Capitol Confidential: Activists take aim at Litwin donations in report

Posted On February 17, 2015

Originally Posted in Times Union  by Matthew Hamilton

Hedge Clippers, a group supported by the Strong Economy for All Coalition, is out with a white paper on billionaire New York City developer Leonard Litwin and his political giving, $1.2 million of which has gone to Gov. Andrew Cuomo since 2008.

The first of the group’s “Hedge Papers” outlines Litwin’s donations and dealings with various high-level elected officials, including Cuomo and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was arrested last month following an investigation that looked at, in part, alleged bribes he took from developers. One of the developers was identified by the New York Times as Litwin’s Glenwood Management, though the complaint filed by federal prosecutors against Silver does not explicitly name the firm.

According to the report, Cuomo campaigns have received the largest amount of Litwin and Glenwood money between 2008 and 2015, totaling $1,214,200. The state Republican Committee ranked second at $807,500. The state Democratic Committee received $300,000. (more…)

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#OneFairWage coalition response to the Wage Board’s Friday vote on New York State’s sub-minimum wage

Posted On January 30, 2015

Today, the three-member Wage Board appointed by Governor Cuomo to recommend changes in New York’s $5.00 sub-minimum wage for tipped workers issued its recommendations.

By a 2-to-1 vote, the Board recommended:

1. Consolidating various restaurant and hospitality tipped worker categories into one category;
2. Raising the state tipped minimum wage for restaurant and hospitality tipped workers to $7.50 per hour;
3. Raising New York City’s tipped minimum wage to $8.50 per hour should the legislature raise the City’s minimum wage;
4. Doing a review of whether or not to eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers entirely and guarantee these workers the full minimum wage, as 7 other states have done.

These recommendations are long overdue, common-sense proposals that will raise wages for 229,000 servers and hospitality industry workers around the state, who are disproportionately women and who suffer from more than double the poverty rate of the workforce as a whole.
(more…)

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Rich vs. Poor School Funding Disparity Hits Record

Posted On January 11, 2015

ALBANY — In the opening salvo of what promises to be a heated battle this year over education reform, a new report says funding inequities between poor and rich school districts across the state has reached record levels under Gov. Cuomo – and has soared 43% in New York City.

Overall, schools in poorer districts spent $8,733 per pupil less in 2012 than those from wealthier ones, an inequity that grew by nearly 9% from before Cuomo took office in 2011, according to the study by a coalition of education advocacy groups opposing many of the reforms pushed by Cuomo. (more…)

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In New Campaign, Zephyr Teachout and Working Families Party Push to Limit Hedge Fund Control over Public Education

Posted On December 2, 2014

Before Possible Special Session in Albany, Broad Coalition Condemns Hedge Fund Leaders Who Bought Control of Cuomo and State Senate and Now Want Control of Schools

New York, NY— The same hedge funds that bought the recent elections to win influence with Cuomo and Senate Republicans now want to use their clout to transform our public education system, but we’re not going to let it happen.

That was the message today from Zephyr Teachout, the Working Families Party, and a broad coalition of concerned parents. Ahead of a possible special legislative session in Albany next week, they gathered on the steps of the Tweed courthouse to launch a new campaign to fight the growing efforts of hedge funds to run New York’s schools and dictate education policy.  (more…)

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TIPPED WORKERS WELCOME NEWLY-ANNOUNCED “WAGE BOARD,” URGE CUOMO ADMIN TO END SUB-MINIMUM WAGE

Posted On October 22, 2014

Albany, NY –Tipped workers called on the Cuomo administration today to use a newly-announced Wage Board to eliminate New York’s tipped sub-minimum wage, which is currently just $5.00

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