Tag Archive | "Governor Andrew Cuomo"

UPDATE: Town Declares State of Emergency; Nine Inches of Snowfall on the East End

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A backyard pool in East Hampton Friday morning.

A backyard pool in East Hampton Friday morning. (Tessa Raebeck photo).

By Tessa Raebeck

UPDATE Friday 11 a.m. 

Nine inches of snow fell in Bridgehampton overnight, according to Joey Picca of the National Weather Service. Light snow is ongoing and over the next hour, locations on the East End could see another half inch of snow.

“For the most part,” said Picca, “intensity is winding down and we expect that trend to continue for the next hour or so.”

Winds coming from the north and northwest remain strong and gusty, and the already fallen powder will continue to be blown around throughout the day. The wind chill is expected to remain at anywhere from 0 to -5 degrees throughout the afternoon.

The Town of Southampton has issued a blizzard warning, effective until 1 p.m. Friday.

The South Shore of Suffolk County is under coastal flood advisory Friday from 7 p.m. to midnight. The northwest region of Suffolk County has been issued a coastal flood warning, from 9 p.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday.

All town offices in Southampton and East Hampton are closed Friday due to inclement weather. Many businesses in Sag Harbor and throughout the towns remain closed.

East Hampton Town is still urging residents to stay off the roads and has prohibited parking along public roadways. Any parked vehicles may be towed. Emergencies should be reported via 911 and storm-related non-emergency calls may be directed to 907-9743 or 907-9796.

A man walks down Main Street in Sag Harbor Thursday afternoon.

A man walks down Main Street in Sag Harbor Thursday afternoon. (Tessa Raebeck photo).

 

UPDATE Thursday 6 p.m.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell has declared a State of Emergency, effective 4 p.m. Thursday.

The town is urging residents to refrain from driving during the storm and has prohibited all parking along public roadways. Parked vehicles may be towed.

The LIE (Long Island Expressway) and other major roads will also be closing at midnight due to hazardous conditions, Governor Cuomo announced Thursday.

Southampton Town has declared a limited state of snow emergency, effective at 3 p.m. Thursday. All town facilities and government offices will be closed starting at 6 p.m. and remain closed on Friday, January 3.

The Sag Harbor School District has closed all buildings and cancelled all sports and other activities for Friday, January 3 due to the weather.

All East Hampton Town Senior Citizen programs at the Fireplace Road Facility and the Montauk Playhouse scheduled for Friday have been cancelled.

For non-emergency police calls related to the storm in East Hampton Town, contact 907-9743 or 907-9796.

 

Original Story

A blizzard warning has been issued for Suffolk County starting at 6 p.m. this evening and ending at 1 p.m. Friday. The East End can expect to see up to 10 inches of snowfall, according to Tim Morrin of the National Weather Service’s Upton, New York forecast office.

Most of the snowfall will occur tonight after 7 p.m., Morrin said. A steady, heavy snowfall is expected to start this evening and continue overnight and into tomorrow morning, with a total of eight to 10 inches of snow accumulating.

By Friday at noon, the snow “should be nothing more than a flurry,” Morrin said.

Following the blizzard, the National Weather Service expects the weather Friday to be extremely windy and “dangerously cold,” with the wind chill temperature dropping below zero.

Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts of up to 45 mph are forecast.

On the roads, East End residents can expect “rapidly deteriorating conditions tonight and into tomorrow morning,” according to Morrin.

Road conditions will remain hazardous tomorrow afternoon, as the windy conditions will likely blow additional snow into the road and add density to the already fallen snow.

Although Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to shut down the Long Island Expressway or any other major highways, his New York City Press Office said the governor is projecting road closures.

“Blowing, drifting snow can make travel difficult and dangerous,” Governor Cuomo said in a press release issued Wednesday, “so I encourage citizens to exercise caution if they have to leave their homes.”

“We recommend,” he added, “that everyone in potentially affected areas utilize mass transit and take steps to safeguard against frigid temperatures. Keep a close eye on the weather, follow any instructions issued by local emergency officials, and check on your neighbors and family members.”

The Suffolk County Department of Public Works has been salting all county roads since early this morning and will continue to monitor and respond to conditions.

The Emergency Operations Centers for both New York State and Suffolk County are open.

All storm-related non-emergency police calls in Suffolk County can be directed to 852-2677.

The New York State Department of Transportation provides a travel advisory system with frequently updated reports. To access it, dial 511 by phone or visit 511ny.org.

Southampton Rally Remembers Sandy Hook Victims, Protests Lack of Federal Legislation a Year After Tragedy

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Gun control advocates in front of Congressman Tim Bishop's Southampton office at Sandy Hook Remembrance Rally Saturday.

Gun control advocates in front of Congressman Tim Bishop’s Southampton office at Sandy Hook Remembrance Rally Saturday. (Tessa Raebeck photo).

By Tessa Raebeck

A year after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut took the lives of 20 first graders and six school employees, New York State has some of the toughest laws on gun control in the country.

But with no legislative action yet taken on the federal level, groups advocating for gun control are continuing their fight for safety laws.

Chanting “We will not forget!” members of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, States United Against Gun Violence and Organizing for Action, an advocacy group supporting President Obama’s legislative agenda, held a Sandy Hook Remembrance Rally outside Congressman Tim Bishop’s Southampton office Saturday afternoon.

Decked in hats, gloves and posters, a group of 17 advocates for gun control braved the snow to honor the victims, survivors and families of the Sandy Hook tragedy, commemorate the actions of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Congressman Bishop in the past year and call on legislators — particularly at the federal level — to do more.

Sue Hornik from States United Against Gun Violence and Sag Harbor’s Jackie Hilly, of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, spoke at the rally. They called for closing background check “loopholes,” banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, making schools safer and increasing access to mental health services.

“While sadness can be unbearable,” Hilly told the crowd, “it should also serve to embolden us to speak out against gun violence.”

The event marked the one-year anniversary of the school shooting at Sandy Hook. After Hilly and Hornik spoke, those in attendance read the names of the 26 victims, along with personal anecdotes, and rang a bell after each reading.

Ann Howard from Cutchogue read the name of Dylan Hockley, a six-year-old killed in his classroom who had “beautiful eyes and a mischievous grin” and “a love of bouncing on trampolines.”

Hilly thanked Governor Cuomo for making New York the first state to take decisive action after Newtown. The AR-15, the assault weapon used at Sandy Hook, can no longer legally be purchased in New York. Banning such weapons was one of the provisions of the New York SAFE Act, which was proposed by Governor Cuomo and adopted by the state legislature in January, less than a month after the tragedy.

“Now with the new regulations that were adopted in New York State,” explained Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., “if we don’t have the most stringent gun control measures, we’re in the top two.”

State Senator Kenneth LaValle agreed New York has some of the strongest gun control laws in the nation.

“Right after Sandy Hook I think there was a sense of purpose, because young people were killed — senseless murder — in an elementary school by an individual who had mental health issues,” said LaValle, “ and indeed in every one of these mass shootings, the shooter has a mental health issue.”RaebeckSandyHookRally2

The SAFE Act established provisions to help identify individuals with mental illnesses and correlate reporting of such illnesses with reporting of firearm ownership. Under the new law, a gun owner living with someone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness has a responsibility to make sure his or her guns are not available to that person.

“That’s kind of a good balancing, we believe, between rights and responsibilities,” said Hilly, “because you know, the other side is always talking about rights and rarely are they mentioning responsibilities.”

Additionally, mental health professionals are now required by law to alert police if they believe one of their patients is likely to hurt themselves or others — and that patient has a gun permit.

The SAFE Act also standardized the time period for renewal of permits across the state. Previously, Long Island and Westchester required gun owners to renew their permits every five years and New York City had a three-year requirement. Now, all of New York — including areas upstate that required renewal less frequently — has a maximum five-year permit renewal requirement (New York City can keep their three-year restriction). This sanction requires permit holders to reaffirm the facts of their permit, for example that they have not been convicted of a felony or diagnosed with a mental illness.

The SAFE Act enhanced the breadth and prevalence of background checks, limited the capacity of magazines from 10 rounds to seven and expanded the definition of assault weapons, such as the AR-15.

The law also aims to end the anonymous purchasing of large stocks of ammunition on the Internet. Rather than going online and having weapons delivered to your home with no regulation, ammunition must now be delivered to a gun dealer, who will then ask for identification (a permit is not required for ammunition).

Although the SAFE Act is a huge victory for gun control advocates, proponents say the state measures are limited by the lack of similar federal legislation. Although criminals are faced with these restrictions in New York, they can easily travel across state lines to purchase weapons and ammunition.

Since Sandy Hook, according to Congressman Bishop, on the federal level, “the short answer is nothing has happened.”

Of a number of bills introduced in the House of Representatives to help provide for gun safety, “none of them have moved at all,” said Bishop, who sponsored most of them.

In the Senate, an effort to bring up a bipartisan bill to expand background checks for people who wish to purchase firearms failed to garner the 60 votes necessary for it to be considered.

“You can still go on the Internet and buy firearms,” Bishop said Monday, “you can still go on the Internet and buy mass quantities of ammunition, you can still purchase a gun at a gun show without undergoing a background check, so basic things that ought to be put in place are not being put in place.”

“It pretty much breaks down on party lines,” added the Democratic congressman, “Democrats want to pass gun safety legislation, Republicans refuse to.”

Bishop said much of the proposed legislation has bipartisan support, “but the leadership of the House of Representatives refuses to move any of them.”

“I don’t want to say that there’s no hope,” he said, “but I do think that the track record of the house thus far does not give cause for optimism.”

New York State First to Adopt Sweeping Gun Control Regulations After Sandy Hook Tragedy

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By Amanda Wyatt

One month after the fatal shooting of 26 students and teachers at a Connecticut elementary school, New York State legislators — including Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle — moved swiftly this week to pass what are being called the toughest gun control laws in the country.

The New York State Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, also known as the NY SAFE Act, was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday following passage by the State Assembly, 104-43. The legislation had been passed by the State Senate, 43-18, on Monday evening, just hours after being introduced by the governor.

The NY SAFE Act represents the first state legislation addressing gun control following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. And according to Assemblyman Thiele, who voted in favor of the act, it is “a step in the right direction.”

While he knew it would be “difficult and controversial,” Thiele said on Wednesday that he believed the act “struck the right balance between the needs that we have to protect our children and families from gun violence, while still respecting the constitutional mandates of the second amendment.”

“I just see it as common sense, sane regulation of guns,” he added.

In a written statement, Senator LaValle explained several important provisions in the act.

“The New York Safe Act of 2013 closed several loopholes in New York State’s gun laws that have been on the books since 1994 that included a ban on assault weapons,” he said.

“The legislation, now law, maintains citizens’ rights to bear arms and gave the legislature an important opportunity to stiffen penalties for gun crimes — something the city-centric Assembly has resisted — addresses mental health issues, protects first responders and shields the identities of legal handgun owners from broad public disclosure,” LaValle pointed out.

“No one’s gun is being confiscated,” he added.

Specifically, the act tightens the ban on assault weapons, and reduces the minimum magazine capacity of guns from 10 to seven bullets. There will be universal background checks on all gun purchases, as well as instant background checks at ammunition purchases. And safe storage of guns will be required in any homes where a convicted felon or individual who has been involuntarily committed resides.

The NY SAFE Act also mandates the recertification of all handguns, and existing assault weapons must be grandfathered into a new statewide gun database. There will be increased penalties for having a firearm on school grounds and for crimes committed with illegal guns, as well.

“This legislation has some provisions in it to help local school districts improve school security, including an increase in building aid for modifications that school districts make to their district as far as security, and also allowing retired police officers to be hired without any loss of pension rights,” said Thiele.

The act has a strong focus on mental health, requiring healthcare providers to report potentially dangerous patients to the authorities so they can crosscheck whether these individuals are registered gun owners. It also expands Kendra’s Law, which forces certain individuals to receive psychiatric care.

But how this legislation will affect the East End — and Sag Harbor, in particular — remains to be seen. As Sag Harbor Police Chief Tom Fabiano noted, “it’s very, very rare” that the Sag Harbor Village Police Department encounters individuals with weapons.

Still, he said, “just because it’s a nice, quiet village doesn’t mean things couldn’t happen here. [Newtown is] a nice little area similar to Sag Harbor, they say.”

In fact, shortly after the Newtown shooting, the police received a couple of different phone calls regarding “suspicious people” around Sag Harbor schools — all of whom turned out to be parents and employees.

And while Fabiano did not think the NY SAFE Act was a “cure-all” for the malady of gun violence, he suggested that it was a good start.

“What they passed, is that going to work and make it all better? I think it’s going to take a very, very long time for things to start working, because there are so many weapons out there…And we’re just talking about New York State. If the whole country did something like this, maybe we’d have a better chance,” he said.

While the NY SAFE Act has its share of supporters, it has also ignited a firestorm of controversy from gun rights groups, like the National Rifle Association (NRA). In a press release, the NRA said that they were “outraged at the draconian gun control bill.”

Cuomo and New York state legislators “orchestrated a secretive end-run around the legislative and democratic process and passed sweeping anti-gun measures with no committee hearings and no public input,” they declared.

“These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime,” continues the NRA’s statement. “Sadly, the New York Legislature gave no consideration to that reality. While lawmakers could have taken a step toward strengthening mental health reporting and focusing on criminals, they opted for trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners in New York, and they did it under a veil of secrecy in the dark of night.”

And while Assemblyman Thiele’s office had received a flood of correspondence asking for more gun regulation immediately after the Newtown shooting, he said most of his mail in the past week to 10 days had been from pro-gun groups.

“You’re always balancing public welfare versus individual rights…It is a balancing test, and I think we’re kind of restating where that balance is,” he said.

LaValle Bill Supporting Breast Cancer Patients Signed into Law

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A bill sponsored by New York Senator Kenneth P. LaValle that would help some breast cancer patients by requiring insurance companies to cover reconstruction for partial mastectomies has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The bill adds partial mastectomies to law that already covers reconstruction for full mastectomies.

“This law follows my 1997 legislation, now law, requiring insurance providers to include coverage for complete breast reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy,” Senator LaValle said. “Partial mastectomy is the most common form of breast cancer surgery and should be required to be covered by insurance providers.”

“Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer should be able concentrate on getting well and recovering, not about whether insurance will pay for reconstruction if they are undergoing a partial mastectomy,” Senator LaValle added.
The law follows another LaValle measure, legislation he supported to improve early breast cancer detection that was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 24. That law will increase women’s awareness of the presence of dense breast tissue found during a mammography exam. Dense breast tissue may make it more difficult to detect tumors.

“This new law will help save women’s lives by increasing awareness of a known breast cancer risk factor,” said LaValle. “Along with routine breast cancer screenings, the information provided by physicians to those with dense breast tissue can help increase early detection of the disease and give patients a greater ability to make educated decisions about their health.”

State Legislature Approves Property Tax Exemptions for Green Building

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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.

Court Strikes Casino Ban for Shinnecock Nation

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On Monday, a federal appeals court struck down a 2008 federal court decision barring the Shinnecock Indian Nation from building a casino on their tribal lands in Southampton, ruling the issue belongs under the jurisdiction of state courts.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York ruled the matter between the State of New York and the Town of Southampton against the Shinnecock’s casino is one that should be settled in state rather than federal court.

The decision nullifies a 2008 permanent injunction granted to the town and state preventing the Shinnecock Indian Nation from building a casino near the Shinnecock Canal on its Hampton Bays property known as Westwoods.

On Tuesday, the Shinnecock Indian Nation Board of Trustees responded to the ruling, stating this was an opportunity for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to bring the Nation to the table and discuss a partnership between the state and the nation as Governor Cuomo has expressed interest in expanding gaming in New York.

Since the injunction was granted in 2008, the Nation has said it would not want to go against the wishes of the community and build a casino at Westwoods, but would prefer to find a situation where the tribe could have a casino further west on Long Island.

“The Shinnecock Indian Nation was gratified to learn that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today vacated the judgment and injunction entered against it in litigation over the status and use of its tribe-owned land known as Westwoods,” said the Nation in a statement. “We thank the creator for lifting this burden and look forward to providing for the future of our people in a manner that is responsible and fair, as we always have in the past. Now that the Nation has been federally recognized as an Indian tribe and has been freed from the effects of that judgment and injunction, we again ask Governor Cuomo to sit down with the Nation to discuss how the Nation and the State can move forward together. Our ancestors and tribal leaders, both living and those who have gone before us, always have maintained our tribal lands for the benefit of all tribe members. This always will be our starting point for any discussions, and we look forward to finding an agreed basis with the State for realization of our common goals.”

Bay Scallop Restoration Program to Expand

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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.

State Looks to Crack Down on Prescription Drug Abuse

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The New York State Assembly has passed legislation sponsored by East End Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. aimed at cracking down on prescription drug abuse across the state. The legislation would rely on the first real-time prescription-drug database in the country and stronger regulations over some controlled substances.

On Tuesday, the state senate adopted the legislation as well and according to Thiele it has the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Prescription-drug abuse is an increasingly serious problem that can have devastating effects on families,” said Thiele, adding that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 15,000 people die each year from overdoses of prescription drug painkillers. “It’s often very easy for a person to get the same prescription from two different doctors filled at separate pharmacies, without the doctors or pharmacists knowing. This legislation would prevent that from happening and subsequently keep dangerous doses of drugs out of the hands of abusers.”


Specifically, this new law requires the Department of Health (DOH) to establish and maintain a real-time controlled substance database. It would also require doctors to review a patient’s controlled substance history on that database prior to prescribing certain medicines. Patients would have access to their prescription histories and would be able to dispute inaccurate information. The legislation requires practitioners to issue electronic-only prescriptions beginning December 31, 2014, with waivers and case-specific exemptions possible under certain circumstances.

The law also moves the drug Hydrocodone into a higher classification of controlled substance, limiting it to an initial prescription of 30-days and not the current five-refill allowance for first time patients. The bill would also add the prescription drug Tramadol to a higher classification on the controlled substance list.

Thiele Supports Millionaire Tax

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In a press release issued last week, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. said that he supports the extension of the “so-called” Millionaire Tax, one of the most hotly debated issues in the 2012 state budget discussion.

The proposal would extend for another year the existing tax rate on those earning more than a $1,000,000 a year at 8.97 percent. The rate on millionaires would be reduced to 6.85 percent on December 31, if no action is taken in Albany.

The surcharge generates upwards of $4 billion a year.

“Proponents state that the additional funding is necessary to maintain state spending and programs,” said Thiele. “Opponents say the additional tax will injure the states economic recovery. In 2009, I voted against this tax surcharge because the surcharge was imposed not on millionaires but those with incomes of $250,000 or more, and the revenue was used to fuel one of the biggest spending increases in New York State history. We could ill-afford such a tax and spending policy in the middle of a recession.”

Thiele said that under Governor Andrew Cuomo, the state has begun to address its fiscal woes, and has eliminated a $10 billion budget deficit with no new taxes or borrowing. Medicaid costs were also reined in, said Thiele, and the state adopted a two-percent real property tax levy cap.

That being said, Thiele noted that if the “millionaire tax” rate is reduced to 6.85-percent, those residents making over $1 million a year will be paying the same tax rate as a family of four making $40,000.

“Although I represent the Hamptons, not one millionaire has contacted me to complain about the 8.97 percent rate or has said they are leaving the state,” said Thiele. “At the same time, my office continues to be inundated by middle class residents who are being overwhelmed by real property taxes. Many have left the state. The two percent property tax cap was a good first step, but only a first step. New Yorkers need property tax reduction, not just a cap.”

This is exactly why Thiele has sponsored a new bill extending the 8.97-percent property tax rate on millionaires. It would also create a real property tax “circuit breaker,” said Thiele, for middle class homeowners earning $250,000 or less.

The legislation would cap property taxes based upon a percentage of income reflecting the ability to pay. Excess property taxes would be refunded through an income tax credit. This would reduce property tax payments by the middle class by $2.3 billion dollars. The remaining revenue would be placed in a separate account for state aid to education, further reducing school taxes and maintaining education quality.

“It is fair and equitable and is the path to real economic recovery for Long Island and all of New York,” said Thiele.


Thiele Secures East End Forum on Stimulating the Local Economy

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This summer, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of regional councils statewide that will vie for funding for projects aimed at stimulating local economies.

And New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. wants to ensure the East End gets its own fair shake at the funding.

After issuing a statement last week with New York State Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Dan Losquadro calling for the Long Island Regional Economic Council to host a public forum on the East End, Thiele’s request was quickly approved by the Governor’s office.

On Wednesday morning, Thiele announced that the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council — one of 10 councils in the state charged with creating economic plans for their regions — will host an East End forum. The event will take place October 3 at the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center on East Main Street in Riverhead.

A time for the forum has yet to be announced, said Thiele.

Asking for the special session, said Thiele on Wednesday, was an effort to ensure the East End’s needs don’t get lost in the shuffle as the region’s economy differs from the remainder of Long Island.

“The regional council hosted public forums in Nassau County and the council had one in Melville, in western Suffolk, but we haven’t had one on the East End and they don’t call Long Island ‘long’ for nothing,” said Thiele.

So far, he said, the regional council has heard from communities that are largely suburban and densely populated, while the East End remains an agricultural Mecca, with an economy tied to the fishing industry and certainly, tourism and second homeowners.

“They are different issues at hand here, but no less important,” said Thiele.

At the forum, he said he expects local chambers of commerce to attend, as well as the Long Island Farm Bureau and the Long Island Wine Council, as well as representatives from the commercial and charter boat fishing industries.

“I just want to make sure our part of this region doesn’t get ignored, and I have to say, the governor’s office has been completely responsive to our requests.

Thiele has also asked the Long Island Development Council to revive the East End Economic and Environmental Task Force first created by Governor Mario Cuomo in 1994 to come up with new economic strategies for the East End.

Additionally, Thiele said he believes the council should consider specific policy initiatives, which could improve the East End economy, focusing on transportation, education, agriculture, fishing and the tourism industries.

Specifically, he would like the council to revive the repaving of Route 27 from County Road 39 to Montauk, and wants the council to explore the institution of a five town coordinated rail/bus shuttle system. Thiele also advocated the re-opening of the Southampton campus under the State University of New York (SUNY) banner, as well as the creation of a Regional Sustainability Institute.

To promote local farming and fishing industries, Thiele called the elimination of what he called “excessive paperwork” for local wineries and the promotion of aquaculture in general. He also called for state advocacy to revise fishing quotas that he deemed unfair for New York fishermen.

Thiele also said the council should revive a commitment in investing in land preservation and environmental infrastructure to protect the tourism and second homeowner industry, create a sales tax exemption at the pump for commercial fishermen and charter boats and revise the Resident State Income Tax on second homeowners.

All of these initiatives, argued Thiele, will benefit the East End economy as a whole.