New York State Senator Jack M. Martins and his Republican colleagues in the Senate joined together to announce a package of tax relief and reform measures to give an economic boost to New York taxpayers. The current proposal is in line with Senator Martins’ previous efforts to provide his constituents with meaningful relief during these difficult economic times.
Having already been successful in lowering the State’s income tax rates and repealing the MTA Payroll Tax, Senator Martins and his colleagues went to work on a plan to provide taxpayers with more tax relief by increasing tax breaks and restoring the STAR rebate check program.
The deadline for residents living in one of the thirteen disaster-declared counties to register for FEMA assistance has been extended to March 29, 2013. The previous deadline was February 27, 2013.
Federal disaster assistance for individuals and families can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property losses and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance. Residents in the following counties are eligible for assistance: Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Rockland, Westchester, Suffolk, Queens, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster.
The state’s request also included a 30-day extension for individuals and businesses to apply to the Small Business Administration for lowered-interest loans.
I want to take this opportunity to remind you that the deadline for New York State’s School Tax Relief Program (STAR) is March 1, 2013. STAR is a tax relief program that lowers property taxes for owner-occupied primary residences. There are two levels of STAR benefits: Basic STAR and Enhanced STAR.
Basic STAR is available to residents who own and live in their own 1- 2 or 3-family house, condominium, or cooperative apartment and earn less than $500,000 a year. There is no age limit for Basic STAR. For qualifying homeowners. Basic STAR exempts the first $30,000 of the full value of a home from school taxes. Once you are approved for Basic STAR, you need not reapply each year unless you move to a new primary residence.
New Yorkers who lost their jobs or income due to Hurricane Sandy now have an extension from February 4, 2013 to February 28, 2013 to apply for federal disaster unemployment assistance (DUA).
Disaster unemployment benefits are available to provide financial support to anyone who has lost their job and live or work in the Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Richmond, Rockland, Queens, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster or Westchester counties.
Senator Jack M. Martins supported measures passed in the New York State Senate that would increase school bus safety by prohibiting registered sex offenders from becoming bus drivers and for increasing penalties for passing a stopped school bus that is picking up or dropping off students.
Legislation (S.1519) prohibits a registered sex offender from obtaining or renewing a commercial drivers license to operate a passenger or school bus, providing a greater level of protection to the public from these individuals.
Senator Jack M. Martins hosted his 3rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards to a standing-room only crowd that spilled out into the hallways at the Elmont Library Theatre this past Sunday afternoon. Over 450 residents packed the Library to honor community activists and listen to Dr. King’s inspiring “I Have a Dream Speech.” The program was a rich collection of culturally nourishing music and spoken word throughout a ceremony that has won rave reviews.
Senator Jack M. Martins and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, who both represent Great Neck in the New York State Legislature, recently returned to high school for lunch period at Great Neck South High School.
While the senator and the assemblywoman may have been students at different schools – Martins at Chaminade and Schimel at Midwood – this time, they were classmates, enjoying the school’s new nutritious lunch menu with students. The senator and assemblywoman were able to listen to the students’ thoughts on the new lunch menu, which was implemented in Great Neck schools using guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Senator Jack M. Martins recently visited the Dryden Street School in Westbury, where he was welcomed by Mrs. Sabella to her kindergarten class. The senator also received a warm welcome from Principal Telmer, Westbury Superintendent of Schools Mary Lagnado, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Personnel Robert Brisbane and Westbury School Board Trustee Leslie Davis.
Senator Martins answered questions from the student and then read “Abe Lincoln’s Hat” with them. The senator was extremely impressed with the students’ comprehension and the education taking place at the Dryden Street School.
Less than three months after Senate leaders launched the New York State Senate Bipartisan Task Force on Hurricane Sandy recovery, the Task Force has released its preliminary report and recommendations on Sandy relief and storm planning. The preliminary report and recommendations come after Task Force members toured storm damaged communities across the New York City Metro Area, including Freeport, Island Park, Oceanside, The Rockaways, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Hudson Valley.
Senator Jack M. Martins joined in Albany with his colleagues as well as many statewide business organizations to urge Governor Cuomo to remove the proposed extension of the utility tax surcharge from his Executive Budget. The 18-a surcharge, which has increased utility bills for every ratepayer in the state, is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2014. The Governor’s proposed five-year extension would cost businesses and consumers a total of almost $3 billion.
Senator Jack M. Martins was at Weber Middle School on Friday, February 1 for Pizza and Politics with sixth grade students. The students discussed the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy with Senator Martins as they remembered the essays they entered for Senator Martins’ Thanksgiving Essay Contest. The students reiterated that they were thankful to have their homes and families and shelter as well as their school.
Senator Martins also spoke to the students about the role of a senator in Albany and about how a law is changed.
After Pizza and Politics, Principal Rodahan bestowed a special hour on Senator Martins by giving him the “Pride” pin for making the students feel special.
Port Washington’s new theatre group, the Cow Bay Theatre Company, held its first presentation on January 24 with a production of “Love Letters,” a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winner A.R. Gurney.
Senator Jack M. Martins attended the production at The Jeanne Rimsky Theater at the Landmark on Main Street to thank the Cow Bay Theatre Company for their commitment to the art and to wish them much success in the future.
Senator Martins presentation Senate Proclamations to actor Burt Young, the Peter and Jeri Dejana Family Foundation and Angela Susan Anton, publisher of Anton Community Newspapers for their contributions to the arts in the community and for being the recipients of the Cow Bay Theatre Company’s first annual awards.
Do you recall being in one room and hearing the theme music for your favorite television show emanating from the living room? I liken it to a trumpet call as we scrambled to take our places in front of the old boob tube.
Senator Jack M. Martins was reappointed chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Local Government. He served the last two years as the chair of that committee. Senator Martins has a background in local government and understands the issues facing local governments.
As a former mayor of village, a member of the Governor’s Mandate Relief Council and chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Local Governments, Senator Jack M. Martins is all too familiar with the challenges facing local governments, the greatest of which are skyrocketing pension rates.
“It’s the number one concern of local officials who must meet these enormous obligations while also complying with our new tax cap,” Senator Martins stated this past summer while attending Mandate Relief Council meetings, where he listened to testimony of numerous officials from local government and school districts. “It’s the way the system is set up – requiring ever increasing contributions precisely when the economy is at its worst and municipalities are least able to pay.”
Senator Jack M. Martins took part in the Senate hearing to consider to consider possible infrastructure and construction improvements, zoning changes and beach protection when rebuilding in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy in order to best prevent destruction from the next big storm.
The hearing was held by the Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, chaired by Senator Carl Marcellino. Among those who testified was Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who stated that the county was working with state and federal engineers in developing a regional solution to harden such critical infrastructure.
Funding Used for Technology to Enhance Student Learning
The Mineola School District, thanks to the efforts of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Nagler, the Board of Education, administrators and community, is on the cutting edge of employing technology as a effective tool for teaching and learning.
Using grant funding obtained by Senator Jack M. Martins, the district purchased IPads for use in the classroom at Mineola Middle School to enhance the solid education students are already receiving. Recently, Senator Martins visited the middle school, meeting with Dr. Nagler and Principal Matt Gaven, to see how the IPads are being used.
There’s been a lot of talk about gun control lately but not enough thinking. It’s an understandable knee-jerk reaction to the heartbreaking massacre at Newtown that has jolted us into action on gun-violence, but we must guard against the ideologues on both the left and the right who seek to hijack the discussion with nonsense that is neither grounded nor realistic. This issue is too important and the sensible people in the middle must resist being crowded out.
Presents High School Senior Frances Bruschi with the New York State Senate Library Medal
It’s sometimes difficult to stay positive with all the sad news happening around us. But, occasionally there comes a story that makes us feel good about the future of our state and nation. Enter 17-year-old Frances Brusch.
Frances is an unassuming high school senior from Carle Place who also attends Barry Tech. Her quick-thinking, alertness and will to act just may have saved a fellow student’s life.
There was a lot going on, but I didn’t forget. Even though the last year was widely recognized as one of the most successful for the New York Legislature in decades, for most of us, progress is still measured on the streets where we live, right in our own neighborhoods.