FLATBUSH VOICE NEWS FROM THE 17TH SENATE DISTRICT
New York State Legislature Passes Senator Felder's Historic Legislation Providing School Bus Service for Students Dismissed After Regular School Hours. Page 1 Statement by Senator Simcha Felder Denouncing New Plastic Bag Tax Page 1 140 Yeshivas Attend Transportation Workshop
Felder’s Page 2
Senator Simcha Felder: “My Rabbi Told Me to Stay in Albany for the Sabbath to Vote on Controversial Abortion Bill” Page 3 What Can Senator Simcha Felder Do for You? Page 4 Mrs. Ellie Kastel of the Boro Park Y Honored by Senator Felder at Women of Distinction Event Page 3 Paying Tribute to Military Personnel At West Point Day In Albany Page 4 Avoid 5-Point Penalty; Don’t Text & Drive Page 5 Felder Introduces Bill Requiring Cemeteries to Accommodate SameDay Burials After Business Hours Page 5
Senator Simcha Felder and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, who sponsored the transportation bill in the Assembly.
Legislation Co-Sponsored by Felder Restores Funding to Protect the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities Page 9
STATEMENT BY SENATOR SIMCHA FELDER DENOUNCING NEW PLASTIC BAG TAX “I am completely opposed to the legislation introduced by Councilmembers Chin and Lander requiring retail and grocery stores to charge at least 10 cents for paper and plastic bags at retail and grocery stores,” said Senator Felder. “New Yorkers cannot afford the basics, and now the City Council is essentially telling the average New Yorker who is in trouble, ‘not only are you suffering, but we’re really going to stomp on your head by charging you 10 cents extra per bag.’
"This is nothing more than a tax and an attempt to make money. People are already overtaxed and overburdened. While the City Council is busy seeing green, New Yorkers will be seeing red. This scheme hearkens back to 2008 when Mayor Bloomberg wanted to charge six cents for the use of plastic bags. I took on the City’s budget director at a hearing on that proposal as well. It was a tax five years ago and it’s still a tax today.”
Governor Cuomo Signs Two Felder Bills into Law Page 9
From Felder's Files
Senator Felder Unveils Legislation for Middle-Class Child Care Tax Credit Page 11
Senator Simcha Felder fought a similar measure back in 2008 when the City announced a plan to charge six cents for the use of plastic bags. Simcha Felder questions New York City Budget Director Mark Page during a hearing about the City's plan.
New Law Requires Registration to Keep Homeowner’s Basic STAR Exemption Page 11
FREE FLU SHOTS AND MORE! See Page 5 The Flatbush Voice
Senator Dean Skelos
(L-R): Senator Simcha Felder (at podium); Rabbi Aharon Welz; Assemblyman Dov Hikind; Mr. Eric Goldstein of the New York City Department of Transportation; Councilman David Greenfield; Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein; Mrs. Deborah Zachai, Agudath Israel of America; and Ms. Tracy Green of the Office of Pupil Transportation.
Senator John Flanagan
A shot of the crowd
Copy of an ad featured in a local newspaper from parents of yeshiva students thanking Senator Felder for his tireless efforts in passing the transportation bill
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MRS. ELLIE KASTEL OF THE BORO PARK Y HONORED BY SENATOR FELDER AT WOMEN OF DISTINCTION EVENT Mrs. Ellie Kastel, Executive Director of the Boro Park Y, was honored by Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) in Albany as part of the Senate’s annual Women of Distinction program, which recognizes women’s contributions to their communities. Mrs. Kastel has been an integral part of the Boro Park YM-YWHA team since September 1980. Every year, the Senate honors a distinguished woman from our area and throughout the state at a ceremony in Albany, where each honoree’s photograph and biography becomes part of a special exhibit proclaiming the contributions of these
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exemplary New York women. “There are remarkable women in our midst whose lives, work, or special accomplishments contribute to making our communities better, making our families stronger, and serve as special examples to others,” said Senator Felder. “The Senate’s ‘Women of Distinction’ program provides a special opportunity to honor these women for their achievements and to thank them for the pride they bring to our communities.” Previous winners in the annual event have included leading women from the world of business, academics, and civic
life, as well as those who have performed heroic or selfless acts, made significant discoveries, or provided examples of personal excellence against difficult odds. The Women of Distinction program was created as part of the Senate’s celebration of Women’s History Month. In addition to recognizing presentday women, each March, the Senate hosts a display that honors other distinguished women from New York’s past, from leaders of the 19thcentury suffragist movement to pioneers in education, science, and the arts.
(L-R) is Senator Simcha Felder, Mrs. Ellie Kastel, and her husband, Rabbi Dr. Nechemia Kahn
WHAT CAN SENATOR SIMCHA FELDER DO FOR YOU? Senator Felder can assist you with various problems involving property taxes, utility or water bills, food stamps, housing, Medicaid, and other issues requiring government intervention.
If you ask the average person who their elected officials are, you will most likely get the wrong answer or no answer at all. People tend to be confused about who represents them in government and what function each official serves. In New York State, each person, known as a constituent, has a representative in the State Senate and in the Assembly. Together, the State Senate and the Assembly are known as the legislature. Constituents are also represented by a member in the New York City Council, which oversees issues involving New York City. Additionally, each New Yorker is represented in the federal government by a member
of Congress (in the House of Representatives) and a United States senator.
So, what does a State Senator do? In short, they help people
like you – the constituents who elected them – with any problems involving New York State government. New York State senators are men and women who work in their respective communities and at the state capitol in Albany to make laws that protect you and improve the quality of life
for all New Yorkers. The Senate meets in Albany for legislative session which takes place in the Senate chamber. Senators divide their time between their district and Albany offices, giving them time to meet with constituents and resolve any concerns constituents may have.
FAST FACTS…BY THE NUMBERS • There are 63 Senators in New York State. • There are 150 Assembly members in New York State. • Senators and Assembly members are elected for 2-year terms. • The Governor is elected to a 4-year term. • A Senator typically represents about 300,000 people in a community. • Over a two-year legislative session, approximately 9,000 bills are introduced in the Senate. • Each year, the Senate passes about 1,400 bills and about 800 of these bills become law.
PAYING TRIBUTE TO MILITARY PERSONNEL AT WEST POINT DAY IN ALBANY served 23 years on active duty in the United States Army. Both the Senate and the Assembly adopted Legislative Resolutions to commemorate the Academy’s visit and to honor the establishment of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Each Senator represents a different area of New York State. Senator Felder represents the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Midwood, Flatbush, Borough Park, Kensington, Sunset Park, Madison, and Bensonhurst. Constituents have all sorts of problems when they call or come to Senator Felder’s office. They may need assistance with their property taxes, water bills, or utility bills. Often, people have questions about food stamps, housing, or obtaining low-cost or free medical care. Regardless of your issue, we are here to help you in any way we can. If you need assistance, please call us at 718-253-2015 or visit us at 1412 Avenue J on the second floor. We look forward to serving you!
FELDER SAYS STAY SAFE
“History has taught us time and again that freedom is not free,” said Senator Felder. “It is incumbent upon all of us who love this great nation to show our immense gratitude to the men and women who serve our country at tremendous personal sacrifice so that we may live peacefully.” An estimated 1200 new cadets enter the Academy each year. Currently, there are 4,400 cadets enrolled at West Point from every state in the United States, as well as from several foreign countries. After graduation, cadets are deployed throughout the world and serve on active duty for at least five years. (L-R) Senator Bill Larkin; Brigadier General Timothy Trainor; Senator Simcha Felder; and Senator Marty Golden at the 61st Annual West Point Day in Albany
Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) recently welcomed and paid tribute to men and women from the United States Military Academy at West Point at a reception as part of the 61st Annual “West Point Day” held at the New York State Capitol in Albany. The event was hosted by Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson), a retired lieutenant colonel who
“West Point is truly a unique institution and one that produces the best of the best,” said Senator Larkin. “The men and women who attend the Academy are proven leaders who have excelled at academics and have demonstrated their abilities under pressure.” Senators Felder and Larkin met with many of the cadets, as well as with Brigadier General Timothy Trainor, the Dean of the Academic Board at the Academy. “It was so gratifying to meet these real-life heroes,” Senator Felder said. “I pray that the Almighty blesses and protects our Armed Forces wherever they may serve.”
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FELDER INTRODUCES BILL REQUIRING CEMETERIES TO ACCOMMODATE SAME-DAY BURIALS AFTER BUSINESS HOURS Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) has introduced legislation that will force cemeteries to perform same-day burials even after business hours. Under the current law, someone who dies after 11:00 A.M. cannot be buried until the next day. When a person passes away on a Friday or just before a holiday, the wait for burial can be as long as two to three days. “The need for this bill is long overdue,” said Senator Felder. “Countless New Yorkers adhere to a belief system that requires same-day interment for the deceased. This legislation is about redressing a grievance for these citizens and allowing griefstricken mourners to begin the healing process in a timely way.” The provisions of the bill state that cemeteries must be notified at least two hours prior to burial, and the decedent has to be brought to the cemetery at least a half-hour before sundown. If a cemetery is unable to perform the burial, it must provide written justification explaining its inability to do so. “It is unconscionable and unfair to cause needless suffering to the grieving family members who are struggling to come to terms with their loss and are looking for closure,” said Rabbi Eliezer Spira, a chevra kadisha member affiliated with the Bais Ha’medrash Chasidei Belz. “In other states, funerals can be conducted promptly and New York State should also afford this same kind of protection to its citizens.”
Senator Simcha Felder’s 2013 Upcoming Fall Events
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Senator Simcha Felder watches animatedly as students at the Yeshiva Imrei Yosef Spinka's Annual Science Fair demonstrate their science experiments.
Senator Felder presents PS 231K graduate Tyrese Williams with the Senator Simcha Felder Community Service Certificate while the boyâ€™s father looks on.
(L-R): Assemblyman James Brennan; Councilman David Greenfield; NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty; Senator Simcha Felder; and Assemblyman Dov Hikind announce a clean-up campaign in residential and commercial areas in Boro Park.
(L-R): Sargeant Yitzy Jablonsky; Chief Owen J. Monaghan of Brooklyn South; Retired Detective Michael Gregorio from Senator Simcha Felder's office; Senator Simcha Felder; Lieutenant Jim Woods; and Shlomo Heller, community liaison from Senator Felder's office met recently to discuss crime prevention.
Senator Simcha Felder speaks at the street re-naming for Yoseph Robinson, the ger tzedek who was killed in 2010 during a liquor store robbery. Pictured with the Senator is Councilman Jumaane Williams who represents the area where Robinson was murdered.
Senator Felder met with Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlos Scissura to discuss quality-of-life issues in his district and throughout Brooklyn.
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Honorable Yves Etienne, 61st Precinct Community Council President; Senator Simcha Felder; Captain John Chell, Commanding Officer of the 61st Precinct; and Retired Detective Michael Gregorio, police liaison from Senator Felder's office pose at the National Night Out event held on August 6.
Senator Felder poses with representatives from the Brooklyn Public Library at National Night Out. Back row: Yidel Perlstein, Community Board 12 Chairman; Yanky Daskal, Coordinator of the Boro Park Shomrim; Wolf Sender, Community Board 12 District Manager; Captain John Chell of the 61st Precinct; Councilman Brad Lander; and Senator Simcha Felder.
Senator Felder is pictured with Community Board 12 Chairman Yidel Perlstein and Coordinator of the Boro Park Shomrim Yanky Daskal at National Night Out on August 6.
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Senator Felder takes part at the FreeTree Giveaway event hosted at the Boro Park Y. The event was held in conjunction with MillionTreesNYC and the New York Restoration Project.
(L-R) Senator Simcha Felder; Captain John Chell, Commanding Officer, 61st Precinct; Deputy Inspector James Rooney, Commanding Officer, 62nd Precinct; and Inspector Eric Rodriguez, Commanding Officer, 70th Precinct met to discuss crime and safety issues, as well as increasing communication between the Senator's office and the police precincts.
Senator Felder speaks with senior citizens at the House of Jacob Senior Center.
Senator Simcha Felder participated in a parlor meeting sponsored by the Young Leadership Committee of Agudath Israel of America. The Senator discussed issues of interest to the community and answered questions. (R-L) Naftali Miller; Senator Felder; Srulli Ickowics; Pinny Borenstein; R' Avrohom Schwartz; R’ Mordechai Levin; and R' Shimon Yanofksy.
Senator Simcha Felder speaks at the dedication of the new Hamaspik building in Boro Park. (L-R) Wolf Sender, Community Board 12 District Manager; Rabbi Meyer Wertheimer, Hamaspik president; Senator Simcha Felder; Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Councilman Brad Lander; and Councilman David Greenfield.
Senator Felder presents a proclamation to Reverend Monsignor David Cassato celebrating the 100th anniversary of St. Athanasius Church in Brooklyn. Pictured with them is Detective Michael Gregorio (Retired), the police liaison from Senator Felder’s office.
Senator Felder recently met with executives from the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services to learn about the many programs JBFCS offers. (L-R) Louis P. Welz, Director of Orthodox Jewish Services; Davd Rivel, CEO of JBFCS; Senator Simcha Felder; Jonathan Katz, LCSW, Director of Jewish Community Services; and Carmen Collado, LCSW-R, Chief Government & Community Relations Officer.
Senator Felder participated in the Brooklyn Chinese-American Annual Clean-up Campaign event. Pictured with the Senator are some of Brooklyn’s youngest clean-up crew!
Senator Simcha Felder speaks at a press conference dedicating a new menorah at the Chabad Synagogue of Kensington after the previous one was burned down on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Senator Felder is holding a piece of the charred remnants of the first menorah.
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(L-R) Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, Senator David Carlucci, and Senator Simcha Felder at a rally to protest cuts to funding for the disabled.
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Senator Felder Seals a Sinkhole A dangerous sinkhole on 47th Street between 19th Avenue and McDonald Avenue had remained unfilled since September 2012 while various City agencies bickered about who was responsible to fix it. It had become filled with debris and other types of garbage.
FROM 'S R E D FEL FILES
When Mr. M. called Senator Felder’s office to report the sinkhole, a staff member immediately went down to the site, took photographs, and met with Mr. M. to get more details. Senator Felder personally intervened and contacted the commissioners of each agency involved. He demanded that the sinkhole be filled immediately before it became the site of a tragic accident. Within a week of Senator Felder's calls, the sinkhole was filled.
Holiday Tickets Dismissed In May, three neighbors in Boro Park each received a $100 Sanitation ticket for failing to clean the sidewalk in front of their respective homes. The day in question was Shavuos. Outraged, the neighbors contacted Senator Felder’s office for assistance. Senator Felder wrote to the Environmental Control Board to appeal the tickets on behalf of his constituents, and included the notarized letter of defense from each family. He explained that his constituents were barred from performing any kind of work on the Jewish Sabbath or holidays, and requested that the tickets be dismissed.
By July, each family received their notice of a “not guilty” decision in the mail.
Stumped by a Tree Stump For two years, Mr. Fromer tried in vain to get the rotting tree outside of his home removed. The tree was swaying dangerously close to the roof of his house and posed a serious risk to Mr. Fromer and his family. Finally, Mr. Fromer asked Senator Felder’s office to intercede. After visiting Mr. Fromer’s home and photographing the offending tree, Senator Felder’s staff forwarded the pictures to the Brooklyn Forestry Unit and demanded immediate action. Within a week, the tree was removed, and a very grateful Mr. Fromer (pictured) called to thank the Senator for his prompt assistance.
A Disabled Baby Finds a Home A young couple recently gave birth to a baby with special needs. Already parents of several other small children, the young couple felt ill-prepared to care for the child. The baby remained at the hospital until a temporary volunteer placement was found. Unfortunately, the infant could not remain with the volunteer family any longer, and the parents needed a permanent placement funded by the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). The parents were told there was no funding available for a permanent placement. Desperate, they contacted a nonprofit organization serving individuals with developmental delays. A staff member found a warm, certified, and experienced family who was willing to take the baby, but wanted assurance of financial assistance from OPWDD before they would bring the baby home. The organization called Senator Felder for assistance. He contacted the commissioner of OPWDD and explained the dire situation and the need for an immediate placement. Two days later, the organization was told that funding would be made available to the adoptive family to help care for their new child.
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SENATOR FELDER UNVEILS LEGISLATION FOR MIDDLE-CLASS CHILD CARE TAX CREDIT Credit Would Ease Child Care Costs for Middle-Class New Yorkers, Currently the Highest in the Nation costs in the country. In 2012, the average cost of day care was $14,000. The legislation will make child care more affordable for parents by providing expanded assistance to New Yorkers with children under the age of 4.
Senator Simcha Felder reviews the Child Care Tax Credit with Josh Wallack, Vice President of the Early Childhood Division at the Children’s Aid Society.
At a press conference at City Hall, Senator Simcha Felder unveiled legislation that will ease the cost of child care for middle-class families in New York City. Senator Felder made the announcement in conjunction with Speaker Quinn, the Children’s Aid Society, United Neighborhood Houses, the Children’s Defense Fund and parents of young children eligible for child care.
Speaker Quinn, will increase the child care tax credit offered to low-income families and will expand the credit to include middle-class households.
The Middle-Class Child Care Tax Credit, first proposed by
New York City has the most expensive infant day care
"This legislation is in keeping with my commitment to help middle-class taxpayers and their families survive,” said Senator Felder. “New York City’s forgotten middle-class has suffered too much for too long.”
“We must rein in the skyrocketing cost of child care and make it affordable for all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The Middle-Class Child Care Tax Credit will ease the cost of child care in New York City—the highest in the nation—and will provide expanded assistance to low-income and middle-class parents with young children, and I thank Senator Felder and Assembly Member Farrell for sponsoring this important legislation.” Currently, only households with adjusted gross incomes of $25,000 or less can benefit from the full tax credit for child care. The expanded credit will offer tax relief to parents with incomes of up to $170,000. More than 100,000 families will benefit from the expanded child care credit, which would
be equal to the applicable percentage of the federal tax credit for dependent care services. With child care credits from all levels of government, middleclass families will receive tax credits of up to $1,000 for one child and $2,000 credit for two or more children. The percentage would be: • 90 percent for incomes of $45,000 or less • For incomes between $45,001 and $60,000, the credit phases down from 90 percent to 50 percent • 50 percent for incomes
• For incomes between $150,001 and $175,000, the credit phases down from 50 percent to zero “Especially during these difficult economic times, we have to do everything we can to ease the burden on taxpayers, and put money back into the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers where it belongs.” Senator Felder added. “I am very proud to sponsor this common-sense legislation.” Credits: All charts credited to Office of New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn
The CosT of Child Care is high … and rising Þ New York Has the Most Expensive Infant Day Care Costs In the Country Þ Child Care Costs Are Increasing $1,612 per year, on Average Þ Full Time Day Care for Infants in NYC ranges from $8,300 a year for registered family day care to $17,000 a year for care at a Day Care Center Þ Infant care at a Day Care Center Costs 54% of the New York State Median Income for Single Mothers SourCe: Day Care Council of New York, ChildCare Aware of America, ‘Parents and the High Cost of Child Care’ 2012, Office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Office of Real Property Tax Services
Application for School Tax Relief (STAR) Exemption (See general information and instructions on the back page) Name and telephone number of owner(s)
Mailing address of owner(s)
Day phone number
Evening phone no.
Location of property Street address
Village (if any)
Tax map number or section/block/lot __________________________________________________________ Property identification (see tax bill or assessment roll)
1. Did the combined income of the owners and spouses who reside on the property exceed $500,000 in the 2012 income tax year? (Note: The NYS Department of Taxation and Finance will be confirming the income eligibility of STAR recipients.) Yes No If Yes, you are not eligible for the STAR exemption for the 2014-2015 school year. 2. Do you or your spouse own any other property that is currently receiving the STAR exemption? Yes No 3. Do you or your spouse own property in another state that you are claiming as your full time residence and are receiving a residency tax benefit, such as the Florida Homestead exemption? Yes No If Yes, give the address of each such property:
You may be eligible for a larger school property tax savings if you meet these age and income requirements 4. If you are applying for STAR for the 2014-2015 school year: a) Will all owners be at least 65 years of age as of December 31, 2014? OR b) If the property is owned by a married couple or by siblings, will at least one of the spouses or siblings be at least 65 years of age as of December 31, 2014? Yes No 5. Is the total 2012 income of all the owners, and of any owners’ spouses residing on the premises, $81,900 or less? (See definition of income for STAR purposes on back of form.) Yes No If the answer to both questions 4 and 5 is Yes, all owners, including nonresident owners, must attach a copy of either their 2012 federal or 2012 state income tax returns (if filed). (Tax schedules and tax form attachments are not routinely required.) The assessor may require proof of age.
Return this form to your local assessor by taxable status date (see back). Do not file this form with the New York State Tax Department or the Office of Real Property Tax Services.
Caution: Anyone who misrepresents his or her primary residence, age, or income shall be subject to a $100 penalty, shall be prohibited from receiving the STAR exemption for five years, and may be subject to criminal prosecution. I (we) certify that all of the above information is correct, that the property listed above is owned by me (us) and is my (our) primary residence and that my (our) 2012 income was less than $500,000. I (we) understand it is my (our) obligation to notify the assessor if I (we) relocate to another primary residence and to provide any documentation of eligibility that is requested.
All resident owners must sign and date. Signature
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IS ANY OF IT YOURS?
THERE IS 12 BILLION DOLLARS IN UNCLAIMED FUNDS IN NEW YORK STATE. Senator Simcha Felder 1412 Avenue J, Suite 2E Brooklyn, NY 11230
Partial List of Community Service Organizations Ready to Assist You
ALWAYS ON CALL
CONFIDENTIAL Tel: RESPONSE email@example.com 1-800-603-OHEL
4114 14th Avenue Brooklyn, N.Y. 11219
4510HELP 16thONLINE Avenuewww.ohelfamily.org Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204 LIVE
1274 49th Street #69 Brooklyn, N.Y. 11219
FOSTER BAIS CARE EZRA INSTITUTE FOR TRAINING
1274 49th Street, Suite #297 Brooklyn, NY 11219 Tel: 718.437.4939
5904 13th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11219 Tel: 718-431-9831
MENTAL HEALTH CAMP ETTA KAYLIE
4912 14th Avenue Brooklyn, N.Y. 11219 Tel: 718-438-5921
5215 16th Avenue Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204 Tel: 718-871-6644 • Emergency Number: 718-387-1750
718-338-9453 • Emergency Number: 718-338-9797
2294 Nostrand Avenue, Suite 1000, Brooklyn, NY 11210
1431 59th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11219
5904 13th Avenue Brooklyn, N.Y. 11219 Tel: 718-437-7474
4712 Fort Hamilton Parkway Brooklyn, N.Y. 11219 Tel: 718-259-5576
Brooklyn Housing & Family Services, Inc. 415 Albemarle Road Brooklyn, NY 11218-2351 Tel: 718-435-7585 • FAX 718-435-7605