State budget passes on time, Bethlehem latest district to close a school, a couple all the way to the end

With protesters outside the chambers, the state legislature passed the budget late last night/early this morning. And, for what's it worth, it's on time (the deadline was the end of today) -- the first such budget in five years. The $132.5 billion budget represents a spending cut of about two percent from last year. In a released statement, Andrew Cuomo called the budget "historic and transformational." Sheldon Silver called the final budget "sobering" in a statement. Said Dean Skelos: "People did not want to have taxes raised and we did what we had to do." [AOA] [NYT] [NY Post] [AP/Troy Record] [Cuomo admin] [Daily Politics] [Daily Politics]

The budget cuts about $700 million from aid to school districts. The cuts for each school district are now out. Capital Region school districts will see cuts ranging from about one percent (Albany) to about 10 percent (Niskayuna). Said Silver of the cuts to district aid: "It's raining in New York. It's been raining now for two years. Whatever you have put aside now is the time to use it." Said Roy McDonald: "Everybody's taking a hit. We don't have the money." [Fox23] [State of Politics] [TU] [YNN] [Fox23]

State employees will get step increases this year -- there was apparently some though the Cuomo admin might try to hold them back as part of negotiations with the unions for a new contract. [TU]

A SUNY Cobleskill student was found dead in her apartment Tuesday evening. Said the Cobleskill police chief: "Obviously a young lady found to be deceased causes us to be suspicious." The woman is a 2009 graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. [Fox23] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]

The modern world: a group of downstate state legislators are pushing a bill that would make it a felony for on-duty public servants to take images at crime scenes and post them on outlets such as Facebook. The legislation was prompted by just such a case on Staten Island. [TU] [Fox23]

A few major bridges in the Capital Region were marked as "deficient" in a report from a national transit org. [TU]

The Bethlehem school board voted last night to close Clarksville Elementary. The closure is expected to save the district between $800k-$900k. [TU] [Fox23]

Frank Mihalek, the Saratoga-Wilton Elks club member who pleaded guilty to stealing as much as $179k from the club, was sentenced to six months in jail and a $100k restitution. He showed up for his sentencing wearing his burgundy Elks blazer. [Post-Star] [Saratogian]

The section of Route 7 in Rensselaer County that was closed because of the propane tanker crash is now back open. [Troy Record]

A local couple, married for almost 70 years, both died on the same day recently. [TU]

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I ride every day to work, and also after work for exercise. I love the concept of being a person who happens to ride a bike. There's a level of bike riding, with the high performance gear and sleek clothing, that makes riding seem like its not for everyone. I try to avoid markers like that, and always wear regular clothing/shoes/backpack with dumpy-looking bike. One concession is bike gloves.

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