WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Karen DeWitt

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers. 

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.

She is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism, from the Legislative Correspondents Association, and was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women’s Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Several corruption trials are set for 2018 after a scandal involving nine of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former associates who worked on his administration’s economic development projects. Advocates say they will continue to push for reforms to prevent such problems from happening again.

Two reports issued in recent days indicate that Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be facing his most difficult budget in seven years.

The midyear financial report by the governor’s budget office has lowered revenue estimates by $850 million for the current budget year and the next two years. And it finds that next year’s projected deficit is now at $4.4 billion, if spending growth continues unchecked.

Cuomo began sounding the alarm weeks before the report was released.

The state’s top economic development official says a plan in Congress to eliminate the historic tax credit program  would harm efforts to revitalize cities in New York.

Empire State Development Chair Howard Zemsky , testifying at an Assembly hearing,  says the tax incentives have been used to rehab crumbling historic buildings into shops and living spaces, and “have had a huge impact on driving economic development” . The program gives developers a tax rebate of 20% for five years after the projects are completed. Zemsky says it’s misguided to end the subsidies.

Testimony at an Assembly hearing Monday grew heated as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development chair defended some faltering job creation programs.

Empire State Development Chair Howard Zemsky also signaled the state may be backing away from a key program to give tax breaks to startup entrepreneurs.

New York’s Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, is  marking the 100 year anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the state. But, as Hochul told Karen DeWitt in an interview with public radio and tv, women still have a ways to go to gain true equality.   

Democrats in New York are heartened by what they call a “blue wave” in this week’s election results in the state and the nation.

This year is considered an “off” election year with no presidential race or statewide contests like a governor’s race. Nevertheless, Democrats in New York hungry for signs of encouragement after the 2016 election of President Donald Trump are very happy about Democratic wins in the county executive races in two suburban New York counties, Nassau and Westchester.

Governor Cuomo, one day after Democratic victories in elections in New York State and the nation, is calling on  warring democratic factions in the State Senate to unify.

Cuomo used some of his strongest language yet in urging rank and file Democrats in the State Senate to reunite with the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, saying all need to put their “egos” aside.

Supporters of holding a Constitutional Convention to fix problems in state government say they are disappointed with the resounding defeat of the measure in Tuesday’s voting, but they say they are not giving up.

The ballot proposition on whether to hold a state constitutional convention was soundly defeated in Tuesday’s election. But a second question of whether to strip pensions from convicted lawmakers was approved.

There are three propositions on the ballot in Tuesday’s elections.

Proposition One gives voters a once-in-20-years chance to decide whether to hold a constitutional convention. 

Supporters say it’s an opportunity to reform unethical practices in Albany that have led to both former legislative leaders facing corruption charges. Nine former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo also have been charged with crimes, including bribery and bid-rigging.

Pages