Tag Archives: New York State Legislature

Co-op tax relief bill passed by Legislature


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The State Legislature has passed a long-awaited tax relief bill for city co-op and condo owners, despite a cluster of lawmakers who voted against it.

The bill, approved by the State Senate and Assembly, includes raising a partial tax abatement from 17.5 percent to 25 percent and extending the J-51 program to June 30, 2015. The abatement reduces the difference in property taxes paid by Class 2 co-op and condo properties and one, two and three family homes in Class 1, and the J-51 gives owners partial property tax exemptions for capital improvements.

“This is a major victory for the vast majority of co-op owners in northeast Queens, including thousands of senior citizens on fixed incomes,” said Assemblymember Ed Braunstein.

But seven Democratic state senators and seven Democratic assemblymembers opposed the omnibus bill, which included a measure that gives tax abatements to 15 plots in midtown and downtown Manhattan being developed as luxury condominiums and office buildings.

“This bill only benefits the rich,” said State Senator Ruben Diaz of the Bronx. “It is a multimillion [dollar] program of rent exemptions and abatement for landlords who renovate their buildings.”

Diaz said he feared capital improvements under the J-51 program would lead to landlords raising rents on their tenants.

“To vote for this bill, we might be sending the message, an impure message, that we are only working for the landlords and against the tenants,” Diaz said.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said she voted in favor of the bill because of the vital abatements to city co-op and condo owners but believed the abatements to luxury developments were a “giveaway of city money.”

“The developers would be building this anyway. They don’t need the tax abatement,” she said. “We unfortunately can’t pick and choose the parts of the bill we want to vote for.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan said he was “outraged” the abatement extensions were put into a packaged bill and “rushed through the Rules Committee onto the Senate floor with only 30 minutes’ notice.”

“The bill subverted the normal committee process and required an ‘up or down’ vote, which was difficult as the bill contained some provisions that gave me and my Democratic colleagues pause,” he said.

The bill requires another Senate vote before Governor Andrew Cuomo can sign it into law.

Its assurances come after panic spread throughout co-op and condo communities at the end of June, when the Legislature adjourned session without extending the J-51 program and the expired abatement.

A pair of audits released last year by the city’s comptroller office found the Department of Finance at fault for causing upheavals in condo and co-op property values — a determining factor in property taxes — when it changed its formula for calculating them in fiscal year 2011-12.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain. High of 63. Winds from the NE at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Tuesday night: Overcast. Low of 55. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Meet the Candidates

St. John’s is holding a Meet the Candidates night from 7 p.m.to 9 p.m. at the Belson Moot Courtroom in the School of Law, where candidates for the New York State Legislature will take part in a public forum to discuss issues of importance to college students and the local community. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Monday said a grand jury would have to decide whether criminal charges are warranted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed motorist in Queens last week by a detective. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Four teens killed in horrific car crash on Long Island; teen at wheel only had learner’s permit

They died on Dead Man’s Curve. Four Queens teenagers were killed Monday when their car — driven by a 17-year-old with only a learner’s permit — sped off a treacherous stretch of a Long Island highway and wrapped itself around a tree. Read more: New York Daily News

Churches battle liquor store next door

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Residents upset over calls that accuse State Senate candidate of supporting Muslim radicals

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U.S. meningitis cases mount from thousands of patients at risk

More cases of fungal meningitis tied to contaminated steroid shots are expected to be confirmed on Tuesday, U.S. health officials said, and some patients who received the injections may have to wait weeks to know if they are infected. Read more: Reuters

Sandusky to learn sentence in child sex abuse case

Jerry Sandusky will learn what penalty a judge considers appropriate for the 45 counts of child sexual abuse for which the former Penn State assistant football coach was convicted in June. Read more: AP

Ban sex offenders from library children’s rooms say pols


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

After a man sexually abused two children at the 41-17 Main Street branch of the Queens Public Library last month, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Peter Vallone want to ban convicted sex offenders from entering children’s reading rooms.

Joel Grubert, who on July 7 was arrested for sexually abusing a 6- and 9-year-old at the library, is a registered sex offender. In 2004, he was convicted for possession of child pornography, and served time for kidnapping, reported the NY Post. Last year, a similar incident happened at another Queens Public Library branch in Astoria.

Currently sex offenders are not legally allowed to enter a playground, but the courts have ruled that a policy of banning sex offenders from libraries altogether is unconstitutional.

De Blasio and Vallone have written a letter to New York State Legislative leaders asking them to pass legislation that would make entering a designated children’s room at a public library a criminal offense for a sex offender.

“It is common sense that we keep sexual predators away from areas where young kids congregate,” said Vallone. “Children’s rooms in libraries are really indoor playgrounds for growing minds, and our kids need every protection we can give them.”