Tag Archives: Dean Skelos

State Senate leaders split over de Blasio pre-K tax


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A fight is brewing in Albany over Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to fund universal pre-kindergarten.

On Monday, Republican Dean Skelos, co-leader of the State Senate Majority Coalition, said he would not allow for a vote on de Blasio’s proposal for a tax increase on the rich to pay for full-day pre-kindergarten in the city, according to published reports.

The Democratic co-leader of the State Senate Majority Coalition, Jeff Klein, responded by saying he will “not approve a budget that fails to realize the vision Mayor de Blasio and I share of providing high-quality, universal pre-k,” according to NY1.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is hoping to pass his fourth, consecutive on time budget this year.

“To deny a vote on something as urgently-needed and as widely-supported as funding universal pre-kindergarten is just plain wrong,” de Blasio said in a statement Monday.

The same day, de Blasio delivered his first State of the City address, where he again made the argument for his pre-kindergarten plan.

“If there are extra resources in the state budget, we must remember that the State Court of Appeals ruled – in the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision several years ago — that the children of this city deserve billions more in educational resources, and now is the time to provide it,” he said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a statewide plan for universal, full-day pre-kindergarten in his January budget address. The state would fully fund the program.

 

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City speed camera program hits a red light


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Albany has put the brakes on the city’s speed cameras.

Despite a push from the Department of Transportation, the City Council, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, the State Legislature failed to include funding for the program in the 2013-2014 budget passed last week.

“I think the wrong decision was made by the Republican leadership of the State Senate,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “It’s unfortunate because speed cameras would and can save lives. I hope that somehow [the State Legislature will] be able to pick this up again before the end of the session and pass the bill.”

Although it was initially supported by the Assembly, it faced opposition in the Senate, including local representatives Dean Skelos, Martin Golden and Simcha Felder.

Bloomberg publicly lambasted the three state senators during a press conference on Wednesday, March 27.

“Why don’t you pick up the phone and call your state senator and ask why they allowed that child to be killed?” Bloomberg said according to reports.

Recently-released data from the Department of Transportation showed that speeding was “the greatest single factor in traffic deaths.”

If the pilot program, which requires the state’s approval, does eventually move forward, it would install 20 to 40 speed cameras at high-risk locations throughout the city.

Drivers would face a fine of $25 to $50 for speeding between 10 and 30 miles above the limit and $100 for going 30 miles above it.

 

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