Bklyn Lawmakers on the Move Dec. 15, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

James Urges Reforms to Tax Lien Sales

Attorney General of NY Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) yesterday called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) to enact permanent, meaningful reform to the tax lien sale. 

The call came as the authorizing legislation allowing the city to conduct the lien sale expires on December 31, 2020, providing an opportunity for significant reform. 

In a letter to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson, Attorney General James urged New York City to utilize community land trusts and land banks for delinquent properties, ensuring residents can stay in their homes

“In the new year, we will have an opportunity to transform the tax lien sale from a process that tears down neighborhoods to one that builds them up,” said James. “With a few key changes to the way we approach tax liens, we are able to create a system that keeps homeowners in their homes, and stabilizes neighborhoods, all while continuing to allow the city to collect tax revenue.”

Every year, the City’s Department of Finance (DOF) holds a tax lien sale, through which the tax liens on properties for unpaid property taxes and water bills are sold off in an auction. The terms imposed by the tax lien sale on New Yorkers are dramatic: mandatory five percent surcharges, legal fees, and a nine or 18 percent interest rate that compounds daily. These additional fees can quickly turn a relatively small tax lien into an overwhelming financial burden, eventually pushing homeowners into foreclosure. 

James argues by utilizing community land trusts and land banks instead of an auction, residents can remain in their homes and properties will be permanently secured as community assets.

Nadler on Barr’s Departure

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Western Brooklyn, Manhattan), chair of the HouseJudiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) issued the following statement yesterday regarding U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s resignation:

“From misleading the American public about the Mueller report to his dangerous efforts to overturn COVID safety measures, from his callous disregard for civil rights to his rampant politicization of the Justice Department, William Barr was willing to do the Phad the following comments to make regarding the announcement resident’s bidding on every front but one.  Barr refused to play along with President Trump’s nonsensical claims to have won the election.  He is now out as Attorney General one month early,” said Nadler.

“In 37 days, President-Elect Biden will be sworn into office.  Whomever Joe Biden chooses as the new Attorney General will have a tremendous amount of work to do to repair the integrity of the Department of Justice—and I, for one, look forward to being a partner in that project.  The work must begin without delay,” he added.

Colton On State Program Helping Small Businesses

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D–Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) says that Governor Cuomo has launched the New York Forward Small Business Lease Assistance Partnership program. 

This program will provide Small Businesses and Landlords with Pro Bono Legal Assistance to Renegotiate Lease Terms in Wake of COVID-19.

“I appreciate that Governor Cuomo is initiating this program which will provide small businesses and their landlords with informational resources and pro bono assistance to help both parties reach equal and favorable lease agreements. This service will be available to all New York State small businesses and landlords. Small businesses and the economy have been impacted greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is very damaging,” Colton said.

“The Empire State Development Corp. is partnering with the New York State Bar Association and Start Small Think Big, a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting small, under-resourced entrepreneurs with high-quality professional services. Start Small will be offering pro bono legal services from its network of more than 1,000 attorneys, to commercial tenants and landlords seeking lease amendments to cope with the impacts of COVID-19,” Colton continued.

Colton said the Small Business Lease Assistance Partnership website includes information on the lease renegotiation process and details the different types of lease workouts available to help small businesses with the financial impacts of COVID-19. If you are interested in pro bono assistance to initiate a lease renegotiation, then you will need to complete the partnership’s intake form

For further info call Colton’s office at 718-236-1598 or visit 155 Kings Highway in Bensonhurst.

Carroll Hosts Panel on Home Learning

Robert Carroll
Assemblymember Robert Carroll

Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Parl Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Ditmas Park) today will host a special virtual panel with leading reading experts from the Haskins Global Literacy Hub to learn about free resources to help support your child’s learning during COVID-19. 

The Haskins Global Literacy Hub is an international and interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers, educators, and education technology specialists, working to improve the reading development of children and youth across cultures, languages, and continents. 

The event is slated for between 7-8:30 p.m., this evening, Dec. 15. For full information on the flyer below and register for the event here

Cumbo Arts Bill Passes Council

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) last week saw her legislation, Int. No. 2034-A, requiring the creation of a website that would provide information on open spaces designated by the city for art and cultural programming pass the city Council.

The website would also allow users to search for information about outdoor programs offered by art and cultural institutions that are coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management (CECM) and provide information about other events either hosted by art and cultural institutions or outdoor events held on private property.

“Prior to COVID-19, the cultural sector in NYC was one of the largest industries in NYC, employing nearly 400,000 workers, paying them $31 billion in wages, and generating $110 billion in economic activity. In merely seven months, employment within this sector has fallen over 60%, with 95% of organizations being forced to cancel some programming,” said Cumbo.

“The passage of Intro 2034 is symbolic of our city’s commitment to innovation in the face of a “new normal.” I look forward to seeing how open spaces are utilized by our cultural sector in the near future with use of this newly designed website,” she added.

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