Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 1, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Schumer, Pelosi Joint Statement On White House Infrastructure Meeting

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) yesterday issued the following joint statement following their meeting with President Trump at the White House:

“Today, we had a constructive meeting with President Trump agreeing on a big and bold initiative to build the infrastructure of America.

“The purpose of the meeting was to find out the amount of investment the president was willing to agree to. We were pleased he suggested $2 trillion.  We agreed to meet again in three weeks, at which time we will hear the president’s ideas for how he would pay for such a package.

“Building America’s infrastructure is about creating jobs immediately, and also bolstering the commerce it facilitates, advancing public health with clean air and clean water, and improving the safety of our transportation system, and addressing climate change with clean energy, clean transportation and resilient infrastructure.  We are pleased the president agreed to include a major investment in expanding broadband to rural, urban and other underserved areas to deliver broadband’s benefits for education, health care and commerce.

“In the meeting, our Members emphasized the importance of the infrastructure being for the future, with respect to the prevailing wage and to the imperative to involve women, veteran and minority-owned businesses in construction.

“We have a historic opportunity to build infrastructure for the future, and an urgency to address the safety needs that our crumbling infrastructure represents.  Every congressional district in America has urgent needs, which any big and bold initiative must address.”

Gianaris Hails Extension of Court Square Library Lease, Van Bramer Rallies For Permanent Library

State Senator Michael Gianaris

State Sen. & Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) yesterday heralded a deal reached with Queens Public Library and Citibank to extend the lease of the Court Square Library for an additional seven months past its August deadline.

“I am glad our voices were heard and this important community asset will remain in place long enough to find a new home,” said Gianaris. “The Court Square Library plays a critical role for a growing neighborhood and I will do everything I can to ensure its continuing presence in our community.

The lease extension gives the library the ability to continue operating longer while the Queens Public Library searches for a new home for the branch which serves more than 97,000 customers each year.  

Meanwhile, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) and Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott will rally with the community today to secure a permanent home for the Queens Public Library at Court Square

The rally is slated for 11 a.m., today, May 1 at the Queens Public Library at Court Square, One Court Square, 25-01 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City.

Van Bramer Ramps Up Pressure For Bike/Pedestrian Lanes On Queensboro Bridge

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D) joined Transportation Alternatives, Bike New York, the Court Square Civic Association, cycling advocates, and community members yesterday called on the city to create separate, exclusive lanes for pedestrians and cyclists on the Queensboro Bridge.

“The Queensboro Bridge path is dangerously overcrowded and poses a safety hazard to the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists that rely on it to cross between Queens and Manhattan each day. There needs to be separate, exclusive lanes for pedestrians and cyclists on the Queensboro Bridge. DOT [The city’s Department of Transportation] cannot afford to wait until upcoming work on the bridge is completed to start planning to make this infrastructure more sustainable and accessible,” said Van Bramer.

“More people are going to get seriously injured or worse. DOT must speed up repairs and start preparing for this necessary redesign immediately so that all people, regardless of their preferred transportation method, have the space they need to cross this vital pathway safely. Reducing our reliance on automobiles and encouraging green transportation alternatives will benefit our city and our planet,” he added.

Under Van Bramer and advocates’ proposal, the North Outer Roadway of the Queensboro Bridge, currently shared by bikes and pedestrians, would be converted into an exclusive bike lane. And the South Outer Roadway, currently reserved for cars, would be converted into an exclusive pedestrian walkway that is ADA-compliant and accessible to all.

Addabbo To Convene Hearing To Expand Legal Sports Betting

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, The Rockaways), who chairs the Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, is convening a public hearing next week to gather testimony on the expansion of legal sports wagering in New York State, including the possibility of mobile betting.

Witnesses will address questions of constitutionality associated with online gambling; the experiences of other states, including New Jersey, that have implemented mobile sports betting; potential revenue and job creation from legalized sports wagering; services needed to address problem gambling, and other pertinent issues.

“I had hoped the newly-enacted New York State Budget would have included authorization for mobile sports betting, but agreement could not be reached by the April 1st deadline,” said Addabbo. “I continue to believe online wagering will create new jobs for state residents and provide a significant source of state revenue to fund education and other vital programs.”

The hearing is slated for 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 8,  in Hearing Room A of the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

Kim’s Office Completes 7th Consecutive Year As Free Tax Prep Site

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) announced yesterday his district office reached a new milestone in its partnership with Urban Upbound as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in Flushing.

For the seventh year in a row, the office served as a free tax preparation site for constituents through the 2019 tax season, from January through April.

This year, the joint partnership helped New York residents file over 1,374 tax returns with nearly $850,000 in total tax refund claims. It also helped put over $401,000 back into the pockets of working families through the Earned Income Tax Credit – real money that makes a difference in the lives of ordinary New Yorkers.

“I am proud to announce the completion of the seventh straight year of free tax preparation service at my office, a commitment we have worked hard to keep since I first entered office. Sustainable economic growth does not come from laws and policies that help large corporations or the wealthy elite, it comes from investing in working families and individuals and recirculating wealth within our neighborhoods, because true change – the kind that will help and transform our communities, will not come from the top down but the bottom up,” said Kim.

“Through this partnership, New Yorkers have now claimed nearly $7 million in total tax refund claims. We thank Urban Upbound for working with us since the beginning to establish and grow a VITA site in our district, and look forward to providing this vital service for many years to come,” the lawmaker added.

More from Around New York