It can be very difficult for a child or teen to realize the threat posed by sex offenders masking their true identity online. Since the passage of e-STOP, strict online regulations, including prohibiting certain sex offenders from accessing social networking websites and communicating with minors, have helped protect thousands of children who access the Web each day.
The popularity of social networking sites has resulted in the creation of millions of online personalized profiles that allow users to connect and interact with their friends. But, unfortunately, without the proper safeguards, these sites also allow online predators to easily shield their true identities to make unwanted sexual advances on our children. With e-STOP in place, more than two dozen social networking companies receive a list of updated sex offender information from law enforcement every week to identify predators and remove them from their websites. These companies also alert law enforcement to potential sex offenders on their sites. Already, e-STOP has shown that with full cooperation of law enforcement and social networking companies, thousands of unsafe accounts can be removed, keeping our children out of harm’s way.
New York was the first state in the nation to pass such stringent regulations prohibiting registered sex offenders from using social networking sites to prey on young teens and children. Under e-STOP, sex offenders are mandated to register and keep up-to-date on all current email accounts, screen names and any other form of Internet profiles with law enforcement. By monitoring sex offenders’ Web use, law enforcement has helped remove offender profiles from social networking sites and eliminate the threat they pose in the online community.
The Internet is a wonderful tool for communication and learning, but without online protection, sex offenders have too many opportunities to reach our children. As a supporter of e-STOP, I understand the importance of strengthening our laws to protect families around the state from dangerous online predators.
Assemblyman Miller is proud to announce that the 2011-12 state budget reduces spending, while maintaining critical funding for those New York City residents who need it most.
“Despite the state’s fiscal problems, we could not, in good conscience, accept all of the proposed cuts to programs affecting seniors, the homeless, and students,” Assemblyman Miller said. “The term shared sacrifice has been popping up a lot during budget discussions, but there are certain groups of people who are disproportionately affected by drastic reductions to programs and services.”
The budget also restores 49 percent of the proposed base aid cut, or an $88 per Full Time Equivalent restoration, for a total of $5.1 million for CUNY community colleges. In addition, the budget provides new procurement guidelines for CUNY that will allow CUNY colleges and the CUNY Construction Fund additional authorization to purchase services without prior approval from the attorney general or the state comptroller.
Additionally, we were able to restore $334,000 to help provide child care for students working to get their degree.
“The college dream should be in reach for all students, regardless of their families’ income,” said Assemblyman Miller. “That’s why it’s critical that CUNY remains affordable.”
The final state budget restores $230 million in general support to public schools statewide, including $53 million for New York City schools. In addition, restorations for state-supported schools for the blind and deaf and the Summer School Special Education program reduced the cost shift to NYC by $95 million.
“I fought for restorations to soften the sharpest cuts because we simply can’t afford to abandon our public schools,” Miller said. “We owe our children the best possible opportunities.”
The final budget restores $15.5 million to the Summer Youth Employment Program. In 2010, the program helped 35,725 young adults find jobs in 5,800 work sites throughout New York City.
“It would have been irresponsible to balance the budget by cutting off job opportunities for motivated young adults seeking to gain professional work experience,” Miller said. “Furthermore, it would have been economically counterproductive to keep these youths from contributing to their local economies and helping to provide for themselves or their families.”
As the state grapples with passing a difficult, on-time budget, one marked by painful cuts to close a $10 billion budget gap, cash-strapped families and clothing retailers will get needed relief. Beginning April 1, clothing, footwear, and related items sold for less than $55 each will be exempt from the state’s 4 percent sales tax, as well as the 0.375 percent sales tax for the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District.
The tax-free status applies to all relevant items purchased on or after the April 1 start date, whether they’re paid for in person, over the Internet, by phone, or by mail. The exemption, which was set in motion last year to help taxpayers, will grow to include apparel costing less than $110 on April 1, 2012.
And the relief can’t come soon enough for our working families, who have struggled to keep afloat amid a down economy and a rising cost of living. The sales tax cut—which will save a family of four an estimated $90-$100 per year—will give those hardest hit by the regressive levy a much-needed break, helping them to better afford vital clothing and footwear.
The exemption will reenergize our economy and keep more dollars in taxpayers’ pockets at a time when it’s most critical. While this is sure to be of help for New York, particularly our communities that border New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we have more work to do if we’re to put the state back on the road to prosperity. That’s why I’ll continue exploring ways to ease the burden on hardworking taxpayers and clear a path for businesses to flourish.
For more information on the sales tax exemption, visit the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s website at www.tax.ny.gov. As always, if you have any questions about this, or any other issue, call my office at 718-805-0950.
Our senior centers have played a vital role in improving the lives of seniors in communities throughout the city. That’s why the 2011-12 budget restores $25 million in New York City Title XX discretionary funds to these centers.
“We are in the midst of tough fiscal times, but we can’t let our treasured older New Yorkers suffer,” Miller said. “We need to provide seniors with the resources they need to continue living happy, healthy lives.”
There are many senior centers in Assembly District 38 including the Peter Cardella Center, the Ridgewood Older Adult Center, and the newly-opened Woodhaven Richmond Hill Senior Center. These centers provide nutritious meals, health and wellness activities, and social events for seniors.
In our last newsletter, we asked you to answer a few questions about our community and some of the proposals that were being submitted in Albany. As your representative in Albany, your input is vitally important to my decision-making process. I need to know what the people I represent are thinking in order to adequately represent them. Here is how the responses broke down (note that percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding):
Do you feel NYS is on the right track?
Yes = 29% No = 57% Undecided/Unsure = 14%
Do you believe the MTA needs more government oversight?
Yes = 64% No = 24% Undecided/Unsure = 12%
Are you either currently employed or retired and receiving a pension?
Yes = 71% No = 21% Undecided/Unsure = 7%
Do you feel safe in your neighborhood?
Yes = 67% No = 24% Undecided/Unsure = 9%
Do you visit your local park at least once a month?
Yes = 40% No = 57% Undecided/Unsure = 2%
Do you use the local library at least once per month?
Yes = 33% No = 64% Undecided/Unsure = 0%
Do you believe the government does enough to support our veterans?
Yes = 40% No = 52% Undecided/Unsure = 7%
Do you believe your public school is adequately funded?
Yes = 50% No = 40% Undecided/Unsure = 10%
Should the state increase tax revenue to stop cuts to public schools and other
vital services like police and fire departments?
Yes = 26% No = 64% Undecided/Unsure = 10%
Should the state borrow money to avoid spending cuts?
Yes = 7% No = 86% Undecided/Unsure = 7%
Do you favor raising tax rates on individuals making more than $200,000?
Yes = 69% No = 26% Undecided/Unsure = 5%