Study Says Eliminating Estate Tax Would Be Big Boost For New York

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Features, Heard Around Town, News

What would happen if New York joined the majority of states that don’t have estate taxes? An analysis from the Beacon Hill Institute included in a report on the tax from the Empire Center shows a complete phase-out of the tax would boost the state’s gross domestic product by billions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed raising the current threshold from $1 million to the federal benchmark of more than $5 million by 2019. Though the Empire Center says that would… [More]

Council Member Item Reform Easier Said Than Done

Written by Kristen Meriwether on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Features, Government Operations, Latest, News, Social Services

For years, Council members have cried foul at the discretionary funding process. They argued the funding was used as a reward by the Speaker, leaving those that disagree without adequate money for their district.   “When Council members are afraid to vote their conscience or advocate for their constituents because they fear the funding to their district will be cut, the rules in the Council are not working,” said Councilman Brad Lander at City Hall on Monday. With a new… [More]

Beating The Clock

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Latest, News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ushered in a new era of on-time budgets. Is that good for New York?    Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s perfect record of on-time budgets was already in jeopardy. The governor had been playing up the importance of timely budgets, praising the Legislature during his State of the State address for meeting the deadline in each of his first three years in office and—in a compliment that could double as a warning—for breaking the “gridlock that had plagued… [More]

De Blasio’s Budget: Progressive or Aggressive?

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Features, Government Operations, Housing, Labor/Unions, News

What does a “progressive” city budget look like? During his preliminary budget presentation last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio attached his favorite buzzword to a supposedly apolitical document. Through the explicit and implicit priorities laid out in his financial plan, the mayor—who mere months ago dubbed himself a “fiscal conservative”—threw caution to the wind, etching his major policy items into the budget with or without the necessary cooperation from Albany, and despite the element of unpredictability stemming  from the city’s… [More]

Klein Waffles on Holding the Line on Pre-K Tax

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Education, Features, Heard Around Town, News

When state Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos shot down New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pre-kindergarten plan on Monday, state Sen. Jeff Klein, Skelos’ governing partner, issued a statement saying that he would not pass a state budget that fails to include the proposal, calling it “the only one that provides New York City with the funding it needs to achieve that goal.” But by Tuesday, he seemed more flexible on de Blasio’s plan, which requires a tax on… [More]

De Blasio’s State of the City Marks A Shift In Tone From Bloomberg Era

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Features, Government Operations, Housing, Labor/Unions, Latest, News, Real Estate/Construction, Transportation

As is the case with most mayors less than two months into their administration, Mayor Bill de Blasio did not have a laundry list of accomplishments to point to during his State of the City address on Monday. But unlike his predecessor Michael Bloomberg’s first State of the City, which covered a wide range of topics and laid the foundation for his twelve years in office, de Blasio eschewed a long-term blueprint in favor of addressing the urgency of leveling… [More]

Ball and Former HBO CEO Push “Jobs For Heroes”

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Features, Heard Around Town, News, Other News

This afternoon state Sen. Greg Ball is stepping up his push to pass “Job For Heroes” legislation, which sets aside 5 percent of state contracts for businesses owned by disabled military veterans, with a lobbying day in Albany. Ball and others want to see the measure added to the state budget, and among those joining the lawmaker is Bill Nelson, a former HBO CEO, Vietnam veteran and board member of the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America. “The service-disabled veterans are the… [More]

De Blasio Pre-K Push Mirrors Dinkins Era Negotiation [CORRECTED]

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Economic Development, Education, Features, Government Operations, News, Public Safety, Social Services

Last week New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to Albany to make the case for his universal preschool program in front of the state Assembly Ways and Means and the Senate Finance committees. De Blasio, who campaigned on providing full-day preschool for all four year olds, as well as after school programs for every middle school student, has ramped up his campaign for the effort, which would be paid for through a temporary tax hike on the city’s… [More]

Mark Weprin Unanimously Elected Chair of City Council Queens Delegation

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Features, Government Operations, Heard Around Town, Latest, News, Other News

City Councilman Mark Weprin was unanimously elected this morning as chair of the Council’s Queens delegation,  a sign that the wounds from the protracted Council Speaker race between Dan Garodnick and Melissa Mark-Viverito might be starting to heal. The speaker battle had fractured the Queens delegation, with several Progressive Caucus members, including Julissa Ferreras, Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm and Donovan Richards supporting Mark-Viverito, while the rest of the delegation stuck with Garodnick, the choice of Queens Democratic County Chairman… [More]

Unsettled Teacher Contracts Could Raise Cost of De Blasio’s Universal Preschool Program

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Daily, Economic Development, Education, Features, Government Operations, Labor/Unions, Latest, News, Social Services

During his back-and-forth with the state Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Committees on Monday—pitching the merits of his proposed universal preschool and after school programs—Mayor Bill de Blasio listened while state Sen. Diane Savino expressed shock that his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, left him very little in the way of reserve money to negotiate long-expired municipal labor contracts. When Savino, who chairs the Senate Labor Committee, suggested that de Blasio use the labor contract conundrum to bolster his case for a tax increase… [More]