Kavanagh Pushes Early Voting
State Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Lower Manhattan) will join with government groups and legislators to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to fund early voting in his Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Executive Budget proposal today.
Currently, New York State residents can only vote ahead of time — by absentee ballot — if they can say their profession, business, studies, travel, illness or disability will prevent them from getting to the polls on Election Day. Instead, state voters can only vote on Election Day, causing long lines and delays when it comes to the General election of the President and other local and state elections. New York State has a one-day period for voting.
Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have already implemented this reform, allowing people in these areas who want to submit their choice before polling day to simply request a ballot. According to reports, in the 2016 election, more women have been recorded as voting early than men, and Latino early voter turnout is at an all-time high. However, fewer advance votes have been submitted by black Americans than during the last presidential election, when Barack Obama was on the ballot.
Kavanugh will lead a press conference that will highlight why including funds in the state budget is essential to ensuring early voting becomes a reality.
The event is slated for 12-noon, today, Jan 9, at State Street and Washington Avenue, Outside the Senate Chambers 3rd Floor in Albany.
Donovan Details Impact of Tax Reform On BK Families
Congressman Dan Donovan (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) detailed how the new tax law, which capped the State And Local Tax (SALT) deduction, will negatively impact hardworking New Yorkers yesterday.
Under the new tax plan, passed late last year, taxpayers who itemize will be able to deduct their state individual income, sales and property taxes up to a limit of $10,000 in total starting in 2018. Currently the deduction is unlimited. But filers have to choose to deduct either individual income taxes or sales taxes. For most people, deducting income taxes is more beneficial (unless of course you live in a no income tax state). In addition, property taxes were also entirely deductible. Additionally, while the tax bill made the SALT deduction permanent for corporations, it phased out the cap for personal filers in eight years.
According to Donovan, by capping the SALT and mortgage interest deductions, the tax reform law harms rather than helps many middle class New Yorkers. Analyses show that New York’s share of the country’s tax burden under the final plan will grow by 9 percent – the largest increase of any state in the nation. Additionally, a study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, found that the inclusion of a $10,000 cap to deduct a combination of state and local income taxes and property taxes, which was included in the final bill, was not enough to prevent a tax strain on New Yorkers.
“Today, with local experts, we focused on the real-life impact this bill will have on families in our district and across the state. They made it clear that this legislation will harm, not help, our community. More of our hard-earned money will go to Washington to subsidize tax cuts for the rest of the nation. That’s why I voted no,” said Donovan.
“If the SALT deduction isn’t all that important, then why does the tax bill make it permanent for corporations? Eliminating the SALT cap in eight years — that’s too small to begin with — might be a stay of execution, but it’s still an execution,” added Donovan.
Espinal “Potty Parity” Bill To be Signed Into Law
City Council member Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York) will join Mayor Bill de Blasio to sign legislation requiring diaper changing accommodation in public bathrooms regardless of gender today.
Intro No. 1241, which will require that new or renovated buildings containing a public toilet room to have a diaper changing station will be signed into law today. Public buildings fall under the categories of assembly group A occupancies and mercantile group M. Prime examples of these buildings are: department stores, drug stores, restaurants, sales rooms, retail or wholesale stores, motion picture theaters, symphony and concert halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, museums.
In 2015 Ashton Kutcher famously spearheaded the “potty parity” movement and on October 7, 2016 President Obama signed into law the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, requiring restrooms in publicly accessible federal buildings to have diaper changing stations.
The legislation was passed by the City Council on Dec. 11 2017.
The event is slated for 3 p.m., today, at City Hall in the Rotunda, in Lower Manhattan.
Golden Announces Free Tax Preparation Services
State Senator Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend and parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park and Midwood) announced that he will again host the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program this year.
Golden will offer free tax preparation services to residents making less than $35,000 annually for the second year in a row.
According to the VITA guidelines, the program does not permit tax returns to be prepared for individuals with investment income or loss, income from rental property, and/or self-employed taxpayers with business expenses above $5,000 or losses.
“I once again look forward to helping hundreds of my constituents complete their tax returns at no charge. This will be the 21st year that my office will host the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, an invaluable service to those who qualify, saving constituents hundreds of dollars they would otherwise spend in tax preparation services. I urge all those who qualify to call now to make an appointment,” said Golden.
Appointments are available at his district office located at 7408 5th Avenue, on both Sundays and Mondays, from February 18th through April 15th. Sunday appointments will be scheduled every half hour from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and evening appointments will be scheduled every half hour on Mondays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Services will be provided by appointment only and can be scheduled by calling Senator Golden’s district office at (718) 238-6044.
Deutsch Hosts Fire Safety Event
City Council member Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest) will host a fire safety event alongside the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) today.
The event will cover steps to better protect a home and family members from fire incidents. Late last month, a family observing the sixth night of Hanukkah was thrown into tragedy when their home, at East 14th Street in Sheepshead Bay caught fire due to a lit menorah. The blaze quickly took over the Azan home engulfing the family, killing three young children and their mother in the process, according to initial reports. The blaze killed Aliza, 39, Henrietta, 3, Moshe, 11, and Yitzchak, 7, and left Yosef, 45, daughter Shalit, 16, and son Daniel, 15 in critical condition. Another son 13-year-old Avraham and a cousin made it out of the house unharmed running out of a side door on the first floor home after being awoken by the fire alarm.
The tragedy highlighted the need for increased awareness of fire safety. The event will be one of several fire prevention/safety events by the Deutsch to protect residents. In 2017, fire fatalities across the city jumped to 73, the highest since 2009.
The event is slated for 6 p.m., today, at Madison High School, at 3787 Bedford Avenue in Madison.