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.

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.

Governor Cuomo and New York Senator Chuck Schumer are once again warning that New Yorkers will be hurt if the Republican tax overhaul plan in Congress is approved.

Schumer, who is Senate Democratic Leader, says while the tax plan has changed from the original version, 71% of the deductions that now benefit state residents would be eliminated. The plan would end deductions for state and local income taxes, and cap the property tax deduction at $10,000 a year.  

Proposition One on New York’s ballot, which asks voters whether there should be a constitutional convention, is getting a lot of attention, with TV ads and social media posts.

But there are two other proposals for voters to consider.

Proposition Two would modify the state’s constitution to allow judges the discretion to strip the pensions from some elected officials convicted of felonies. It was prompted by a corruption crime wave that’s hit the State Capitol in recent years and resulted in dozens of arrests, indictments, convictions and imprisonments.

Governor Cuomo is not pleased with the Republican House of Representatives tax overhaul plan, calling a key provision “double taxation” on some New Yorkers.

Cuomo says the proposal to eliminate the deduction of  state and local income taxes from federal tax forms is a  “diabolical dimension” that will raise taxes overall for many middle and upper middle class New Yorkers.  That’s because New York is a relatively high tax state.

“It is a tax on your taxes,” Cuomo said.

It appears opponents of holding a state constitutional convention have the momentum as Election Day approaches. They’ve spent more money than supporters, and a recent poll shows the public is leaning against it. But backers are not giving up just yet. 

A new poll finds that the ballot question on whether to hold a constitutional convention in New York has become widely unpopular with voters. 

The Siena College poll finds likely voters in the Nov. 7 elections are leaning against Proposition One “by a better than two-to-one margin,” said Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg.

The state’s Lieutenant Governor , Kathy Hochul says “there’s no tolerance for harassment in the workplace” in New York State, following revelations that a former top Cuomo economic development official paid $50,000 to a woman who says he sexually harassed her.

Pages