Queens Lawmakers On the Move Feb. 21, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Meeks Criticizes Sale of Taxi Medallion Loans

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D- Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport) yesterday took the National Credit Union Administration to task for their decision to sell the majority of its taxi medallion loans to Marblegate Asset Management LLC:

“Taxi drivers have suffered enormous financial strain as a result of the medallion system’s broken promise. Not only were medallions massively over-valued, but drivers were then left to compete in an uneven market with little to no hope of ever paying off their debt. NCUA’s decision to sell off that debt to a hedge fund only compounds that hardship, abandoning them to debt collection practices that will squeeze them for every last dollar,” said Meeks..

“Earlier this year I introduced legislation to provide relief for indebted medallion owners in the event lenders forgave their debt, exempting them for tax liability on that amount. Just as some banks are recognizing the unsustainable bubble of medallion debt and providing debt forgiveness, it is discouraging to see NCUA move in the opposite and wrong direction.

“I stand strongly against NCUA’s decision today, and urge medallion owners to not abandon all hope for financial relief as the city, state and federal government work to provide the justice they deserve,” he added.

Addabbo Announces Announces Pair of Scholarships

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State 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 announced that college students and high school seniors that plan to attend college who live in his district now have the chance to apply for a pair of scholarships through the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators.

There will be a total of four state-wide scholarship winners, with two students being awarded $4,000 for the Assemblyman James D. Conte Memorial Academic Scholarship, and two students winning the $4,000 Senator John J. Marchi Memorial Athletic Scholarship.

“As President of the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators, I am pleased to announce these scholarships to the amazing students living in my district,” Addabbo said. “With the cost of colleges continuing to rise, any amount of financial aid we can offer will benefit prospective students. I hope to see students from my district walk away with one of these scholarships to help propel them to their dreams of higher education.”

Applicants for the scholarships MUST reside within Addabbo’s 15th Senatorial District, even if the college they attend/plan to attend falls outside of the district borders. If you are unsure if you live in NY Senate District 15, visit https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator and insert your address.

Kim Fights to Increase Adult Literacy Funding

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) yesterday visited one of the very few adult literacy education (ALE) programs in Queens before meeting with community leaders and speaking together on the urgent need for more funding for these services. 

ALE programs in New York are essential services that teach adults the reading, writing, and communication skills needed to find employment, continue their education, and engage with their children and families. The assemblymember has pushed to drastically increase New York State ALE funding for much of his time in the state legislature.

There are an estimated 3.5 million adults without a high school diploma, English proficiency, or both in New York, but barely 3% of those in need of language development skills are able to enroll in State-funded classes. Organizations such as United Neighborhood Houses and the Chinese American Planning Council have sought to address this deficiency by urging the inclusion of $25 million for ALE in the annual state budget, a modest investment within the overall New York State budget, which exceeded $170 billion in the most recent fiscal year.

“Today’s visit has been truly moving and inspiring. We met with so many students, especially immigrants, who are working hard to fully integrate into our economy, workforce, and society. There [are] countless New Yorkers who are ready and willing to improve their language proficiency and develop the communication skills and literacy they need to start a career, better provide for their families and thrive in our city and state. My colleagues and I are sometimes frustrated by the inability of some other elected officials to see the vital importance of this issue, but we will continue to fight our hardest to secure full funding for ALE in New York,” said Kim.

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