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Debate has too many damn candidates, and budgets have too little damn money

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Jimmy McMillan was one of seven candidates who participated in the gubernatorial debate last night. He represents the "Rent is too damn high" party.

Debate details
The Buffalo News reports that the debate allowed minor parties a chance to beat up on frontrunner Andrew Cuomo, and that the two major party candidates never addressed each other directly:

If anyone came close to a gaffe, it was Cuomo, who at one point made a statement sure to be unpopular in Western New York. He talked of the "need to get power from Western New York -- down to New York City." Aides later said Cuomo misspoke, and Josh Vlasto, a Cuomo spokesman, said the Democrat supports making permanent the Power for Jobs program, which keeps some hydropower produced in Western New York within the region.

The Times-Union's Capitol Confidential blog noted that despite the attacks, Cuomo remained calm, saying that the attorney general looked "more like the leader of a seminar than a contestant in a debate."

The Post-Standard reports that despite having seven candidates in the fray, the debate was "mostly mild."  But the Press & Sun-Bulletin characterizes the minor party candidates as "stealing the show" from Cuomo and Paladino.

Towns and counties across the state are struggling to balance their budgets.  In Vestal, outside Binghamton, the Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that councilmembers are eyeing heavy cuts - and a double-digit increase in the propert tax.

In Albany, residents have a chance tonight to weigh in on a budget that would cut 155 jobs and increase taxes by 7.5 percent, according to the Times-Union.

In Broome County, the Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that up to 115 county jobs could be on the chopping block, and property taxes could increase by more than 5 percent.

And in Onondaga County, county executive Joanie Mahoney is considering closing some county parks, the downtown library, and ending air monitoring at a trash burning facility, according to the Post-Standard.  That's if a stand-off with the legislature over lowering property taxes continues.

University protests
The Times-Union has the story of student protests at the University at Albany.  Students continue to decry cuts to the school’s humanities programs, as it tries to cope with budget cuts.  Concerns have risen that other programs, like journalism, are also being slowly phased out, under the radar.

Selling local
The Buffalo News has a profile of a company that's planning to tap into the local food movement, by creating a local food market to serve home cooks and restaurateurs.  Erin Curtin, one half of the couple behind the plan, says the plant will "fill a gap" between growers and buyers:

"It lets us say to farmers, 'You focus on the tomatoes and let us worry about how we're going to get it to Joe Consumer,'" said Erin Curtin. "Because they know how to grow, we know how to sell and everybody will make money."

DEC cuts
A memo from the Department of Environmental Conservation, leaked to the Times-Union, says that job cuts at the agency could mean:

...fewer polluted sites would be cleaned up, fewer regulators would be available to oversee the potential natural gas drilling boom in the Marcellus Shale, and stocking of game fish could halt.

Despite the claims in the memo, a spokesman for the DEC says no layoffs are pending.  The governor has sought to cut over 400 jobs from the agency through lay-offs and attrition, as part of a larger effort to trim 2,000 state workers from the roles this year.

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