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Politics

Welcome to Albany - now fix the budget

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Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo, besieged by reporters earlier in the fall. His next challenge will be the state's budget.

Election round-up
It's Governor Paterson's problem right now, but not for much longer: New York could be $315 million in the red by the end of the year.  But the Democrat and Chronicle points out that that's much less than the $1 billion deficit that Paterson predicted earlier in the year.  What's on the horizon for Governor-elect Cuomo:

The estimated budget gap for 2012-13 increased by $1.2 billion to $14.6 billion and the 2013-14 deficit grew by $1.7 billion to $17.2 billion.

While western New York's enthusiasm for hometown hero Carl Paladino didn't turn into much last night, the region did succeed in shrinking two legislative bodies.  The Buffalo News reports that efforts to cut the Erie County legislature from 15 to 11 members, and to knock to members off the Amherst town board, were successful.  In Erie County, the paper reports that 82 percent of voters pulled for the smaller body:

With the decision, next year's candidates will run for 11 new legislative districts, drawn to reflect census-based shifts in population. If all goes according to plan, 11 lawmakers will take their oaths of office in January 2012.

Amherst becomes the latest in a half a dozen towns that have trimmed down, according to the paper.

Things are less certain for the state legislature, where AP reports in the Times Union that the majority of that body could belong to either party, or could be split, pending recounts.  What's at stake is redistricting, and how New York's congressional districts will look for the next 10 years:

The majority party in each chamber redraws election district lines after every census. The process traditionally protects incumbents and majority power until the next redistricting. Democrats easily maintained their majority in the 150-seat Assembly though there could be enough losses to erode the 100-seat minimum needed for the party to override a governor's veto.

Good and bad economic indicators
Manufacturing was on the increase in October, reports the Buffalo News:

A report by a local purchasing managers group released Tuesday found that activity at the region’s factories jumped sharply in October after declining for the first time in 11 months during September.

But that growth comes as home sales are declining, according to the paper.  The Buffalo News reports that home sales in September in western New York were the lowest for that month, in a decade.  Sales were off by nearly a quarter over the previous year.  The bad news: the numbers mean people are still worried about the economy and stability.  The good news: prices are picking up, rising by 7 percent on average this year.

Lower energy bills
The Post-Standard reports that the public will get to weigh in on cheap hydropower, and whether it should continue to be used to offset residential bills, or traded to companies in exchange for job creation.  The New York Power Authority has proposed to continue to give it to residents.

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