STATE GIVES $1.5 MILLION IN SCHOOL AID TO WHITE PLAINS CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. WILL NOT BE USED TO OFFSET THE TAX LEVY INCREASE.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. From the White Plains City School District. April 7, 2019:

On the day before the White Plains Board of Education vote to adopt the 2019-2000 School Budget tomorrow night for presentation to the voters May 21, the Superintendent of Schools has announced the state has increased aid to the school district by $1.5 Million

Dr. Joseph Ricca, the Superintendent wrote WPCNR this morning;

“We were very pleased to learn that the final ( NY state) budget included an increase in state aid for the WPCSD. We are grateful for our elected officials’ advocacy for the WPCSD.

The allocation of funds now brings the district closer to being fully funded with regard to the foundation aid phase in.

With the addition of $1.5 million, we are now nearing 57% of the state aid phase in.

In the proposed budget, the proposed levy increase remains within the tax cap (3.44%). Unfortunately, while very helpful to the district, the additional state aid would not offset the levy.

We do anticipate that the budget to budget increase will remain below 3.9%.”

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FLASH! IT’S 70 SUNNY WPCNR DEGREES! AS DAN INGRAM WOULD SAY, “ROLL YOUR BOD.” HANG TEN!

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY ON THE PEEKSKILL WATERFRONT!
HEY LA! HEY LA! THE HUDSON CREAMERY ON THE WATERFRONT IS OPEN! IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR ICE CREAM, USA
A VANILLA BEAN CUP AND A WORLD CLASS THICK CHOCOLATE MAAAAAAAAALLL-TED WERE JUST RIGHT
THE CREAMERY WAS MOBBED ON OPENING DAY TODAY ON THE WATERFRONT.
THE CREAMERY IS WORTH A TRIP TO VIEW THE FAMOUS CELEBRITY ICE CREAM WALL OF OF FAME
MEANWHILE BACK IN WHITE PLAINS NEW YORK USA– A CARAVAN OF GIRL SCOUT COOKIES ARRIVED. TWO MOVING VANS FILLED WITH COOKIES WERE BEING DISTRIBUTED TO LOCAL GIRL SCOUT TROOPS IN AREA. PERHAPS THEY’LL WAR TRIM ANN TAYLOR BUSINESS SUITS COMING TO YOUR DOOR. WHO KNEW THIS WAS SUCH A BUSINESS? THERE MAY EVEN BE AN APP TO ORDER YOUR COOKIES?
SPOTTED A BATTERY-POWERED LIME “HOT ROD” BIKE AT THE HIGH SCHOOL.
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WHITE PLAINS WEEK OF APRIL 5 ON THE INTERNET NOW: THE BUDGET. THE PBA. THE VIETNAM VETERAN CEREMONY AT CITY HALL AND MORE.

WPW for 4/5 has been posted

the youtube link is https://youtu.be/S4OyVzGsJO8

 the whiteplainsweek.com link is   http://www.whiteplainsweek.com/

JOHN BAILEY AND JIM BENEROFE ON
SUNLIGHT ON THE PROPOSED CITY BUDGET WHAT IT COSTS YOU
COUNTY EXECUTIVE GEORGE LATIMER’S MOVING ADDRESS ON WHY WE HAVE TO REMEMBER AND REVERE THE VIETNAM WAR DEAD –EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FROM THE CITY HALL CEREMONY
THE SAD STORY OF THE PBA INVESTIGATION
KAT BRESSLER OF WHITE PLAINS FILES FOR THE JUNE 25TH DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY CHALLENGING DEMOCRAT NOMINEES FOR COMMON COUNCIL

WESTCHESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL AND DAILY VOICE MERGE MEDIA CONTENT ON DAILY VOICE PLUS WEBSITE

WBT’S “NEWSIES” REVIEW

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DEMOCRAT NOMINATED CANDIDATES IN JUNE 25 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY INTRODUCED ON PEOPLE TO BE HEARD THURSDAY NIGHT AT 8 ON CH 76 ALTICE AND FIOS CH. 45 AND RIGHT NOW ON YOUTUBE AND WHITEPLAINSWEEK.COM

JOHN BAILEY INTERVIEWS NADINE HUNT-ROBINSON, JENNIFER PUJA AND VICTORIA PRESSER , DEMOCRATIC PARTY NOMINEES FOR COMMON COUNCIL RUNNING IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY JUNE 25 IN WHITE PLAINS, MEET THEM ON PEOPLE TO BE HEARD AT 8 PM THIS EVENING ON FIOS CH. 45 AND ALTICE CH. 76 OR VIEW THE PROGRAM ON www.wpcommunitymedia.org at 8 PM



ptbh with the dem candidates has been posted the youtube link is
 
https://youtu.be/FHgrSxRo0A0
 
the whiteplainsweek.com link is
 
http://www.whiteplainsweek.com/
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PBA OFFICERS INVESTIGATED FOR “IMPROPER CONDUCT WITH REGARD TO PBA FUNDS” MAYOR REPORTS

P

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. From the Mayor’s Office. April 3, 2019:

The Mayor’s Office has issued a statement confirming a report published by Blackwestchester.com last week by reporter Zachery Gates II, based on information the reporter was told by a 20-year veteran of the police department, who was not named by the website.

Wednesday Mayor Tom Roach issued this statement confirming an investigation into the irregularities was under way:

“Allegations have been made that former officers of the White Plains PBA engaged in improper conduct with regard to PBA funds which were entrusted to them, I have asked that this matter be referred to the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for investigation and it is my understanding that this has been done. It is my further understanding that an active investigation is underway.”

No charges have yet to be filed on the two officers  BlackWestchester reported. The amount of money in question  is  $250,000.

BlackWestchester  reported the union had decided not to press charges against the two officers and the officers were given one month to reimburse the entire amount.

The city and the District Attorney’s Office and the Police Department are investigating.

Persons WPCNR contacted were not willing to go “on the record” confirming this report.

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Westchester County Business Journal and Daily Voice form News Website Partnership

Front Page of new Daily Voice Plus website as of 11:30 A.M. delivering both Voice content and Westchester/Fairfield/WAG contents at www.dailyvoiceplus.com
Westchester Business Journal coverage today 11:30 AM
Daily Voice Politics reports today 11:30 A.M
Westfair WAG Lifestyle Page today, 11:30 AM

WPCNR MEDIA GO ROUND. From Westfair Communications. Edited April 3, 2019:

Two locally driven media enterprises – Daily Voice and Westfair Communications, which publishes the Westchester County Business Journal, the Fairfield County Business Journal and WAG magazine – have announced a new collaboration www.DailyVoicePlus.com .

Regarding this partnership, Dee DelBello, Westfair’s publisher, predicts, “Viewers and subscribers to Daily Voice Plus will soon realize the
value of our two organizations working together to bring them
complete local news, daily. During the course of our collaboration, we plan on bringing more and more exciting programs that will not only be useful but entertaining.”


Daily Voice was founded by Carl Tucker in 2010 and is the premier
provider of local suburban news in the New York metro region.

Ted Yang, president of Cantata Media, which now operates Daily Voice,
enthused , “Our new subscription product will bring together the best local reporting in lifestyle, politics and business to Fairfield and Westchester counties. We will go deeper and show the full local picture that our neighbors care about.”

The two media companies are coming together to present a dynamic
combination of their talents in an exclusive digital format in what will
become the go-to source for complete local news.


The new partnership will pair the ubiquitous Daily Voice’s cutting-edge 36 local website news coverages which reaches 700,000 Unique Visitors and Westfair Communications’ longtime experience and expertise in
covering the concerns and issues affecting local businesses plus profiles
of business movers and shakers along with its sophisticated and entertaining feature stories.

Debuting today, this website will offer premium content from both these operations, drawing on the straight-ahead news of Daily Voice network
combined with the specialty reporting of Westfair Communications,
including its award-winning lifestyle publication, WAG magazine, which
is designed for a luxury readership.

Both organizations, worth noting, are locally based, locally reported and
locally edited. Collaboration is not new in the news industry, joint
operating agreements have existed for years among newspapers and
television stations.

Daily Voice Plus will mark a groundbreaking regional collaboration, the
teaming of an entirely online news source with Westfair
Communications, which offers its business journals and sister publication WAG magazine in both print and online editions. 

This collaboration is designed to be beneficial to each news organization
as well as to local readers, bringing the skills and specialties of Westfair
Communications to a venture that capitalizes on the reach of Daily Voice.

The Business Journals were founded more than 50 years by a descendant of Joseph Pulitzer, David Moore. To this day, throughout its ownership
history, the Journals have remained the only local business newspapers
covering all the breaking business news in real estate, economic development, education, hospitality, heath care, technology – everything
impacting Fairfield and Westchester counties and the Hudson Valley. 

Profiles of entrepreneurs, business owners and other successful ventures – along with investigative work – are all captured in the Journals, which have extended their service through hosting business events and a vital website.

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City Proposes 2.3% Increase in Budget to $198.3 Million

LABOR PEACE AT HAND: 3 of 4 union contracts settled at 1.25%, 3% and 3% through 2021 IF COMMON COUNCIL APPROVES. FIREFIGHTERS NOT YET. 

WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE. By John F. Bailey. April 1, 2019:

The 2019-20 City Budget was presented to the White Plains Common Council this evening calling for a 2.7% increase in property taxes, caused by two Payments In Lieu of Taxes going back on the tax rolls, costing the city a half million dollars in PILOT Revenues  combined with the city being allowed as much as 4% tax revenue growth based on its slow assessment growth.

This year’s budget is $198.3 Million up $4.4 million from this year ($193.9 Million)

The city, ( apparently hedging against possible inflation to come) settled with the police, teamsters and Civil Service Employees for wage increases of 1.25% in the current year, and 3% for each of the next two years.

The tax increase  in the budget, is due to a confluence of factors,  (not just making up the sales tax current slump down 2.7% through the first 8 months of the current fiscal year–down in 6 of the first 8 months of this fiscal year ).

A worrisome fade

Through March  the city has earned  $33,038,728 sales tax dollars, $929,896 behind the 2017-18 pace, a 2.7% decline. White Plains sales taxable activity has declined almost 5% below the inflation rate which is about 2%.

If White Plains pulls in last year numbers the next 4 months it will receive $49.147 Million in sales taxes. If the 3% down trending rate is continued over the next 4 months, the revenue will erode to $48.664 Million in sales tax receipts. 

One might assume the 2.7% increase in the tax rate is a direct effort to insure against being short on sales taxes to be unable to pay the new union contract extensions the next year. 

The new city budget proposed tonight reflects this, even if other factors influence the tax increase.

It projects sales tax at $44 Million, noting that is down from the $44.5 M in this year’s budget.

If you count the annual $5,000 contribution to the Tax Relief fund from sales taxes made every year for next year’s budget (used to pay for raises in wages) the city needs to hit around $49 million.

The present trend of 2.7 % decline suggests they are not going to make that.

 There is still the possibility of more expenses with the round of possible commissioner salary increases. 

The new tax rate effect

  • $13,500 Assessed Home Pays $77 More in city tax. ($2,930 up from $2,853 this year)
  • A $16,475  Assessed home Pays $84 More. ($3,576 up from $3,482)
  • A $20,475  Assessed home pays $117 more. ($4,444 up from $4,327)

The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation goes up $5.71 from $211.36 this year to $217.07/ $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Internet sales tax relief impact as a result of the new state legislation is unclear at this.. The particulars of the legislation on the Governor’s internet sales taxing plan is under review by the city.  

Sales Tax Acknowledged as Major concern.

It is pointed out that the city sales tax is $2.7 Million less than the sales tax revenue 6 years ago.

AIM to cities has not  increased in 7 years, and the 2019-20 budgeted figure ($5.463 Million) is less than it was a decade ago.

On Bright Side:

  • No layoffs were made in this budget. The reason given is the city believes the 837 filled positions out of 879 employees allowed is needed to continue city services at the present level.
  • The budget allows for settlements with all 4 unions. The city has settled a new contract with the police, the CSEA and the Teamsters. The White Plains Firefighters are the only union that has not reached agreement with the city.
  • According to the City Agenda explanatory material, each new  union contract calls for a 1.25% increase in all step salary levels this year (2018-19)  retroactive to July 1, 2018; an additional 3% increase in 2019-20 and a 3% increase in the third year of the contract, 20-21. On the CSEA contract, their dental program share of costs goes up $40 each year, and their accompany change in pay levels for key positions.
Posted in Uncategorized

GEDNEY ASSOCIATION PRESSES FASNY WITH APPEAL.

WPCNR SOUTH END TIMES. From the Gedney Association Newsletter. April 1, 2019:

As Spring arrives, the FASNY issue remains the major focus of the Board’s attention.  On March 21st, FASNY released a Press Release announcing its intention to put approximately 48 acres on the market for sale and build its middle and high school on Parcel A.  

The property continues to be poorly maintained with debris including bottles visible on the property and its frontage.  According to FASNY’s website, its student population has declined and apparently it still wants to find a single, contiguous campus for all its grade levels.

The Gedney Board unanimously voted to continue our Appeal to the Appellate Court.  The FASNY decision to sell part of the property for additional development highlights one of the flaws in the recent approval in which they failed to analyze and consider the implications of other development as required by the New York SEQRA law.

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Complete Cuomo Statement on the New State Budget


GOVERNOR CUOMO ON THE FY
 2020 BUDGET: WE GOT IT DONE!

Governor Cuomo:

“This is probably the broadest, most sweeping state plan that we have done. There are a number of national firsts and it really grapples with the tough issues that have been facing this state for a long time. And we’ve done a lot of good work in this state, a lot of good work that has informed the nation and I think this budget is probably the strongest progressive statement that we’ve made and actually addresses many of the difficult, difficult issues that we are facing today.”

The FY 2020 Budget Fights Back Against Washington’s Assault on the Middle Class – Makes the Property Tax Cap Permanent, Limits Spending to 2% and Cuts Taxes for the Middle Class

Supports Reform of the MTA with Long-Term Revenue Streams Including Central Business District Tolling

Funds Capital Projects to Begin in FY 2020 as Part of the Governor’s Unprecedented $150 Billion Investment to Support Infrastructure Projects Across the State

Increases School Aid by Over $1 Billion, Bringing Total School Aid to $27.9 Billion, and Promotes Education Equity by Prioritizing Funding for Poorer Schools

Enacts Key Criminal Justice Reform by Eliminating Cash Bail, Restoring Speedy Trials and Transforming the Discovery Process

Strengthens Women’s Agenda Initiatives by Improving Access to IVF and Egg-Freezing Services, Instituting a Rape Shield for Sex Trafficking Victims and Investing in Initiatives to Combat Maternal Mortality

Codifies Affordable Care Act Provisions, Including the State’s Health Insurance Marketplace, Into State Law

Earlier Sunday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the highlights of the FY 2020 Budget. The Budget includes several landmark policies that will bring sweeping transformation to the state with the passage of the permanent 2% property tax cap that has already saved New Yorkers $25 billion since it was first implemented in 2012;

a strategic MTA reform plan and steady revenue stream to fund the next capital plan through Central Business District Tolling;

an additional $1 billion to support education, bringing total education funding to $27.9 billion;

and landmark criminal justice reforms, including reforming the cash bail system, speedy trial, and the discovery process for a more fair and just New York for all, while at the same time the Budget holds spending growth at 2% for the ninth consecutive year and cuts taxes for the middle class.

VIDEO of today’s event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.A

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:

Good afternoon—evening. It all blends together at one point. We want to give you some more details on the budget beyond the five-page synopsis that we provided that I’m sure you’ve all studied. First I want to send my congratulations to Speaker Carl Heastie who has done an extraordinary job, and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. This is probably the broadest, most sweeping state plan that we have done. There are a number of national firsts and it really grapples with the tough issues that have been facing this state for a long time. And we’ve done a lot of good work in this state. A lot of good work that has informed the nation and I think this budget is probably the strongest progressive statement that we’ve made and actually addresses many of the difficult, difficult issues that we are facing today.

I also want to thank my team. From the far left, the Budget Director, Rob Mujica and the Counsel, Alphonso David who have carried the ball on this and have done an extraordinary job. Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, who carries the ball on all the projects. Also, Dana Carotenuto—if I have trouble with an Italian name, you know it’s a difficult one—Carotenuto, who has done, first year on the team, and she’s done a great, great job and I want to thank her.

On the Speaker’s side, LuAnn Ciccone and Blake Washington who I’ve worked with for many years who did really extraordinary work. And Shontell Smith and Todd Scheuermann who are on the team of Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. It was their first time doing this and doing a budget, $175 billion budget for the state of New York is unlike anything you have ever done before, so it’s almost an indescribable experience and they did an extraordinary job, so I want to thank them.

First thing I want to start with is a call for perspective. We’ve all been in this building for a long time. And that is one view of reality. But if we take a little bit of a step back, this is a difficult time for government. It’s a difficult time for New York State. You have a series of forces and dynamics that are at work. You start with the federal assault form Washington and $2.3 billion shortfall on the economics of this budget. The loss of Amazon and the consequences of that. Continuing need to do more upstate economic development. Criminal justice system that has been unfair for decades. And has gotten lip service and press conferences but no progress. Downstate New York, you have a traffic problem that is only getting worse, the traffic congestion. You have an MTA that has been begging for reform from the day it was created by Governor Rockefeller. I believe it was flawed by inception.

You have extreme weather and climate change that is undeniable. That needs immediate attention and it’s not going to happen from Washington, which is living in their own state called the state of denial—51st state. And you have an atmosphere of political extremism that we see on a daily basis. If you have big problems, it calls for big solutions. And that’s what we talked about last December. I did an address, we called the FDR address, where I laid out the most ambitious and progressive agenda that this state has seen. Why was it so aggressive? Because the problems are that difficult. And when you govern, you govern to the moment. You govern to the time. And you govern the best you can to handle the situations that are presented at that time. And at this time, we have more challenges facing this state then I believe at any time in my lifetime. Hence the boldness of the agenda.

We laid out the 100 Days agenda, it had 20 points, 20 major agenda items. Today is day 90 from that period of time for the 100 Days agenda. And we got every element accomplished, virtually. 2 percent property tax cap which you know. It’s $25 billion that it has saved New Yorkers—just think about that sum of money. We lowered the middle-class tax rates again up to $300,000 which is an expansive view of the middle class. We said that we had to combat SALT. I am doing everything I can to combat SALT. I’ve met with the President, I’m working on organizing Governors across the country. We came up with a number of alternatives to SALT through the tax code which the federal government rejected. I’ve been speaking with Speaker Pelosi and I will continue this fight, which I believe is the most important fight for the state of New York until we get it done.

President Trump is rolling back affordable, the Affordable Care Act. He has no alternative plan, he’s just rolling back this plan. New York State has significant legal power because we regulate the insurance industry. And we have codified many of the protections of Obamacare, so regardless of what President Trump does, we know that we have a healthcare program in New York that will protect New Yorkers. Pre-existing conditions, the 10 essential health benefits, no cost sharing, codifying New York health insurance marketplace, etcetera.

We passed reproductive health, which had long been promised. And we did that within the first 30 days. We did the women’s agenda, which we had promised, which builds on our 2019 women’s agenda that has coverage for IVF and egg freezing, which is a major boon for women who have been dealing with those issues. Couples and families who have been dealing with that issue. It’s very expensive. And you have families who could just not pursue those alternatives because economically they couldn’t afford them. It expands the rape shield, it expands domestic violence shelter requirements, increases funding for childcare by $26 billion.

On guns, we passed the Red Flag law, banned bump stocks, extended the waiting period for purchasing a gun. On infrastructure, we’ve already, we’re in the midst of the most aggressive infrastructure program in the United States of America at $100 billion, rebuilding projects all across the state and actually getting it done. We’re going to raise that to $150 billion in this budget. Nation-leading infrastructure investment.

We talked about the MTA. I did a presentation in New York and I said there’s two aspects to it. It’s M&M, management and money. I’m not going to ask New Yorkers for more money for the MTA unless I know there’s a better management system at the MTA. And this does both. I laid out 12 essential management reforms in my first presentation. This budget incorporates all 12 of those management reforms. They will fundamentally remake the MTA to a point not seen since Rockefeller created it. You could even say it’s recreating it because all Rockefeller did was make the MTA a holding company. He just took the individual corporations, he put it under one letterhead. That’s created much of the waste and inefficiency and division.

We’re actually going to do a consolidation of the MTA. We then needed a funding stream, everybody’s been talking about congestion pricing. I just spoke to a very wise reporter, not that all reporters aren’t wise of course in their own way, who pointed out that congestion pricing was first talked about in practice by Mayor Lindsey and Governor Rockefeller. And today we’ve gotten it done. First state in the nation, and it’s been done some places around the world, Singapore Stockholm London, nowhere in the United States. It forms a Central Business District, charges a higher rate for traveling in the Central Business District. It’s designed to reduce congestion, raise revenue, the revenue comes from a $5 billion mansion tax, eliminating the internet tax advantage, meaning taxing the internet purchases which will be $5 billion. And then the toll, which would be set next year by the MTA once we have the capital plan established and we know what we have to raise. The budget also eliminates the internet tax advantage, those purchases now have to pay a sales tax, that’s $5 billion.

School aid goes to the highest level up, it’s $1 billion higher, and there’s more transparency, more equity. How many press conferences have you attended hearing more funding for poor schools, more funding for poor schools? How many blogs have you written, how many articles have you written? And what have we actually done about it? We funded school districts. Not schools, school districts. And we left it to the school district to determine how to distribute the funding. And what we found out from the transparency formula was the school districts were not giving more money to the poorer schools. This says in the budget poor schools must be prioritized from a funding point of view by the district. And they must publish the numbers of how much they have funded the schools within their district. So this actually does more for poor schools specifically than we have ever done before. The argument up until now is just more money for everyone, but if it’s more money for everyone than you’re giving the richer school districts more money also who don’t need it. When the priority has always been funding the poorer school districts, well then why didn’t you say that, why didn’t you say priority for poorer schools. Well, because politically that’s difficult. Representatives want to make sure they bring money home to every school. If you believe in funding poorer schools as I do, then say and do it.

Historic criminal justice reform, 90 percent of the people who are charged will remain out of jail. You want to talk about a life changing measure, real life for people. These are people who would have been sent to Rikers Island in New York City. You are sent to Rikers Island, it can be a life changing experience, never for the better. This criminal justice reform says, eliminates cash bail, meaning cash and wealth are not a proxy for justice. The justice system never said ‘and then we’ll determine who gets to go home and who gets to sit in Rikers, depending on how much money you can raise.’ That was not justice. This eliminates that. We did not handle the violent felonies, which are the minority in terms of numbers, and that’s something we’re going to continue to work on.

Speedy trial reform, discovery reforms, we passed the DREAM Act, we passed the Green New Deal with the most aggressive, boldest mandate in the country to be 100% carbon free by 2040.

Plastic bag ban, which I am very excited about, this is long overdue, you drive through urban areas in this state and you see plastic bags hanging from trees like some bizarre Christmas ornaments. You see in waterways all across this state, plastic bags. I’ve been fishing 40 miles out in the ocean and you see a parade of these plastic bags just floating by. There was no need, we’ve been trying to get this done, we’ve gotten it done.

$300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund and the 3 cents of the bag fee, paper bag fee, goes to the EPF, which is going to be a large increase for the EPF. Safe drinking water we talked about, we’re putting an additional $500 million, it’s now a $3 billion investment.

Improvements to democracy, we have a state election holiday. Everyone will get three hours off, paid leave time to vote. Eliminate restrictions on upstate polls opening. For some bizarre reason, upstate New York could not vote with the same hours and flexibility that downstate could vote. $10 million is being provided to the counties for early voting. We synchronized the federal and state elections. We’re allowing pre-registration for minors, universal transfer of registration, no excuse absentee voting by mail, same day registration. So, it’s going to be much easier and hopefully we have much greater voter participation.

We closed the LLC Loophole, and public financing is a national model. I believe our public financing system will be the best in the United States. There are five or six other states that have already done public financing, we will be the largest state to do public financing. We’ve appropriated $100 million for that system. The Commission will come back in December with a binding system, unless the Legislature passes a law repealing that system or changing that system. So by the end of the year, we’ll have a public finance model.

Protecting organized labor was item 16 on the agenda. Again, I’m going through the agenda from December that Zack memorized at the time, because that’s the efficiency and diligence that he brings to his position. So he knows this is number 16, but of the 20 items, number 16 was protect public sector unions. With Janus we did that. Number 17 was affordable housing. We have a $20 billion affordable housing plan, largest in the State’s history.

Passed the Child Victims Act. Amen. Marge Markey, she was here before many of you people were, but she was ahead of her time. She was an Assemblymember who pushed this, and pushed this, and pushed this. And she was right. And it was achieved and what it says is ‘even if you are a powerful institution in this society, justice can still be done, and justice will be done.’

We passed GENDA to protect the LGBTQ community and we did it while maintaining fiscal responsibility throughout. It’s a 2 percent spending increase, we’ve controlled spending in this state now for nine consecutive years, and we see the results in the economic development. More private sector jobs exist in this state than have ever existed before, more private sector jobs exist than have ever existed before. Period, end of sentence. 

Ninth time, on-time consecutive budget. Still more to do, knowing the cynicism of some of the people in the room. Of the 20 items we laid out in December, what did we not do? We have not legalized cannabis, adult use cannabis. The political desire is there, I believe we will get it done. It is complicated to come up with a program that does it and protects public safety, and does economic empowerment for communities that have paid the price. And the best way to do it was not in the race of the budget. And that is nothing new, we’ve been talking about it for weeks. But that’s the one item on the list that we did not get to yet.

We still have to do rent regulations, we would like to update the prevailing wage law, the so-called public works bill. But, I’ve sat in this room, I’ve been before dozens of microphones, and I said there are certain priorities in this budget. And yes, we wanted to get a budget done on time, but we wanted a good budget. And we said this is how we define good budget. It’s math, and the numbers have to add up, and it can’t be a Christmas wish list that bankrupts the state. These numbers, education funding is just about where we proposed it. 

This is a budget with real fiscal integrity. I said we had to have congestion pricing done. We did. We had to have criminal justice reform, which was difficult to do. I want to applaud Assemblymember Latrice Walker who really was very helpful and very constructive, and understood the tensions, and was very helpful all throughout the process. We needed a permanent property tax cap, which was also controversial, and a lot of people didn’t want to do that. But it is essential for people outside the city who pay that tax, the property tax. They’re nervous because their property taxes may be going up because of the federal government and SALT. It was essential to say to them your property taxes are under control at least on the state side.

And we said we need a public finance system, we’ve been talking about it long enough, time to do it. And we’ve done it. Most of all, government works. This was a bold, aggressive, hard agenda. We’ve done agendas before where we had one or two big things. And we focused on getting one or two big things. Marriage equality, $15 minimum wage. This has five or six major, difficult long-term issues that had to be dealt with, and it deals with them in a fiscally responsible way. This is the leading state in terms of being progressive. We’ve established that. I believe with this plan we also lead the nation in terms of innovation, and building, and reform.

And I want to thank my colleagues in the legislature, again led by Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. This was not an easy one. It was a hard one. But the hard ones are the good ones, by definition. It’s easy to leave the hard issues on the side. It’s easy. And that’s why they are hard issues. Because they were put aside year after year, after year, after year. Why? Because nobody wanted to pick them up. Because they were controversial and hard. Yeah, we are here to do the hard ones, because those are the ones that need to be achieved. Reform the MTA. Do congestion pricing. Do criminal justice reform. Look at the suffering that’s going on in Rikers every day, year after year. And no one is doing anything of any consequence. End it. Fix it. That’s what we’re doing.

Posted in Uncategorized