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   Congressional hopefuls Kathleen C. Hochul and Jane L. Corwin marked Tuesday with their sharpest exchanges to date in a pair of dueling press releases centered around -- of all things -- equal pay for women.    It began early Tuesday when Hochul (joined in a separate release by Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand), noted  the 15th anniversay of …

ALBANY –- The State Senate’s top Democrat suggested today there may be some wiggle room in efforts to cap the annual growth of local property taxes. Senate Minority Leader John Sampson, a Brooklyn Democrat, said there needs to be “a conversation’’ with stakeholders to determine if there is “a middle ground’’ on efforts to cap the taxes and start to control some state-impos…

   State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos was in Buffalo Thursday, tending to some Western New York affairs and a little politics too.    The Long Island Republican was slated to hold an afternoon press conference on budget items, along with meeting with officials on the UB 2020 plan, and conducting a business roundtable. Later he was schedule…

   In the midst of the major budget battle in Washington that threatens to shut down the federal government, Democratic congressional candidate Kathleen C. Hochul has offered her own plan while challenging her competitors to do the same.   "I support a compromise that reduces spending by $30 billion to $40 billion," Hochul said.  "Th…

ALBANY -- Apparently, no one wants to offend onions or sweet corn. A day after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo refrained from taking sides in the new burning debate at the Capitol -- should the onion or sweet corn become the state's official vegetable -- the New York Farm Bureau is out today saying it is staying neutral in the raging controversy. "Picking an official vegeta…

ALBANY -- Government watchdog groups are gearing up to begin computer-generated calls into the districts of Senate Republicans who they say have backed off a campaign promise last year to create an independent commission to draw new legislative lines in next year’s redistricting process. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch this morning called Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos “…

ALBANY -- OK, this is a story that can be spun a couple ways. The State Legislature is considering extending its upcoming spring break for a second full week. A dereliction of duties, some might scream. Or, consider option two: a savings to taxpayers of tens of thousands of dollars in travel, lodging and food costs for the 212-member Legislature and many staffers who join …

   Republican congressional hopeful Jane Corwin is in Washington, meeting, greeting, making the rounds, and collecting a few dollars while she's at it.   Sources close to the Clarence assemblywoman say she is meeting with various funding types and representatives of political action committees in a time-honored ritual for rookie congressional candi…

ALBANY -– It got a bit lost in the budget battles over the last few weeks, but Peter Cutler, the former communications director for Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, has formally landed in the Cuomo administration running the press shop in the state Department of Corrections.Cutler, who once worked in the scheduling department of former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, began in early Marc…

ALBANY –- The Cuomo administration is formally growing today with the expected Senate confirmation of two officials who will run the economic development and agriculture agencies. Kenneth Adams, the former president of the Business Council of New York State, saw his economic development agency nomination sail through three Senate committees earlier today in advance of an e…

ALBANY -- The State Senate has taken the rare step of shutting down its lobby to the public as budget protestors start arriving at the Capitol for a series of demonstrations in the hallways against the budget being adopted today. Only senators, staff members and reporters were being permitted to enter the ornate lobby just outside the Senate chamber -– an area usually fill…

ALBANY -– Upstate will see a fairer distribution of school aid funding cuts under a new deal compared to the plan proposed earlier in the year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Legislature’s top Republican said this morning. “We’re going to have a reasonable distribution so that it’s more in terms of old shares," Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said of the “shares"…

ALBANY – The state Senate will begin passing budget bills later this afternoon, officials say, to try to keep alive a push by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to get a 2011 fiscal plan adopted early for the first time since 1983. The "easy'' ones are on tap for passage. A Senate spokesman said bills have now been printed pertaining to the merger of several…

News Political Reporter Robert J. McCarthy reports that the congressional candidacy of Iraq War veteran David Bellavia appears to have ended. Bellavia was trying to get on the ballot for the May 24 special election to fill the unexpired term of Republican Chris Lee, who resigned Feb. 9. On Friday, state Board of Elections officials informed him that he failed to submit req…