Chair, Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee
Jim Brennan represents the 44th Assembly District in Brooklyn, which contains sections of Park Slope, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood and Windsor Terrace. Mr. Brennan serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and as a member of the committees on Codes; Education; and Real Property Taxation. From 1995 through 2000, Mr. Brennan chaired the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. He received awards from several major disability groups for his role in protecting them from serious budget cuts during his tenure as chair of the committee. Among his many accomplishments, he was responsible for funding 5000 units of housing and allowing half-fare on the MTA system for those with mental illness. As chair of the Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation, he authored an award-winning report, Delaying Necessities, Denying Needs, which exposed the shortcomings and delays of the New York State Department of Health’s program to provide durable medical equipment to disabled individuals. As Cities Committee Chair, Mr. Brennan has authored bills to improve the accountability and effectiveness of the New York City Department of Buildings. He has stood up for adequate revenue sharing funds for cities across the state through a program called Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM). In 2006, he created a $300 million Urban Revitalization fund, known as Restoring New York Communities. During his years in the Legislature, Mr. Brennan has championed consumer protection, energy conservation, social and economic justice. He is well known for his expertise on budget matters, school aid and utility regulatory matters. Among the many laws he has sponsored, he authored legislation to require the state to annually produce the Tax Expenditure Report. This law, passed in 1991, requires that the Governor submit to the Legislature an itemized list of every special tax break that exists within the State Tax Code along with the budget. This gives the Legislature and the public the opportunity to scrutinize each tax break and determine if it benefits the public as well as the private parties involved. In 1996, Mr. Brennan sponsored a change in the property tax law that advanced tax relief to moderate income senior citizens who owned cooperatives. Previously, this real property tax abatement was only available to income-eligible owners of houses or condominiums. Mr. Brennan maintains an active presence in his district, participating in many civic, school, and community improvement efforts that benefit his constituents. He was first elected in 1984 after working for his predecessor, Joseph Ferris.