I am writing to update you on the 2009 State Legislative Session.
As with all sessions there were countless issues, both new and old. As a result of the global recession, 2009 was an especially difficult financial year for the State. New York is the financial capital of the world, and when the bottom fell out of Wall Street, New York lost billions of dollars in tax revenue. Tough decisions were made to balance this year’s budget, and we must continue making difficult choices in order to put the State on sound financial footing for the future.
I would be remiss to not mention the recent events in the State Senate. The leadership fight led to frustrations for the public, the Senators, and my colleagues and I in the Assembly. As of the printing of this newsletter, it seems that the Senators have been able to resolve their conflict, and I look forward to the Senate moving ahead with its work.
Lastly, let me wish you and your family an enjoyable and safe summer, and I want to thank you once again for the privilege of being your Assemblyman.
Zebrowski joins with Attorney General Cuomo to Pass Government Consolidation Bill
Everyone is always talking about cutting property taxes, but nothing ever seems to get done. That’s why Attorney General Andrew Cuomo introduced the Government Consolidation Bill, which makes it easier for citizens and local governments to consolidate or dissolve. The only way to truly cut taxes is to cut expenses. An effective method of cutting costs is to peel away duplicative special districts and local governments. For more information see the Attorney General’s website: http://www.reformnygov.com/
Zebrowski Votes NO on MTA Tax
One piece of legislation I am NOT proud of is the MTA tax that was instituted this session. I was a vehement opponent of this new tax and held press conferences, wrote letters, and eventually voted NO on the floor of the Assembly. Rockland County has been shortchanged by the MTA for decades and this new tax does nothing to address the inequality. Furthermore, having our local businesses, governments, and non-profit organizations -- which draw little, if any, benefit from the mass transit system -- pay the MTA’s bills is unconscionable. Despite my efforts to defeat this bill, it became law. I pledge to continue fighting this tax and to get Rockland County its fair share of MTA services.
The Assembly passed legislation that would inject millions of dollars into the economy by creating “green” jobs that will propel New York into the 21st century. This measure will authorize the New York Department of Energy to create jobs by financing more than $112 million for energy efficient projects in residences, small businesses, and non-profits. Energy efficient projects that retrofit our homes and businesses will allow New York to thrive in the revived economy. (A.8901)
Timothy’s Law requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide mental health coverage on parity with other medical insurance benefits. As Timothy’s law was set to expire at the end of this year, the Assembly acted and passed legislation that made this essential law permanent, ensuring that all mental health patients are afforded necessary care. (A.8611)
In 2009 New York State faced the largest budget gap in history with an unprecedented $17.6 million deficit. Although there were tough decisions that needed to be made, we responsibly closed the gap through necessary cuts and reduced our 4 year budget deficit of $60 billion by 80%. The Assembly rejected over $2.1 billion in nuisance taxes that were proposed, and instead enacted over $6 billion in recurring cuts that will save money into the future. With the help of the federal government, school aid was maintained at last year’s level, which should prevent a property tax hike.
The growing concern regarding the location of dangerous sex offenders prompted the Assembly to pass legislation that will allow citizens to receive automatic email notifications of the presence of Level 2 and 3 offenders in their community. Residents can request updates on sex offender residences across several counties and zip codes. The goal is to ensure the safety of children and provide parents with the tools to stay informed. (A.1242-B)
Have you ever received a phone call solicitation to renew a vehicle warranty that doesn’t exist? The Assembly passed legislation sponsored by Zebrowski that prohibits this practice. (A.1627-C)
The recent economic climate has made it difficult for homeowners to pay their property tax bills on time. Zebrowski passed legislation that would increase the term for which delinquent property taxes can be paid from 24 months to 36 months. (A.7147)
Pesticide policies vary widely depending on where you live or work. Zebrowski’s bill directs the Commissioners of the Departments of Environmental Conservation, Education, and Health to develop a comprehensive policy that will minimize the use of pesticides and develop preferred practices throughout the State. (A.8785)
When being served with a civil suit, members of the military are forced to disclose their military serial number, which often is their social security number. Zebrowski’s bill removes this requirement protecting our service members from identity theft. (A.7964)
The unprecedented federal bailout of companies has unfortunately created new opportunities for impropriety. In response, Zebrowski introduced the “Bailout Integrity Act” which prevents “bailed out” companies from contributing to political parties and candidates’ campaigns. (A.8170)
Assemblyman Zebrowski has introduced a bill that would extend the statute of limitations for civil suits in domestic violence cases from one to two years. This bill recognizes the sensitive and emotional nature of domestic violence and grants victims an additional year to sue their abusers. (A.8621)
In cooperation with a local citizen group, which has exhaustively studied flooding in the area, Zebrowski drafted legislation that sets up a bi-state commission to develop flood prevention policies. The key to addressing flooding concerns is to coordinate policies along the entire stream, creek, or river. (A.7428)