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Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a 2014-2015 budget that increases spending by less than 2-percent... and, includes business, property and estate tax relief.  Cuomo outlined the 137.2-billion dollar spending plan for the fiscal year starting April 1st Tuesday afternoon.  The governor gave more details about a proposed 2-year property tax freeze for local governments that hold down their taxes... then propose gradual reductions over three years.  To qualify the first year... municipalities will have to keep any increase at or below the 2-percent property tax cap.
Cuomo says the municipalities would also have to implement a plan to save one-percent in spending for each of the next three years.  He would also cut the Corporate income tax rate from 7.1 to 6.5 percent.  The budget he released Tuesday projects 3.8 percent increases for Medicaid... and, state funding for schools while keeping many other spending lines flat. 

 

State Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he's "very encouraged by many aspects" of Governor Cuomo's just over 137-billion dollar budget plan.  The Bemus Point Republican says the biggest positives he came away with from the budget presentation was broad-based tax relief... including a proposed two-year property tax freeze for municipalites who hold down... and, trim spending.  Goodell adds there was other good news... including dealing with a bankrupt, north county hospital. Back to taxes... Goodell says he also pleased to see a proposed 20-percent tax credit for upstate manufacturer's on their property taxes.  However... he adds that he does have some problems with the proposal... namely that tax money should be used for public campaign financing.

 

Governor Cuomo used his annual budget address to call for a review of the way New York has rolled out the new Common Core learning standards.  In outlining his plans for education funding for 2014-15... Cuomo didn't oppose the more rigorous standards, but said their implementation has been frustrating for parents and students.

 

The head of the Jamestown School District says the governor's budget proposal was a "very big disappointment" to him.  Superintendent Tim Mains... and, Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow talked about the spending plan, in general terms, at last night's board meeting.  Mains has two issues.  The first is that... while there's an increase in education aid... there's nothing to address inequities in funding for "high-needs" districts -- like Jamestown. The other issue Mains has is with the fact Cuomo's budget has not addressed the "Gap Elimination Adjustment..." which pulls state aid away from schools when New York has a fiscal deficit.  However... he says that's not the case this year.  Weatherlow says the early estimate is that Jamestown schools will get an additional 1.2-million dollar in aid this year... but, Mains says mainly due to the Gap Eliminiation issue. Foundation -- or base aid -- was added several years ago in an effort then to try and address funding inequities.  Weatherlow says... if the state followed it's own formula... Jamestown should be getting "three to four" times the proposed increase in aid.

 

A local music teacher has won the first-ever Grammy Music Educator Award.  Kent Kappenberger of Westfield Academy and Central School was named the winner live during the CBS Morning Show Tuesday morning.  Knappenberger was one of ten finalists from an initial pool of 30-thousand nominations from all 50 states.  The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education, and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.  Knappenberger has been a music teacher and choir director at Westfield Academy and Central School for 25 years.

 

The frigid weather will continue for the next couple of days... and wind chill values could reach as low as 15 to 24-below zero.  The National Weather Service is continuing the Wind Chill Advisory from 6 pm this evening to 11 am tomorrow. Meteorologist Bill Hibbert says the current weather pattern will continue for much of the week. Hibbert says you'll need to bundle up when venturing outside, since prolonged exposure to wind chill values this low may cause frost bite and possibly hypothermia.  We may not see a warm up until Friday and Saturday temperatures may top 20 degrees.

 

A West Valley woman is jailed on 5-thousand dollars bail for allegedly breaking into a town of Ashford home... and, leaving a big mess.  Cattaraugus County Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Gooseneck Road last week after the homeowner reported that someone had broken into their home.  Deputies accuse 33 year-old Elaine Monnin of getting into the home through a window... and, brought several possessions -- including a large dog -- into the residence causing damage to two doors and creating the mess.  Monnin was identified by using numerous papers and paystubs that were found in the home.  She was later found at her home and arrested for burglary, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief.  She was arraigned... and, sent to the Cattaraugus County lock-up.

 

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