Budget process goes behind closed doors, investigating the investigations, school district budgets, extra security for Ashcroft

Surprise! The state budget process appears to have gotten stuck. Why? Well, people on the outside aren't exactly sure. One government watchdog said this year's budgetpalooza is the least transparent in 15 years. [TU]

It only sounds like an Onion headline: New York State is now investigating its investigations. [NYT] [NYT]

The Albany School District has proposed a budget that's more than 9.5 percent bigger than last year and includes an almost 2.5 percent property tax increase. Shenendohowa's proposed school district budget includes a tax hike of more than 3.5 percent. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

A study funded by National Grid and a number of economic development groups reports that the state will get a big return on its potential investment in the AMD chip fab plant planned for Malta. [Daily Gazette]

A Schenectady city councilwoman wants the city to use a "grouper" law to crack down on students who go in together to rent houses in the neighborhood around Union. The city's attorney says that won't work because, for example, the Union football team house meets the law's requirements for being considered a family. [Daily Gazette]

Extra security will be in place tonight for John Ashcroft's appearance at Skidmore as officials expect some kind of protest. [Saratogian]

Of the 13,000 state employees who work in or near the ESP, only 40 take part in the carpool program that provides discounted parking spots. More than 2,000 people are on the waiting list for a spot. [TU]

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Show me a city without a downtown parking problem, and I'll show you a city with a downtown problem. City's should embrace parking shortages as a good problem to have. It means people want to visit your city, and they're willing to pay for it. It seems the people that complain about parking the most, are the suburbanites who think they're entitled to park right in front of their destination for free.

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