State & Local Tax Deductions at Risk, Water/Flood Remediation Grant, E-Cigs

October 26, 2017

On Monday, I joined Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer in Selkirk as they launched a statewide push to urge New York's congressional representatives to protect the economy & the middle class by opposing the repeal of state and local tax (SALT) deductions. The elimination of SALT would mean that New York homeowners would be taxed twice on every dollar they earn. This is categorically unfair and unwise policy. Worse yet, it would devastate the New York economy as the Comptroller estimates it would cost $73 billion in taxpayer funds (which is about 1/2 the entire New York State budget) that would leave New York in additional federal taxation.

Storm Water Grant to Help Fix Flooding near Stuyvesant Plaza. The Town of Guilderland announced Monday that the Town has signed agreements with NYS under the State and Municipal Facilities Program (“SAM”) to receive $2,750,000 in grant funds for stormwater drainage improvements in McKownville. The agreements will allow for the design and construction of a stormwater management system to alleviate the decades of recurring flooding of homes and properties. The project is slated to be completed in 2019. I’m proud to have secured over $1 million of this grant - the largest grant I have secured to date as an Assemblymember.

Governor Signs Bill Giving Volunteer Firefighters Cancer Coverage. Governor Cuomo signed legislation last weekend to deliver health care benefits to volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with certain cancers. Currently, volunteer firefighters are eligible for accidental disability and death benefits through Workers' Compensation if they are injured in the line of duty. Effective January 1, 2019, firefighters will also be eligible for health benefits to support treatment for life-threatening cancers. I supported this important bill during legislative session, and am glad to see these benefits extended to those who protect our families.

Bethlehem Designated a ‘Clean Energy Community,’ Awarded $100,000 Grant. The town of Bethlehem will receive a $100,000 grant to install energy efficient LED lighting fixtures as part of the town’s Delaware Avenue upgrade project. The new bulbs are more durable than traditional lighting and will lower the energy usage of the town. Bethlehem was awarded the grant after being designated as a ‘clean energy community’ this past March by NYSERDA.

E-Cigarettes Banned in Public Spaces. A bill banning the use of electronic cigarettes was signed on Monday. This new law aims to reduce the exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals for e-cigarette users and those around them. Under current law, only smoking substances containing tobacco, including cigars, cigarettes or pipes, are restricted in public places. While many counties have already banned the use of e-cigarettes in public places, including restaurants, bars, and other workplaces, this bill makes the law consistent across the state.

New Security Funding Targets Hate Crimes at Schools. It was announced Tuesday that applications from non-profit nonpublic schools and day care centers, including those that are housed in community centers and non-profit cultural museums are now being accepted for the $25 million Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant program. The grant, which is administered by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, will provide up to $50,000 in funding for additional security training needs, cameras and state-of-the-art technology, door-hardening, improved lighting and other related security upgrades at each eligible facility. Applications are available here.

Legislation Cuts Red Tape for New York Brewers. On Tuesday, the Governor signed legislation to remove barriers for businesses in New York seeking brand label registration for alcoholic beverages. Under the new legislation, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law will permit brand label registration applications to be submitted electronically and filed every three years, rather than every year. The bill also permits the Authority, or third party, to charge a processing fee for electronic submissions. The craft beverage industry is valued at $27 billion, and I’m a proud supporter of this home-grown New York industry.

Community Updates & Events

Join me at the Hudson River Stories Film Screening at UAlbany! I’ll be kicking off the free film screening on Monday, October 30th at 6:30 pm of “Hudson River Stories,” a series of several short films focusing on environmental issues affecting the Hudson River. The event, sponsored by the UAlbany Green Scene, will feature filmmaker John Bowermaster, and will be held in Lecture Center room 23 on UAlbany’s uptown campus at 1400 Washington Avenue.

Renewable Energy Fair this Weekend. Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline (SNYFGP) the People of Albany United for Sustainable Energy (PAUSE) and the Sierra Club Hudson-Mohawk Group will be hosting the largest indoor/outdoor Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair ever held in the Capital Region this weekend. The fair will occur this Saturday, October 28th from 10:00 – 4:00 pm at the Doane Stuart School on 199 Washington Ave in Rensselaer. The fair is expected to attract more than 40 exhibitors, and admission and parking are free.

Bethlehem High Presents ‘Talking with Your Teen’. Teens deal with a lot of emotional highs and lows. They may feel overwhelmed by the emotional pressures from friends to fit in and from parents to do well in school. Many parents ask themselves “should I be worried about my teen’s mood swings?” This year’s ‘Talking with Your Teen’ presentation, hosted by Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited (BOU), is focusing on the emotional health and well-being of our teens and will be held Thursday, November 2 from 7:00 pm-8:30 pm at the BCHS cafeteria. The event is free of charge, and will feature panelists Donna Bradbury, MA, LMHC, Associate Commissioner, NYS Office of Mental Health; Jennifer Smitkin, Psy.D, Owner, Psychology Wellness Practice, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist and Kristen Connor, BCSD Supervisor K-12 Guidance and Counseling.

Job Opportunities: New York State has set up a new job portal entitled Jobs Express, where thousands of private and public sector jobs are listed. Visit jobs.ny.gov for more information on how to apply for these opportunities.

As always, for the latest news or for upcoming events, please visit my office online, on Facebook, on Twitter, or my Times Union blog. If you would like to reach my office, please feel free to send us a note, or give us a call at (518) 455-4178.