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Brooklyn Political Roundup, December 6: Donovan looking to add SALT to tax bill

In Public Service, From The Political Staff Of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

December 6, 2017 By Paula Katinas & John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan. Photo courtesy of Donovan’s office
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Donovan fighting to add SALT to tax bill

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island), who voted against the tax cut bill recently passed by the House, has also voted against sending the tax reform proposal to a conference committee of the House and Senate. The committee will be working to work out the differences between tax cut bills passed by the two legislative chambers so that a single bill can be crafted and sent to President Donald Trump to sign into law.

Donovan’s objection to the conference committee is the same as his objection to the House’s original bill. He voted no, he said, because state and local tax (SALT) deductions have been eliminated. That’s going to hurt New Yorkers, he said 

Donovan and fellow GOP lawmaker U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-C-Long Island) tried to convince the House Republican leadership to put SALT into the bill, but to no avail. 

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“For weeks, I and my Republican colleagues in the New York delegation have been advocating for our solution to the state and local tax deduction issue. Our proposal delivers on the promise of middle class tax cuts for all Americans, not just folks in some states. Our constituents have to put food on the table and save for their kids’ college tuition just like families in other parts of the country. They shouldn’t foot the bill for everybody else’s tax relief,” Donovan said in a statement.

Donovan cited a study done by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which found that New York, New Jersey, California and Maryland would wind up paying $16 billion more in taxes while the other 46 states would receive a $100-billion tax cut under the House bill.

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Schumer Warns: Beware of bots 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said cyber scalpers are out to ruin the holiday season.

The same cyber scalpers responsible for purchasing blocks of tickets to Broadway shows and concerts are now working on scooping up popular toys to resell on other websites at outrageous prices, according to Schumer (D-New York). 

The popular Fingerlings, which usually sell at a price of $14.99, are now being sold on secondary websites for as much as $1,000. Schumer said bots were used by scalpers to purchase and then resell concert tickets. Congress passed Schumer’s BOTS Act to prevent the practice. But the law does not apply to other consumer products. 

Schumer called on the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association to block the bots and lead the charge against future efforts to prevent customers from buying toys at fair retail prices.  

“Grinch bots cannot be allowed to steal Christmas, or dollars, from the wallets of New Yorkers,” Schumer said in a statement. “Middle-class folks save up, a little here, a little there, working to afford the hottest gifts of the season for their kids but ever-changing technology and its challenges are making that very difficult. It’s time we help restore an even playing field by blocking the bots.”   

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Savino eases medical marijuana search 

A bill recently signed into law by Gov. Mario Cuomo will make it easier for patients seeking medical marijuana to find a provider, according to state Sen. Diane Savino, who sponsored the legislation.

Under the new law, medical marijuana patients can find a provider more easily because of mandated improvements to the searchable database on the New York State Department of Health’s website. The information that will now be provided on the website will include the names and contact information of medical marijuana providers.

There are currently 1,349 medical marijuana providers registered in the state program.

“This is another important step that we’ve taken this year to improve the state’s medical marijuana program. It is unacceptable for patients to be forced to spend their days trying to find a doctor who will prescribe them their medication. I thank Gov. Cuomo for signing this legislation into law,” said Savino (D-Coney Island-Bensonhurst-Staten Island).

The new law goes into effect in 60 days.

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Lentol seeks to unclog courts

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) has introduced legislation that he said will help unclog a crowded state court system.

Under his plan, the state Constitution would be amended to change the Appellate Division, Second Department.

The Second Department currently has jurisdiction over several counties, including Kings County.

The new configuration would be the Second Department, North, and Second Department, South.

The Second Department handles an estimated 40 percent of all of the Appellate Division cases heard in New York state, according to Lentol. Such a heavy caseload results in overburdened court rooms and long wait time for lawyers and their clients, he said. 

“I have received complaints from attorneys and judges regarding the overwhelming caseloads in the Second Department. No person should have to wait two years for a decision on their case,” said Lentol, who called his legislation “a bill to improve the judicial system.”

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Nadler is now ranking Judiciary Committee member

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (Bensonhurst-Bay Ridge-Lower Manhattan-Upper West Side) is now the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Nadler moved up due to the resignation of U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), who stepped down from his House seat on Tuesday in the wake of explosive sexual harassment allegations against him leveled by former staff members. Conyers was the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

Nadler released a statement on his role as ranking member of the committee:

“This is a critical time in our nation’s history, and the work of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee is more important than ever. It is our moral obligation to be steadfast in working for criminal justice reform, to be vigilant in protecting women’s rights, including the right to an abortion, to promote greater equality for members of the LGBTQ community, to demand action on common sense gun laws, to support consumers and oversee antitrust concerns, to defend the civil rights and liberties of all Americans and to hold the Trump administration accountable for its destructive policies and unprecedented misconduct,” Nadler said in his statement.

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Robert Carroll proposes subway Action Delay Kit

Assemblymember Robert Carroll, who represents the 44th District (Borough Park, Ditmas Park, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace) says that he is still working on finding ways to fix MTA and get basic repairs and services implemented in order to achieve a more reliable system.

“Last week, I joined with transit advocates, the Riders Alliance, to announce their new initiative called the Subway Action Delay Kit,” said Carroll.  “This kit gives everyday straphangers the tools to tell the governor how an underfunded and mismanaged MTA is impacting their lives.”

Carroll explained, “Often when it comes to major political or government issues, it can be hard for the everyday person to really know what they can do to change it or to feel they are getting their message across to elected officials.”

The Subway Action Delay Kit offers direct actions that riders can take on social media to let Gov. Andrew Cuomo know if they are impacted by a delay or unexpected service cancellation.

“Instead of complaining to the person next to you, you can use these tools to amplify your voice and push the governor to finally do something about the ailing mass transit system in New York,” said Carroll.

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Golden writes letter to MTA about poor Bay Ridge-Staten Island bus service

Last Thursday, state Sen. Marty Golden sent a letter to Acting MTA President Phillip Eng, about his concerns about the lack of adequate service on the S79 bus route during rush hour. The busses along the route carry passengers from Bay Ridge across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to Staten Island.

At rush hour, there is great demand for the service and commuters are left waiting at the final stops before crossing the bridge because the busses are too full to accommodate them.

“Because the bus is so full after making its stop on 86th Street during the evening rush, it completely bypasses additional commuters waiting at the next stop — 92nd Street — which is the last stop on the Brooklyn side before crossing the bridge,” wrote Golden. He added that the circumstances are the same during the morning rush at the last stop before the bridge on the Staten Island side.

Golden believes a potential solution to alleviate the congestion would require additional busses be added to this route during the morning and afternoon rushes to meet the high demand. “Increasing the number of busses will shorten the length of the trip for passengers and encourage more people to utilize public transportation as their means of commuting,” said Golden.

As a result, the congestion during the commute between Bay Ridge and Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island would be lessened.




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