State Senators Introduce Fair Share Tax Reform

Fair Share Tax Reform

Fair Share Tax Reform

From NewsLI.com

State Senators Introduce Fair Share Tax Reform

February 10, 2009

– Initiative Would Raise More than $6 Billion in Revenue to Nearly Halve Budget Shortfall While Reforming New York’s Tax Code to Make it Fairer

(Albany, N.Y.) A group of Democratic Senators today introduced the Fair Share Tax Reform Act of 2009, an initiative that would raise more than $6 billion in new revenue by slightly increasing taxes on the wealthiest 5% of New Yorkers, those making more than $250,000 a year. The reform package would nearly halve New York’s budget deficit while making the tax system fairer, more progressive and in line with neighboring states. Today, New Yorkers who make more than $40,000 a year are subject to the very same marginal tax rate as those who make $400,000 or $40 million.

Over the last 30 years, New York has reduced income tax rates on the wealthiest New Yorkers by more than 50% and eliminated high income tax brackets so that working class families and the very rich pay the same tax rate. Currently, every New Yorker who earns more than $40,000 pays the same marginal tax rate of 6.85%, whether their income is $41,000 a year or $4.1 million. Fair Share Tax Reform would create new income brackets for individuals or families making more than $250,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000 at 8.25%, 8.97%, and 10.30% respectively. These new tax brackets would raise more than $6 billion in new added revenue.

The Fair Share Tax Reform proposal would mean New York State wouldn’t have to make billions in cuts to schools, healthcare, and communities. It could help prevent increases in class sizes, teacher layoffs, hospital and nursing home closings, longer wait times in emergency rooms and deep cuts to hundreds of important programs like housing assistance and homeless shelters.

“The Governor is absolutely right that in these challenging financial times, we all need to share the sacrifice,” said Senator Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan/Bronx). “That’s why it is so important that we ask our State’s wealthiest to contribute their fair share as well. Currently, the richest 1% of New Yorkers pay 6.5% of their total income in state and local taxes while the poorest 20% of New Yorkers pay 12.6% of their income. Fair Share Tax Reform would return fairness to our tax system while cutting our State’s budget deficit in half, eliminating the need to make the most devastating cuts to our communities.”

“It is very irresponsible public policy for an individual who makes $40,000 a year to be subject to the same tax rate as an individual who makes $4,000,000 a year,” added Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany).

“The Fair Share Tax Reform Act implements a progressive tax structure, making it more equitable for low-income and working families,” said Senator Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo). “Those hardest hit are typically the ones that can least afford it.”

“The tax cuts provided to the wealthiest New Yorkers over the past 30 years are no longer viable during these difficult economic times,” said Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn). “If we don’t take this path and ask high-income New Yorkers to pay their fair share, then we will inevitably be faced with devastating cuts to health care, education and other essential community services. If there was ever a time to consider fairness in our tax code, it is now.”

“This legislation would create a much fairer system of taxation for all New Yorkers,” continued Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens). “There is no reason why someone earning $40,000 a year pays the same marginal tax rate as someone earning $4 million. This bill would correct this inequity.”

Read the complete article………….

Padavan Says He Emerges Stronger From Tough Race

From PolitickerNY

Padavan Says He Emerges Stronger From Tough Race
By Jimmy Vielkind

ALBANY—Even after Jim Gennaro conceded defeat in his bid to unseat State Senator Frank Padavan, the two are still bickering.

Padavan put out a statement last night  decrying Gennaro’s “negative attacks” and saying he was vindicated by a re-count showing he won by 578 votes. This morning, the Gennaro camp put out a statement (in full below) saying the Padavan camp “worked tirelessly to prevent legitimate votes cast by students and people with disabilities from being counted.”

I called Padavan to ask him for his thoughts at the end of a long, hard-fought and narrowly won campaign.

Frank Padavan

Frank Padavan

“We could go on and on in that kind of dialogue forever and not really end up anywhere,” he said. “I’m not going to get caught up in that kind of nonsense again. He tried, in a variety of ways, particularly in literature and fliers, to distort. I told him to his face that he was lying.”

Padavan’s Republican colleagues have been anxiously awaiting his arrival in the State Senate, where he will provide their conference a 30th vote (as opposed to 32 Democrats). Padavan said his first priority would be “everybody’s priority, and that’s dealing with the budget.”

In light of the bitter campaign – which Padavan said was worse than he had ever experienced – I asked if he would run again. He didn’t hesitate to say yes, and thought the race showed strength, not vulnerability.

“He spent over twice as much money as I spent, the registration is three to one in his favor, and president Obama received 70 percent of the vote in this Senate district. So despite all of those advantages, he lost,” Padavan said. “That shows, I think, a very strong position in terms of our work for the last 36 years.”

Gennaro for New York campaign spokesman Mike Barfield made the following statement today: “From election night and at every step of the recount, Frank Padavan and his Republican cronies have worked tirelessly to prevent legitimate votes cast by students and people with disabilities from being counted. “Each time Padavan and the Republican lawyers tried to prevent votes from being counted they were rebuffed and in the end thousands of valid ballots Padavan objected to were counted. “His latest statement is as out of touch with the realities of the recount as his ultra-Republican voting record is with the people of Queens. This statement is the latest example of Frank Padavan’s style: saying one thing in the district, but acting completely differently elsewhere. “Jim Gennaro ran an issue-based campaign and received more than 49% of the vote in this election. Jim has never been afraid to speak out about critical issues, whether it’s protecting New York City’s water supply or exposing Frank Padavan’s 23 votes against women’s health and safety. Now that the recount is settled, and the votes have been counted, Frank Padavan should stop the senseless political attacks and work with Sen. Smith and the new Democratic majority to address the critical issues facing New Yorkers.”

Congratulations to State Senator Frank Padavan

The Bay Terrace Cafe congratulates Frank Padavan on his reelection to the New York State Senate and wishes him continued success. Based on past performance there is no doubt that Senator Padavan will work tirelessly on behalf of all his constituents. We look forward to Senator Padavan visiting the Cafe.

Newsday.com
Padavan set to return to NY Senate

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN

Associated Press Writer

February 4, 2009

ALBANY, N.Y.

State Senator Frank Padavan wins reelection.

State Senator Frank Padavan wins reelection.

Incumbent State Sen. Frank Padavan, a Queens Republican, is expected to return as a victor to Albany next week following months of recounts and challenges in his race against Democrat James Gennaro, a New York City Council member.

Padavan says the net change in a review of 2,708 invalid ballots shows him winning by 578 votes instead of 580. A judge is scheduled to review recount results Thursday and is expected to allow the New York City Board of Elections to certify the results.

Padavan, who said he’s been staying up on issues from his district office, will be returning to a changed Senate, with Democrats holding a 32-30 majority, their first control of the chamber in 43 years.

“I feel like I’ve never been away,” he said, adding the job remains representing the people in the district.

No bills passed state Senate in January

albany-new-york-capitol

From Crain’s New York

No bills passed state Senate in January

With Democrats taking control of the state Senate for the first time in 43 years, it’s also the first time in at least 14 years that no bills were passed in the first month of the session.

(AP) – Now under Democratic control, New York’s Senate didn’t pass a single bill in January – an unusual bout of inaction compared to past years.

Democrats took control of the state Senate in January for the first time in 43 years with a 32-30 majority, and it’s the first time in at least 14 years that no bills were passed in the first month of the six-month session. Some Republicans have said it’s fair to give Democrats a bit of time to get comfortable in their new role as the majority, but note that their patience could wane in February.

“I understand it’s a huge undertaking, but it’s February first, there’s a lot of issues coming up the governor wants us to take on with the budget,” said Sen. Tom Libous, a Broome County Republican.

The Democrats’ transition was impeded by three dissident senators who said they might side with Republicans if they didn’t get lucrative leadership posts and policy considerations they sought. A deal wasn’t struck until Jan. 7, so months were lost that could have been spent on the transition.

In February, the Senate will be meeting four days a week instead of two or three. Mr. Libous said it would be a waste to summon lawmakers to Albany four days a week to gavel in and out of session without passing any bills.

“If there’s no legislation to pass, that’s just costing the taxpayers money,” he said. “There’s no reason to be here four days if we aren’t going to pass anything.”

Session costs taxpayers roughly $60,000 per day in $143 per diem payments and for travel and meal costs for lawmakers and their staffs. About $19,000 of that is Senate costs. Most lawmakers arrive the night before session and charge two days of expenses.

But Democrats argue that a lot of work is going on that, overall, will result in more meaningful change and promote involvement from both parties. They also have an unusual challenge of a massive midyear budget gap that Democrats said will require careful action.

“The former Senate majority used to pass a bunch of one-house bills in January that cost taxpayers time and money but did little to address the needs of the state,” said Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Senate Democrats.

In January 2008 the Senate passed 38 bills, 20 of which became law after being passed in both houses – 10 in January alone, under Republican leadership. At least as far back as 1995, which was as far as electronic records could provide, the Senate has passed bills in January.

But Democrats are taking other steps. Under their leadership the budget hearings started much earlier this year than in the past, said Sen. Jeffrey Klein, a Democrat who represents parts of the Bronx and southern Westchester County.

“I think you’re going to see the majority of the bills that we’re going to be passing are two-house bills,” he said. “It’s real, it’s not political posturing, it’s getting work done and solving the problem.”

Senate Democrats also passed a resolution to make it easier for the minority party to participate in passing legislation by reforming the chamber’s rules.

Now senators in the minority can co-sponsor any bill they support. In the past, a bill sponsor had to approve anyone who wanted to attach their support for a bill. While Republicans were in the majority it was their bills getting to the floor, so they had the power to exclude the minority from co-sponsoring a bill.

Read the entire article here:

Every Vote Counts!

People protest 11th State Senate District election tallying process outside the Queens Board of Elections on Queens Blvd.

People protest 11th State Senate District election tallying process outside the Queens Board of Elections on Queens Blvd.

From the New York Daily News

Also reported by Queens Crap

City Board of Elections commissioners voted unanimously today to reverse their December decision and allow disputed paper ballots to be counted in the yet-undecided 11th SD race, signaling the beginning of the end of what has been an extremely contentious and drawn-out process.

Depending on how long the count takes – and there have been conflicting reports as to exactly how many ballots are out there, but it’s somewhere between 1,700 and 2,700 – this contest could be a contender for the title of longest-running undecided legislative race in modern history.

The record to date is the 2004 Spano-Stewart-Cousins race, in which Spano wasn’t declared the winner until Feb. 8 of 2005 – and then by just 18 votes.

Republican Frank Padavan, who was the incumbent GOP senator when this whole mess started, has a lead of several hundred votes – perhaps as many as 500 – over his Democratic challenger, Councilman Jim Gennaro.

Obsevers and operatives on both sides of the aisle have been more or less in agreement (at least privately) that Padavan is going to be declared the winner.

The Democrats had a stake in delaying that outcome for as long as possible back when the leadership battle was still raging in the Senate, as it deprived Republican Dean Skelos of a vote. But that turned out not to make much of a difference in the end.

Despite the fact that he is techincally no longer a senator, Padavan says he has been showing up for work at his district office, which continues to be staffed at the expense of the Senate GOP. He has already announced his intention to seek re-election in 2010.