Queens Lawmakers On The Move March 8, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Gillibrand Floats Bill To Reduce Taxpayer Penalties

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) this week introduced the Taxpayer Penalty Protection Act, legislation that would erase penalties for some families who unknowingly under-withheld their income taxes throughout the year.

In 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued new withholdings schedules meant to reflect changes in the 2017 Trump tax bill. However, in many cases, the amount of tax withheld from people’s paychecks was less than the amount of taxes owed, resulting in withholding penalties. Gillibrand’s legislation would protect Americans from withholding penalties if the amount of taxes paid was at least 80% of the taxes owed for the current year.

“It’s clear that the Trump tax law was a giveaway to the biggest corporations and the richest Americans at the expensive of hardworking families all over our state. Now that tax filing season is here, I am hearing from families all over New York that their year-end tax bill is higher than normal, and they are getting hit with a penalty because the Trump Administration told them to withhold less money than they were supposed to,” said Gillibrand.

“Congress needs to get to the bottom of whether this was a deliberate and deceptive act by the Trump Administration to make its tax law look better than it actually is, but in the meantime, no one playing by the rules should have to pay a penalty because of this Administration’s incompetence or dishonesty. I’m proud to introduce the Taxpayer Penalty Protection Act, which would erase the penalties for taxpayers who were under-withholding at no fault of their own. I urge all of my colleagues to support this bill, and I will always fight to make sure hardworking New Yorkers and all Americans have every opportunity to succeed.”

Koo Issues Update On Efforts To Eliminate Prostitution On 40th Road

City Council Member Peter Koo
City Council Member Donovan Richards

City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill) will join City Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens), chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee, and the Flushing Business Improvement District to issue an update about recent efforts to eliminate prostitution on 40th Road in Flushing.

Koo will give the update after cops last month shut down one brothel only to have the ladies of the night apply their trade across the street. According to media reports, the NYPD has struggled to contain the sex-for-sale bazaar, between Prince and Main Streets, known as “The Track” among Chinese sex workers.

Koo will issue the update at 11 a.m., today, March 8 on 40th Road and Prince Street outside the Bland Playground in Flushing.

Addabbo Bill For Cancer Screening Passes Key Committee

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, the Rockaways), this week, saw the senate’s Civil Service and Pensions Committee pass his proposed bill, S.3152, which would provide state employees with a maximum of eight hours excused annual leave for cancer screening.

““Providing additional time off from work will encourage more individuals to get screened for all types of cancer, leading to early detection and improved health,” Addabbo said. “If you haven’t lost a friend or family member to cancer, you likely know someone who has gone through treatment. Providing employees eight hours for screening, equal to an average workday, could prove to be a benefit for a much longer, healthy lifetime.”

Approximately 600,000 people die from some type of cancer every year, but early detection has helped significantly lower cancer mortality rates. Treatment, survivorship and reduction of costs all greatly benefit from early detection, but working men and women often lack the opportunity or incentive to undertake the necessary screening.

In the Senate, the next step for the cancer screening authorization bill is that it has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration. In the Assembly, the bill is in the Civil Service Law Committee.

Constantinides, Vallone Co-Sponsor Greek Independence Day

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Members Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) and Paul Vallone (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone), along with Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) and Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) will celebrate Greek Independence Day in the Council Chambers of City Hall on Monday.

The Council Members will honor Greek-Americans for their contributions to their communities across the five boroughs.

The public event is slated to open its doors at 5:30 p.m. and start at 6  p.m., Monday, March 11 in the Council Chambers at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.