Move over, Manhattan – it’s Queens’ time to shine.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) and other officials announced at Borough Hall on Tuesday that they are pushing for an initiative to expand tourism outside of Manhattan, particularly to spots that Queens residents already know and love – but which tourists may never catch a glimpse of during their visits to the city because of a Manhattan-centric approach to advertising.
In an attempt to draw tourists from the incessantly flashing lights of Times Square to places across the borough, from the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the Louis Armstrong Museum in Corona, Peralta unveiled a bill that would give each borough a portion of the state hotel occupancy tax it collects to promote local tourism.
QUEENS — A new bill proposed by a Queens lawmaker would give the outer boroughs a bigger chunk of the state's hotel tax, allowing local businesses to reap the benefits of large events like the upcoming US Open, he said.
State Sen. Jose Peralta’s bill, unveiled Tuesday, would provide each borough with 4 percent of the state hotel occupancy tax revenue each year — up to $300,000 apiece — to promote local tourism.
Tourism in the city is currently promoted by NYC & Company, and money is funneled to the boroughs through the NYC & Company Foundation, according to the Queens Economic Development Corporation.
Nueva York — El senador estatal José Peralta presentó una legislación que busca conseguir hasta $300,000 anuales para promover el turismo en vecindarios exteriores, con fondos del impuesto de ocupación de hotel.
De acuerdo con cifras de la ciudad, el año pasado unos $55 billones se generaron por esa industria en los cinco condados, el 90% en Manhattan. En cambio la NYC & Company, agencia oficial para promover el turismo en la ciudad, asignó solo unos $60,000 anual a cada condado para promocionar sus atractivos.
El proyecto plantea que el 4% ó menos, (dependiendo de lo que se genere al año) de los ingresos por el impuesto en la ciudad se destinen a cada zona para la promoción de nuevos destinos y establecimientos como restaurantes, hoteles y bares.
A new bill unveiled in front of Queens Borough Hall by State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) on Aug. 20 would give each borough a portion of the state hotel occupancy tax it collects to promote local tourism to the outer boroughs.
With this new bill, Peralta, along with supporters including Queens Borough President hopeful Melinda Katz, said “it will bring tourists from Manhattan to see hidden gems in Queens like the Louis Armstrong Museum in Corona.”
According to the new bill, each borough would receive up to $300,000 in funding to boost local tourism by allowing for-profit venues, like restaurants and bars, to place advertisements in weekly newspapers, local radio stations and cable shows.
State Senator Jose Peralta unveiled a bill that would give each borough a portion of the state hotel occupancy tax it collects to use to promote local tourism.
The city’s official tourism arm, NYC & Company, promotes travel and tourism opportunities throughout the city and allocates approximately $60,000 to each of the boroughs to promote local nonprofit destinations and activities.
Peralta’s bill would provide each borough four percent of the state hotel occupancy tax revenue it collects, up to a maximum of $300,000, in order to promote local tourism, including at for-profit venues, such as bars and restaurants. Convention and visitors bureaus throughout New York and the United States are typically funded with hotel occupancy tax revenues.
Proposed legislation would allow undocumented immigrants access to New York state driver's licenses. Sen. Jose Peralta, has submitted legislation he says would bring the undocumented into the economic mainstream and improve safety on New York roads.
"A driver's license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility," said Peralta, D-Queens. "In moving out of the shadows and into the economic mainstream, they will be less isolated and less vulnerable to predators and their scams. This legislation will also help make all New Yorkers safer by allowing us to identify everyone who drives on our roads and ensure that they are properly credentialed, educated and operating registered, inspected and insured vehicles."
Sen. Jose Peralta, a Democrat and prime sponsor of a bill to create a state DREAM Act, invoked conservative Texas Gov. Rick Perry in urging his Republican colleagues to support the measure.
"We have an opportunity here in New York to build on the growing national consensus, among business, labor and Republican and Democratic leaders, on both the need for immigration reform and the obvious economic benefits of reform.”
The Peralta DREAM Act bill would allow allow state financial assistance to go to the college kids of illegal immigrants.
Perry signed a different version of the DREAM Act that allows the kids of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Texas state colleges.
"And clearly there is the political will for campaign financing, but not for helping young immigrants get a college degree.
“Senate Republicans argued against using tax dollars for campaign financing, just as they had previously argued against spending tax revenue on the DREAM Act.
"But whereas the Senate’s house budget features campaign financing, it excludes the DREAM Act, kicking to the curb, yet again, the hopes and aspirations of young people whose zeal to live, work, pay taxes and prosper in this great country is being held against them.
"I am happy about the inclusion of campaign financing, which I wholeheartedly support. I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the exclusion of the DREAM Act.
"I call on the governor and my Republican Senate colleagues to seize the opportunitywe have here in New York to build on the growing national consensus around theneed for immigration reform and the obvious economic benefits of doing right by our young people.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned on a promise to lower fines against small businesses, criticizing what he deemed the punitive, "revenue-focused" enforcement of city laws.
But his preliminary budget indicates that his administration plans to collect even more in levies than city agencies did under Michael Bloomberg last year.
Revenue from fines soared 72% during the Bloomberg administration, to $799 million in 2013 from $467 million in 2002. The initial de Blasio budget unveiled last month indicates that fine revenue will grow to $807.5 million this year. That's just $5 million less than the Bloomberg administration had projected for 2014.
"There was a sigh of relief among small business owners when this mayor was elected," said Queens state Sen. Jose Peralta. "There hasn't been much to show so far, though, and a lot of business owners are getting nervous. You have to give the mayor time to breathe and soak it all in, but it's now time to tackle this in a positive way."
A day after Mr. de Blasio signed the legislation, the City Council issued rules putting into effect a law signed by Mr. Bloomberg to reduce fines against restaurants. Those changes are part of a wider overhaul of the city's letter-grading system for eateries and the suspected quota system that has led to an outcry from inspectors and restaurateurs.
In the meantime, Mr. Peralta has called on the mayor to adopt an amnesty program under which proprietors can seek to have fines incurred during the Bloomberg administration dismissed by the new mayor.