring for a new child or sick relative could receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave through a system funded by employee payroll deductions.

New Jersey, California and Rhode Island already have similar programs.

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2:10 p.m.

Following a wave of corruption scandals in the Legislature, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing tight limits on lawmakers' outside income.

His plan would restrict outside income to 15 percent of the legislature salary, currently $79,500. The governor says that's similar to the restrictions placed on members of Congress.

It's an idea that good-government groups have long said would make it harder for lawmakers to profit from their positions, but it's likely to run into significant challenges in the state Senate. Senate Leader John Flanagan, a Republican, has said outside jobs give lawmakers greater perspective.

Cuomo also says in his State of the State speech Wednesday that he will support efforts to pass a Constitutional amendment allowing the state to strip the pensions of politicians convicted of corruptions. A pension forfeiture law passed in 2011 excluded anyone elected before then.

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2:05 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has again called for raising the current $9 minimum wage in increments to $15 in New York City in 2019 and the rest of the state on July 1, 2021.

The governor says a full-time job at the current minimum pays only $18,720 while the average hourly wage in New York is more than $27.

Cuomo says during his State of the State speech Wednesday that the phase-in will give businesses time to adapt.

Business groups and Republican lawmakers have voiced concerns that such a significant increase would force businesses to raise prices and cut positions.

Cuomo has named the campaign for a higher wage the "The Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice" after his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo.

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1:55 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration has proposed regulating both amateur and currently banned professional bouts of mixed martial arts, noting that thousands of New Yorkers attend unregulated amateur bouts across the state.

Critics in the Assembly have blocked legislation to legalize and regulate MMA, saying it's too violent and a bad example for children.

Backers say it's here already, seen widely on television and legalization would help athletes, promoters and venues make money.

The governor's office says it will seek to ensure MMA contests are supervised either by the New York State Athletic Commission or another sanctioning entity.

Cuomo is announcing his priorities for the year in a speech Wednesday.

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1:50 p.m.

A state Assemblyman has interrupted Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address to criticize what he says is the Democratic governor's hypocrisy.

Minutes after Cuomo began the annual speech before an audience of several hundred people, Assemblyman Charles Barron stood up and began yelling over the governor. Cuomo tried to quiet him, telling Barron, "Everybody heard you; everybody saw you."

After a few tense moments, Barron left the convention hall. He told reporters that he believes Cuomo is ignoring the needs of poor New Yorkers and should propose at least $2 billion more for public education, particularly for high-need schools.

Barron, a Brooklyn Democrat, said he planned the interruption. He said Cuomo is a hypocrite who doesn't care about the true state of the state.

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1:50 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2016 budget includes a break for New York drivers who spend at least $50 annually on Thruway tolls in their passenger vehicles and pay electronically. They would get a nonrefundable credit worth 50 percent of the tolls paid.

Businesses and holders of commercial accounts that spend from $100 to $9,999 on Thruway tolls would get similar credits.

Farmers would get 100 percent refundable credits for farm vehicles driven on the toll road.

The $145.3 billion budget Cuomo is outlining Wednesday estimates drivers would save $340 million over three years.

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1:45 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants New York to create a $5 billion clean energy fund to spur renewable power sources such as wind and solar under an environmental initiative proposed by.

The funds would come from a surcharge on utility bills and would go to support projects over the next five years. A portion would also go toward making more homes and businesses energy efficient, something that Cuomo says Wednesday could save more than $1 billion in private energy costs.

Cuomo also wants the state to erect 300 additional wind turbines by 2020 and is proposing the creation of a master plan to direct future offshore wind projects.

The measures are part of the governor's plan to derive half of the state's overall energy from renewable sources by 2030.

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1:40 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed increasing aid to public schools by nearly $1 billion to $24.2 billion in the upcoming fiscal year.

The governor's office says that would increase state aid by 4.3 percent.

The aid total increased $1.4 billion, or 6.4 percent, to a record $23.5 billion in the current fiscal year.

The budget proposal says New York public schools spend more per pupil than any other state at $19,818, 85 percent above the national average.

Democrats want a big injection of funds into public education. The proposals range from $2.4 billion to $2.9 billion more. Republicans want to eliminate a policy that takes back some school aid to balance the state budget, a practice they say hits wealthier and suburban districts the hardest.

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1:30 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed cutting the income tax rate for small businesses from 6.5 percent to as little as 4 percent effective next year.

Cuts would apply to businesses with less than 100 employees and net income below $390,000.

If approved by the Legislature, they would be available to firms with net income below $290,000 then phased up to the 6.5 rate available to companies with incomes above $390,000.

The governor's office says it preserves the tax advantage for small businesses that would otherwise disappear since corporate tax rates were lowered effective Jan. 1.

The proposal is included in the $145.3 billion budget Cuomo is outlining Wednesday.

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1:25 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins April 1 would increase total spending by $1.7 billion to $145.3 billion.

That includes $95.9 billion in state operating funds, up $1.6 billion, and nearly $40 billion in federal operating funds, down $300 million.

Both spending increases are 1.7 percent.

The Cuomo administration has set an ongoing goal of keeping spending increases below 2 percent annually.

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1:15 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $145.3 billion budget proposal includes spending the state's $2.3 billion windfall from court settlements with financial institutions mainly for public infrastructure and housing for the poor and homeless.

He proposes raising state aid to public schools $1 billion to $24.2 billion, and cutting Medicaid by $350 million to $63.6 billion.

The health care program for low-income people covers almost one-third of New Yorkers. The state Regents have called for $2.4 billion more in school aid. Advocates want even more.

Cuomo met with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for a half-hour ahead of the speech on Wednesday.

The governor's budget would spend $640 million from the windfalls on housing for low-income residents and the homeless.

Another $900 million would go to transportation projects.

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10:30 a.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $140 billion-plus budget proposal and remaining initiatives for 2016 will be unveiled in an address to lawmakers that follows nearly two weeks of headline-grabbing announcements.

Cuomo is combining for the first time his annual State of the State address with his executive budget proposal. In the weeks leading up to it, he has called for raising the minimum wage to $15, cutting small-business taxes, boosting the environmental protection fund and freezing Thruway tolls while spending more on roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

The Democrat also has revealed plans to revamp Penn Station and expand the Javits convention center in Manhattan, add a third rail line for the Long Island Rail Road, revitalize upstate airports and take the homeless indoors on the coldest nights.

Cuomo addresses lawmakers Wednesday.

 

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