Sometimes, writing a weekly column about state government is more challenging than others. There are complex issues not easily addressed in so few words yet are of vital importance to my constituents. This is unquestionably one of those subjects.
This past week, together with Governor Cuomo and the Assembly, the NY State Senate passed an historical and long-overdue tax cap. While New Yorkers will finally get the tax-relief we deserve some very real problems have come along with it. Most pressing among these are public employee pensions.
As the hours of this legislative session wound down, the New York State Senate The New York passed an historic property tax relief legislation that enacts a cap on the growth of local property taxes. The bill, which includes both the tax cap and mandate relief, has been signed into law by the Governor.
The bill (S.5856), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos and co-sponsored by Senator Jack M. Martins, will cap school and local government taxes to less than two percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. Mandate relief is also included, with $127 million in savings to local governments, in addition to the creation of a Mandate Relief Council to identify and repeal unsound, unduly burdensome laws and regulations.
On Saturday, July 16, Senator Jack M. Martins will be sponsoring a 3-3 basketball tournament in Elmont. As part of the tournament, Senator Martins has arranged a game between the Elmont Memorial High School Spartans basketball team and the Henry Viscardi School Cougars basketball team.
Elmont Memorial High School and the Henry Viscardi School are both in the Seventh Senate District. Senator Martins has become fond of both schools. He had the idea to set up the game since he met the members of the Elmont team during the Spartans' run to the Nassau County championship. He has also been impressed with the work the Henry Viscardi School does with students with disabilities.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation that would establish a fixed real property school tax rate for seniors who are eligible for the enhanced STAR exemption, providing much needed tax relief to hundreds of thousands of seniors throughout New York State.
“The goal of this legislative session was to bring tax relief to our residents. This bill will bring some relief to our seniors who have built our communities. It is important that we ensure that our seniors remain in our communities. This measure makes it a little easier during these difficult economic time. This will help to stabilize taxes for those 70 and older,” said Senator Jack M. Martins, who supported the bill.
Senator Jack M. Martins congratlated the Garden City Park Fire Department on their 100th anniservary. The department held a parade and carnival to celebrate the occasion. Senator Martins was proud to celebrate the occasion by marching in the parade through the streets of the Garden City Park Fire District, ending at the Tully Park Aquatic Center.
"To achieve 100 years of serving the community is a tremendous achievement. I congratulate all those who have served over the years including the present members of the department for their service to the community," said Senator Martins.
In an effort to provide schools with mandate relief, Senator Jack M. Martins introduced a bill in the Senate that would allow boards of education to reduce the number of seats provided for student transportation if the seats aren’t being used by students. The measure was passed by the Senate on Friday and is expected to save school districts millions of dollars.
Like so many of you at this time of year, I recently had the pleasure of watching one of my own children graduate from middle school. The auditorium was awash with the pure, unadulterated excitement of students, parents and even their teachers. As I sat quietly wondering where the years had gone, I got to thinking about this phenomenon. Exactly what were the ingredients of this energy? Was it pride in accomplishment? Was it a sense of relief? Or was it simply the prospect of summer vacation? While I think all of these things played a role, the conversations throughout the room made it clear. The reason was hope.
Senator Martins, a co-sponsor of the bill to eliminate the MTA Payroll Tax, spoke about the need to repeal the tax on the Senate floor. The Senate voted in favor of eliminating this tax, which has been a blow to New York's economy.
A bill sponsored by Senator Jack M. Martins to give ambulances and other emergency vehicles better protection has passed the New York State Senate. The bill (S.5483) would give ambulances and other emergency service vehicles the option of using rear projecting blue lights to prevent the possibility of being struck at night.
Current law allows blue lights affixed to police and fire vehicles. In the event that the trunk or rear gate of a police or fire vehicle hampers that visibility of emergency lighting, a blue light can be affixed to the trunk, rear gate of interior of vehicle. The law went into effect in 2010, but ambulances were omitted.
On Flag Day, June 14, Senator Jack M. Martins inducted John S. Davanzo of Mineola into the New York State Senate Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding veterans from the state who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life.