Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein
Edward C.

Reports to the People
Spring 2012

Dear Neighbor,

I would like to take this opportunity to give you an update on the 2012 legislative session in Albany. I am proud to say that under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, we once again passed an on-time balanced State budget. This budget includes a 4% increase in spending for education and healthcare, invests in key job-creating programs, and provides a $30 million restoration to the EPIC program. We were able to fund these programs through changes we made to the tax code several months ago. Last December, the State Legislature passed a law that maintained a higher tax rate on individuals with incomes of over $1,000,000 a year while simultaneously providing the lowest middle class tax rate in over 58 years. Finally, in March, the Legislature and Governor agreed on a plan to expand New York State’s DNA database to assist our law enforcement officials in keeping dangerous criminals off our streets.

As always, my office is available to assist you. If you are having trouble with state or local government issues, please do not hesitate to contact us. My staff and I are always here to help you in obtaining benefits, providing information on programs, and developing legislative solutions to community problems. Please also be on the lookout for information on two senior health forums I will be holding in our district in the next few months.


On October 22, 2011, Assemblyman Braunstein and the Bayside Historical Society sponsored a cleanup of Lawrence Cemetery, which dates back to 1645. Assemblyman Braunstein is pictured with his brother, Michael, and volunteers from Holy Cross High School.
Assemblyman Braunstein joined his colleagues and the Council of Senior Centers and Services for a rally at City Hall on December 1, 2011 calling for full funding for senior centers in this year’s budget.

Assemblyman Braunstein Introduces Legislation to Limit Legal Fees for Co-ops

Over the past several years, many co-ops in Northeast Queens have been hit with inaccurate property tax assessments from the NYC Department of Finance. While comprehensive property tax reform remains the ultimate goal for Assemblyman Braunstein, he is also working to bring more fairness to the process of challenging these assessments. Certiorari proceedings, as they are known, can prove very costly for co-ops, with some lawyers charging as high as a 35% contingency fee for their services. This cost is then passed on to the shareholders through an increase in their maintenance. To address this issue, Assemblyman Braunstein and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky introduced a bill that would cap property tax assessment increases at 3% for two years following a successful challenge. This would prevent co-op owners from incurring these excessive legal fees in consecutive years. It also makes sense because once NYC recognizes that it incorrectly over-assessed a property, it should not be allowed to go back the next year and assess the same overvaluation.

Assemblyman Braunstein and Senator Stavisky also introduced a bill that would require NYC to contribute 25% of the cost of legal fees incurred from a successful tax assessment challenge. Requiring NYC to contribute part of the cost of a challenge will provide a strong incentive for the city to accurately assess properties in the first place.

“We have received complaints from many of our constituents who have repeatedly experienced problems with erroneous and unfair assessments,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. “That is why we have introduced this legislation which would help to alleviate the financial burden placed on co-op owners for mistakes made by the NYC Department of Finance. It is outrageous that Northeast Queens residents not only have been hit with monstrous assessment hikes during this difficult fiscal period, but that they also have to continue to bear the burden of inaccurate decisions made by the Department of Finance.”

Braunstein Announces Agreement to Continue Q28 Bus Service at Bay Terrace Shopping Center

Assemblyman Braunstein assisted in mediating an agreement between MTA New York City Transit and Cord Meyer Development to install a bus pad made of reinforced asphalt and to continue providing Q28 bus service to the Bay Terrace Shopping Center. This allows the bus to continue to turn around in the shopping center rather than utilizing narrow side streets in Bay Terrace. “The bus stop at 23rd Avenue and 213th Place is vital for the MTA Q28 bus, as it not only allows passengers to depart at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, but also provides a turnaround point so that the Q28 can restart its route. The installation of a bus pad by the MTA, similar to those already present at other bus stops, benefits all parties involved by preventing further damage to the street by Q28 buses. This agreement is a great example of business and government working together to put our community first,” said Assemblyman Braunstein.

Assemblyman Braunstein attended Clearview Senior Center’s 75th Anniversary Summer BBQ Bash on July 19, 2011 and is pictured with Erin Brennan, Director of Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Goldman Sachs Community volunteers.
Assemblyman Braunstein attended the National Night Out Against Crime on August 3, 2011 at the 109th and 111th Precincts. (L-R) Assemblywoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman Braunstein, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, 109th Precinct Commanding Officer Brian Maguire, Queens Director of the Mayor’s CAU Claudia Filomena, Deputy Chief of Patrol McCarthy and 109th Precinct Community Council President Chrissy Voskerichian.

2012-13 On-Time State Budget Delivers for Hardworking New Yorkers
Increases funding to vital education, healthcare, and jobs programs
The final budget:

“The passage of this year’s 2012-13 state budget signals a new day in Albany, as we passed an on-time, bipartisan, fiscally responsible state budget that delivers for hardworking Northeast Queens families,” said Assemblyman Braunstein.

The budget closes the state’s $3.5 billion budget deficit without any new taxes or fees, while increasing funding to our schools and vital healthcare and jobs programs. In addition, the budget continues new tax brackets first established last December, creating the lowest middle-class tax rate in 58 years, which cut taxes for 99 percent of New Yorkers.

“I helped pass a budget that invests in key job-creating programs and increases aid to our schools and healthcare system, while holding spending under 2 percent growth. In addition, New York will once again exempt the state’s 4 percent sales tax on clothing, footwear and related items sold for less than $110, as of April 1. These crucial measures will strengthen our state’s economic recovery, provide our children with a quality education and keep money in the pockets of working families,” said Assemblyman Braunstein.

The budget permanently eliminates the MTA payroll tax for qualifying small businesses and for those who are self-employed and earn less than $50,000 per year. In addition, it exempts schools, both public and private, from having to pay the tax.

“For too long, the burden of the MTA payroll tax has weighed on small businesses and schools,” Assemblyman Braunstein said. “By relieving this tax on small businesses and eliminating it completely from our schools, we can focus on creating a more business-friendly environment in our communities and provide our children with the best education possible.”

“With this budget comes a new spirit of bipartisan cooperation in Albany, allowing us to quickly and efficiently help the people we represent. When we all work together, our families see results—plain and simple,” said Assemblyman Braunstein.

The budget closes the state’s $3.5 billion budget deficit without any new taxes or fees, while increasing funding to our schools and vital healthcare and jobs programs.

On February 21, 2012, Assemblyman Braunstein met with representatives from the MinKwon Center for Community Action who discussed their legislative priorities for the 2012 legislative session. (L-R) Yoajin Kim, Emily Park, Assemblyman Braunstein, Jay Lee and Christina Chang.
On February 10, 2012, Assemblyman Braunstein delivered thousands of donations from our community’s 16th Annual Valentines for Vets Drive to the veterans at the St. Albans VA Community Living Center and the NYS Veterans’ Home at St. Albans. Pictured Left to Right: Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer Jean Geiger, Chief of Staff David Fischer, Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer Susan Macinick, Assemblyman Braunstein, Voluntary Service Chief for the St. Albans VA Yvette Cintron, Assistant Voluntary Service Chief for the St. Albans VA Lisa Cummings, Coast Guard Auxiliary Officer Carobene.

Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein
DISTRICT OFFICE: 213-33 39th Avenue, Suite 238 • Bayside, NY 11361 • 718-357-3588 • Fax: 718-357-5947
ALBANY OFFICE: Room 528 Legislative Office Building • Albany, NY 12248 • 518-455-5425 • Fax: 518-455-4648
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