2018-10-10 / Political Page

I On Politics

ADDABBO EARNS 95 ON 2018 ENVIRONMENTAL SCORECARD: ELP/Environmental Advocates—a nonprofit organization that advocates for New York’s lawmakers to vote on bills and enact legislation to protect the environment—has released their 2018 New York State Environmental Scorecard, and NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is near the head of the class.

According to ELP/Environmental Advocates, during the 2018 session Addabbo, a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, voted “correctly” on 12 of 15 heavily weighted environmental bills, which was calculated by the group to be a 2018 score of 95—appreciably higher than his 2017 score of 82.

ELP/Environmental Advocates scores each environmental bill that comes to the Senate and Assembly floors on how much of a positive or negative impact it will have on the environment. In 2018, there were 11 bills that ELP/Environmental Advocates highlighted as being beneficial to New York’s environment, while four bills would have a negative impact on the state.

Addabbo said he takes the geographic location of his district and its environmental issues into consideration when voting on related bills. The senator also mentioned that in addition to the legislative actions taken by the state to address environmental concerns, the events he sponsors in the district, such as recycling and rain barrel events, matter too.

“It is an honor to be recognized by ELP/Environmental Advocates for my work voting on bills that will positively affect New York State’s environment,” Addabbo said. “I take pride in my record on sponsoring and voting on bills that will protect our environment, and plan on continuing to do that when the session picks up again in January.”

9/11 VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND MAY RUN OUT: On the heels of the October 2 announcement that the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) could run out of funding before its expiration date in 2020 and with cancer rates among 9/11 first responders continuing to rise, US Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Peter T. King (NY-2), US Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, and US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following joint statement urging their colleagues to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the VCF.

Excerpts from a letter being sent by Representatives Maloney, Nadler and King and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand asking their colleagues to co-sponsor legislation to permanently reauthorize and fund the VCF follow:

“When we were attacked on 9/11, thousands of firefighters, police officers, federal and local law enforcement officers, medical workers, construction workers, and other heroes selflessly rushed to Ground Zero to help. They spent months digging through the pile, bravely searching for remains, and inhaling dangerous, toxic air the entire time they were there. Now, right when scientists predicted it would happen, cancer rates in the 9/11 first responder community are rising to new heights and the scourge of cancer continues to ruin the lives of first responders and survivors, some of whom have been fighting these diseases for years, and others who are newly diagnosed every year.

“Twice, Congress has come together to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, most recently in 2015 to make the healthcare program for 9/11 first responders permanent. As we near the expiration of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund in 2020, our job is not done. As today's notice shows, allowing this program to expire and/or not fully funding the VCF would be devastating for those with new claims and the undoubtedly high number of 9/11 first responders and survivors who have yet to be diagnosed with a Ground Zero-related illness. It would send a cruel message that Congress is indifferent to our heroes’ suffering. Congress needs to fix this now before waiting until the last minute and putting our heroes through more suffering and anxiety over whether their federal government will stand with them in their time of need.

“We urge all of our colleagues to support our legislation to permanently authorize and fund the VCF. This well-managed program works, thousands of first responders and survivors need it, and we should permanently fund it now. Our 9/11 heroes answered the call when we were attacked, and now Congress needs to answer the call and stand up for them.”

WEPRIN ON IMPROVING THE PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM: Assembly Member David I. Weprin gave testimony on improving the property tax system at a hearing convened by the city Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform that included the public.

Assembly Member Weprin said, “Property taxes are the largest single source and most stable source of revenue for New York City and must be protected to ensure our continuing prosperity. However, we can accomplish this in a manner more equitable than the current system. The four class property classification scheme, which has been in place since the 1980s, has resulted in some property classes bearing a disproportionate tax burden than other classes; and most significantly has led to a system where Queens and other outerborough residents are taxed more in proportion to the value of their houses than homeowners in wealthier areas.

“As an example, my office found that some condo owners in my district, some of whom contacted my office about their rising property taxes, are taxed at a rate of 200% to 300% more than the owners of some of the priciest residential properties in the city.

“This is inexplicable; not only is the City of New York losing massive amounts of revenue by not taxing the wealthiest property owners at rates comparable to middle class communities, but also effectively creating a subsidy for the owners of the most expensive properties on the backs of middle class property owners and renters.

“In addition, a large portion of the property tax burden is being shifted to Class 2 properties, defined as all other property that is not in Class 1 and is primarily residential; meaning rentals, cooperatives and condominiums. In response, I introduced a bill in the Assembly, A.5101 which would classify owner occupied co-ops and condominiums as class 1 properties. At the same time, it retains the class 2 property status for those coops and condos used as investment or rental properties. I am also a co-sponsor on another bill, A.354A (Braunstein), which would create a new class for certain class 2 properties by moving all residential properties not classified as class 1 or 2 (i.e., rental properties) into a new class 5, making class 2 just residential co-ops and condos. Either of these solutions would bring us a step closer to a fairer property tax code by allowing for more uniform treatment for similar type properties.”

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