Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 28, 2017

Queens County City Council News

Avella Says City Residents Can Pay Property Taxes Early

Sen. Tony Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella ((D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park) said yesterday that city residents can prepay their property taxes to ease the burden residents will face under the new federal tax regulations.

Avella’s announcement came after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing New Yorkers to prepay their property taxes before the new federal tax laws went into effect. Under the order, city residents can pay their NYC property tax bills for the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 2017/2018 before their due dates.

“The ability to pre-pay property taxes could have a major impact on residents of my district come tax time. I know that this might not be possible for many of my constituents who are living in an area that has some of the highest property taxes in the country and would not be able to pay such a large bill upfront. However, for those who can take advantage of this generous executive order it could end up paying dividends for my constituents,” said Avella.

Under the recently signed federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, there are some changes that New Yorkers can benefit from, such as the doubling of the standard deduction, but the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction cap will prove detrimental to many middle class families living in downstate counties.

In the past, taxpayers could fully deduct their total state and local income taxes and property taxes from their Federal income taxes. As of January 1, 2018, this deduction will be capped at $10,000 for a combination of state and local property and either income or general sales taxes. For example, a family living in Queens, with a household income of $100,000 and average annual property taxes of $11,670 and average annual income taxes of $4,895, would only be permitted to deduct $10,000, potentially missing out on a $6,565 deduction.

In order to take advantage of the executive order, residents must submit payment in person by the close of business on Friday, December 29, 2017 oronline by 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, December 31, 2017. Additionally, payments made by mail must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2017.

Online payments can be made at: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/finance/index.page

Kim, Top Scientists Meet To Explore Gov-Tech Partnership

Assemblymember Ron Kim/Facebook

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, Murray Hill)  met earlier this month with SUNY Stony Brook officials and leaders from the Korean Scientist & Engineers Association (KSEA) to discuss the current SUNY Korea partnership and the possibility of establishing a new hack-a-thon program.

Kim, whose district includes a sizable Korean American population, spoke with those present about expanding the program – enabling more students to study AI, blockchaining, and other breakthrough technologies as an investment in New York.

He and the representatives from KSEA also emphasized the need to find and retain top talent here in New York. SUNY Korea was established in March of 2012 and specializes in science and technology programs, making clear its mission to prepare its student body to take on the technical challenges of the future.

Kim voiced his support for a bi-annual hack-a-thon that would give top Korean students the chance to come to the U.S. and work on innovative projects that utilize NYS administrative data. The attendees agreed on a shared goal of fostering civic engagement by exposing students to the exciting opportunities to work with local government – especially on ways to improve and expand public infrastructure.

“Many of the systems our state government runs on are outdated,” said Kim. “New York’s public sector needs to innovate just as much as the high-tech companies that do business here. There is a dearth of talent looking for projects that will have an impact in their communities. This event will give students the opportunity to work with big data and solve real world problems, providing long-term benefits to New York in the process by providing innovative solutions to longstanding problems. With technology progressing at such a rapid rate, we need to invest in the next generation to be prepared for what comes next.”

Maloney Hails Passage Of SAFER Act of 2017

U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney

U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Astoria, LIC, Manhattan, Brooklyn) hailed the recent passage of the SAFER Act of 2017, as it pertains to the Debbie Smith Act, both of which deal with the DNA testing and inputting into national databases potential criminals and sexual predators.

“As the author of the Debbie Smith Act and lead co-sponsor of the original SAFER Act that passed in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, I am pleased that the House and Senate have passed S. 1766. Clearing the nationwide backlog of unprocessed rape kits is essential to bringing closure to victims of sexual assault and getting rapists off the streets,” said Maloney.

“This reauthorization bill ensures that grant dollars allocated through the Debbie Smith program continue to be maximized to conduct rape kit tests, perform audits, and improve testing procedures. It also directs resources toward training pediatric forensic nurses to care for child victims of sexual assault and abuse. I hope President Trump will act quickly to sign this bill into law.”

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