E-Mail Newsletter – April 16, 2014

This week marked the beginning of Passover and the start of Holy Week - a time of remembrance and time shared with family and loved ones. We have sent you a few highlights of what was included in the budget (see my clip from the day we passed the budget) and thought you might find it helpful to see highlights of valuable programs that did not make the cut (and ones we still plan to advocated on for). These include:

Circuit breaker tax relief for fixed incomes. This was not included in the final budget and was replaced by the property tax freeze described in previous emails. The Assembly proposed a circuit-breaker for property tax relief that would have tied one’s income to the amount of relief and would have assisted those on a fixed income.

Afterschool funding. The enacted budget did not include funding for 100,000 additional students to participate in afterschool programs, in which the Governor had proposed $160 million in state funding starting in 2015-2016. The funds, however, will be used to reduce the Gap Elimination Adjustment and makes no real commitment to statewide afterschool funding. This is of serious concern and I plan to go back to secure designated funding next year.

No increase for 853 Schools and Special Act Public School Districts. The Assembly had passed, as part of its original one-house budget, an increase of three-percent to direct care costs for tuition rates for the next two school years; however, this increase did not prevail in the final budget. We will continue to advocate for critical funding for these important schools, which include the Parsons Family and Child Center, the LaSalle School, and St. Catherine’s Center for Children.

Brownfield funding. The enacted budget failed to restore funding pertaining to brownfield sites and the state’s Superfund program. And even as the Governor and the State Legislature have indicated support for Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA), it will be critical as a long term solution to ensure future funding for each of these environmental restorative programs. This funding would have supported economic development in some of our distressed neighborhoods that could greatly benefit from restoration of these funds.

Governor Cuomo recently released a list of vetoes from the enacted budget. As we head toward the end of session, I will continue to keep vigilant of these issues.

Public forums for E23 casino proposal. There will be a series of meetings and forums held by the Albany Common Council and the developer, Flaum Management, over the proposed E23 project. Each forum provides you an important opportunity to hear more about this proposal and to be able to express your thoughts on the project.

+ Wednesday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. – Giffen Elementary School (public forum held by Flaum Management).

+ Monday, April 21 at 7 p.m. – Albany Common Council meeting at City Hall (public comment begins at 7 p.m. - to be placed on the speaking list, call the Albany City Clerk at (518) 434-5090).

+ Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. – public forum at Bishop Maginn High School.

+ Monday, May 5 at 7 p.m. – Albany Common Council meeting at City Hall (casino resolution to go before the full council for a vote; public comment begins at 7 p.m. - to be placed on the speaking list, call the Albany City Clerk at (518) 434-5090).

Here are highlights from the 109th:

Mayor Sheehan delivers report from first 100 days in office. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan has released a report of her many accomplishments for her first 100 days in office. You can read the full report here.

Trustee positions up for election on Albany Public Library board. The Albany Public Library currently has two trustee positions up for election on May 20. Both trustee positions are for a full, five-year term each starting on July 1, 2014. For more information, please visit the Albany Public Library’s website.

Public access television. Did you know Albany has a public access channel? ChannelAlbany broadcasts from Channel 18 (or 116.3), presenting content made from residents and organizations within the City of Albany. The studio is located in the basement of the Albany Public Library’s main branch and is open to the public. For more information, you can e-mail channelalbany@gmail.com or visit channelalbany.tv.

Events in and around the 109th:

+ The New York State Department of Labor will host its annual Dr. King Career Fair on April 17 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. You can view details here

+ Celebrate the National Week of Service by participating in the Serve Albany community service event from April 21 to 27. Support 17 different, local not-for-profit organizations by choosing between 28 different service projects. For more information, visit servealbany.org.

+ The Knickerbocker Film Festival will be screening twelve short films submitted from across our region from April 21 through the 24 at the Madison Theater, the Linda, and the Spectrum in Albany. For more information, visit the festival’s website.

Job Opportunities: I’ve set up a page on my Assembly website for job announcements and listings that we’ll update periodically. If you know of any job listings, send my office a note.

Capital District Assembly Update: Tune in every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Channel 17 (for Time Warner Cable subscribers) for the next episode of Capital District Assembly Update, co-hosted by Assemblymember McDonald and me. You can also previous episodes and clips on my Assembly website.

As always, for the latest about my office’s happenings or for upcoming events, please visit my office online, on Facebook, on Twitter, or my Times Union blog. If you would like to reach my office, please feel free to send us a note.

Sincerely ---