2017-01-25 / Political Page

Cuomo To Trump: ‘Fed Funds Big Help to NY’

Governor Andrew Cuomo last week preached to Trump not to forget New York State when he gets to the White House, as they huddled in the Trump Tower office. Cuomo took the occasion to remind the president about his New York roots before he left for Washington to be inaugurated as president.

Cuomo, a Democrat, was trying to be as cordial as possible in his private chat with the president to-be last Thursday, the day before he was inaugurated and had the nation’s woes dumped on his shoulders, he said. “I wanted to make sure that he was aware of the impact on places like New York,” Cuomo explained, stressing that without the usual fair share of federal funding for the Empire State, NYS could hemorrhage billions if the health law was repealed, as Trump was advocating.

Cuomo also pointed out the homeless problem that affects the city is also dependent on federal funding, but it might have to be dealt with further because Trump is on the other side of that issue. “We have record homelessness in New York City,” Cuomo stated, a subject he is closely acquainted with, which dates back to his former days as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington.

Meanwhile, Cuomo has another major headache after releasing his $152.3 billion 2017 state budget last week. With budget negotiations sure to get testy, one source of meeting the future battles that are sure to arise is whether or not to raise the so-called “millionaire” tax. The governor has included a tuition free program for college students, and a $1 billion bump up for education, plus a bunch of middle-class tax-cut proposals in the proposed spending plan.

One way to pay for those proposed education and other plans would be to raise the millionaires’ tax, which would provide $4 billion dollars to the pot, but that tax has expired and needs to be reauthorized. That promises to bring on a fight with the State Senate, but passing a huge budget always means differences of opinions, so make way for a brawl.

MIXED REACTIONS FOR TRUMP: Last Friday, the long campaign battle for Donald Trump was finally crowned with victory as the Queens-born millionaire was sworn-in as the president of the United States, welcomed with warm speeches from friendly crowds in Washington.

But the following day, millions of women bashing the President swelled the streets of Washington, New York, and Los Angeles, as marching women staged record-setting parades in the Women’s March on Washington in those cities and many others in the US – and even overseas. The anti-Trump feeling was so pronounced, as expressed by one Chanell Garcia, in the Daily News:

“I’m marching not only for all women, but for every single person Donald Trump has offended and made to feel inferior.”

At the same time as TV pictures displayed the humongous crowds of women marching in unbelievably huge numbers, Trump and his staff members questioned the crowd estimates and pointed to similar pictures of the guests attending Trump’s inaugural the previous day which were reported to be sparse.

Meanwhile, Trump was busy preparing his challenge to former President Barack Obama’s “Obamacare,” or health benefits law. The new president and Republicans, who control both houses in Congress, are vowing to kill the law as soon as possible.

Under early reports of the president’s plan to substitute his proposal for the Affordable Care Act, each state would receive a fixed amount of funding for Medicaid. It appears that fixed amounts of funding would raise questions for patients who are sicker than others and run up more costly bills. It also doesn’t answer the question of whether a state would get more funding if it requires it. Presently, Medicare is on open-ended method of coverage.

ADDABBO REJECTS PLASTIC BAG TAX: NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. made the following statement last week, regarding the State Senate’s approval of legislation (S.362), which would prevent New York City from imposing nickel fees on the use of plastic grocery bags:

“There is no question in my mind that we need to take action to end the proliferation of plastic bags that clog up our storm drains, drape our trees, and otherwise degrade our environment and landscape. However, I don’t think the law that was approved and then delayed last year by the city imposing a fee on shoppers who use plastic bags is the right solution, nor the best idea the city could come up with. Both last year and this year, I have had continuing complaints from seniors and others in my district who object to the ‘bag tax.’

“Instead of simply punishing consumers, we should be looking at other ways to address the plastic bag glut. Maybe it is time to work towards an outright ban on plastic bags, which has occurred in other states and countries, or encourage the retail use of plastic bags that are biodegradable. Maybe we should make it easier to recycle plastic bags so that fewer end up in our waste stream, or better educate consumers on how to reuse bags instead of immediately tossing them in the trash.

“I voted for similar legislation last year to impede the New York City bag tax. Quite simply, there must be other avenues the city administration can explore, which I believe it did not do since the state legislature’s vote last year, to encourage New Yorkers to adopt more environmentally conscious behavior without imposing what amounts to a surcharge on their family grocery bills. I am personally planning to look into legislative solutions that may help resolve the plastic bag issue in a way that everyone can support.”

The NYS Assembly companion bill (A.1750) is currently under review by the Committee on Cities.

MENG REFUSED INVITE TO ATTEND TRUMP INAUGURATION: US Rep. Grace Meng (D–NY) released a statement last week on why she was not attending President-elect Trump’s inauguration. The Congress Member issued the following statement:

“With just days before his inauguration, I had hoped that President-elect Trump would put an end to his inflammatory rhetoric. But obviously, that pivot has not occurred.

“I have heard from many constituents and I thought long and hard about this decision. I respect the office of the President and our nation’s peaceful transfer of power.

“But the President-elect must get the message that his antagonistic and divisive comments are unacceptable. We cannot tolerate attacks on women, minorities or a civil rights icon.

“We need a leader who will bring our country together, and live up to the dignity and honor of the Oval Office.

“I look forward to welcoming constituents who travel to Washington, DC for this weekend’s festivities, and to engaging the new administration in policy discussions once it has been finalized. I will work with Mr. Trump whenever possible, but this weekend I march.”

NY CONGRESS MEMBERS URGE TRUMP TO CONSIDER DISASTROUS EFFECTS OF ACA REPEAL ON NYS: Congressmember Grace Meng (D–Flushing) reports that 18 members of the New York Congressional Delegation urged President Donald Trump to consider the catastrophic negative impacts a repeal of he Affordable Care Act (ACA) would have on New York State as Republicans continue to dismantle this landmark law. A repeal of the ACA would cause more than 2.7 million New Yorkers to lose health insurance coverage while throwing our entire health care system into chaos.

“From Manhattan to Massena, New Yorkers reject this starkly ideological plan to repeal the ACA that would throw our entire health care system into disarray and not solve the real problems that families face,” the members of Congress wrote in a letter to the President-elect. “We implore you to discontinue efforts to repeal this life-saving law.”

A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would be devastating for hospitals in the state, and would cause a $24 billion budget shortfall. Rural hospitals in particular would be under enormous financial pressure, and could be forced to close their doors, leaving many without access to care. In addition, families would again be subject to annual and lifetime limits and could be denied care for a pre-existing condition. Due to a reopening of the donut hole, which the ACA closes, New York seniors would face an increase in prescription drug costs totaling $1,195 annually for each beneficiary.

VAN BRAMER BLASTS MTA FOR EXTENDED ESCALATOR, ELEVATOR CLOSURES AT 61ST ST STATION: Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D–Sunnyside) released the following statement on the continued escalator and elevator outages at the 61st Street – Woodside 7 train station. The escalator has been out since November, which, coupled with regular elevator shutdowns has made the station inaccessible to families, seniors, and people with disabilities:

“It is completely unacceptable that the MTA would allow these outages to continue. If this were the escalator on the Upper East Side, I feel certain it would have been fixed immediately. The dual escalator and elevator outages, combined with the unsafe and dilapidated staircase, has made the station completely inaccessible to seniors, parents with children, and people with disabilities. What’s worse, the MTA has jerked our community around, consistently moving the expected dates of completion.

“On behalf of my constituents who rely on the 7 train every day, I demand that the escalator and elevator be fixed by the time currently posted on the MTA’s website: If it is not, we will hold a rally demanding expedient work. If the MTA is truly supposed to serve all New Yorkers, they must take seriously the needs of commuters in Queens.”

CROWLEY ON RETIREMENT OF MCGUINNESS: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joseph Crowley (D–NY) released the statement below following the announcement that Martin McGuinness, Deputy first Minister of Northern Ireland and a leader of the Sinn Féin party, will retire from elected office:

“Martin McGuinness is a giant for peace and I’m saddened by the news of his retirement. A strong Republican from his earliest days, he went on to befriend Ian Paisley and work with members of all communities – consistently proving his amazing ability to bring together all sides in the pursuit of change. Martin is one of the most extraordinary leaders I have ever met, never giving up his belief in a united Ireland, while working to constructively bridge the divide with those who fought for a different future. I join the world in wishing him the best in his retirement from elected office and as he continues to lay the groundwork for the next generation of leaders. Above all, I’ve been fortunate to call him a friend and will keep him in my thoughts and prayers as he focuses on his health.”

ADDABBO SPONSORS VALENTINE’S DAY FOOD DRIVE: NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. is once again sponsoring a Valentine’s Day Food Drive for the Sacred Heart Church Food Pantry in Glendale, in order to collect donations for those individuals in need and assisted by the church’s food bank.

Following yet another successful holiday food drive, which helped provide Thanksgiving and Christmas food for struggling families, Addabbo is encouraging the public to donate any nonperishable items.

Donations will be accepted from January 25 until February 12, and can include any of the following foods and toiletries: rice, cereal, soup (canned or dried), peanut butter, jelly, pasta, pasta sauce, oatmeal, canned tuna fish, beans (canned or dried), deodorant, feminine products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, baby powder, toilet paper and paper towels.

As with the previous food drives, the Senator has once again opened up his Middle Village office, located at 66-85 73rd Place, as a drop-off location to make it easier for those who wish to donate.

“I’m grateful that the recent holiday food drive was a huge success, but it’s important to remember that the need for food does not disappear after the holiday season,” said Addabbo. ”There is always someone who can benefit from a simple act of kindness, such as donating a can of food. The items collected in this food drive will go a long way toward helping families and children who might not otherwise have dinner on the table. I urge all of us to pay it forward and help out whenever possible, and thank those who continue to support this food drive and others.”

For more information, contact Addabbo’s Middle Village office at 718-497-1630.

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