POINT OF VIEW New Year, New Laws

January 9, 2012 By Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny D-Gravesend/Bensonhurst/Coney Island
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Many of us ring in the new year with a fresh set of goals and resolutions for a promising year to come. This year, Jan. 1 marked not only the beginning of 2012, but the day that a number of important laws in New York went into effect.

Most recently, New York proclaimed its first restructuring of the tax code in decades, providing the lowest tax rate for middle-class families in over 50 years. The new tax reform reduces tax rates for 99 percent of New Yorkers, while increasing the rate paid by millionaires and billionaires (Ch. 56 of 2011).

At the same time, hardworking families statewide will begin to see real property tax relief with the 2 percent property tax cap (Ch. 97 of 2011). The law helps curb large property tax increases and helps working families and seniors stay in their homes. And because the 2 percent limit can be exceeded by a 60 percent vote by the taxpayers’ school-budget vote, school budgets will not be put in jeopardy.

These two laws make substantial strides toward providing tax relief for New York families. As the economy continues to grow, one of the best ways to ensure its strength and prosperity is by keeping money in the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers.

Additionally, my bill that prohibits the sale of shisha and certain types of smoking paraphernalia to minors went into effect. Under this law, businesses offering these products for sale may only sell to individuals who are at least eighteen years of age with proper identification.

A number of other important laws went into effect Jan. 1, some of which include:

• Extending the state’s “move over” law to include any hazard vehicle, such as tow trucks and maintenance vehicles. By taking the current law a step further, we ensure that anyone risking their lives on the roadways — either by providing assistance to others or simply as part of their daily job duties — is protected under the law (Ch. 458 of 2011);

• Requiring that dentists’ offices have a defibrillator on hand (there is a state tax credit available of up to $500 to help defray the cost of the defibrillator) (Ch. 65 of 2011); and • Requiring that health insurers cover orally administered chemotherapy, at a cost similar to intravenous or injected cancer treatments. This means that patients who opt for orally administrated chemotherapy — allowing them to administer the drug in the comfort of their own home — will have the same insurance coverage as if they were taking intravenous or injected cancer treatments in a hospital (Ch. 559 of 2011).

Last year, an on-time budget and bold new laws brought results to the hardworking families of Brooklyn. Moving forward into a new legislative session, I am eager to continue working hard for you.


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