CB6 Community Report - March 2008
Assembly Fights To Protect School Funding, NYC Revenue Sharing, and New Affordable Housing in Budget Proposal: Assemblymember Kavanagh joined his colleagues in passing the Assembly's 2008-2009 budget proposal. The Assembly's formal response to the previously released Executive Budget ensures that New York City receives the full $1.7 billion increase in school funding promised in last year's resolution of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, restoring a $337 million cut proposed in the Executive Budget; restores New York City's Aid and Incentives to Municipalities payment of $328 million, which the Executive Budget would have cut by half; provides additional revenue funding for important transportation projects through the New York Transportation Improvement Program; and ensures that $300 million in funding for affordable housing proposed in the Executive Budget is not dependent on the sale of property near the Javits Center. The Assembly proposal, passed March 12th, will be the basis of further discussions with the executive and the Senate, with the goal of reaching an agreement that meets the critical needs of New Yorkers and passing a fair, on-time budget by April 1st.
Kavanagh Rallies for Real Rent Reform: As part of Tenant Lobby Day in Albany, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined tenants, housing advocates, and City Council Speaker Quinn at a rally to voice support for home rule over rent regulation, repeal of the decontrol provisions in current State law, and other measures to protect tenants. Assemblymember Kavanagh addressed the group and later met with a large group of constituents to discuss housing issues. Assemblymember Kavanagh is pushing for a package of housing bills, expected to be voted on by the Assembly soon, including proposals to repeal vacancy and high-income decontrol; A.4069, which would repeal the "Urstadt Law" and remove provisions that prohibit New York City from strengthening rent regulations; A.6849, which would provide tax credit relief for New York City renters; and A.6510, which would change the method for determining major capital improvement rent surcharges, and make the surcharges temporary rather than permanent.
City Council Hearing on the Former Con Edison First Avenue Properties: On February 25, 2008, a representative of Assemblymember Kavanagh's office testified before the City Council Zoning and Franchises and Planning, Dispositions and Concessions Committees. Many of Kavanagh's concerns were substantially addressed by the committees and he continues to work closely with Councilmember Dan Garodnick as the full City Council gets ready to vote on the plan on March 26th. For more information please view the attached testimony.
Campaign for East Side Riverfront Park: On February 21st, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined local elected officials, members of Community Board Six, and a coalition of civic and advocacy organizations to announce a park plan that would provide open space along the East River just north of Glick Park. Assemblymember Kavanagh will continue to work with his colleagues in government, community members, and government agencies to make this plan a reality.
Kavanagh Celebrates Opening of Ear Institute: On February 25th, Assemblymember Kavanagh along with Assemblymembers Glick and Kellner, issued a proclamation honoring the opening of the Ear Institute at 380 Second Avenue. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Ear Institute brings together a collaborative staff of physicians, audiologists, educators of the deaf, vestibular therapists, researchers, and other professionals who offer comprehensive care for children, teens and adults with hearing loss, balance disorders, chronic ear disease, acoustic neuromas, and facial paralysis. Under the NYS Newborn Screening Act, new equipment will also help detect hearing loss for babies. The Institute expects to serve some 15,000 patients a year.
Kavanagh Introduces Animal Fighting Legislation: Assemblymember Kavanagh introduced bill A10092, which would make it easier to enforce laws against animal fighting events staged for spectators. Currently, to be charge a spectator under the Agriculture and Markets Law law enforcement authorities must prove that the spectator paid an admission fee or placed a wager. Absent such proof, spectators are not currently subject to any criminal penalty. This legislation seeks to end this by making it a crime for anyone to attend an animal fight.
Kavanagh Introduces Bill to Disqualify Tax Delinquent Companies from Getting State Contracts: Assemblymember Kavanagh recently re-introduced legislation (A.10241) that would prevent State agencies and public authorities from awarding contracts to bidders that are delinquent in their state taxes. If enacted, this bill would make the contracting process fairer and would result in an increase in tax collections as potential bidders satisfy outstanding tax warrants in order to maintain their eligibility to bid on state contracts. An earlier version of this bill, which currently has 16 co-sponsors, was unanimously passed in both the Assembly and the Senate last year, but vetoed by the Governor due to technical issues. The new bill addresses these issues and provides exceptions for emergency contracts, for providers that are the sole available source of a given item, and for bidders who are in the process of satisfying their tax liabilities in good faith or whose liability is minimal.
Kavanagh Reviews MTA 5-Year Plan: In preparation for consideration of the congestion mitigation plan, the Assembly asked the MTA to release a new 5-year capital budget and to specify how revenues from congestion fees and other charges would be spent on mass transit. On February 27, 2008, the MTA submitted a proposal of its Five-Year Capital Plan for 2008-2013 for public review. On March 6, 2008, Assemblymember Kavanagh joined Assemblymembers Brodsky, Farrell, and Wright at a public hearing with MTA Chief Executive Officer Lee Sanders to discuss the specific details of the plan and its funding. The plan is currently significantly underfunded. In addition, the State has yet to release its capital plan for roads and bridges, which is also a required part of the legislature's process for considering congestion mitigation.