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The Ghost of the MTA's 'Two Sets of Books'

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The MTA just can't seem to live down the "two sets of books" scandal that erupted six years ago. Democrats in the state Senate keep dropping that line in interviews, as in, "You really can't trust guys who keep two sets of books, can you?" That's their reason why they won't support the Ravitch plan.

But were there really two sets of books?

The scandal started in April 2003, when then-state Comptroller Alan Hevesi (who has since succumbed to his own scandal), charged that the MTA was intentionally overestimating its budget deficit in order to justify a 50-cent subway fare hike. He said he only discovered where the MTA was stashing its money after subpoenaing the second set of books.

The MTA said the second set of books it provided was really just a 250-page explanation showing how the authority used a current surplus to pay down debt, or moved it to subsequent years, because they foresaw deficits in the future.

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Republicans Release Alternative Budget Plans

Thursday, March 05, 2009

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Senate Republicans were the first at the state capitol to release their alternative to Governor Paterson’s state budget, WNYC's Karen Dewitt reports from Albany.

The Senate Republicans, who are in the minority in that house by just one seat, rejected both Governor Paterson's dozens of new taxes and fees to raise revenues and a plan circulating in the legislature to raise taxes on wealthy. 'You can't tax your way out of this situation,' says Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos.

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Broadway to Dim Lights for Foote

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Playwright Horton Foote, writer Harper Lee and actor Robert Duvall attend Signature Theatre Company honors Horton Foote on the eve of his 90th birthday.

Playwright Horton Foote, writer Harper Lee and actor Robert Duvall attend Signature Theatre Company honors Horton Foote on the eve of his 90th birthday.

Broadway's lights will dim for one minute tonight in tribute to playwright Horton Foote. Foote, whose more than 50 plays and films chronicled small-town life in America, died yesterday at age 92. The son of a Texas haberdasher and a piano teacher, Foote stayed close to his roots. He often wrote about Wharton, Texas, in a style that many called 'homespun.'

Horton Foote's passion for putting dramas of ordinary Americans on stage and screen won him the Pulitzer Prize and two Academy Awards. WNYC's Sara Fishko spoke at length with Foote in 2000.


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Soterios Johnson to Listeners: "I'm Sorry"

Thursday, March 05, 2009

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I've been called worse, said Schuerman, seen here as Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan

This morning at around 8, WNYC's listeners may have heard a brief audio clip of WNYC transportation reporter Matthew Schuerman, addressing the MTA rescue plan.
That clip was merely meant to promote his discussion with Morning Edition host Soterios Johnson, but for whatever reason, Johnson said the following:

'That's Matthew Schuerman, WNYC's Transportation Commissioner...'

Johnson immediately corrected himself - 'I mean, WNYC's Transportation REPORTER' - before laughing and moving on to other things.

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Morning News by the #'s

Thursday, March 05, 2009

$1.9B - That's how much Medicaid funding the City is expecting Governor Paterson to allocate from the federal stimulus money. Mayor Bloomberg says the city deserves an additional $200M to $500M.

2328 - The number of homeless people volunteers spotted in this year's homeless count. It's a ...

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Today in History: Winston Churchill

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Churchill on the campus grounds of Westminster College with President Harry Truman March 5, 1946.

Churchill on the campus grounds of Westminster College with President Harry Truman March 5, 1946.

On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivered a speech, 'Sinews of Peace', at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. In it, he uttered the famous metaphor, 'the iron curtain', that resonated for decades and has recently been resurrected to discuss the current economic crisis in Europe.

'From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.

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Armory Arts Week Takes Over New York

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Armory Arts Week is a city-wide biggest contemporary art fair, with galleries from around the world packed into Pier 92 and 94, looking to sell new work. It's a way to ogle great artwork, and as critic Carolina Miranda tells us, it offers great people-watching ...

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''A Banker, eh? Can You Make a Living at That?''

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A look at New Yorker money cartoons through the ages.

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Watch Out for Recession Scams

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Government agencies are warning of a sharp rise in frauds targeting people who have fallen into financial hardship because of the recession.

Mindy Bockstein, chair of the New York State Consumer Protection Board, says she saw a 300 percent increase last year in so-called "phishing scams" ...

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Assembly Passes Bill to Revise Drug Laws

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The state Assembly has passed a bill that calls for sweeping changes to New York's 36-year-old Rockefeller-era drug laws. WNYC's Elaine Rivera reports.

REPORTER: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says the bill is long overdue in addressing what he calls the state's outdated, failed drug policies. The ...

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Republican Answer to Paterson's Budget

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Senate Republicans were the first at the State Capitol to release their alternative to Governor Paterson’s state budget. Reporter Karen Dewitt has more.

DEWITT: The senate Republicans, who are in minority in that house by just one seat, reject both Governor Paterson's dozens of new taxes ...

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125,000 in NYC Lose Jobs in Last Six Months

Thursday, March 05, 2009

More than 125,000 New Yorkers lost their jobs in the last half year. That's according to the latest state labor department figures. The unemployment rate saw the largest two-month increase in two decades. Almost 4000 job-seekers were feeling those numbers today, at a job fair ...

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The Armory Show Kicks Off - in All 5 Boroughs

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The city's biggest contemporary art fair, The Armory Show, kicks off today, with a twist. This year the show is hosting public events in all five boroughs, and artists outside of the mainstream art market are getting into the act.

Chris Vilardi works with artists in ...

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MTA in Albany Urging Rescue Plan

Thursday, March 05, 2009

By the end of this month, commuters and straphangers should know how much more it will cost to get in and out of New York City. MTA officials are back in Albany this morning where they are trying to hash out an agreement on a ...

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MTA Rescue Plan Hangs in Partisan Balance

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The MTA returns to the bargaining table in Albany this morning in an effort to hash out an agreement on it's rescue plan. So far, the Speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, says he's getting behind a limited bridge-tolling plan.

SILVER: I've said from Day One ...

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Playwright Horton Foote Dies

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Horton Foote, whose more than 50 plays and films chronicled small-town life in America in the 20th Century, died yesterday at age 92. Among his memorable works are the nine-play cycle “The Orphans’ Home” and the screenplays for “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Tender Mercies.” ...

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Paterson to Take 10 Percent Pay Cut

Thursday, March 05, 2009

With New York facing a $14 billion budget deficit, Governor Paterson says he'll take a ten percent pay cut. The governor, in Buffalo to meet with economic development and business officials, told reporters he would "symbolically make the gesture for the state," but he doesn't ...

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City Council Says Paterson Shortchanging NYC Medicaid

Thursday, March 05, 2009

City Council members are decrying the way Governor Paterson allocated federal stimulus Medicaid money, saying the city deserves more than the $1.9 billion it's getting. Council members held a hearing on the stimulus money, hearing testimony from Bloomberg administration officials. They say they calculate that ...

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Community Board Approves $9 Billion Hudson Rail Tunnel

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The largest "Shovel Ready" project in the nation is here in Manhattan, and it cleared a small hurdle last night. Community Board Four, which covers West Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, gave its approval to the Port Authority's plan to build a $9 billion passenger rail ...

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City State Brawl Over Medicaid Stimulus

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The distribution of Medicaid economic stimulus money in New York has spawned a full-on city-state brawl. It was started by Mayor Bloomberg, whose office issued a statement late last night accusing Governor Paterson of shortchanging the city. Congressman Anthony Weiner piled on today. His office ...

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