ALBANY, N.Y. — In New York state government news, the field of possible candidates willing to take on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is growing and a new report is adding up the costs of the state’s nuclear power bailout.
A look at stories making news:
More names are popping up as possible candidates to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo next year.
State Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican, said he’s meeting with Republican groups around the state as he mulls a run for governor.
“I think it’s just prudent to go around and see what level of support there is,” he told The Auburn Citizen. “And if there is, then I’ll seriously consider it.”
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, former state Sen. Terry Gipson says he’s considering a primary challenge against Cuomo.
And Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, a leading critic of Cuomo, says she’s been approached by people wondering if she will run. “Sex & the City” actress Cynthia Nixon is also being talked about as a possible Democratic candidate.
Other Republicans mentioned as potential contenders include Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, former investment manager and 2010 comptroller candidate Harry Wilson and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who went up against Cuomo in 2014.
Cuomo himself has been touted as a possible White House candidate in 2020 but insists he’s focused on running the state — and winning a third term in 2018.
Critics of New York state’s plan to bail out aging nuclear plants upstate say it’s already cost New Yorkers an estimated $163 million in their utility bills.
Last year, state energy officials approved the subsidies, which are expected to total as much as $7.6 billion over 12 years. Cuomo says the money is needed to prevent the closure of the three facilities, which he says could force the state to increase its use of fossil fuels at a time when the state is moving toward renewable energy.
Some environmental and good government groups, however, say the subsidies are a costly bailout for a hazardous technology, and that the stat should spend the money to directly encourage more renewable energy instead.
Projections now indicate the average electricity consumer will pay about $2 more per month.
Groups including Food & Water Watch and the New York Public Interest Research Group are highlighting a report indicating the costs are already adding up for consumers. They say that based on their analysis the subsidies will cost New Yorkers $1.3 million a day for the first two years of the initiative.
“It’s been a year since the bailout was forced on New Yorkers and we still have more questions than answers, which is unacceptable for a policy costing us $7.6 billion,” said Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group.