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ALBANY – State Senate Republicans want to sharply amend Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget plans by cutting taxes instead of raising them, and on Tuesday proposed eliminating a key economic development program touted by the governor. “We are the only people in Albany talking about reducing taxes,’’ Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said at an event surrounded by some of his …

Local News

Erie County Legislator Patrick B. Burke Monday received the Erie County Democratic Committee's endorsement in his bid for the 142nd District New York State Assembly seat. Burke, who represents the County Legislature's 7th District, including South Buffalo and Cheektowaga, is seeking election to the Assembly seat vacated by Michael P. Kearns, after Kearns won an election…

Local News

ALBANY – The Cuomo administration is proposing several major changes in the state’s decades-old tax code as a way to lessen the impact for some New Yorkers who face financial hits under the federal government’s new tax law. “We’re going to do whatever is necessary to protect New Yorkers,’’ Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's budget director Robert Mujica said during a briefing Monda…

Local News

Republican John A. DeFrancisco won support Monday from top Niagara County GOP leaders in his race for governor. County GOP Chairman Adam VanDeMark and State Sen. Robert G. Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, endorsed the Syracuse senator. "He’s a brilliant public servant with the utmost integrity," Ortt said. "John knows that cutting taxes, spending and burdensome regulation…

Local News

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s favorability and job performance ratings have fallen in a new poll, taken after Cuomo last month proposed a state budget plan with big tax hikes and the start of a high-profile corruption trial involving one of the governor’s most trusted former advisers. Like his favorability and job rating numbers, Cuomo’s re-election rating also droppe…

The Erie County Democratic Committee on Monday will nominate a candidate for the 142nd Assembly District in anticipation of April's special election. April 24 has been designated as the date to fill legislative vacancies across New York State, including the 142nd seat vacated by newly elected Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns. Most observers see a potential faceoff…

Education

Four Niagara University students will be in Albany on Tuesday to lobby state legislators on behalf of universal access to state financial aid. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's free college tuition program, the Excelsior Scholarships, applies only to public colleges, not private ones such as Niagara. Cuomo's proposed 2018-19 state budget would cut $30 million in so-called Bundy Ai…

State

ALBANY – Prosecutors may have locked up their own star witness in the Joseph Percoco corruption trial, but they still want him to look good when he resumes his testimony in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday morning. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman on Saturday wrote to a judge presiding over the trial asking that she tell jurors that Todd Howe, a former lobbyist, has been in…

Business

State historic preservation and brownfield tax credits already approved should not be deferred, State Sens. Chris Jacobs and Robert G. Ortt said Friday. The two Republicans held a joint news conference at Remington Lofts on Sweeney Street in North Tonawanda, a former industrial plant that was renovated into apartments and a restaurant, in part with financial aid from bo…

Local News

ALBANY – In an explosive development in the Joseph Percoco corruption trial, the prosecution’s star witness has been arrested for violating a cooperation agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office. Todd Howe, a former lobbyist and longtime associate of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was remanded for violating his bail condition, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manha…

Health and Fitness

A pair of Daemen College assistant professors who have studied with some of the top autism experts in the nation have launched a new program at the Amherst school that should help improve autism treatment in the region – and beyond. “There’s just so much hope in what we do,” said Vicki Madaus Knapp, head of the new Applied Behavior Analysis Program. Knapp and Vanessa…

Local News

ALBANY – It’s semi-official: Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul want to stay together. A few weeks after Hochul, a Democrat from Buffalo, said she fully intends to run again this November with Cuomo at the top of the ticket, Cuomo on Thursday said he hopes that happens again. “I would very much like her to be on the ticket … She is my choice for lieutenant g…

Local News

ALBANY – In an election year, a number of state legislators already are not happy with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to raise taxes on New Yorkers by at least $1 billion. On Thursday, they expressed no shortage of concerns over another plan the governor is eyeing: lowering the salaries of hundreds of thousands of residents, or more, in order to help employers fund a shift…

Columns

Dear Criminal: I’m sure that right about now you’re slapping yourself upside the head and thinking, "Oh my God, I forgot to recertify my pistol permit and list my handguns with New York State." You can relax. The State Police assure us they are not hunting down those who forgot to comply by last week’s deadline, a failure that – if strictly enforced – could result in yo…

Local News

NEW YORK – If they hadn’t heard about it before, jurors in the Joseph Percoco trial received a briefing Tuesday of the much-criticized system by which state politicians fill their campaign accounts with donations from people with business before state government. But, as U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni advised jurors before evidence about donations to Gov. And…