04/09/15 10:00am
04/09/2015 10:00 AM

Thumbs upFARMLAND PRESERVATION

A big thumbs up to the state’s decision to give its Farmland Protection Program a $35 million boost, bringing the program’s budget up to $177 million for 2015-16. Like repairs to roads, bridges and other infrastructure, preserving farms is a sound investment — and much less speculative than pricey economic development “pet” projects. The farmland program, which was understandably slashed in half during the recession in 2008, is now back to full health and monies will continue to be available for towns to use to protect farms. Although most of the money will go upstate, it’s in the interest of agricultural communities statewide to remain healthy, forward-thinking and, most of all, intact for generations down the road.

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04/09/15 9:00am

In a big boost to a statewide program aimed at protecting farmland, the budget that passed last week in Albany has allocated more money than ever before to the initiative, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. The 2015-16 state budget added $35 million more for the Farmland Protection Program, a number that, according to the American Farmland Trust, places New York in the top five among states capitals setting money aside for farmland protection.

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04/09/15 8:00am
Students leaving Roanoke Avenue Elementary School to board the buses Monday afternoon. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Students leaving Roanoke Avenue Elementary School to board the buses Monday afternoon. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

“They couldn’t have made a worse decision than what we have in our hands right now.”

For someone who has been a vocal critic of New York State’s public education system’s high-stakes testing model, which has been enacted for the past few years, Greenport and Southold Superintendent David Gamberg’s comments Tuesday about next year’s state education budget came as especially critical.

While the budget adopted April 1 increases education funding by over 6 percent statewide, it has been met with heavy pushback from educators near and far as Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues attempting to overhaul education accountability throughout the state. (more…)

03/31/15 8:00am
03/31/2015 8:00 AM
Shoreham-Wading River School District Superintendent Steven Cohen. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Shoreham-Wading River School District Superintendent Steven Cohen. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

With reports trickling out of Albany that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reached a tentative deal with lawmakers over the state budget and education reforms, local educators are calling for an independent commission to help develop policy moving forward.

According to published reports, Mr. Cuomo has backed off his demand to tie 50 percent of teacher evaluations to state test scores — up from 20 percent — and instead will task the state education department with improving the way teachers are evaluated.

As part of the deal, teacher tenure would increase from three to four years and schools will see big increases in state aid. (more…)

01/23/15 11:00am
01/23/2015 11:00 AM
Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Wednesday. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

Governor Cuomo giving his State of the State address the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany Wednesday. (Credit: Courtesy Flickr photo)

Small business owners across the North Fork could soon benefit from tax reductions that would make income tax rates the lowest in New York State history, according to a proposal outlined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address Wednesday.

The proposition would help small businesses incorporated in New York State by reducing the net income tax rate from the current rate of 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent over a three-year period, amounting to a four percent reduction by 2018.

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01/19/15 8:00am
01/19/2015 8:00 AM
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces a proposal to offer certain residents a property tax credit on Wednesday. (Credit: Governor's office)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces a proposal to offer certain residents a property tax credit on Wednesday. (Credit: Governor’s office)

It’s one of two things, according to Benjamin Franklin, that is certain in life: taxes.

And one proposal by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo aims to at least ease the tax burden for about 1.3 million people across the state.

While the governor can’t pass legislation preventing another of Mr. Benjamin’s certainties from occurring — death — his ‘Opportunity Agenda’ would provide an average $1,150 in annual tax credits for over 125,000 homeowners in Suffolk County, and 1.3 million across the state. (more…)

12/21/14 2:00pm
12/21/2014 2:00 PM
A medical marijuana distribution facility in the San Fernando Valley, California. (Credit: Laurie Avocado, Wikimedia)

A medical marijuana distribution facility in the San Fernando Valley, California. (Credit: Laurie Avocado, Wikimedia)

While it is not likely to take effect until 2016, New York State is one step closer to allowing patients access to medical marijuana, and that could open the door for a distribution center on the East End.

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11/03/14 12:00pm
11/03/2014 12:00 PM
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week federal grant money that will be distributed to The Retreat, a domestic violence prevention organization based on the East End.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week federal grant money that will be distributed to The Retreat, a domestic violence prevention organization based on the East End.

The Retreat, an East End nonprofit serving victims of domestic violence, is receiving $75,250 in funding through the Federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced October 29. (more…)