Queens Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 22, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Crowley To Re-Introduce  USAccounts: Investing in America’s Future Act

U.S. Representative Joe Crowley/via Facebook

U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria,
College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, The Bronx) and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) announced they will soon  re-introduce the USAccounts: Investing in America’s Future Act to help hard-working Americans save for their children’s future.

The legislation will create a long-term savings account to help every American child start their financial future on the right foot. It directs the U.S. Department of the Treasury to create the savings program, which will be funded through a combination of federal seed money, matching funds, and family contributions.

Upon the birth of a child, a USAccount will be established in the child’s name, and the federal government will contribute $500 in seed money the first year. The child’s family will be allowed to deposit up to $2,000 into the account annually.

For families at the lowest income levels, these contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the government up to $500 per USAccount, per year. In addition, to aid families who want to save but have trouble getting started, the legislation includes another match through the Child Tax Credit. Families who are eligible for either the Child Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit and make a contribution to their child’s account will receive up to $500 annually per account.

While USAccounts will be established through the Treasury Department, parents will have the option of keeping the account within the government or moving it to an approved financial services institution. Contributions in these accounts can later be withdrawn tax-free to fund higher education. Once the child is no longer a dependent, the funds will be rolled over to an IRA, providing an opportunity to continue to save for retirement, or to access funds penalty- and tax-free when needed to pay for medical expenses, buy a home, or start a small business.

“All American families, regardless of their economic situation, deserve an opportunity to develop savings for their children that will positively impact the rest of their lives,” said Crowley. “Having assets can make a big difference, and the USAccounts: Investing in America’s Future Act will help our nation’s families by giving them the availability they desperately need, while also promoting saving habits, financial literacy, and education.”

Addabbo Bill Helping Vet Orgs Avoid Fines Moves Along

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Sen.Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) has been advancing legislation (S.3072) to provide veterans organizations help in avoiding hefty, unaffordable fines for minor building and other code violations.

Addabbo crafted the legislation after a veterans’ organization in his district was assessed almost $5,000 in fines because it housed an ice machine and was therefore classified as a food establishment. The American Legion Post was also fined for failing to have a sink at an outdoor barbecue event.

The bill would give these veteran organizations 120 days to fix problems before fines are assessed.

“Veterans’ posts in our communities that serve the needs of former servicemen and women often have bars, kitchens and other facilities in their buildings which may fall under the jurisdiction of various municipal codes and agencies,” said Addabbo.

“Sometimes, code violations are identified that the veterans’ organizations don’t know about, and certainly never intended, and they are slapped with heavy fines that they cannot afford to pay without seriously jeopardizing the continued operation of the posts. Given the value of these organizations to our communities, and the exceptional work they do on behalf of veterans who have served our country, I believe they should be given a chance to make necessary changes before being fined,” the lawmaker added.

The bill passed through several senate committees and the full senate is poised to consider the measure. In the Assembly, the legislation is under review by the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Van Bramer Readies 8th Annual Black History Month Celebration

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer/Facebook

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Maspeth, Sunnyside, Woodside) is inviting the public to his 8th Annual Black History Month Celebration honoring community leaders.

“We will honor leaders in our community who have worked to improve the lives of people throughout Western Queens. We will also enjoy light refreshments, as well as special performances by Precise Dance Studio, Jelani Remy and L. Steven Taylor,” said Van Bramer.

The event is slated for between 6:30-8:30 p.m., Monday, February 26 at the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement, 10-25 41st Ave.,in Long Island City. Please RSVP to jbernatovicz@council.nyc.gov or (718) 383-9566×1. Light refreshments provided and the event is free and open to all.