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Today's Top Stories - Monday January 27th, 2020

Wegmans Ends Single-Use Plastic Bags Today
Beginning today, Wegmans will no longer be using single-use plastic grocery bags at all of their New York stores before the official state ban that starts March 1st. Wegmans says the point of this early action is to get all their customers to switch to reusable bags sooner to help with the environment. The Western New York based store will charge a fee of 5 cents for paper bags and will donate that money to regional food banks, so long as the store is in a county has not chosen to collect the charge. Meanwhile, Tops Friendly Markets will be selling extra-strength reusable plastic bags that can be used up to 125 times for 10 cents each.

 

Gillibrand Announces Nominees for National Service Institutions
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her nominations of candidates from the Southern Tier to three leading national service institutions. The nominees were chosen from a large group of applicants through a selection committee based on academic record, leadership potential and overall achievement. Nominated from our own Steuben County is Grace Ruland from Corning from the United States Air Force Academy. Service academies will be determining the final acceptance of the 3 nominees.

 

Cuomo Proposes Expanding of Child Tax Credit
Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing expansion of New York State’s child tax credit to help families cover the costs of childcare. Cuomo recently released his budget proposal to expand the child tax credit to children under age four. Currently, New York state’s credit is equal to 33% to the pre-2018 federal child tax credit or $100 per qualifying child age 4 to 16. The governor says this would help about 400,000 families making $50,000 or less who are struggling with the cost of raising children. Child advocacy groups, unions, and child care providers say the allotment does not do enough to address the high cost of child care itself which can average $15,000 annually in New York. In the next few weeks, lawmakers will hold hearings on Cuomo’s budget proposal to pass a final budget by April 1st.

 

Mitrano Talks Reed and Opiate Crisis at Listening Tour
During the final stop of her five-city listening tour about the state of healthcare, Democratic Congressional candidate Tracy Mitrano talked in Geneva about the opiate crisis, Tom Reed’s possible run for governor and more to a group of about 50 people that included aides from the Reed campaign, which Mitrano welcomed. Mitano called out Reed for taking money from lobbying groups that have propagated the opiate crisis, calling for heroin dealers to be executed and accusing her of being an “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” in the 2018 campaign season despite being from Penn Yan. Mitrano promised that she would never raise taxes for the middle and working-class, if elected.

 

Danks-Burke Appears Tomorrow in Bath for Whistlestop Tour
Democratic Candidate for State Senate Leslie Danks-Burke has announced a Whistlestop Tour to kick off her campaign for State Senator. The tour kicks off tomorrow in Penn Yan at the Yates County Democratic Headquarters 8:30am. Danks-Burke continues the tour in Watkins Glen, then be in Hornell at Marino’s Restaurant 12:30pm then appear in Bath 2pm at the Bath Fire Hall then Corning, Elmira and finishing in Ithaca.

 

STAR Program to Be Withheld to Delinquent STAR payers
Governor Cuomo has announced a proposal in the 2021 Fiscal Year Executive Budget to deny School Tax Relief Program benefits to delinquent property owners. The measure would eliminate STAR benefits for homeowners that do not pay their property taxes. It would also require localities to report tax delinquents to the Department of Taxation and Finance so that a STAR credit or exemption can be withheld. Homeowners will be excluded from the STAR program until past-due property taxes are paid.

 

Millions Added to NY Highway Funding
New York State officials have announced $151 million in new funding for the renewal of State roadways impacted by extreme weather events. This State funding will support 95 paving projects and the renewal of approximately 1,000 lane miles of pavement across the state, including at least one project in every county. •$3.1 million has been awarded to renew Route 53 south from the Hamlet of Kanona to the Village of Prattsburgh in Steuben County…and $2.2 million to renew Route 53 north from the Village of Prattsburgh to the Livingston County line in Steuben County.

 

Legal Recreational Marijuana Becoming Popular
A recent poll by Sienna College says the legalization of marijuana has received the highest approval rating yet.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has said legalizing cannabis for recreational use is the kind of thing that should be included in the state budget. Currently, a bill that would legalize pot recreationally is gaining traction in the State Senate.

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