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Library Reps Poised to Fight $100M in Cuts

Monday, May 14, 2012

Representatives from the city’s three library systems will testify before the City Council Monday about how the mayor’s proposed $100 million in cuts would impact patrons.

 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

New York's 2012 Budget and the Future of Health Exchanges

Friday, March 30, 2012

Liz Benjamin, blogger and host of "Capitol Tonight", reviews the budget agreement and the fate of health exchanges in New York.

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WNYC News

NYC Politicians, Advocates Protest Proposed Cuts

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New York City Council members and advocates are protesting proposed budget cuts that could reduce the number of city-subsidized child care slots and slice the funding for supportive housing services for New Yorkers with HIV and AIDS.

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The Takeaway

Republican Rep. Todd Akin on the New GOP Budget Plan

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Last week House GOP leaders unveiled a bold new 2013 budget blueprint, promising to cut government spending and reverse rising federal deficits. The budget proposal – "The Path to Prosperity" – aims to tame the national debt by overhauling Medicare and cutting deeply into a number of politically sensitive federal programs. The proposal also looks to reshuffle the tax code, sharply lowering individual tax rates and brackets. Joining us to discuss the proposal is Congressman Todd Akin, Republican Representative from Missouri’s 2nd District.

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WNYC News

NYS Budget Winners and Losers

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave up some items in the newly announced state budget deal, but so did the State Legislature.

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WNYC News

State Budget Process Nearing End

Monday, March 26, 2012

New York lawmakers are very optimistic about getting a budget done on time again this year. They say 99 percent of the state’s spending plan has been closed down, and they will pass bills before the end of the week.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Obama's Self-Serving Budget Plan

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

President Obama's budget shows him to be the same sort of self-serving Washington politician that have gotten us in the mess we're in now.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Controversy at the New York Public Library

Monday, March 12, 2012

Over the last few years, even as cutbacks have been made in the system’s 87 branches, the New York Public Library has renovated the 42nd Street main library and officials are now looking to construct a new state-of-the-art computer-based library. Scott Sherman, a contributing writer for The Nation and Caleb Crain, a former Fellow at the NYPL and author of American Sympathy, talk about the proposed changes, staffing cuts and construction plans – and the controversy they’ve created. Sherman’s article, "Upheaval at the New York Public Library," appeared in the December 19 edition of The Nation.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Preview of Gov. Christie's Budget

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

John Mooney, founding editor of njspotlight.com, looks ahead to this afternoon's budget address by New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie.

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The Takeaway

Obama's Budget Reflects Reelection Agenda

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

President Obama presented his 2013 budget to Congress on Monday that includes $1.5 trillion in new taxes over the next ten years for the wealthiest taxpayers, closing some corporate tax breaks, and allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire. However, it's not all cuts: the budget outlines increased spending for infrastructure projects, job-training, and innovation. Overall, it aims to lower the deficit below $1 trillion.

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Transportation Nation

President's Budget: High Speed Rail, Fixing Roads & Bridges, Complete Streets, TIGER Grants

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ok, let's remember that this is not a budget -- or that it's not a budget, only.  It's a political document, in a campaign year, that is designed to press forward President Obama's case that he is on the side hard-working Americans, not the 1 %

Having said that, the transportation portion (pdf)  is remarkable in its consistency -- you'd never know the drubbing President Obama took last year on high speed rail and the jobs act.

*Like last year, the President wants a half-trillion dollar, six-year transportation bill. (It's broken out slightly differently, but with $476 for a transportation bill and $50 billion in immediate investments -- a.k.a the jobs bill -- its almost the same as last years $550 billion proposal.)

*Like last year, the President wants to spend about $50 billion on high speed rail, despite a drubbing in Congress in 2011.

*There's no backing down on TIGER grants and "streets that accommodate pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access."

More soon, after Transpo Secretary Ray LaHood's conference call.

 

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The Takeaway

President Obama Sends 2013 Budget to Congress

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday morning, President Obama sends Congress his 2013 budget plan. The president’s budget includes stimulus-style spending increases on highway construction projects, schools, and other public works. It also includes increased taxes for wealthy Americans and corporations. What it doesn’t include are significant cuts, and the president already getting push-back from Republicans about his plan. They say it avoids making needed sacrifices and that it doesn’t do enough to curb the deficit or keep the rapid growth of benefit programs like Medicare in check.

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The Takeaway

New Report Uncovers Suspicious Earmarks

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Nationwide confidence in our lawmakers is at an all time low. And this news isn't like to change that. More than 30 members of Congress have used over $ 300 million in earmarks and other spending to fund many public projects close to their own properties. That's the finding of an extensive investigation published in today's Washington Post. The Post also found 16 lawmakers who had sent tax dollars to places where members of their families work or serve on boards.

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WNYC News

Cuomo Hints at Insurance Company Sale

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo perhaps knows something about one of the state’s largest insurance companies that the company itself doesn’t know – that it could be sold as soon as next year.

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Schoolbook

Inching Closer to Agreement on Evaluations for Teachers

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In the long-simmering debate over how to judge the quality of New York State school employees, there is one thing all sides agree on: a system should be in place. The sticking point has been agreeing about how to do it.

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Schoolbook

At Regents Meeting, a Protest Over School Improvement Grants

Monday, January 09, 2012

While the Board of Regents met inside the state’s Education Department headquarters on Monday, representatives from the state’s teachers’ union and several of the districts that lost their funding protested outside, decrying the decision by the commissioner, John B. King Jr., to suspend payments on what are known as school improvement grants.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Budget Cuts at the Pentagon

Friday, January 06, 2012

Elisabeth Bumiller, Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times, talks about potential cuts to the U.S. defense budget and what it means for the 21st century U.S. military.

Try The New York Times budget cutting tool here.

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Transportation Nation

Actual Debate Breaks Out At NY MTA Board Meeting

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Perhaps the most boring photo ever taken of a NY MTA board meeting, where stuff went down. (Photo by Jim O'Grady.)

(New York, NY - WNYC) The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority board was about to vote on its $12.7 billion budget for 2012 when member Allen Capelli spoke up and ground the proceedings to a halt. The moment was unusual because the board traditionally works out differences behind closed doors, making its public sessions a fait accompli machine.

Capelli proposed an amendment to the budget that would have the NY MTA spend $20 million to reverse some of last year's drastic cuts to subway, bus, and commuter train service.

Board member Charles Moerdler backed him up, saying it would show riders they could expect more from the MTA besides fare hikes

"If you care about public mass transit, put up or shut up," Moerdler said before comparing the amendment to apple pie and motherhood. "You cannot vote against it."

Opposed was budget director Robert Foran, who said next year's books were balanced on cuts to overhead that have yet to be identified.

"I don't know where we're going to get the $35 million that I just said we're going to cut," Foran explained with some exasperation. "I don't know where I'll get this $20 million."

He said the $35 million in cuts combined with $33 million in emergency reserves will be needed to plug an expected drop in revenues from the MTA's portion of a state payroll tax.

Foran noted projections that show a 30 to 40 percent drop in Wall Street bonuses this year, which provide a big slice of the payroll tax pie. "You're putting a $20 million burden on us," he said to Capelli and Moerdler, "when we're already trying to figure out what are we going to do when the whole payroll economy comes down."

Joe Lhota, the NY MTA's new executive director, also spoke against the amendment, which he described as a "dangerous proposal."

Board member Andrew Albert, who represents the New York City Transit Riders Council,  disagreed. He called a budget without at least some restored service "a budget balanced on the backs of riders." He said certain buses, trains and subways needed to run as often as they did before last year's cuts.  "We need to bring back the frequency so people are not packed in like animals," he said.

The debate raged a good half hour before a vote was called. The amendment lost 6 to 4. The rest of the 2012 budget--which includes no fare hikes or service cuts--was passed.

Lhota is expected to go before the State Senate next month for confirmation as chairman of the board. Should he gain the position, it will be interesting to see if debates keep breaking out during the MTA’s public sessions.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Simpson on Budget Dealings and Gingrich

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recap from It's a Free Country.

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, US Congressman (R-NJ 5th) Scott Garrett discussed unfinished business including the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.

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The Takeaway

Two Congressmen on the National Defense Authorization Bill

Friday, December 16, 2011

The National Defense Authorization Act for next year has been met with criticism by civil liberties organizations for provisions that they say would allow American citizens suspected of terrorist activities to be detained indefinitely. As the House and Senate work on versions of the bill, President Obama has quietly withdrawn a veto threat for the legislation — something he campaigned on as a presidential candidate in 2008. A Gallup from August shows that 71 percent of Americans believe basic civil liberties should not be violated, even if doing so would prevent terrorist attacks. 

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