DiNapoli: Diabetes Medicaid Costs Hit $1.2B

dinapoliDiabetes-related services for Medicaid recipients costs New York $1.2 billion in, according to a report released on Friday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

The costs for diabetes care is growing: Over a five-year period ending in March 2014, expenses related to diabetes increased by $293.7 million — a 31 percent jump. During the same time period, Medicaid costs grew by $9.4 billion, or 21 percent, to $54.9 billion in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

About 460,000 Medicaid recipients are diagnosed with diabetes and receiving services under the program related to the disease. Overall, 1 in 10 adult New Yorkers have been diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

“Millions of New Yorkers suffer from diabetes and the numbers are growing. It is a costly disease to fight given its chronic nature and the severity of its complications,” DiNapoli said. “Preventing diabetes is difficult not only in New York but across the country. The state Department of Health (DOH) deserves credit for openly acknowledging the ongoing challenge of diabetes prevention and the need for more progress in meeting this major health issue. Clearly, the battle against diabetes must continue to be a priority.”

Compounding the problem, the poorest New Yorkers have the highest prevalence of diabetes, with those who earn less than $15,000 a year comprising 15.9 percent of diabetes patients.

Racial and ethnic minorities, along with the elderly, are also highly impacted by diabetes, with the prevalence of the disease among African-American adults at 14.2 percent and 11.4 percent among Latinos. More >

Cuomo Wants Gun Control To Be Issue In 2016 Campaign

cuomoboltonAfter a community college shooting left 10 people dead, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the 2016 presidential candidates — both parties — should be talking about gun control.

At the same time, Cuomo is calling on Democrats nationally to take a page from the GOP playbook and threaten a government shutdown over gun control.

“I would like to see Hillary and the vice president and whoever else is in the race on both sides talk about this issue of guns and let’s have that as one of the top priorities,” Cuomo said during an interview on NY1. “Rather than the political blather that is now going on and let’s put some real issues on the agenda and let’s put at the top: What are you going to do about guns?”

Cuomo himself, of course, was listed as a potential presidential contender, but ultimately stayed on the sidelines and has endorsed Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York.

Cuomo condemned the latest mass shooting, saying it was “discouraging” lawmakers at the federal level are yet to act on stemming gun violence in the country.

“It is really sad and tragic and discouraging,” he said. “It is such a blatant failure of our political system and frankly such a blatant failure of the elected officials in this country.”

Cuomo touted the package of gun control laws he pushed through in 2013 as “the best” in the nation, which came in the wake of an elementary school shooting.

But the governor said that measure can only go so far, given illegal weapons can be driven in from out of state.

“I close the front door to guns, they open the back door,” Cuomo said. “We have learned nothing.”

The issue took on a new, more personal intensity for Cuomo following the death of Carey Gabay, an attorney in his administration who was killed after being shot in the head by a stray bullet in Brooklyn.

Gun control has become such a fervent concern for Cuomo — who has blasted Washington, D.C. gridlock in contrast to Albany’s recent legislative output — that he would support the risk of a government shutdown if it meant passing new federal legislation.

“I’d love to see the Democrats stand up and say we’re going to shut down the government or threaten to shut down the government if we don’t get real gun control legislation,” Cuomo said. “It should be that high a priority.”

New Session, New Look Furniture For The Senate

senate1From the Morning Memo:

Senators returning to Albany in January will find a surprise waiting for them at the LOB and in the Capitol, compliments of Majority Leader John Flanagan: Brand new office furniture.

According to a memo sent to all senators – Democrats and Republicans alike – last month, Flanagan has decided it’s time for an upgrade of the outdated couches, chairs, desks and other trappings of lawmakers’ offices, which, apparently, have not been replaced for some time.

“As most of you know, the Empire State Plaza just celebrated its 50th anniversary. What most of you may not know, however, is that much of our furniture was purchased at the same time,” the memo, sent on Sept. 22, reads.

“Unfortunately, the furnishings are not faring quite as well as the Plaza has. Our staff has done an amazing job with the upkeep of these outdated items. However, there comes a point when it is more expensive to repair or re-upholster items then it is to replace them.”

“You may have also noticed that as manufacturers have discontinued many fabrics and textiles, it has left us with pieces that no longer match each other.”

According to the memo, the new furniture – select pieces in a “timeless and classic” style – will be purchased from a state contract issued by the Office of General Services. Delivery is to start next month, and should be complete by the end of the year. More >

Poloncarz Touts A WNY Turnaround In First Ad

From the Morning Memo:

Incumbent Democratic Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is considered a likely bet for re-election in the November general election, in which he’ll be facing off against Republican Assemblyman Ray Walter.

But Poloncarz isn’t leaving anything to chance. Thanks to a wide fundraising edge over his opponent, he is able to hit the airwaves early – a full month before Election Day.

The county executive released his first TV ad, entitled “Steel City”, yesterday. The spot, which was emailed to Poloncarz supporters, focuses on the redevelopment of the Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna – an issue particularly close to the candidate’s heart, since his dad, Charlie, worked at the plant back in the day.

The ad features the story of Welded Tube, a Canadian company, that opened a USA-based manufacturing facility on 40 acres of “wasteland” at the old steel plant location. The company’s Robert Pike, who narrates the ad, notes that the plant used to employ some 22,000 people, but had been vacant since 1983.

Welded Tube USA manufacturers steel pipe, and is “flourishing” and “growing,” Pike says. The company hired 90 full-time employees from “right here in Erie County.” That’s nowhere near 22,000, but it’s a start. More >

Will Senate Republicans Block The Minimum Wage Hike?

From the Morning Memo:

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic state lawmakers plan a push for a $15 minimum wage, they’ll have to convince one man: Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and the Republican leader is skeptical.

“It’s not as simple as just saying, raise the minimum wage. There are many other effects that go with that. Some of the federal, some of them are state,” Flanagan said.

Addressing a group of business leaders this week, Flanagan blasted Cuomo’s push to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers administratively through the Department of Labor’s wage board. Employees of fast-food chains will see their wages gradually increase to $15 per hour over the next several years.

“I don’t agree with the wage board. I know it’s a statute in the state of New York. I think that was executive overreach,” Flanagan said.

Yet, raising the minimum wage is popular politically. Senate Republicans are entering what’s expected to be a challenging election year with a narrow majority in the chamber, but they are quick to point out a minimum wage increase has been approved several times before. More >

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. Ditto, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was supposed to be in Washington, D.C. to keynote the American Family Voices conference but cancelled the trip due to Hurricane Joaquin.

At 7:30 a.m.m Assemblyman David Buchwald participates in the “Fire Ops 101” firefighter training program. Westchester Fire Training Center, 4 Dana Road, Valhalla.

At 9 a.m., Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and NYPD Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea participate in “Intelligence Revolution” discussion moderated by Yahoo News at the 2015 Concordia Summit; Grand Hyatt New York, 109 E. 42nd Street, Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will deliver remarks and meet with local educators at the Council of Educational Associations annual meeting, Century House, Latham.

At 10 a.m., Rep. Nydia Velázquez visits NYCHA’s Sandy Recovery open house, 90 Church St., 5th Floor, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Vance hosts a roundtable on “Ending Sex Trafficking in New York” at the 2015 Concordia Summit; Grand Hyatt New York, 109 E. 42nd Street, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik visits Big Cross Elementary School, 15 Big Cross St., Glens Falls.

11 a.m., Velázquez joins the Economic Development Authority and other local officials to tour the Brooklyn Navy Yard in celebration of National Manufacturing Day and make an announcement about the largest project underway at the Yard, Building 77, Brooklyn.

Also at 11 a.m., Gibson, a Siena College graduate, will help celebrate the inauguration of Brother F. Edward Coughlin, 11th President of Siena College, Alumni Recreation Center, Siena College, Colonie.

At 11:30 a.m., Velázquez joins City Councilman Antonio Reynoso in visiting the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center, 50 Humboldt, 80 Seigal Street, Brooklyn.

At noon, the New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation meets, 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 16th Floor, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks and moderates a panel at Cuomo’s MWBE Forum, Empire State Plaza, Meeting Room 6, Albany.

At 2 p.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will detail measures and resources for emergency preparedness in advance of potential landfall by Hurricane Joaquin during a press conference, Orange County Emergency Services Center, 22 Wells Farm Rd., Goshen.


A clearly frustrated President Barack Obama, in what he said has become “routine,” addressed the nation in response to the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College and urged the American public and lawmakers around the country to take action.

In a filing unsealed yesterday federal prosecutors revealed that they subpoenaed all eight Long Island Republican Senate colleagues of Sen. Dean Skelos in the course of building their corruption case against the former majority leader.

Federal prosecutors​ ​​reaped a​ ​​windfall ​when they subpoenaed a real-estate development firm, Glenwood Management, last year​ ​as part of their investigation into then-Assembly ​S​peaker Sheldon Silver​ ​and it turned up incriminating material about Skelos,​ ​new court papers state.

Remembering Sandy, Irene and Lee, New Yorkers and New Jersey residents prepared for the potential coming of Hurricane Joaquin early next week, even though the National Hurricane Center says the East Coast will likely be spared a direct hit.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top administration officials said the state is doing everything it can to prepare for the possible New York landfall of the storm, which was barreling through the Bahamas yesterday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency as the region braces for dangerous weather. So far, Cuomo has not followed suit.

The NYC subway system is better prepared to withstand hurricanes than it was when superstorm Sandy battered the Northeast three years ago, transportation officials said, but it still needs billions of dollars of work in the coming years to effectively prevent storm damage.

The 15 water-cooling towers that were found to be contaminated this week amid a new cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases had been disinfected less than two months ago, New York City officials said, raising questions about how successful the city can be in containing the disease.

It’s been two months since the executive director of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, Letizia Tagliafierro, resigned from the position to take a job at the Department of Taxation and Finance. Yet there’s little public indication so far that the panel is casting a wide net in the search for her successor, as leadership of the ethics and lobbying watchdog panel has promised.

The federal transportation secretary said that officials were taking important initial steps to accelerate long-stalled plans to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Anthony Foxx revealed New Jersey Transit had agreed to lead the project’s environmental study and that Amtrak would oversee engineering work.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman wants to overhaul the state’s bail system — and he is starting in New York City. The judge said 40 percent of the jail population in New York City is being detained before trial only because the defendants lack the money to afford bail. He argued that for many defendants, a pre-trial bail of $2,500 might as well be $25 million.

Lippman said the judiciary could no longer wait for lawmakers to act to address a system he said punishes people for being poor. He said he would take several steps within the current legal framework to urge judges to set bail low enough that defendants could await trial at home, or to use alternatives to cash bail, like electronic monitoring.

More >

Cuomo Blames Washington After Latest Mass Shooting

After the latest mass shooting at an Oregon community college killed at least 13 people, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday blamed Washington, D.C., for a lack of action on gun control.

“The prevalence of gun violence in this country is a sickness that continues to claim innocent lives and threaten our communities seemingly at random on a daily basis,” Cuomo said. “We have seen too many of these pointless, brutal tragedies, and the sad truth is that, in spite of it all, Washington has done nothing.”

Criticizing federal lawmakers for not passing gun control measures in the wake of shootings has been a common, if frustrated, refrain for Cuomo.

His signature legislation on gun control, the SAFE Act, has been the source of political controversy for him, especially upstate.

And Cuomo knocked lawmakers in Washington on gun control following the death Carey Gabay, an administration lawyer, who was shot in the head in Brooklyn while walking home.

“At what point will Congress wake up and pass real, sensible gun control that keeps guns out of the hands of criminals and people who are dangerously mentally ill?” Cuomo said. “How many more families will have to endure this kind of senseless, avoidable tragedy while our elected officials in Washington continue to sit on their hands?

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences to everyone who has been impacted by today’s tragedy.”


Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a late add to his public schedule: A 6:30 p.m. appearance at a fundraiser for the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is firing back against Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan with a baseball hat of his own. The progressive Democrat wore a hat that says “Make America Fair Again” during an interview this morning on CNN.

De Blasio also took to the radio airwaves to address everything from the incoming hurricane to quality of life in the city, topless panhandlers and his upcoming trip to Iowa and Baltimore.

Joaquin, the hurricane potentially barreling toward New York could force de Blasio to scuttle his plans to travel to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore this weekend.

New York City’s subway faces billions of dollars and years of work to repair damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy three years ago – and to fortify the system against hurricanes like Joaquin.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has filed his own amicus brief in the Evenwel redistricting case pending before the US Supreme Court.

The Real Estate Board of New York is suing the de Blasio administration over legislation curtailing the conversion of hotels into other uses.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is trying to stay one step ahead of the numerous oversight bodies he has repeatedly said he has had to contend with since returning in 2014 for a second stint as commissioner.

Updated breast cancer statistics from the Susan G. Komen organization show the incidence and deaths from the disease in Western New York remain above state and national averages.

Inmates at the Clinton Correctional Facility said the guards who beat them in the days after a brazen escape in June wore no name badges and did not identify themselves. But one guard stood out. He had a large tattoo of the American flag down his left arm and was known around the prison as Captain America.

GE says it shouldn’t be blamed for the parameters of the nearly completed Hudson River dredging project, because they were set by the EPA, which has declined requests to extend them.

Josh Tyrangiel, the editor of Bloomberg Businessweek and a rising star at the news organization, is departing, becoming the latest prominent name to leave the company in recent months as it is reshaped under the leadership of its founder, ex-NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Cuomo said there’s no federal investigation “that I know of” into any nano facilities in the Syracuse area.

Federal campaign filings show a political action committee taking early aim at congressional candidate John Faso has been funded largely by his potential Republican primary opponent for Rep. Chris Gibson’s seat, Dutchess County businessman Andrew Heaney.

The multi-county, multi-court fight over the Women’s Equality Party is continuing, and there’s now a wrinkle – military ballots, for service members who are New Yorkers but who are stationed overseas, are supposed to go out tomorrow or “soon thereafter.”

State Sen. Joseph Griffo, a Republican, and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, a Democrat, will be sending out a joint mailer to their constituents and “bringing bipartisanship to a new level.”

One Seneca Tower, Buffalo’s tallest office building, has been sold for $28 million to the firm that held its mortgage, LNR Partners, which was widely expected to win the auction, because it is owed $91 million for the 850,000-square-foot building that is 95 percent empty.

An FBI agent says he believes former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine tried to molest him 34 years ago.

The Bloomberg-for-president push lives.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation hit the ground running this morning at Roswell Park with its first donation of $4.2 million pegged to improve quality-of-life programs for patients receiving treatment at the cancer institute.

With the New York Mets set to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the National League Division series this month, the bet is on and the stakes are predictably high: bagels and popcorn.

Lippman Outlines Overhaul To Bail System

lippmanThe state’s top judge on Thursday called for an overhaul of how bail works in New York in an effort to simplify the process pre-trial detainees jail go through because of a lack of bail money.

The changes, outlined by by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in a speech before the Citizens Crime Commission, will make it so New York City judge can be appointed to review bail circumstances in each case.

At the same time, Lippman plans a mandatory review status conference in felony cases in order to determine if prosecutors are prepared for trail and to review bail conditions.

The reforms will be put in place later in the fall, Lippman said. The changes come after state lawmakers during the legislative session failed to agree to a measure that was aimed at allowing judges to take into account a defendant’s public safety risk when setting bail.

The proposal would have also allowed judges to release defendants without bail if they do not pose a risk to the public.

“With the reforms announced today, we will make major strides in overhauling our broken system of bail,” Lippman said. “Reforming the institution of bail in New York will go a long way toward ensuring that our justice system not only protects the public safety, but also is fair and just for each and every New Yorker, rich and poor alike.”

Lippman retires at the end of the year, and during his time as the state’s top jurist sought to overhaul aspects of the criminal justice system, especially when it comes to poor and low-income defendants.

Other measures being put in place by Lippman will include a pilot program aimed at providing electronic supervision of bail in Manhattan Criminal Court and allowing judges to accept bail alternatives.

The text of his full remarks are after the jump. More >

Gillibrand Aide Launching House Campaign

deaconColleen Deacon, a regional director for Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, is launching a campaign to run for the central New York congressional seat held by Republican freshman John Katko.

Deacon has a Twitter account, as well as a campaign website, geared toward the run.

Updated: Deacon has filed with the Federal Election Commission. You can view her filing here.

“I have seen – up close and personal – how the issues in front of Congress effect real people’s lives, and I want to be a real voice for Central New York,” Deacon states on her campaign website.

College professor Eric Kingson is the other declared Democrat in the race.

Katko last year unseated Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei in the 24th congressional district, which includes the city of Syracuse. More >