NY Lawmakers on the Move, April 4, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Speaker  Adams, Brannan Release Council’s FY 2023 Preliminary Budget Response

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams
City Councilmember Justin Brannan

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) and City Council Finance Chair Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) and the Democrats in the City Council Saturday unveiled an aggressive budget agenda to invest in the City and its residents in response to the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2023 Preliminary Budget. 

In the release of its Fiscal Year 2023 Preliminary Budget Response and corresponding budget priorities, the Council focused on filling major gaps left in the Mayor’s initial spending plan by investing in essential infrastructure, programs and services for New Yorkers that can help the City secure an equitable recovery and improve public safety. Among the Council’s recommendations include: 

Expanding Youth Employment and Development Programs, Meeting the Needs of Special Education Pre-K, Increasing Career and Technical Education and Apprenticeship Programs, Supporting Fairness and Oversight in the Justice System and Boosting Support for Cultural Institutions and Economic Opportunity.

The full preliminary budget response report is available here. 

“To secure an equitable recovery for our City and improve public safety, we must focus on robust investments that strengthen our communities and deliver opportunities for all New Yorkers,” said Adams. “The Council’s priorities reflect the holistic needs of New Yorkers who face increasingly tough challenges.”

“New York City’s recovery requires real and meaningful investments. We cannot cut our way to prosperity,” said Brannan. “Now more than ever, New Yorkers want to know the neighbors they elected are listening and delivering tangible results.”

Menin to Chair Hearing on City’s M/WBE Program

City Council Member Julie Menin

City Members Julie Menin (D-Manhattan), chair of the Small Business Committee, Julie Won (D-Queens), chair of the Contracts Committee and Francisco Moya (D-Queens), chair of the Subcommittee on COVID Recovery and Resiliency today will hold an oversight hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). 

New York is home to millions of small businesses, which collectively employed over 4.1 million people, in 2021.  Of these small businesses, women owned 40 percent, while racial minorities owned nearly 26 percent.  Despite the large presence of M/WBEs in New York City, these businesses have historically struggled with participation in City contracting.

The economic devastation caused by the pandemic disproportionately impacted minority owned businesses.While the City’s M/WBE program boasts over 11,000 certified M/WBEs, at most 2,000 have ever actually been awarded a City contract. This amounts to roughly 84 percent of all certified M/WBEs with no access to city dollars.  This disparity among certified M/WBE firms is an issue the Committees will discuss with the Administration at this hearing and determine how to close the gap between certified firms and those receiving city spending.

The virtual public hearing is slated for 10:30 a.m., today, April 4 in Virtual Hearing Room 3. https://council.nyc.gov/livestream/

AG James Warns Hate Groups: Immediately Stop Spying on Muslim Communities    

Attorney General Letitia James

Attorney General Letitia James on the eve of Ramadan last Friday sent a cease-and-desist letter to Steven Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) directing them to immediately stop any unlawful and discriminatory surveillance they may be conducting on Muslim communities in New York. 

The action follows reports that IPT paid informants and infiltrators for over a decade to spy on Muslim houses of worship, Muslim advocacy groups, and prominent Muslim leaders — blatant violations of their civil rights. James also issued a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), requesting an investigation into IPT’s possible violations of federal criminal and civil rights laws. 

As a charity that operates in New York, IPT is required to follow state laws, and is subject to enforcement by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Furthermore, Attorney General James warned against any discriminatory action targeting communities.  

“As we enter the holy month of Ramadan, it’s more important than ever that we show our support for our Muslim communities and stand up to Islamophobia and hate of any and every kind,” said James. “Let me be clear: We will not bow to hate, we will not enable bias, and we will not empower Islamophobia. I urge DOJ to stand with us and use its considerable power to protect Muslim communities throughout New York and across the nation. Our constitution protects the rights of all communities to live without harassment or intimidation; we will remain vigilant in the protection of these rights.”

Addabbo and DCWP to Host Free Tax Prep Webinar

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) is again partnering with the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) for a virtual webinar for regarding free tax preparations. 

During the presentation, DCWP will discuss free filing options for New Yorkers earning $50,000 or less, as well as NYC Financial Empowerment Centers, which offer free one-on-one professional financial counseling for all New Yorkers. 

DCWP’s City-funded NYC Free Tax Prep program offers multiple options to file for free, including in-person, drop-off, virtual and online services. Families with dependents who earned $72,000 or less in 2020 and individuals who earned $50,000 or less can use NYC Free Tax Prep. Filers should check the eligibility requirements and choose the filing option that is best for them. Anyone who lives or works in New York City can use NYC Free Tax Prep. 

“Tax season is almost over, with the deadline to file looming. Many New Yorkers may have more complicated taxes this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic by losing a job or having received unemployment benefits,” Addabbo said. “That is why I am sponsoring this Free Tax Preparation and Financial Counseling webinar in conjunction with DCWP, to help constituents file their taxes for free if they qualify or to get financial counseling. I hope people take advantage of this free service and get their taxes filed correctly.” 

The event is slated for between 7-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 6. To join this free webinar, visit tinyurl.com/FTP-SenatorAddabbo, or to view a livestream of the webinar, visit facebook.com/nycdca