2011-12-23 / Columnists

It’s My Turn

By Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder, Member of Assembly 23rd District


Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder As a newly elected member of the New York State Assembly, I am honored that the first vote I was able to cast was one in favor of historic legislation. The new law, created in a bipartisan manner, gives a long-overdue tax break to our state’s hardworking middle class families, and allows us to continue providing critical services to those who need them most.

The tax cuts provided by this law will benefit roughly 4.4 million taxpayers, more than 99 percent of those filing across the state. To me, it was a simple matter of fairness and was the best way to put struggling middle class Queens families on the path to fiscal stability by enabling them to afford what they need, while promoting economic growth.

However, this law is much more than a simple tax cut. It will rejuvenate our state’s economy in a number of other ways as well. The MTA payroll tax will be eliminated for qualifying small businesses, self-employed taxpayers and public, private and parochial schools, thus creating a much more businessfriendly climate for our vital small businesses.

It is the right thing to do, as it helps ensure that the education funds provided to Queens are being used as they should be – to provide our children with a quality education.

New Yorkers across the state are still recovering from the devastating effects of recent storms. Hurricane Irene proved devastating to many within my district, particularly those of you in Broad Channel, the Rockaways and Howard Beach. Senator Schumer and I wrote a letter to FEMA urging them to speed up their efforts to help repair the area.

This legislation establishes the Hurricane Irene-Tropical Storm Lee Flood Recovery Grant Program, which will provide $50 million for flood relief efforts, including:  $21 million for grants to small businesses, multiple dwellings and not-forprofits that sustained direct floorrelated damage from either of the aforementioned storms by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC);  $9 million for counties to support flood mitigation projects administered by the ESDC and the Department of Environmental Conservation;  $20 million to address flood costs that had previously been the responsibility of localities and schools.

The funds that my colleagues and I have allocated will provide local areas that were ravaged by this year’s tropical storms, the funding they desperately need to recover and get hardworking families back on their feet.

The law also appropriates $25 million for the Summer Youth Employment Program, which provides summer employment and educational experiences that enable young people to acquire skills, earn an income and work toward meeting their occupational goals. It is so important to me that young people in Queens and throughout the state receive the training they’ll need to succeed in today’s competitive workforce. By instilling in them the drive and skills to achieve their dreams, we can make sure that the future of our state is in good hands.

These laws are a win-win-win for the people of Queens and for New Yorkers across the state. I proudly supported this legislation and will continue to do my best to represent the interests of the hardworking families in my district.

As always, please feel free to contact me concerning this or any other issue. I can be reached at 718-945-9550, or via email at goldfederp@assembly.state. ny.us.

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