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News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics

Assembly GOP says Cuomo budget shortchanges LI

Republicans in Long Island’s Assembly delegation say their school districts aren’t getting a fair share of state aid, advancing a long-shot argument to boost their case.

The 12 Republicans say, in part, the Island districts should get 17 percent of state aid because they educate 17 percent of the state’s students — even though state school aid has never been doled out that way.

In the...

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AG to forgo contributions from Fla. doctor in FBI crosshairs

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will donate $12,500

(Credit: Charles Eckert)

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will give up $12,500 in contributions from a Florida doctor who is the subject of an FBI investigation, donating the money to a charities helping superstorm Sandy victims, his campaign said Thursday.

The focus of the FBI probe is Salomon Melgen, a West Palm Beach eye doctor; Florida media have been covering the alleged details, here and here.

Melgen...

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Castellane opposed Tonna appointment to Suffolk IDA

Jimmy Castellane, head of the Long Island Building

(Credit: Steve Pfost)

Jimmy Castellane, head of the Long Island Building Trades Council, did not attend a Suffolk legislative committee hearing last week, but it was no secret he strongly opposed appointment of former Presiding Officer Paul Tonna as a new Industrial Development Agency member.

During the hearing, it became clear Castellane called lawmakers opposing the appointment because Tonna has worked for...

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Nassau Democrats submit redistricting map

Nassau Democrats have officially submitted their redistricting map to the county legislature – a plan that keeps all 19 districts largely the same while making minor adjustments for population change.

The map, which faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled legislature, was submitted as a local law on Jan. 29.

The bill is being reviewed by the Republican majority but has yet to be...

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DiNapoli undecided about Cuomo pension plan

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli's office has said he

(Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan )

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Wednesday that he hasn’t made a decision on whether to support Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s "pension smoothing" plan to aid cash-strapped local governments.

Speaking to reporters in Manhattan, DiNapoli said his expression of "concern" about the plan has been misinterpreted as criticism of Cuomo. The two Democrats have a frosty relationship;...

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NY legislative leaders not sold on Cuomo casino plan

State legislative leaders aren’t embracing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to limit new casinos to three upstate locations -- and say Long Island and New York City should be in the mix.

Cuomo huddled with Senate and Assembly leaders for about 90 minutes Wednesday to discuss casinos and other issues. Afterward they said talks on an expansion of gambling were still “evolving.”

But legislators...

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The hat of 'JohnCats' is in the ring at City Hall

JohnCats, as he's described on campaign materials, announced

(Credit: Dan Janison)

The newly-minted campaign buttons say "JohnCats for Mayor."

John Catsimatidis, a billionaire businessman, took to the steps of City Hall today to formally announce his candidacy for mayor. He gave an unpretentious if occasionally awkward homily on the promise of success in the U.S. and New York. While saying he liked and respected rival GOP contender Joe Lhota, Catsimatidis described...

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Cuomo acknowledges risk in 'thank you' to gun-bill supporters

With some Republicans under fire, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sent a thank you letter Monday to state legislators who backed his gun-control bill – acknowledging some could pay a political price.

“I understand the vote could cost political capital, the important ones always do …,” Cuomo wrote. “But I consider the cost an investment in the safety of our state and in our individual and collective legacy...

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Calendar quirk has NY pols eyeing earliest budget in decades

As hearings commenced Monday, New York lawmakers are aiming to complete one of the earliest state budgets in recent memory, thanks to a quirk in the calendar.

The state’s 2013-14 fiscal year begins April 1, the deadline for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislators to get a spending plan in place. Budget hearings began Monday with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other municipal...

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Jumping in NYC mayoral pool: de Blasio now in, Catsimatidis Tuesday

The de Blasio family, just before New Year's.

(Credit: de Blasio for New York campaign photo)

As everyone long expected, Democratic Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has officially announced his jump into the mayoral fray. In his Sunday announcement, he talked about being an outer-borough candidate and of course is looking to get some distance from the pack, particularly Council Speaker Christine Quinn, his highest-polling rival thus far. He was accompanied by wife Chirlane McCray, son Dante...

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