Maureen McManus

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Posts by Maureen McManus

Sen. Krueger Explains Marijuana Legalization Bill

Over the past few weeks we’ve heard a lot about the push for the legalization of medical marijuana in New York State. Now, one senator is introducing a bill to legalize recreational pot use as well. Senator Liz Krueger says taking this step would bring in tax revenue for the state and make for more efficient use of law enforcement. But the chances of the bill passing both houses of the legislature and being signed into law by Governor Cuomo do seem slim at this point. Krueger explains why that’s not stopping her.

Liz Krueger Interview>> (TWC ID required)

NYSSBA’s Kremer on School Security

A year after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, nearly all school superintendents in New York say their districts are as safe or safer then they were before the massacre.

According to a new survey by the state School Boards Association, many districts have added extra security measures like buzz-in entrace systems or increased police presence.

But for others, those just aren’t in the budget.

NYSSBA executive director Tim Kremer discusses the options and the funding concerns going forward.

Tim Kremer Interview>> (TWC ID required) Video

NFIB’s Durant on Taxes and the 2014 Session

The National Federation of Independent Businesses has a big to-do list for the state Legislature in the upcoming session, including rolling back regulations and lowering taxes for corporations and individuals.

The group’s 2014 agenda is called Renewing New York’s Economic Engine. It includes some key differences from the Pataki-McCall Tax Commission’s report.

NFIB New York State director Mike Durant reacted to the report, and explained what he’d like to see the Legislature accomplish next year.

Mike Durant Interview>> (TWC ID required) Video

Assem. Galef on STAR Rebates and Tax Relief

The Assembly held a public hearing Wednesday on the Basic School Tax Telief Exemption program, better known as STAR.

A new registration process was included in this year’s budget in hopes of cutting down on fraud and abuse (and saving some taxpayer dollars in the process).

But the program has also gotten a lot of attention as the state looks at ways to lower people’s property tax bills.

Real Property Taxation Committee Chair Assemblywoman Sandra Galef explains how the STAR rebates have changed, and what impact the recommendations of the Pataki-McCall Tax Commission could have.

Sandra Galef Interview>> (TWC ID required) Video

Passenger Association’s Becker on Train Safety

The NTSB is still reviewing Sunday’s deadly train derailment, and investigators announced yesterday that the engineer seemed to have lost focus as the train was approaching a sharp curve. That revelation has pushed a mechanism known as positive train control, which lets a train slow itself down in certain situations. PTC systems are supposed to be installed on all trains, but some operators still lack the funds for them. That’s just one of the safety concerns that’s been brought up in light of the crash. Earlier this week Liz spoke with Bruce Becker of the Empire State Passengers Association about the incident.

Bruce Becker Interview>> (TWC ID required) Video

Tax Foundation’s Henchman on 2014 Priorities

As we get closer to the 2014 legislative session, the focus on tax reform is growing. Governor Cuomo has talked about putting tax cuts into next year’s budget. And as he considers his options, the Empire Center for Public Policy and the Tax Foundation are offering some recommendations. The foundation ranked New York as the worst business tax climate this year. Joseph Henchman, the vice president for state projects, explains how the state could move up in the rankings.

Joseph Henchman Interview>> (TWC ID required) Video

Assem. Aubry on Parole Board

The state assembly held a public hearing today on the Board of Parole’s procedures and effectiveness. Over the past 15 years, declining crime rates and new sentencing regulations have lead to fewer inmates being evaluated by the board. But advocates are not happy with what happens when prisoners do appear before the board. Assemblyman Jeff Aubry recaps the hearing and explains the concerns.

Jeff Aubry Interview>> (TWC ID required) Video

Citizen Action Albanetti on Next Step in Push for Public Financing

Public campaign financing advocates are pretty pleased with the Moreland Commission’s report, which includes a call for the state to adopt a matching system similar to New York City’s. But the legislature is still divided on the issue, with Assembly Democrats in favor and Senate Republicans opposed. So the Fair Elections Coalition is turn its attention to lawmakers- and they’ve launched a new “penny a day” campaign to raise public awareness. Citizen Action’s Charlie Albanetti explains this latest effort.

Charlie Albanetti Interview>> (TWC ID required) Video

SEIU’s Collins on Walmart Rallies

This Friday is guaranteed to be busy for workers at big box retailers and other stores as customers take advantage of sales. But some Walmart employees and labor advocates will show up for another reason- to ask the company to raise wages. They are planning rallies all around the country- including several here in New York. SEIU local 200 organizer Sean Collins discusses what’s at stake.

Sean Collins Interview>> (TWC ID required) Video

FPI’s Mauro on Fracking and Employment

A new report from a multi-state coalition suggests hydrofracking is not creating as many jobs as the gas industry has claimed. The Shale Research Collaborative looked at drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shales. It found that each new well lead to about four new jobs. And those jobs may disappear as prices fluctuate and production moves to other areas. The Fiscal Policy Institute helped put together the report. Executive director Frank Mauro explains the findings.

Frank Mauro Interview>> (TWC ID required) Video