Good Morning, Brooklyn: Thursday, March 24, 2022
ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES: VIRTUAL CURRENCY IS TAXABLE: New York Attorney General Letitia James warns investors in virtual currency, and their tax advisors that accurate declaration and payment of taxes is required. accurately declare and pay taxes on their virtual investments. Deliberate or reckless failure to properly declare and pay taxes on cryptocurrency transactions may constitute civil or criminal violations of the tax law, as well as violations of tax provisions of the New York False Claims Act, which could result in steep financial liabilities.
A dramatic surge in the production, sale, and acquisition of “virtual” or “crypto” currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum has led to new tax laws: IRS Notice 2014-21 and related DTF guidance, convertible virtual or cryptocurrency is treated as property rather than a currency for U.S. federal tax purposes.
BASKETBALL PROGRAM CHEATS AT ITS OWN GAME: New York Attorney General Letitia James has scored a court victory against fraudulent post-graduate basketball program AAUCONNECT, which has been ordered to pay an additional $40,000 to seven families that were defrauded by the company. An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that AAUCONNECT had advertised itself as a premier basketball training program and collected tuition money, but failed to provide the training, housing, and education promised.
“AAUCONNECT thought that their scheme to cheat families was a slam dunk, but my office called foul, and today seven more families will be added to the restitution judgment,” said Attorney General James, donning the language of the sport. “No student should see their education, training, and future sidelined because of greedy fraudsters.”
BUDGET ANALYSIS SHOWS JAILS IN CRISIS: City Comptroller Brad Lander has released a budget analysis of the skyrocketing costs per person, staff absenteeism, and rates of violence plaguing the City’s jail system. The report shows that while New York City spends more than half a million dollars to incarcerate one person for a year, nearly four times the amount spent 10 years ago, yet city jails are in crisis, with at least 19 people having died in custody since the start of 2021.
The Department of Correction is on the Comptroller’s Watch List and has been closely monitored by the Comptroller’s Office since 2014, the year Scott Stringer took office in that role.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AFFORDABLE CARE ACT! Today, twelve years since President Obama and the Democratic Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) highlighted how this life-saving legislation has expanded access to quality, affordable health insurance in New York and across the country. Since being signed into law, the Affordable Care Act continues to strengthen New Yorkers access to quality health care, while banning insurance companies from discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions, and protecting 314,800 non-elderly NY-12 residents from being denied coverage over circumstances out of their control.
Additionally, 592,868 New Yorkers have gained quality coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, with New York being one of seven states that have reduced their uninsured rate by at least half through enrollment in Marketplace coverage and expansion of Medicaid to adult populations.
CUNNINGHAM WINS SPECIAL ELECTION TO ASSEMBLY: Democrat Brian Cunningham declared victory Tuesday in the special election for Assembly District 43 in Brooklyn, with unofficial results from the New York State Board of Elections showing him winning with 62% of the vote with 98% of scanners reporting. Having secured this special election victory, Cunningham will take office and then run in the Democratic Primary on June 28, for re-election to his first full term in Albany.
Cunningham heads to Albany this morning to enter into the last-minute budget negotiations and to immediately begin co-sponsoring progressive legislation like the Universal Child Care Act, the New York Health Act, Good Cause Eviction, and more.
PLEDGE TO INCREASE WOMEN IN LAW ENFORCEMENT RANKS: As part of Women’s History Month, the New York State Police has joined more than 150 other police departments across the country, including the NYPD, by signing the “30×30 Pledge,” a commitment to increase the representation of women in the State Police ranks and improve the experiences of women in law enforcement. Governor Kathy Hochul announced The central commitment of the pledge is for women to be 30 percent of recruit classes by 2030 and to ensure that law enforcement agencies are truly representative of the jurisdictions and communities they serve. The 30×30 Initiative is affiliated with the Policing Project at NYU School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE).
Agencies who sign the 30×30 Pledge have agreed to: Take measures to increase the representation of women in all ranks of law enforcement, ensure that policies and procedures are free of all bias, promote equitable hiring, retention and promotion of women officers; and ensure their culture is inclusive, respectful, and supportive of women in all ranks and roles of law enforcement.
EQUAL ACT GETS BIPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT: This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) cosponsored the EQUAL Act, a bipartisan bill that would fully and finally eliminate the federal sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. The disparity is one of the worst vestiges of what many call the failed War on Drugs, and has devastated poor and Black communities in New York and across the country. country. Majority Leader Schumer joins New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-8), the driving forces behind this campaign to correct one of the most overt racial injustices in federal criminal law.
The EQUAL ACT also has sponsorship and support from several key Republican Senators, including Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) Thom Tillis and Richard Burr (both of North Carolina), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine).
NEW NYPD INITIATIVE GETS PUSHBACK FROM MAYOR: Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell yesterday announced a citywide initiative in response to the increased numbers of shootings and thefts in New York City, as well as the rise in quality-of-life offenses that contribute to crime and disorder. As part of the new initiative, the first wave of increased enforcement will be focused in areas experiencing the most shooting incidents: including and specifically Brooklyn’s neighborhoods of Brownsville, East New York, and Cypress Hills.
Now, uniformed officers on patrol will be augmenting the mission of these Safety Teams by expanding their focus beyond 911 calls. However, the plan has already received criticism from Mayor Eric Adams, who said, “Let’s be clear: this plan reinstates broken-windows policing, and it will undoubtedly send more Black and Latinx New Yorkers to Rikers Island, a facility that is wholly incapable of caring for the people in its custody.”
$3 MILLION FOR HUNGER RELIEF PROGRAM: U.S. Rep Hakeem Jeffries has secured $3 million in funding for The Campaign Against Hunger through the government funding law. The money will fund a permanent community food hub, a first-of-its-kind ecosystem that uses food access, education and innovation in urban farming to break the systemic and interconnected cycle of hunger and poverty in New York City. This hub will amplify the emergency food network capacity to store, pack and distribute healthy food in urban communities during pandemics, hurricanes and other emergencies.
The community food hub will also increase wealth-building opportunities through the creation of foodservice and green jobs for New Yorkers grappling with income loss.
MARCH FOR MEALS PAYS TRIBUTE TO KILLEN FAMILY: The Bay Ridge Center holds its 27th Annual March for Meals this Saturday, March 26. The 2022 walkathon group walk covering a 2-mile course along the streets of area merchant corridors, is In Memory of Peter Killen and Honoring Patricia Killen
The Bay Ridge Center and the BRC Community Advisory Board sponsors the March for Meals helps to raise awareness for and support Bay Ridge Center’s provision of daily home-delivered meals in Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend to 600+ frail, homebound and elderly residents.
ADDRESSING HATE CRIMES AGAINST ASIANS: U.S. Rep Nicole Malliotakis (R-11) will host a virtual roundtable with members of the Asian-American community this afternoon. Participants are expected to speak out against what they say the unacceptable rise in hate crimes towards Asian-Americans, highlight funding she secured in the federal budget for the NYPD, call on Governor Hochul and the State Legislature to reverse the botched bail law, and push Mayor Adams to establish more anti-crime units across Staten Island and Brooklyn.
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