Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 9, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Gianaris, Ocasio Cortez On Amazon’s Expansion To Manhattan

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of

Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (North Central Queens, Eastern Bronx), who were among the leads in opposing retail giant Amazon’s planned development and move to Long Island City, which would have brought 25,000 jobs because of the $3 billion in subsidies the company would get issued the following statements after news broke about e-commerce giant Amazon’s decision to locate 1,500 employees in a 335,000 square-foot office in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, without receiving any tax breaks.

“Amazon is coming to New York, just as they always planned. Fortunately, we dodged a $3 billion bullet by not agreeing to their subsidy shakedown earlier this year. Now, we must enact reforms to our economic development programs to ensure no company can seek to take advantage of the public again,” said Gianaris. 

Since Amazon’s decision to leave New York in February, Gianaris introduced legislation to ban secrecy clauses in economic development agreements, de-link state opportunity zone tax breaks from the federal tax code, and end insider dealing in the real estate industry.

“Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway – *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Maybe the Trump admin should focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families.”

Kim Releases First Animation On Digital Currency Inclusive Value 

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) released an animation called “Meet Sunhee” to illustrate the positive impact of the Inclusive Value Ledger in a caring economy, highlighting its ability to capture undervalued, unvalued, and devalued work in our communities through a digital currency app.

According to the animated video, residents would be allowed to spend down on state tax credits for everyday needs through the digital currency.

“You don’t need a Ph.D. in economics to see that if we had more cash flow in local neighborhoods, we would see a noticeable improvement in almost everyone’s lives,” said Kim. “If we take a step further, we can actually redesign money to capture work that is often unvalued or undervalued, especially for people caring for others or their communities. The first and major step is the creation of public payment infrastructure in the form of the Inclusive Value Ledger system.”

For the IVL infographic, recent media coverage, and future public seminars, please visit www.inclusive.money. 

Schumer Secures Paid Parental Leave For State’s 114,000 Fd Employees

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) announced yesterday, that following his intense advocacy, Congressional lawmakers are nearing an agreement that would offer 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all federal employees to care for a newborn or adopted child, including the 114,386 workers throughout New York State, in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

Under current federal law, federal civilian workers are only eligible for three months (12 weeks) of unpaid leave, often leaving them in financially precarious or unsustainable positions. When passed, the bill would secure paid parental leave for all federal employees for the first time, bringing the federal government’s parental leave laws into the 21st century and on-par with the vast majority of developed nations around the world, allowing new parents to give the appropriate support, love and care to their newborn children.

“The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not have paid parental leave. It’s high time that we caught up. And as the nation’s largest employer, the federal government offering 12  weeks to its millions of employees across our nation and here in New York, is a step in the right direction,” said Schumer.

“From one end of the state to the other, no matter if you are a TSA or customs agent at JFK Airport, working on Fort Drum Army Base, or at Buffalo VA Medical Center, you deserve time to take care of and support your new loved one and family, without worrying how it might impact your ability to put food on the table. 

“That’s why during negotiations for this year’s NDAA, I made securing paid parental leave my very top priority, and fought with everything I had to secure it. I’m proud that my efforts, and the efforts of thousands of others, have helped make paid leave for federal employees a reality. I will not stop fighting until this benefit is provided to all workers nationwide,” he added.

Sanders Hosts Community Town Hall On SE Queens Sewage Spill

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) this weekend led a community town hall on the recent sewage spill in Southeast Queens, which was the result of a blocked sewer pipe. 

Joining Sanders was City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Southeast Queens lawmakers City Council Member Adrienne Adams and Assembly Member Vivian Cook as well as representatives from the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit (CAU), Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), American Red Cross, NYC Department of Health, and the FDNY. All were on hand to lend their support to help homeowners who experienced damages.

“This is a terrible and unfortunate incident to have happened, especially around the holidays,” Sanders said. “My office will be working with the city and all of the appropriate agencies to help affected homeowners recover and resume their busy lives.”

Hundreds of homes in Southeast Queens were damaged by the sewage spill. The exact cause of the blockage is unknown and still being investigated. Residents impacted by the flooding should file a claim with their insurance company and the Comptroller’s Office to cover any damage from the sewage.