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Governor signs SUNY bill, signals casino interest

Marie Cusick

Today in your Trail Mix - extra governor nuggets:

The governor gives SUNY a boost with tuition hike bill.

The governor says he's not worried about Rochester's downtown in the wake of the PAETEC sale.

The governor is studying casino gambling for New York.

Plus, the comptroller wants drillers to pay out in advance of gas spills.

Higher education

Governor Cuomo signed his SUNY2020 legislation into law yesterday, enabling tuition hikes across the SUNY system, and giving a boost to building projects at four schools (Cara Matthews, Gannett).

The University at Albany says the bill will allow it to bring in more students and more faculty (Scott Waldman, Times Union).

Capitol Tonight had Buffalo state senator Mark Grisanti on to talk about the signing, which is a "win" for the University at Buffalo (Maureen McManus, State of Politics/Capital Tonight).

About 80 students in the LaFayette school district will get a chance to earn college create in math and science, thanks to a $600,000 grant from the state (Elizabeth Doran, Post-Standard).

Syracuse University may be working out a deal to ressurect the city's shuttered symphony, in conjunction with the school of music (Michelle Breidenbach, Post-Standard).

PAETEC-Windstream deal

Governor Cuomo says he's not concerned that the Arkansas firm Windstream is buying Rochester's PAETEC, threatening plans for PAETEC to build a downtown headquarters, in part on the state's dime (Joseph Spector, Gannett).

PAETEC shareholders meanwhile are concerned - some are suing over the acquisition by Windstream, arguing that the deal is shortsighted (Sophia Pearson, Bloomberg News Service).

Top officials at PAETEC wouldn't discuss the merger on a conference call with analysts yesterday (Will Astor, Rochester Business Journal).

State government

New York's business climate is starting to improve, according to the head of Empire State Development (David Robinson, Buffalo News).

New York's parks department is "focused on keeping the parks open" - having them running smoothly and in top condition is a different story - for a different economy (Cara Matthews, Gannett).

Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy continues to defend the decision to keep the initial regional economic council meetings closed to the public (Michael Johnson, State of Politics).


The governor is showing signs that he's open to the idea of casino gambling in New York (Teri Weaver, Post-Standard).

That's because gaming is already happening in the state - it's just a matter of figuring out how to regulate it (James Odato, Times Union).

A gamble to bring telephone betting jobs to a Buffalo suburb have paid off - Cuomo says a New York Racing Association affiliate is bringing 60 jobs to Amherst (Jonathan D. Epstein, Buffalo News).

The head of the Seneca Nation, Robert Porter, says opposition to casinos is in part racially motivated (Nick Reisman, State of Politics).


New York's comptroller wants gas drillers to pay into a fund to compensate victims if their water is contaminated by drilling (Karen DeWitt, New York State Public Radio).

Naturally, the gas industry hates the idea (Jon Campbell, Vote Up!).

National Grid says it's not planning to sell its central New York operations, as it announces infrastructure upgrades in a Syracuse neighborhood (Emma Jacobs, Innovation Trail).

New York's new smart grid upgrade is about "better service" according to the Independent System Operator's Tom Rumsey, speaking on Capital Tonight (Maureen McManus, State of Politics/Capital Tonight).

Pittsburgh is still trying to get its drilling ban on the ballot in November (Bob Bauder, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).

New York likely won't be able to match what Pennsylvania has in terms of natural gas reserves, but what we do have is centered largely in Broome, Tioga, and Chemung counties (Steve Reilly, Press & Sun-Bulletin).

The Pittsburgh Business Times maintains a calendar of western PA Marcellus Shale events, if you're curious.

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