Liz Benjamin

This user hasn't shared any biographical information

Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Disconnect On The Left?

From the morning memo, in case you missed it:

Much has been written- including here in this very memo – about the consternation on the left with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in response to what liberals see as his fiscally conservative and anti-labor policies.

Things have supposedly gotten so bad that Cuomo is facing an insurrection within his own party, with union leaders like new NYSUT President Karen Magee saying she “can’t imagine” her members would consider endorsing the governor for re-election, and PEF President Susan Kent encouraging the Democrats to primary their own governor.

And the labor-backed Working Families Party, supposedly driven by unhappiness within the rank-and-file, is mulling the possibility of putting someone other than Cuomo on its ballot line this fall.

But a NY1/NYT/Siena poll released yesterday finds the governor’s numbers are still strong among self-professed liberals in New York City – the epicenter of the state’s liberal movement.

According to this poll, 64 percent of poll respondents overall approved of the way Cuomo is handling his job as governor, while 20 percent disapprove and 16 percent don’t know or have no opinion.

The numbers are fairly consistent among “liberals” – 62-21-16 – as well as “conservatives” (61-23-16) and are slightly higher among “moderates” (69-18-13).

Cuomo even performs better in New York City that Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been the poster boy for liberal causes since his upset primary win last fall.

Just 49 percent of city residents said they approve of the way de Blasio has handled his job during the first 100 days of his mayoralty, compared to 31 percent who disapprove and 19 percent who didn’t know or had no opinion.

Among liberals, de Blasio’s numbers were: 61-20-19. In other words, just about the same as Cuomo’s, despite all the rhetoric from the left about the governor being the champion of the rich and of pet conservative issues like charter schools.

It’s a curious disconnect between liberal voters and the message being delivered by the organizations that purport to represent them, and also an indication of why Cuomo seems unconcerned about the supposed uprising taking place on his left flank.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany, where, at 10 a.m., he’ll host the second Beer, Wine, Spirits and Cider summit at the Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

At 9:15 a.m., Sen. Bill Perkins; Manhattan BP Gale Brewer; Councilman and Chair of the Education Committee Daniel Dromm; Councilman Antonio Reynoso and parents and teachers from the Mickey Mantle school PS 811 and PS 149 in Harlem, will protest Cuomo for supporting co-location with Success Academy, Dept. of Education steps, 52 Chambers St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction holds a discussion forum, Van Nostrand Theatre, Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood Campus, 1001 Crooked Hill Rd., Brentwood.

At 11 a.m., New York teachers, business, community and military leaders host a conference call to launch a new statewide education organization – Higher Achievement New York.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James, Teamsters Local 237 and the League of Women Voters hold a rally calling on the mayor to fulfill his campaign pledge to fairly settle the ongoing school safety agent federal class action lawsuit, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an announcement, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Robert F. Kennedy Jr. delivers keynote speech, “Why Environmental Policy Equals Good Business Policy” during an eighth annual “Sustainable Business and Design Conference”; John E. Reeves Great Hall, Seventh Avenue and 28th Street, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and other legislators join the New York Alliance at a press conference to announce the creation of the Donate Life Registry – a public/private partnership to increase organ donations in the state, LCA Press Room (130), LOB, Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., Matt Funiciello, owner of (and bread baker at) Rock Hill Bakehouse, will submit petitions with a sufficient number of signatures to become a Green Party candidate in NY-21, state Board of Elections, 40 N. Pearl St., Albany.

At 3:30 p.m., de Blasio speaks to recruits during muster at the NYPD Police Academy with Commissioner Bill Bratton, 3rd Floor (C-Deck), Muster Area, 235 East 20th St., Manhattan. A media availability with both men will follow at 4:15 p.m.

From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the National Institute for Latino Policy presents a briefing titled “Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Diversity Record: The Continuing Latino Underrepresentation in Municipal Employment”; Community Service Society, fourth floor, 105 W. 22nd St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Sen. Jack Martins hosts a discussion on heroin and substance abuse prevention, Shelter Rock Library, 165 Searingtown Rd., Albertson.

Headlines…

According to a NY1/New York Times/Siena poll, just 49 percent of registered voters give NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio the thumbs up after his first 100 days in office.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is more popular in NYC than de Blasio.

Half of respondents said they disapproved of de Blasio’s efforts to address income inequality, and 52 percent said they were dissatisfied with his work on another top agenda item: making it easier for New Yorkers to find affordable housing.

De Blasio’s budget chief, Dean Fuleihan, is asking agency heads to reevaluate their capital budgets, which fund long-term construction projects, and bring their estimated expenses closer to how much they actually spend.

At groundbreaking of a low-income housing development in East New York, de Blasio found himself briefly upstaged by Charles Barron, an outspoken former City Council member from the district whose political style is heavy on theatricality.

Sen. Diane Savino filed the first move in a parliamentary maneuver that could bring her bill to legalize medical marijuana to the floor of the Senate without the approval of the chamber’s leadership.

“(I)f you look at this budget and you look at these four years, it’s been an extraordinary progressive accomplishment,” Cuomo told Bill Hammond, who says the governor is progressive by any “reasonable” measure.

The pro-charter school group Families for Excellent Schools sent out a campaign-style mailer to thousands of city voters applauding Cuomo for pushing and approving a law protecting charter schools in New York City.

In launching his re-match against Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, former GOP Assemblyman George Amedore said she has sided with “special interests of New York City” and “liberal causes that are out of touch with the people that live in this district.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer endorsed Rep. Charlie Rangel’s run for a 23rd – and he says final – term, calling the veteran congressman a “tenacious fighter.”

The election of new leadership at NYSUT signals yet another rift between Cuomo and some labor unions as the governor gears up to run for re-election.

Some union sources suggested Cuomo might be trying to swap teacher-evaluation changes for the Catholic Church-backed Education Investment Tax Credit, which would incentivize donations for private-school scholarships.

“Unless there is some significant change, I can’t imagine our teachers would even consider endorsing the governor,” said new NYSUT President Karen Magee, who also believes the field is “wide open” as to who the union might back.

More >

Extras

New NYSUT President Karen Magee: “We are going to become strong again, one of the most powerful labor organizations in New York State.”

NYSUT Representative Assembly delegates passed a resolution opposing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Teacher Excellence fund program.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino launched an on-line petition to “stop” the Common Core.

A White Plains attorney and CPA discovered a “serious cliff problem” in the estate tax reform in the new budget.

The return of Lenora Fulani? A NYC Independence Party activist floats a controversial name for governor instead of Cuomo.

The left is really gunning for IDC Leader Jeff Klein.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: “I avoid all comparisons to George W. Bush except I’d love for people to want to  have a beer with me, that’s about it.”

A commuter who was hurt in December’s Metro-North train derailment that killed four people has filed the first lawsuit against the railroad and other defendants.

The state Association of Letter Carriers, with 26,000 members – 20,000 of them in NYC - announced its support of Rep. Charlie Rangel’s re-election bid.

The NRCC accused NY-21 Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf of flip-flopping on the SAFE Act.

Ben Smith explains why former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would be a “terrible” presidential candidate, comparing him to “ex-Republican Mike Bloomberg” and “failed GOP apostate Jon Huntsman.”

De Blasio presided over his first City Hall wedding, joining lobbyist Sid Davidoff and DN columnist Linda Stasi in holy matrimony.

Some of the Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature have submitted a resolution against putting a casino in the town of Henrietta.

Women’s rights advocates and legislators released a letter urging Cuomo to support a bill that would allow cities and counties to increase their own minimum wage.

Sen. Tim Kennedy is calling for an investigation into New York State auto insurance rating and pricing practices.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer’s proposal would allow 100 percent of any live theater investment to be deducted up to $15 million per production – whether the eventual show is a hit or a flop.

Empire Resorts is joining with SUNY Sullivan to create a casino worker training program for future employees as part of its bid to build a casino in Sullivan County.

It was nearly a record black bear season in 2013.

Beth Goldman, the acting commissioner of the city’s Department of Finance, has resigned, pressuring de Blasio to come up with a replacement.

Here and Now

Today is opening day at Yankee Stadium.

It’s the calm after the budget storm in Albany, as only the Assembly is in session this week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Erie and Albany counties. At 10 a.m., he’ll discuss the 2014-15 budget, C A Lindbergh Elementary School, 184 Irving Terrace, Buffalo.

Also at 10 a.m., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, advocates and college students discuss efforts to prevent campus sexual assaults; suite 2601, 780 Third Ave., Manhattan.

At 10:45 a.m., actors – including Tyne Daly and Neil Patrick Harris – The Broadway League Chairman and Nederlander Organization Inc. Executive Vice President Nick Scandalios, Sen. Chuck Schumer and producer Harvey Weinstein express support for proposals to provide federal tax incentives for live theater productions; fourth floor, Sardi’s restaurant, 234 W. 44th St., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., former Assemblyman George Amedore makes an announcement, Village Pizza II, 416 Main St., Catskill. He is expected to announce a re-match against Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk.

At noon, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an announcement, Brooklyn Public Library – Stone Avenue Branch, Second Floor, 581 Mother Gaston Blvd., Brooklyn.

Also at noon, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer discusses the release of his office’s report about differences in arts education programs among city public schools; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 1:15 p.m., de Blasio attends the Livonia Commons groundbreaking, Lot #5, Corner of Livonia Avenue and Hinsdale Street, Brooklyn.

At 1:30 p.m., Gillibrand, advocates and college students promote proposals that would allow college graduates to refinance federal student loans at reduced interest rates; Hudson Room, main lobby, CUNY’s Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St., Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., de Blasio holds another press conference, Queens Museum – Main Lobby, Queens.

At 6 p.m., the state Republican Party holds a reception honoring U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner at Astra by Charlie Palmer, 979 Third Ave., 14th floor, Manhattan.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Brooklyn BP Eric Adams attends a “town hall” meeting organized by the Prospect Park East Network to discuss criticisms of neighborhood real estate development and zoning, John Hus Moravian Church, 153 Ocean Ave., Brooklyn.

Headlines…

The $137.9 billion budget includes millions of re-appropriated dollars for hundreds of old legislative earmarks, formally known as member items – for now; they could be vetoed by the governor.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver put on hold $185,000 in member item funding for the groups that embattled Assemblyman Micah Kellner has secured for his district since 2009. Kellner is fighting sanctions placed on him by Silver in the wake of sexual harassment charges.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who got the short end of the public campaign finance stick, is known as “Mr. Nice” in the Capitol – a place “where grins are often forced and expressions of affection often precede a knife in someone’s back.”

After NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first 100 days in office, many questions regarding his ability to manage the city remain.

It’s unclear after her first 100 days in office how NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito plans to distinguish herself from her longtime ally, de Blasio.

There’s $15 million in the budget for a new college of emergency preparedness, and homeland and cyber security, but no mechanism to decide where it will be located.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s book, “Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World,” comes out Sept. 9.

NYSUT’s revolt against its now former president, Dick Iannuzzi, should worry Cuomo, who needs to renegotiate the terms of teacher performance evaluations with the union.

Both Cuomo and Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein are facing election-year pressure from campaign finance reform advocates who are unhappy with the comptroller-only option in the new budget.

More on how de Blasio got “slapped down” by the charter school movement, with an assist from the governor.

Cuomo’s spending plan, passed by lawmakers March 31, guarantees free space or rent money only for new or expanding charter schools — leaving 67 existing city charters in privately owned buildings out of luck.

Sen. Diane Savino now says she has 39 “yes” votes for her medical marijuana bill. During a recent CapTon interview, she said it was 41.

More >

DiNapoli: I Won’t Be A ‘Sacrificial Lamb’ For Public Financing

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has decided not to opt in to the yearlong public campaign finance system established in the 2014-15 budget solely for his office in the upcoming elections.

In a statement, DiNapoli called the pilot program “a poor excuse to avoid the real reforms New Yorkers deserve,” adding:

“At this point, I cannot participate in this pilot. I was always willing to have reform start with the Comptroller’s office, but I will not be a convenient sacrificial lamb.”

“I hope that before the legislative session ends, there will be comprehensive campaign finance reform, as well as a reconsideration of the proposal I advanced, with realistic timeframes for successful implementation.”

This doesn’t come as a big surprise. DiNapoli has been saying since word of the comptroller-only option in the budget leaked that he does not support the idea – despite the fact that he has promoted it in years past.

The idea to use the state comptroller as a public finance guinea pig was agreed to by the governor and three legislative leaders, but DiNapoli was blindsided by the agreement, complaining that he had not been consulted or included in negotiations.

The comptroller’s decision not to opt into the program will no doubt draw criticism from the governor and whoever his GOP opponent is, should one emerge (the likelihood of that has increased since the establishment of the low-donor matching program, assuming the state Board of Elections can manage to get it off the ground in time).

But DiNapoli is getting cover for his non-participation from campaign finance advocates, who praised the Assembly for passing the comptroller-only plan in 2011, but have said this version is being established too late in the election season to be fair.

Also, since circumstances have changed in the campaign finance arena, the advocates are no longer willing to accept half a loaf when it comes to a publicly funded system.

They are blaming the governor for failing to push the Senate Republicans hard enough to agree to a system that includes more than just the comptroller – something they insist is necessary to address the ongoing corruption problems that have long plagued Albany.

The Weekend That Was

Former state Assemblyman Republican George Amedore is expected to announce tomorrow that he will run again for the state Senate seat he only lost by 18 votes last year to Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped Tom Finkelpearl, the executive director of the Queens Museum, as the city’s next cultural-affairs commissioner.

Sen. Malcolm Smith, Sen. John Sampson and now former Assemblyman Eric Stevenson – all put in for per diem reimbursements while fighting corruption charges – even on days the Legislature wasn’t in session.

Owners of at least two dozen nuclear reactors across the United States, including the operator of Indian Point 2, have told the NRC that they cannot show that their reactors would withstand the most severe earthquake that revised estimates say they might face.

Ian Hunter, a conservative Republican who insisted for months that he would try to force a GOP primary in NY-24, abruptly abandoned the effort Saturday.

NY-24 Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei has about $1 million more to spend in his campaign bank account than Republican John Katko as the two begin to ramp up their campaigns for the November election.

State taxpayers were stiffed out of at least $87,000 when Rep. Charles Rangel stopped paying for the district office he rents in Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building. His office lost the lease, but OGS cut him a break.

Many New York gun owners expect the April 15 deadline to register assault weapons under the state’s strict new law to be largely ignored.

Support is growing in the state Legislature for a full-scale legalization of medical marijuana, an issue that likely will be among a handful of battles in the Capitol over the next few months.

NYSUT members are very down on Cuomo and state Education Commissioner John King.

New NYSUT President Karen Magee said she doesn’t plan any changes to the union’s staff. Her first task will be to negotiate changes to the teacher performance evaluation system with Cuomo.

The state Democratic convention will reportedly be held in Melville on Long IslandMay 21-22, and Kevin Law, president and CEO of the Long Island Association might be on tap to replace Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy as Cuomo’s running mate.

The Jacobs family might be a local buyer for the Bills. But their ownership of the NHL’s Boston Bruins could present a stumbling block.

Casey Seiler explains how the 2nd Law of Cuomo came into play during the public campaign finance debate.

More than half of de Blasio’s commissioners hail from his home borough of Boroklyn.

State Education Commissioner John King has rejected both of Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino’s petitions to have President Barbara Nevergold removed from office.

The man accused of selling heroin with the Syracuse mayor’s former receptionist has been sent to drug court over the objections of the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office.

Those hoping to become organic farmers in New York can take advantage of a new state program intended to support agriculture.

A new law that goes into effect May 1st requires people to take a ‘boating safety course’ before taking to New York waters.

Extras

Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly wants to “beat up” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for demonizing the wealthy. He said as much at a Catholic fundraiser.

Ahead of this weekend’s vote that could oust him from his post, NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi appealed to delegates whose local leaders had already pledged support to his challengers.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill, who were at odds over sexual harassment in the military, are spearheading an effort to increase funding to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

There’s $42 million worth of education “bullet aid” in the budget, to be allocated later according to legislative resolutions and budget director agreement.

Former President Bush had an uncomforable “my dog is bigger than yours” moment with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Casey Seiler engages in a debate with Team Astorino over whether New York really is No. 1 in public corruption.

De Blasio met today with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the Regency Hotel.

Crain’s: “Ironically, the state lawmakers’ ethics reform deal may actually erode public trust.”

The man running interference for the Dems under the banner of the “Astorino  Truth Squad”: Mike Morey, former spokesman for ex-NYC Council Speaker Chris Quinn.

The Monroe County Democratic Committee announced its candidate for the vacant 134th District: Gary Pudup, who was the director of the Genesee Valley chapter of the NYCLU.

Former Brooklyn BP has been named vice president of borough promotion and engagement by NYC & Company, the city’s tourism office.

The pro-gun NY2A coalition has registered a political action committee in the hopes of influencing 20 legislative races this year.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is barely into the first year of his second four-year term but he’s still fund-raising.

Capital filed three FOIL requests seeking information on the call de Blasio made on Bishop Orlando Findlayter traffic stop. All three have been delayed with no explanation.

A Missouri-based gun manufacturer, Black Rain Ordnance, has introduced a line of “New York compliant” rifles.

A history lesson: How four New York governors became president – with cameos by Cuomo.

How not to run for office.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the New York City area with no public schedule.

At 8 a.m., NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and others attend OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services’ Inaugural Legislative Breakfast, at the offices of Bernstein Global Wealth Management. 1345 Ave. of the Americas, Manhattan.

At 8:35 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the COPS Office Director’s Forum, Ford Foundation, 320 East 43rd St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., during a 10-mile march from JFK to LaGuardia Airport, NAACP’s state conference President Hazel N. Dukes, SEIU 32BJ President Hector Figueroa, Rep. Charles Rangel, state lawmakers, City Council members, airport workers and others mark Friday’s 46th anniversary of civil rights leader MLK Jr.’s assassination, and promote union representation; AirTrain JFK’s Lefferts Boulevard station, Lefferts Boulevard and Pan Am Avenue, Queens.

At 10:30 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli delivers checks from unclaimed funds; The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd., Manhattan.

At noon, Sen. Mark Grisanti hosts a roundtable discussion on domestic violence, Senate Hearing Room 6, Walter J. Mahoney Building, 65 Court St., Buffalo.

At 12:30 p.m., DiNapoli releases a report about the prevalence and costs of asthma in New York, 161-169 East 110th St., Manhattan.

At 1:30 p.m., Sen. Greg Ball hosts a roundtable discussion with school superintendents about local heroin and opioid abuse, Carmel Town Hall, 60 McAplin Ave., Carmel.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio holds an invite-only and off the record reception for the City Hall press corps, Gracie Mansion, 88th Street and East End Avenue, Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m., DiNapoli attends Order Sons of Italy Cellini Lodge No. 2206’s 46th anniversary dinner, 440 Old Country Rd., Carle Place.

Headlines…

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Island Republican, is being mentioned as a possible running mate for GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.

State Board of Elections commissioner Doug Kellner said the board was not consulted about administering a public financing system, and was not given additional resources to carry out the process.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he was completely left out of discussions about the financing system, which only impacts his office, but also believes there’s “still time to fix it.”

Rumors began flying in the state’s information technology community about chief information officer Brian Digman after a job posting went online for his job.

New York is forging ahead with its casino plans even though gambling revenue is down across the country and other states are facing a saturation point with local gaming facilities.

Dozens of environmental activists showed up to crash a Hudson Valley fundraiser for Cuomo and protest against hydrofracking. He avoided them – and reporters – by using a side entrance.

“My sense is if you’re saying we’re going back to having private funding for this, that’s basically what we’ve already got, so the governor isn’t doing anything,” said Robert Scott, the executive director of Cornell University’s Prison Education Program.

In his second major address since taking office, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio next week will assess his administration’s accomplishments and discuss his agenda moving forward.

A federal court upheld New York City’s ban on religious services in public-school buildings in a 2-1 ruling on Thursday, but de Blasio signaled that he may change the Department of Education’s policy.

De Blasio as he approaches the 100-day mark: “I think the sheer math of the job — the number of items that come, and the speed with which they come up — is something that would surprise anyone…The good news is, you get used to it pretty damn quick.”

De Blasio described Albany to pre-K students as a “strange and mysterious land.”

Top Cuomo aide Larry Schwartz said New York City officials waited until the final hours of state budget negotiations to ask for additional speed enforcement cameras.

More >

Extras

PEF President Susan Kent hopes Gov. Andrew Cuomo will face a Democratic primary challenger or a Working Families Party opponent.

Howard Glaser: “I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more progressive budget than we’ve had this year.”

Larry Schwartz called criticism of the budget “very silly” and “short-sighted,” adding: “The people that are criticizing it are the same people who for the last 30 years haven’t been able to get anything accomplished.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver bonded over pre-K and worms.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the New York City Department of Education may restrict churches from using public school facilities for religious worship services.

Progressives’ plan after public finance loss: “(T)he best thing that can be done is to blame the Governor for failing to achieve what would have been an historic victory.”

Discovery and wire-walker Nik Wallenda will team up for a traverse of the Chicago skyline – tetherless! – this fall.

“The Spano family and the Cuomo family go back many, many decades,” former Senator and ex-con Nick Spano said.

The DMV will begin issuing red-bordered license plates to government officials and first responders.

Former Assemblywoman Diane Gordon, who was once imprisoned for taking bribes, has filed to run for district leader against Councilwoman Inez Barron.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on whether Hillary Clinton runs in 2016: “In every conversation I’ve ever had with her, I just have a sense that she knows how important this is for the nation and the world.”

Nearly 20 consultants and lobbyists are co-hosting a Ready for Hillary PAC fundraiser tonight at Capitol Hill restaurant Johnny’s Half Shell.

Rubain Dorancy, a candidate for Brooklyn BP Eric Adams’ old Senate seat, is holding a fundraiser April 14.

A state fund for researching spinal cord injuries received a $7 million boost in the budget.

Upstate is facing a doctor shortage.

A new scorecard rates 12 vulnerable House Republicans – including NY Reps. Michael Grimm and Chris Gibson – on their positions on immigration reform.

AG Eric Schneiderman announced a new program that will equip state and local police with a heroin antidote to treat overdose victims at the scene.

Ralph Wilson’s widow, Mary, now is running the Buffalo Bills.

David Letterman is expected to discuss his plan to retire in about a year on tonight’s edition of “The Late Show.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press office has not yet released his public schedule, though he’s likely to continue touting the 2014-15 budget.

At 8 a.m., Stroock Government Relations holds the Government Leadership Forum: What’s Going On at the World Trade Center?, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center honors New York City Council members who received an A grade in the New York City Council Human Rights Report Card, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman makes an announcement, Suffolk County Police Department Training Academy, 502 Wicks Rd., Brentwood.

At 9:25 a.m., GOP gubernatorial candidate/Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will be a guest on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” with Chuck Todd.

At 9:30 a.m., Assemblyman Dick Gottfried and Environment New York Field Associate Sarah Vitti holds a press conference to release a letter against the implementation of hydrofracking, Gottfried’s district office, 242 W. 27th St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, union representatives and drivers hold a press conference to call for UPS to rehire 250 drivers, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., members of the Real Affordability for All campaign march through downtown Brooklyn to call for de Blasio to make affordability for low- and moderate-income residents a priority in his affordable housing plan, 149 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 10 a.m., Queens BP Melinda Katz, Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry will announce the introduction of legislation to reform the Queens Library and hold the Queens Library System accountable, Queens Borough Hall.

At 10:30 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli addresses the NYS Government Finance Officers Assoc. Conference, Albany Marriott, 189 Wolf Rd., Colonie.

At 11 a.m., advocates hold a rally and press conference on the “30% rent cap” affordable housing protection for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS that was approved in FY15 state budget, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11:45 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an announcement, P.S. 1 – Atrium, 8 Henry St., Manhattan. Following the announcement, the mayor will visit a pre-K classroom; he’ll be joined by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

At 12:25 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will speak at the 20th Annual Women Mean Business Luncheon Benefitting the Coalition for the Homeless’ First Step Job Training Program, The Pierre Hotel, 2 East 61st St., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Black and Latino Caucus Chairman Assemblyman Karim Camara, members of the state Senate and Assembly and fast food workers hold a rally to call for the state Legislature to act on Raise Up NY legislation, McDonald’s, 1651 Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at 12:30 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on Talking Back, WYSL Rochester 1040 AM & 92.1FM and WKAL in Rome Utica.

At 1:30 p.m., the SUNY Board of Trustees holds a meeting to discuss the University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital, The Global Center, Global Classroom, 116 E. 55th St., Manhattan.

Also at 1:30 p.m., McCray delivers remarks at Staten Island Advance’s Women of Achievement Awards, Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Ave., Staten Island.

At 2 p.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton discusses “Shop-and-frisk” in a private meeting with Al Sharpton, NYCLU’s Donna Lieberman, representatives from Barneys, Macy’s, Saks, Lord & Taylor and others, at One Police Plaza. Sharpton and others will speak to reporters after the meeting, around 3 p.m.

At 5:30 p.m., Cuomo is expected to attend a high-dollar fundraiser to benefit his campaign committee at the Doubletree Tarrytown, 455 South Broadway, Tarrytown. (Note: This event has not been publicly advised by the governor’s office).

Headlines…

New York City began accepting applications on Wednesday for 4,268 new full-day prekindergarten seats in public schools, marking the first wave of pre-K seats resulting from new funding in this year’s state budget.

President Obama issued a statement congratulating Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on the expansion of pre-K. (The president’s initial statement got the mayor’s name wrong).

Cuomo told charter school advocates to organize the rally that coincided with de Blasio’s pre-K rally in Albany during the height of the budget battle. It was all part of the governor’s active push for charters at the mayor’s expense.

De Blasio is still trying to figure out whether the money he’s getting from the state will be enough to also expand after-school programs.

Michael Powell calls Cuomo and de Blasio “our very own Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, if only Butch would stop shooting Sundance in the knees.”

A late bill slipped through the Legislature as part of the $138 billion state budget by IDC Leader Jeff Klein will provide millions in tax benefits to a Bronx condo complex built by a politically connected developer.

Democratic gadfly, fundraiser and donor Bill Samuels says he would support Oliver Koppell in a primary against Klein.

More >