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.

New York could be facing its first major shortfall in several years, partly due to falling tax collections and federal health care and other policy changes. That could leave the state with billions less in state aid.

Lately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s been sharing some bad news with New Yorkers. Twice in recent days he’s said there could be a multibillion-dollar shortfall in the budget next year.

The first time was at a briefing on how the state would be affected by potential federal Medicaid cuts. 

New York’s Democratic lawmakers are vowing to fight President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul proposal, perhaps even in court.

Meanwhile, a think tank’s analysis finds some middle-class New Yorkers could save a small amount of money under the income tax portion of the plan.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the tax overhaul plan and the proposal to eliminate state and local tax deductions from federal income taxes would be “devastating” to New York.

“It is a tax increase plan,” Cuomo said Thursday on Long Island. “Period.”

Cuomo said he might sue.

The latest version of a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is now dead in Congress, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo remains worried about another potential cut in federal funds to hospitals that he said would blow a hole in the state budget.

The money is known as the Disproportionate Share Hospital fund, or DSH, and the money goes to public hospitals and safety net hospitals that often serve the poorest patients.

Former state Senate Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam saw their federal corruption convictions overturned by a federal appeals court panel Tuesday.

Skelos is the second former legislative leader to win his case on appeal in the past two months, after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling revised the laws under which they were convicted.

The Skeloses were convicted in December 2015 of extortion and bribery in an alleged scheme by the elder Skelos to use his political influence to steer work and to award a no-show job to his son.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is considering a possible challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary for the 2018 governor’s race.

Miner said if she does run for governor, it won’t be a conventional campaign.

Miner, who sat down for an interview with public radio and TV, has just over three months remaining in her job as mayor and she said she’s focused on finishing up there. She’s prevented by term limits from running for mayor again.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is again wading into national issues this week. He’s had a press conference against the latest attempt in the U.S. Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. And he met with the governors of California and Washington to discuss steps to slow climate change.

In both cases, the governor said he’s addressing the matters because the actions — or, in the case of climate change, inactions — in Washington have a harmful impact on New York.

Republicans in the state of New York met for a planning session in Albany on Tuesday in advance of the 2018 campaigns, which will begin shortly.

The party’s leader, Ed Cox, believes Republicans have a good chance at winning statewide offices against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others next year.

Republicans in New York face a daunting challenge in the race for governor next year. There are fewer GOP voters than ever, as the number of Republicans shrinks and Democratic ranks grow.

In light of the recent massive data breach at the credit reporting company Equifax, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is taking steps to make sure that in the future, the credit agencies have better cybersecurity in place.

Thirty historic sites in 21 counties in New York received $239,634 in preservation grant money, and they say it makes a difference in a region where the economy is struggling.

The grants were distributed by the Preservation League of New York State, along with help from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. They were awarded to groups ranging from an antique boat museum to a dance center to help with preserving cultural heritage across New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New Yorkers who use the state Thruway will have a bit of a wait before more cashless tolling is installed on the nearly 500-mile tolled portion of the road.

The Cuomo administration’s Thruway Authority has adopted cashless tolls at the new Tappan Zee Bridge and will take down the toll booths on the Grand Island Bridge in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area early next year.

There already is an option for cashless tolling at the Woodbury exit of the Thruway in the lower Hudson Valley, although toll booths still exist as an alternative.

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