Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move July 1, 2020

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Adams Says FY21 City Budget Does Not Adress Racial Disparities 

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Borough President Eric Adams released a statement on the city’s FY21 $88.1 billion budget that the city council passed yesterday and the importance of addressing racial disparities.  

The spending plan comes as the city faces a $9 billion tax revenue shortfall due to the coronavirus. It includes cuts to several municipal services, hiring freezes and defunding the police department by roughly $1 billion.

“The city is in crisis, inequality is deepening, New Yorkers are marching every day against injustice — and instead of forging change and lighting a path to a brighter future, this budget simply maintains the status quo. We must finally address racial disparities in health, justice, and economic opportunity throughout our City government, including in the NYPD, by investing in communities of color and supporting those hurt by COVID-19,” he said. 

Lander: “Why I’m Voting No on the FY 2021 Budget” 

City Council Member Brad Lander

City Council-members Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Gowanus) spoke to why he voted against the $88.1 billion FY 2021 budget that the city approved yesterday. 

“I approached this year’s budget with simple principles in mind: Divest at least $1 billion from policing to preserve as much investment as we possibly can in education, youth, and social services. Prioritize public health to get us through the pandemic. Invest in a just recovery. And take a smart, long-term approach to our city’s economic and fiscal health. The budget that the City Council is being asked to approve today does not meet those principles. So I will be voting no.

“This budget does not meaningfully shrink the NYPD budget. The budget we are voting on today does not extend the City’s across-the-board hiring freeze on the NYPD. Instead, the City will hire 1,100 new officers next year (replacing 1 for every 2 who retire), even as we hire no new teachers. 

“Put simply: we are not making the kinds of cuts needed to reduce the footprint of abusive policing, to better protect public health and our social safety net, or to balance our budget,” he finished. 

Gounardes Introduces Property Tax Transparency

State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) unveiled a new bill, S8644, mandating that any property tax increase of more than two percent in real terms be reported to the public and the City Council, and that public hearings must be conducted before the adoption of such a budget. 

“Property taxes have skyrocketed over the last six years. The burden of a rapidly-growing city budget is disproportionately felt by homeowners in non-gentrified outer-borough neighborhoods across the city, yet the City keeps saying that they are not raising property taxes, which flies in the face of the lived experiences of homeowners who see their property tax bills grow significantly year after year after year.  The Truth in Budgeting Act will shine some much-needed light to make our convoluted property tax system more open, honest, and transparent to everyone. This is just the first step towards long-term property tax reform that will ensure that the wealthiest homeowners in New York City – and not everyday New Yorkers – pay their fair share to support vital city services,” said Gounardes. 

Due to the booming housing market, New York City’s property tax levy has dramatically increased despite tax rates remaining mostly constant. This bill’s Truth in Budgeting Act, mirroring laws in Maryland, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia, will help ensure that the public is aware of these increasing taxes and where the money is going in the budget. 

 Clarke Acts to Make Health Care Affordable

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope) voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act which expands on the Affordable Care Act  (ACA) by lowering prescription drug prices and reduces the cost of health care. 

 “I have been fighting tirelessly in Congress to expand health care coverage and to oppose the Administration’s outrageous legal campaign to sabotage Americans’ health care.  The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act takes bold action to deliver the lower health costs and prescription drug prices that hard-working Brooklynites need,” said Clarke. 

The bill combats inequity in health coverage faced by communities of color, expanding more affordable coverage to vulnerable populations and fighting the maternal mortality epidemic by requiring states to extend Medicaid or CHIP coverage to new mothers for a full year postpartum. 

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