De Blasio Critiques State Budget
Mayor Bill de Blasio, yesterday, said he was disappointed that the recently agreed upon state budget did not include provisions that would include a boost to the minimum wage, the passage of the Dream Act and the extension of mayoral control over city schools.
“I think I made my views known on mayoral control of education, I made my views known on the Dream Act (which would give undocumented students raised in this country tuition assistance for college). I was hoping both of those issues would be addressed here and now, but they have been postponed,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters today at City Hall. “We’ll obviously continue our efforts to get the Dream Act passed and mayoral control of schools renewed for a substantial period of time.”
De Blasio was also disappointed that the current state minimum wage of $8.75 wasn’t hiked as part of the budget as it was rejected by the Republican-majority senate. De Blasio wants to see the city have a minimum wage of $13 per hour. Cuomo had proposed a statewide minimum wage hike to $10.50 and $11.50 in the city.
Parker Says Bring On Mixed Martial Arts
Flatbush State Sen. Kevin Parker is supporting a proposed bill to make mixed martial arts (MMA) legal.
“This is really an important bill for a number of reasons and economically it’s huge,” Parker said in an impassioned speech on the senate floor. “How can people vote for gambling and not MMA?”
Parker said the economic impact on MMA, if held in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden would be $16 million in revenue for the local economy per event. He additionally said that while safety is an issue for the combatants, there are referees during the bouts and further safety measures can be regulated through the New York State Athletic Commission.
MMA is currently legal in many states across the country, including New Jersey. Former Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver consistently opposed the measure, but new Speaker Carl Heastie appears to be ready to put the measure out on the assembly floor for debate.
Hikind Says Fight Will Go On For Education Tax Credits
Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind, yesterday, expressed his dismay at the exclusion of the Education Investment Tax Credits Act (EITC) from Albany’s budget.
Had it been enacted as part of the budget, the EITC would have given tax credit to those that make donations to private schools.
“I am utterly disappointed that something as basic as helping all children didn’t receive the full support it had been promised,” said Hikind. “The problem is twofold. While Education Investment Tax Credits benefit public school children as well as children in private and parochial schools, the teachers’ unions stood against EITC.
“In addition, EITC was not included in the budget because Governor Cuomo refused to lead on this issue. The Governor told me he supported these tax credits, that he considered them ‘justice’ and I carried his message to my constituents. But in end, EITC was removed from the list of priorities.”
Hikind said he will vote against the budget as a protest of leaving the EITC off the spending plan and vowed the fight will go on.
Williams Lauds Passage Of Rent Control Resolutions
East Flatbush City Council member Jumaane Williams, yesterday, praised Mayor de Blasio for signing to council resolutions in support of extending rent stabilization laws in New York City until April 1, 2018.
Under State law, the rent control system will expire in June 2015 unless the City conducts a housing vacancy survey and finds that there is still a housing shortage. In addition to conducting the survey, the Council must pass a resolution finding that because there is still a housing shortage, there continues to be a need for rent control.
The measure was one of several that de Blasio signed that would strengthen rent control laws in the city. All are regulated by the state and are due to sunset this year.
“In order to ensure thousands of New Yorkers do not see their rent go up or their protection against arbitrary evictions lost, we must enact stronger tenant protections, which is exactly what our package of legislation does,” said Williams, who co-sponsored the measures.
“Strengthening rent laws is the only option I consider a win in Albany, because simply renewing them would be a major loss for all tenants. It’s my hope that with this legislation passed, our state legislators hear the Council’s recommendations loud and clear, and will further develop a plan that not only complements the Mayor’s Housing Plan, but gives immediate relief to our poor and working class citizens who need it most.”