Tag Archive | "Fred W. Thiele"

Thiele Named to Farm Bureau’s “Circle of Friends”

Tags: , , , , , ,


Last week, the New York Farm Bureau (NYFB) announced it has named New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. as one of its “Circle of Friends.”

This legislative award is based on Thiele’s “demonstrated understanding of the importance of agriculture on Eastern Long Island, as well as how the industry impacts the economy and the future of New York State.”

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the New York Farm Bureau, the State’s largest general farm advocacy organization,” said Thiele in a press release issued September 27. “Throughout my political career, I have remained deeply committed to supporting and protecting New York’s family farms. Agriculture and its related industries are an integral component of the East End economy, so we must help farmers in managing their daily operations in an environmentally conscious and economically viable way.”

The “Circle of Friends” award is determined by a legislator’s voting record on issues of importance to New York agriculture, as well as evidence of other legislative support during the 2012 Legislative Session.

Among recent key pieces of legislation that strengthen New York agriculture , Thiele was the prime sponsor of the proposal to exempt farm wineries and craft breweries from a tax-filing requirement.

“I commend Governor Cuomo for signing this bill so that small farm wineries and craft breweries no longer need to struggle to comply with a needless filing requirement,” said Thiele. “Now, our wineries and breweries can better use their time to grow their businesses and promote their product.”

As a multi-sponsor of the “Let New York Farm Act, Thiele pledged to reduce farm-based taxes, fees, and regulatory burdens to help grow the agricultural economy.

“While this bill remained in committee at the adjournment of the 2012 Session, rest assured that I will continue to work with my legislative colleagues to pass this important measure which will benefit our local family farms and communities,” Thiele said.

LaValle & Thiele Endorsed by the New York League of Conservation Voters

Tags: , , , , , , ,


The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV), an organization aimed at making environmental sustainability a top political and policy priority in New York State, announced on Tuesday that it has endorsed incumbent Republican New York State Senator Ken LaValle and incumbent Independence Party New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. for re-election this November.

“The efforts of Senator LaValle and Assembly Member Thiele to protect our environment have benefited their districts, Long Island and all of New York State,” said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn. “Their legislative track records demonstrate their commitment to advancing smart policies affecting our air, land, water and energy future. We are proud to support both of them and we look forward to even more positive environmental strides in the Senate and Assembly if they are re-elected.”

The League noted that the state legislature has approved three important environmental initiatives this year that would not have passed, said Bystryn, without the support of LaValle and Thiele.

LaValle and Thiele both co-sponsored the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, which increases public awareness of sewage discharge pollution in local waterways. By being notified of such discharges, citizens can make informed decisions about recreational activities, noted the league in a press release issued on Tuesday afternoon.

La Valle and Thiele also authored legislation providing for property tax exemptions for green buildings in an effort to promote energy efficiency improvements to existing properties as well as to encourage new green construction. The men also sponsored legislation regarding watershed protection improvement districts, a new law that permits town boards to create or extend watershed protection improvement districts, which help communities reduce sewage pollution, protect drinking water and safeguard the quality of local waterways.

The league added that LaValle was also the chief architect of the landmark Pine Barrons Preservation Act, which protects critical drinking water resources as well as an irreplaceable wildlife habitat. Thiele, among other environmental initiatives drafted and sponsored the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund Act, which allows East End towns to raise funds to protect this estuary.

“It is an honor to receive the support of the NYLCV,” said LaValle. “I fully intend to build upon my environmental record in the coming years and continue my role as an environmental steward.”

“I am honored to receive the support of the New York League of Conservation Voters,” said Thiele. “Throughout my political career, I have remained deeply committed to protecting the environmental health and integrity of the East End. As a member of the New York State Assembly, I look forward to the opportunity to work with the NYLCV in coming years to help further protect New York’s environment and help grow the demand for green, clean-energy jobs.”

Thiele & LaValle Create CPF Advisory Opinions Bureau

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Since its inception in 1998, the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund has raised approximately $757 million, which the five East End towns have used to preserve open space, farmland, historic buildings and places as well as recreational fields. During its tenure as a resource for preservation, the bounds of the CPF have been questioned for concepts like a 2008 proposal between East Hampton, Southampton and Sag Harbor to use CPF funds to preserve Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, which was ultimately deemed a purchase that went beyond the intentions of the law.

The revenue for the fund is derived from a two-percent real estate transfer tax. It expires on December 31, 2030.

Last week, the architects of the CPF, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and New York State Senator Ken LaValle, announced they have created a Peconic Bay Regional Community Preservation Fund Advisory Opinions Bureau in an effort to have a specific group ensure the effective and consistent administration of the fund.

The 11-member bureau will also provide legal opinions and interpretations regarding any questions that are raised about how the five East End towns — East Hampton, Sag Harbor, Southampton, Shelter Island and Riverhead — are expending their CPF monies.

A representative from each of the five towns, appointed by the town supervisor, will serve on the board as will a representative from each of the East End villages. Thiele and LaValle will also appoint five members of the public at large.

“This Advisory Bureau will institute oversight measures to help protect the integrity of the Community Preservation Fund,” said Thiele. “The Peconic Bay Region taxpayers and communities deserve to know that the Fund is being implemented appropriately and consistently throughout the region.”

“Transparency and accountability to taxpayers is essential to the fund’s continued success,” said Senator LaValle.

State Legislature Approves Property Tax Exemptions for Green Building

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


This week, the New York State Legislature approved a law authored by local Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. that would provide a tax incentive to builders and homeowners constructing energy efficient green buildings.

Thiele said the “Energy Conservation Bill” is his most significant environmental legislation since the Community Preservation Fund was created for the five East End towns in 1999.

The bill passed in the Assembly and the State Senate unanimously.

The law, which must be ratified by Governor Andrew Cuomo, gives local governments or school districts the right to provide property tax exemptions —through a local law, ordinance or resolution — for construction or improvements made after January 1, 2013 that meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards for green buildings. This includes commercial or residential development.

In addition to LEED certification, the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes rating system, the American National Standards Institute, or other substantially equivalent standards for certification using a similar program for green buildings as determined by the municipal corporation would also be eligible for the exemption.

According to the legislation, eligible parties could receive a 100-percent property tax exemption if they meet Silver, Gold or Platinum LEED status for at least three years. After that the level of exemption — except for Platinum LEED status, declines by 20-percent each successive year. Those who achieve Platinum LEED status — the most difficult level to achieve — would be eligible for a 100-percent exemption for a total of six years.

To be eligible for the tax exemption, the construction must exceed $10,000, be certified as a green building, and be the subject of a valid building permit. Ordinary maintenance and repairs are not eligible for the exemption. The local assessor must approve the exemption.

“Under Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York has become pro-active in promoting efforts to reduce energy demands and greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficiency in homes and businesses throughout the state,” said Thiele. “Significant measures have already been enacted in an effort to accomplish this goal such as on-bill financing, solar feed-in tariffs, and net metering. This legislation, my most significant environmental bill since the creation of the Community Preservation Fund (CPF), would provide another major incentive to promote energy efficiency and conservation. Not only will this legislation reduce energy demand, it will promote economic development by encouraging new construction that meets green building standards.”

“This bill will make a real difference in encouraging green construction for both homes and businesses,” he added. “It is imperative that we promote energy efficiency in our communities with whatever tools are at our disposal. These incentives will encourage the use of the highest level of energy design in new construction. We can reduce our costs and our reliance on expensive energy by reducing demand in the first place.”

The legislation was delivered to Governor Cuomo on July 6. He has until next Monday to ratify the law.

State Tax Credits for Historic Preservation to be Expanded

Tags: , , , , , , ,


In a move New York State Assemblyman and Sag Harbor resident Fred W. Thiele, Jr. said was aimed at promoting preservation on the East End while also encouraging job growth, last week the Assembly passed legislation that will increase the maximum award available under the historic preservation tax code from $5 million to $12 million.

According to Thiele, the bill, which he sponsored, is expected to become law.

“Increasing the tax credit for builders and developers who want to do business on the East End may give them the added incentive they need to move forward on these projects and create jobs,” said Thiele in a press release issued last week. “The Assembly’s legislation opens up a bigger market for developers and investors and is another sign that New York is open for business. Additionally, the enhanced tax credit will preserve historic buildings, reduce blight and get more East End residents working.”
According to Thiele, prior to this legislation, the historic preservation tax credit was capped at $5 million per project and has been used by developers across the state to renovate and restore buildings that suffer from long-time neglect. Increasing the tax credit to $12 million creates a greater incentive for developers, said Thiele, and will make it more desirable to restore large, historic projects that may be financially cost prohibitive otherwise.

State to Get Tough on Bullies

Tags: , , , , , , ,


The New York State Assembly has passed a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele aimed at cracking down on bullying and cyber-bullying in public schools, according to a press release issued on Tuesday.

Expanding on the Dignity for All Students Act, the legislation will establish a mandatory reporting system for all incidents of bullying and provide training for school staff.

According to Thiele, the legislation is expected to be passed by the state Senate and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“In today’s age of 24-hour connectivity and social networking, there is no escape for students who are subjected to cyber-bullying,” said Thiele. “Bullying that begins in school can follow them home and contribute to low self esteem, academic problems, delinquent behavior, and, tragically, violence and suicide. These new guidelines for combatting cyber-bullying will ensure a safe and secure learning environment for all our students both in and out of school.”

Under the legislation, all school staff will be required to report any incident of bullying or cyber-bullying to the principal or superintendent within one school day of the occurrence and submit a written report of the incident within three school days. Parents and students will also be able to submit reports and school administrations will be required to investigate every incident.

Schools will also be required to establish official guidelines for age-appropriate responses to harassment, bullying or discrimination, with detailed remedies and procedures.

The legislation also includes guidelines for teacher and staff training programs. All students and staff from kindergarten through 12th grade will have to attend bullying education classes and receive Internet instruction, added Thiele.

According to Thiele, in New York State nearly 16-percent of all students and nearly 21-percent of girls are subject to cyber-bullying through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, social network sites and through texting and other electronic devices each year.

“This legislation is a major step in the Assembly’s ongoing efforts to improve education and promote a safe and secure learning environment,” said Thiele. “No child should have to fear continued harassment and embarrassment from cyber-bullying. This legislation ensures parents, students and staff all have the tools they need to combat this serious issue.”

Bay Scallop Restoration Program to Expand

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Working with the State of New York through funding provided by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) announced last week it will expand the Peconic Bay Scallop Restoration Project in Suffolk County.

CCE has signed a contract with the state and will move forward with the first stages of the $182,900 award it received as a part of the Governor’s Regional Council initiative — a challenge issued to regions throughout the state to pitch economic development concepts with the potential to earn funding based on merit.

The Peconic Bay Scallop Restoration Project focuses on restoring the bay scallop population on Long Island in an effort to protect the eco-system and generate marine-related economic activity.

“Suffolk County’s marine-based businesses are vital to the overall health of our regional economy,” said Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association and Regional Council co-chair. “I applaud the efforts of the CCE and its partners to revive the bay scallop population as it will help both the environment and Long Islanders wallets. The partnership between the Council and CCE will allow us to grow our economy now while ensuring one of the area’s traditional industries not only survives, but flourishes once again.”

In 2005 Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program and Long Island University partnered with Suffolk County to create the largest scallop spawner sanctuary to restore the famous Peconic Bay Scallop. According to a press release issued last week, CCE will use the regional council funding to increase seed production, collection and planting and educate shellfish companies with field demonstrations on how to successfully grow bay scallops. Working on developing a marketing event is also planned.

“Thanks to the support of the Long Island Regional Economic Council and the Empire State Development Corp, CCE of Suffolk can continue to play a vital role in sustaining this heritage industry,” said Vito Minei, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

Thiele Votes for Minimum Wage Increase

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Last week, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. supported the New York State Assembly in the passage of legislation that would increase minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour beginning in January 2013. The law also increases minimum wage for food-service workers who receive tips from $5 to $5.86 per hour. Both wage rates would then be indexed with inflation beginning in January 2014, said Thiele.

The bill now awaits action by the State Senate.

“During this difficult economic time, raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do,” said Thiele in a press release issued on Thursday, May 14. “Simply put, people who work full time shouldn’t be poor. The Assembly’s legislation would help make sure that New Yorkers living on minimum wage salaries can actually survive on the minimum wage. I strongly urge the Senate to pass this crucial measure.”

Thiele said that according to a recent Quinnipiac Poll, 78-percent of New Yorkers support raising minimum wage, with 52-percent supporting a higher increase than the rate the Assembly has adopted.

“Over the past five years, New York’s minimum wage has only increased $0.10 cents per hour, which is not enough for East End families to pay for things like rent, heat, gas, food and prescription drugs,” said Thiele. “By increasing the minimum wage, the quality of life for more than 1 million New Yorkers will be improved.”

Currently, the neighboring states of Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts — as well as 15 other states across the country and the District of Columbia — all have higher minimum wages than New York.

Southold Removed from Thiele’s Revised Assembly District

Tags: , , , ,


hamptons_area

Responding to complaints, primarily from North Fork residents, New York State’s committee in charge of creating new electoral districts has changed its plan for the Twin Forks, leaving Southold in what will now be known as the Second Assembly District.

On Monday, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. released a statement saying he had learned of the change and was supportive of the new maps. The new redistricting plan being considered by the New York State Legislature would make Thiele’s district the new First Assembly District. His current district, encompassing East Hampton, Southampton and as well as a portion of Brookhaven is the Second Assembly District and includes 142,833 residents.

An original proposal suggested by the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment would have changed Thiele’s district to the First Assembly District, losing the Mastics and Shirley while picking up Shelter Island and Southold. However, residents of Southold and government leaders – including Thiele – balked at the idea of Southold joining that district and called for reform.

Pursuant to the 2010 census, each Assembly district in New York State should have no more than 129,089 residents, making Thiele’s current district 13,744 over the average. The new First Assembly District will have 128,932 residents within its borders, or 157 less than the average and will not include the Town of Southold.

Under the revised proposal, the Town of Southold will remain in what will become the Second Assembly District – if approved by the legislature. That district will also include northeast Brookhaven and Riverhead. Shelter Island will remain in Thiele’s district, but his section of Brookhaven will be reduced by about 16,000 residents, according to Thiele’s office.

“I look forward to representing the new First Assembly District,” said Thiele in a statement on Monday afternoon. “Ninety-eight percent of the district includes areas I already represent. Shelter Island, which will be added to my district, was part of my county legislative district in the late 1980s. I have continued to work with Shelter Island on many regional issues and look forward to representing them again. Further, I am pleased that the redistricting task force listened to public opinion and kept Southold in the current district with northeast Brookhaven and Riverhead, as I had requested.

Thiele added he would like to see any further redistricting plans taken on by an independent commission not made up with members of the state legislature to ensure politics do not enter the equation when re-drawing electoral boundary lines.

Thiele Calls for Revisions to Redistricting Plan

Tags: , , , , , , ,


A New York State Legislature task force recently released redistricting recommendations that would join the East End under one legislative district – much to the ire of many North Fork politicians. Last week, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. said he believes the North Fork and the South Fork should have separate representation and the task force should go back to the drawing table.

On Wednesday, February 15 Thiele announced he has requested the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment revise its redistricting plan for the East End to establish a Brookhaven/North Fork District that would include northeast Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southold. Thiele’s current district — the Second Assembly District — would encompass East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island and southeast Brookhaven.

In January, the task force released redistricting plans that would add one Assembly district to Long Island based on population increases, as laid out in the state’s Constitution.

Thiele, who has been critical that the New York State Legislature completed a redistricting proposal rather than have an independent party make recommendations, said last week he would support a redistricting plan that was truly independent and non-partisan. Thiele has already sponsored legislation in an effort to ensure the legislature would have to adhere to that standard in the future.

“I am disappointed that this year’s process was not independent,” said Thiele. “We must adopt a constitutional amendment that will insure that all future redistricting plans are prepared by an independent, non-partisan commission.”

Thiele said that while the Task Force proposal for the East End met non-partisan criteria such as equal population, contiguity, and not dividing political subdivisions, it was clear from public hearings and comments there was strong sentiment in Southold that the community should be part of the Brookhaven/North Fork District.

“I have enjoyed working with Southold Town government through the years including the Peconic Bay Estuary Program, the CommunityPreservation Fund, Five Town Rural Transit, Peconic County, the East End

Supervisors and Mayors Association, and the repeal of the MTA payroll tax and the saltwater fishing license,” said Thiele. “I would enthusiastically represent them in Albany. However, the state should not compound its failure to utilize an independent, non-partisan redistricting process by ignoring home rule. The final plan must accurately reflect the will of the public. The most important function of any elected official is to listen. Therefore, I have urged the Task Force to modify the plan.”

A final plan is expected to be approved in the next few weeks and will be in effect for the 2012 election