Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 7, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Schumer Details How Government Shutdown Hurts New York

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday gave an update on his efforts to reopen the government and detailed just how New York is being hurt.

Schumer detailed how 450,000 people are currently working without pay and how another 380,000 workers are furloughed across the U.S.. The Senator explained that many of these federal workers are in New York, more than 50,000 in fact, and more than 16,000 of them work in departments or agencies that are currently shut down.

Schumer cited specific agencies —that because of the shutdown– cannot serve New Yorkers as they should, including the risks at airports, threats to school programs, IRS tax refunds and more as he made the case and pushed President Trump to end this needless shutdown.

“Sometimes, when we talk about the Big Picture – what’s happening at the national level with cabinet departments and federal agencies and furloughs and funding levels – you might not realize that this Trump shutdown is affecting all sorts of everyday folks here in New York. So that is why it is imperative to share the ways this needless shutdown hurts New York and its people,” said Schumer.

“Hopefully, by bringing light to the ways in which our airports, our schools, our water and even our tax refunds are impacted, we can send a strong message to the President to do the right things and open the government back up. Families are hurting—for no good reason—across the County and here in New York, plain and simple.”

Some of the ways that the shutdown is hurting New York include:

Airports: Currently, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents are furloughed and working without pay. Schumer says many TSA workers, especially in NYC, cannot afford to go without pay because of the transportation costs to get to work. Schumer says continuing the shutdown risks the safety of airports because agents, already spread thin, will be even more stretched.

The MTA: Every month, the MTA gets anywhere from $130-$170 million in reimbursements from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). It’s estimated that they can go 4-6 weeks without those reimbursements but after that they MTA will have to make hard choices that will potentially hurt commuters.

The IRS: Without re-opening the government, countless New Yorkers would fail to see their tax refund checks processed. Schumer says this will hurt millions of New York families who depend on the refund checks to meet yearly expenses. In FY17, 16 million New Yorkers received $27 billion in tax refunds. As of now, refunds will not go out if the shutdown continues. Last year, by February 2nd, the IRS had already paid out $12.6 billion in refunds to 6 million people.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Total beneficiaries in New York City are 1.5 million. These benefits are jeopardized if the shutdown goes beyond February. Across the state, 400,000 mothers and families rely on WIC.

Dromm, Johnson Begin Five-Borough Transit Rider Survey In Queens

City Council Member Daniel Dromm

City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) will join Acting Public Advocate and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson today as he begins a five day, five-borough subway station tour to conduct a citywide transit survey to get feedback from straphangers from all over the City.

Dromm and other Queens elected officials will join Johnson in Jackson Heights to hear directly from New Yorkers about their commutes. The survey is also available online at the Acting Public Advocate’s website. All New Yorkers are encouraged to participate by taking the survey either in person or online.

The lawmakers will be on hand at 5 p.m., today, Jan. 7 at the 74th Street/Broadway Subway Station in Jackson Heights.

Sanders Schedules Part 3 of 4 Assistance with Property Tax Exemptions and Utility Bill Reduction

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

New York State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) will be hosting part three of a four-part event series to provide his constituents with property tax exemptions and utility bill reduction assistance.

Please Note: If your property tax exemption is set to expire, the Department of Finance will be on-site to help with re-enrollment, as well as to assist rent freeze applications.

Specifically, help will include:

-Department of Finance – Enrolling homeowners in the property tax exemption program (household saves over $300)

-Office of the NYS Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli- Unclaimed funds lookup and register for refunds

-Department of Environmental Protection – Assist with delinquent water bills and educate homeowners on how to conserve water

-Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica – Counsel and assist homeowners with lean sale and foreclosure issues

-Margert Community Corporation – Assist homeowners and tenants with application for conserving gas and heat in household (lowers utility bills)

The next event is slated for 3-7 p.m., Jan. 18 at Battalion Pentecostal Assembly Inc., 454 Beach 67th Street in Arverne. You must RSVP to attend by calling Senator Sanders’ Office at 718-523-3069 or 718-327-7017.

Constantinides To Hold Hearing on Con Edison Arc Flash in Astoria

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst,Long Island City), who chairs the Council Committee on Environmental Protection, next month will hold a hearing on the equipment malfunction late last month that flooded the night sky with a bright blue arc flash and how we can move towards a greener grid moving forward.

“The people of western Queens, and our entire city, deserve to know what exactly caused this startling phenomenon,” said Constantinides, whose district includes the Con Edison substation where the Dec. 27 incident took place. “Thankfully no one was seriously injured — this time. The ‘Astoria Borealis’ only strengthens the need to make our electrical grid greener, relying less on the dangerous gas-fired power plants situated next to people’s homes. I look forward to discussing how we can learn from this incident to make our grid cleaner and safer.

The hearing, “Oversight: The Astoria Transformer Explosion and the Transition to a Green Grid,” is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., Feb. 11 at City Hall in LOwer Manhattan. Constantinides has requested representatives from Con Edison appear before the Committee.