In last year’s budget, the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program was significantly reduced in an effort to close a $10 billion deficit. At that time, Assemblyman Colton warned that this cut would have a tremendous effect on a senior’s ability to purchase life-saving prescription drugs.
Colton embarked on a community-wide petition drive, going to various senior centers to collect hundreds of signatures to send to the Governor in protest of the cuts. Once again the community’s voice was heard, and $30.6 million was restored to the program. Beginning January 1, 2013, co-payments will be reduced and the most a senior will have to pay will be $20.
After years of cuts to education and government’s broken promises to increase aid to high-need schools, Assemblyman Colton is announcing a 4 percent increase in school aid. The total increase is $805 million, of which some $291 million will go to NYC schools.
“While our schools have weathered painful cuts over the past few years, I believe we took a step in the right direction in helping our children receive the quality education they deserve. I am also happy that we increased support to our SUNY and CUNY community colleges for the first time in five years. I stand by my conviction that public education is a right, and we should all have the opportunity to provide a quality education for all our children,” said Colton.
Assemblyman Colton recently sent a letter to the MTA highlighting how disruptive the cut to the B64 bus line has been to seniors, the disabled, and students. He demanded that the B64 bus line south of 25th Avenue be fully restored.
Colton is redoubling his efforts and broadening the coalition of community organizations and mass transit advocates to increase the pressure on the MTA to restore the B64 line as well as the B82.
This past February a disabled senior citizen visited Assemblyman Colton’s Community Office looking for assistance in restoring her Access-A-Ride service that was arbitrarily canceled by the MTA. Colton and his staff found that the MTA’s review policies raise serious legal questions under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The MTA decided to ignore her mobility problems and deny her eligibility despite several documented medical conditions that make walking severely painful, and notes from five different doctors confirming her condition. Assemblyman Colton sent a letter to the MTA President and another letter to the U.S. Justice Department, citing the violation of her rights.
“The MTA is supposed to be a public benefit corporation, but it continues to make cuts to services without any regard of their impact. The use of hand-picked agency consultants to determine Access-A-Ride eligibility cannot be considered a fair process. I will continue to fight injustice on behalf of all my constituents and will introduce legislation if this is not handled by the MTA,” said Assemblyman Colton.
Legislation Would End Confusing Parking Ticket Policy
Last fall, Assemblyman Colton became very vocal about the NYC Department of Transportation’s vague policy regarding the transferable use of a muni-meter receipt from one parking spot to another. The Assemblyman was successful in making this a centerpiece transportation issue in the media and lighting a fire under local officials to clarify the policy.
As is often the case, Assemblyman Colton led the fight on issues that matter the most to neighborhood residents. He introduced a bill in the NYS Assembly that would allow a motorist to use their unexpired meter time at another parking location within the city, and use the receipt as evidence in traffic court. The bill has inspired the introduction of a similar bill in the City Council.
Colton’s Advocacy Spurs
City Council Action
In response to the broad media attention that Assemblyman Colton received for the muni-meter deception, the City Council is working to expedite a similar bill introduced by Transportation Chair James Vacca.
“Whether it is the State Legislature or the NYC Council, we need to pass a law ending this confusing policy. Every day the government works to protect consumers from fraud and deceptive private sector practices. Therefore, the government should have no role in writing vague policies in order to achieve more revenue at the expense of the people they are employed to serve,” said Assemblyman Colton.
Assemblyman Colton fought for and won a fair tax code that will lower income taxes for some 4.4 million New Yorkers. The fight to reduce tax rates for middle-income families has been a priority for Colton.
“The creation of fair income tax rates is just the beginning to reducing the tax burden on working families and ensuring that all New Yorkers are paying their fair share,” said Colton.
Colton Slashes Taxes for Small Businesses
This year’s budget eliminates or significantly reduces the MTA payroll tax for some 290,000 small businesses. Colton hailed this cut as a victory and believes that self-employed individuals and small business owners should not have to pay for the MTA’s bloated bureaucracy and fiscal mismanagement.
The budget also includes tax cuts that will save manufacturers in New York State some $25 million and encourage increased hiring.
Colton Votes for Job Creation Package
In addition to the targeted tax relief and job creation incentives, Colton approved the New York Works Program. This program will restore or replace 115 bridges and over 2,000 miles of roadways, creating tens-of-thousands of jobs, and making our transportation infrastructure safer for your family.
“New York State is emerging from the pack as a leader in innovation and job creation. We are showing the country that this state can deliver real solutions to fixing our economy, and providing an increased quality-of-life for generations to come,” said Colton.
“This sales tax break is a commendable follow-up to the middle-class tax cuts I supported in the Assembly. A new day is dawning in this state and I am happy to see real relief reach working families,” said Colton.
Building upon his success in working with the NYS Department of Taxation & Finance (DTF) to create the state’s first online database of the 250 top individual income and business tax delinquents, Colton is turning his focus to investigating real estate partnership tax shelters, and solutions to closing corporate tax loopholes.
“It’s outrageous that minor offenders face liens on their homes and wage garnishment, yet large corporate offenders get to operate business as usual. This uneven enforcement of the law is unfair, and shifts the tax burden onto hardworking middle income taxpayers,” said Colton.
Colton is calling on DTF to work with the Attorney General’s Office to identify misreported corporate real estate gains, which costs the state between $300-700 million a year.
Colton Condemns Anti-Semitic Violence in Midwood
Last November, Assemblyman Colton condemned a brazen attack in which cars were set on fire and swastikas drawn on park benches in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Midwood. The attack was a blatant act of violence and may have been used to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, an infamous night in which members of the Nazi party vandalized Jewish businesses and battered them in the streets.
Colton Law Strengthens Hate Crime Prosecution
“The horrific and despicable hate crime scene discovered in Midwood was nothing short of intentional intimidation not only of Jewish members of our community, but all peace loving people who reject intolerance, anti-Semitism, and violence. It is the same rage and intolerance we witnessed that morning, that compelled me to introduce legislation back in 2006 to increase the penalty for swastika scrawling and burning crosses, with the intent to intimidate. The penalty was upgraded to a Class E felony, up from a misdemeanor,” said Assemblyman Colton.
He added “My bill was signed into law and provides district attorney offices throughout New York additional teeth in the law to vigorously prosecute hate crime perpetrators and send them to jail.”
Sweep in front of your home
Put garbage out only for scheduled pick-up
Don’t open your neighbor’s recycle bin looking for bottles
Sweep catch basin area
Clean up after your dog ($250 violation)*
*Assemblyman Colton has worked with the NYC Department of Sanitation to increase enforcement of areas where dog owners are being irresponsible. Please respect the cleanliness of our streets and sidewalks.
Follow these six suggestions on a daily basis and our neighborhood will remain beautiful!
Assemblyman Colton continued his “Clean Sweep” campaign on April 21st, just in time to celebrate Earth Day. With the help of his young staffer Priscilla Consolo, Colton was able to rally hundreds of neighborhood youths to help clean along 86th St. from 18th Ave. to 23rd Ave., and along 18th Ave. to 82nd St. The cleanup was the fourth of its kind undertaken by Assemblyman Colton’s youth group coalition. The Department of Sanitation and Home Depot were gracious enough to supply the volunteers with the cleanup tools.
Colton Lauds Youths’ Volunteer Spirit
“I continue to be proud and amazed by the commitment of our neighborhood’s young people. They understand that keeping our neighborhood clean improves the quality of life for all the neighborhood’s residents,” stated Colton. “It continues to be my pleasure to work with community leader Priscilla Consolo in bringing all of these youth groups together to commit to participating in an excellent and beneficial community service,” Colton added.
155 Kings Highway (Between West 12th and West 13th Street) • 718-236-1598