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17 Feb
0

Senator Krueger Introduces Bill To Repeal Fossil Fuel Related Tax Expenditures

Albany – Today New York State Senator Liz Krueger, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation (S.4816) to repeal over $300 million in annual state tax giveaways that encourage the use of fossil fuels. New York State annually forgoes a total of around $1.5 billion in revenue through fossil fuel related tax expenditures. S.4816, which builds on legislation that passed the Senate last year, would begin the process of aligning the state’s tax policy with the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which passed in 2019.
“In the past few years, New York State has taken unprecedented action to mitigate the effects of climate change, but there are still areas where we are on the wrong track,” said Senator Krueger. “We spend $1.5 billion every year on tax subsidies that support the use of dirty fossil fuels. Some of these subsidies are needed to help hard-working New Yorkers, but many are just sops to an outdated industry, wasting taxpayer dollars and making our climate crisis worse. This bill represents a down payment, a first step we can take right now to begin aligning our tax policy with our climate goals, by repealing the most egregious subsidies. In the face of a significant revenue shortfall, now is the perfect time to get rid of these counterproductive subsidies.”

New York State spends over $1.5 billion every year on fossil fuel related tax breaks, credits, and refunds, distorting the market and subsidizing the use of climate-destabilizing fossil fuels. Some of these tax expenditures may serve a compelling public interest such as offering heating assistance to low-income New Yorkers. However, a significant proportion of the spending serves to prop-up outdated industries or reward energy inefficiencies leading to a double cost to taxpayers – once for the direct tax expenditure and again for the environmental damage resulting from the continued burning of fossil fuels.

S.4816 begins the process of aligning New York state tax policy with our statutory climate goals by repealing some of the more egregious fossil fuel related tax expenditures. Repeal of these expenditures would save the state roughly $334 million annually, an estimate based on information available in the Annual Report on New York State Tax Expenditures, produced by the Division of Budget.

Among the annual tax expenditures that would be repealed by S.4816 are:

  • $118 million for airline fuel
  • $11.3 million for bunker fuel used in container ships
  • $4 million for fracked gas infrastructure
  • $57.6 million for liquid petroleum gases
  • $4.8 million for diesel, and Nos. 4, 5, and 6 fuel oil used in manufacturing

Conor Bambrick, Director of Climate Policy for Environmental Advocates NY, said, “In order to successfully fight climate change, we have to stop playing for the other side. Repealing fossil fuel subsidies matches the intent of our climate law and will allow New York to realign its budget priorities elsewhere. This includes reversing the budget raid of community clean energy funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. These funds should go frontline communities to reduce energy costs, create jobs, cut pollution, and help us toward our energy goals.”

Rich Schrader, New York Policy Director at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), said: “The fossil fuel industry is responsible for the climate crisis, endangers public health, and contaminates our water and air. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies would make more public spending available, which is especially important now given the depleted state resources during the current economic downturn, and is essential for an equitable transition toward a healthier, more sustainable, and just future for New Yorkers. We thank Senator Liz Krueger for championing this legislation and her continued leadership on climate issues.”Roger Downs, Conservation Director for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, said: “At a time when New York is facing both a fiscal crisis and a public health emergency, continuing to finance the degradation of our own air quality and the destabilization of the global climate makes little sense. Wiping the slate clean of New York State tax breaks, credits, refunds, and subsidies for corporations who continue to despoil the planet is a more than a reasonable fiscal policy during a pandemic. The Sierra Club thanks Senator Liz Krueger for her unwavering leadership in advancing New York’s climate commitments, protecting public health and removing the financial  barriers to achieving both those goals.”

Liz Moran, Environmental Policy Director for NYPIRG, said: “The fossil fuel industry spent billions of dollars over the course of decades lying about their role in causing the climate crisis – now they must be made to pay up. The worsening climate crisis and current fiscal downfall cannot be placed upon the shoulders of everyday New Yorkers. One very simple solution is ending nonessential fossil fuel subsidies. NYPIRG thanks Senator Krueger for her leadership on this issue and looks forward to working with the legislature to address fossil fuel subsidies this legislative session.”

Liam Smith, Co-Director of Government Affairs for New York Youth Climate Leaders (NY2CL), said: “At a time when New York faces an unprecedented $15 billion budget shortfall, we cannot afford to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars to the fossil fuel industry. Eliminating non-essential fossil fuel tax expenditures will generate funding for essential services like healthcare and education while protecting our environment from the threat of climate change. NY2CL commends Senator Krueger for her leadership on this issue and hopes to see this bill incorporated into the SFY 2021-22 budget.”

Jordan Dale, of 350NJ-Rockland said: “The New York state budget is under severe stress and the future of humanity is threatened by climate change. Eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels helps with both. It is a no-brainer, and we must demand that our leaders in Albany act on it immediately.”

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16 Feb
0

Senators Call For State Department Of Labor To Forgive Unemployment Overpayments

Albany – Today New York State Senator Liz Krueger and 11 other senators released a letter to state Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon, urging the Department to follow the example of other states by waiving or forgiving repayment obligations for New Yorkers who have received overpayments of unemployment benefits through no fault of their own. The letter from the senators can be viewed here and is reprinted below.

“Out of work New Yorkers have suffered enough in this pandemic – they don’t need the state pounding on their door to collect debts they never even knew they had incurred in the first place,” said Senator Krueger. “These overpayments were the result of mistakes made by the state, and the state should pay for them. Almost a year into the pandemic I still have constituents calling my office every day because they can’t get a response from DOL on their unemployment claims. Let’s use Department resources to help those people, instead of trying to collect from our neighbors in need.”

In 2020, the Department of Labor overpaid more than $114 million in benefits to New Yorkers, often as a result of errors made by their employers or by the Department itself. Recently, individuals who received overpayments through no fault of their own are being ordered to pay back thousands of dollars in benefits for which they believed they were eligible.

Under the terms of the federal CARES Act, states were required to recover overpayments, with no option to waive them. However, as a result of the federal COVID relief bill passed in December, states now have the option to waive or forgive overpayments, as New York State chose to do with federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation provided through the 2008 Economic Stimulus Act.

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February 12, 2021

Commissioner Roberta Reardon
New York State Department of Labor
Building 12
W.A. Harriman Campus
Albany, NY 12240

Dear Commissioner Reardon,

As New Yorkers continue to navigate the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19 and the resulting high levels of unemployment, we acknowledge the changes the Department of Labor has made to ensure that New Yorkers receive the benefits they are owed. Today, we write to urge the Department of Labor to address the issue of unemployment overpayments, and follow the example of other states that are waiving or forgiving repayment obligations.

We are hearing from many constituents who received letters from the Department of Labor notifying them that they owe back thousands of dollars of what they believed were legitimate benefits. The collection of unemployment overpayments is a particularly troublesome burden on individuals during the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis.

We understand that when the CARES Act expanded unemployment benefits to self-employed and other workers, it set a standard that the overpayment of federal dollars should be collected and did not provide a waiver, forcing states to recover the funds. However, with the recent passage of the December COVID Relief Bill, states now have the ability to waive or forgive these overpayments. Many states are opting in through forgiveness in instances of financial hardship for the recipient or due to error on the part of the employer or the unemployment agency.

At a time when it appears that the New York State Department of Labor is still overwhelmed by volume of current claims, prioritizing departmental resources on collecting overpayment could be reconsidered. Under the temporary federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program as part of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, New York enacted relief for the collection of overpayment. The 2008 extended benefits were analogous to the 2020 extended benefits and there was a system put in place to mitigate the impact of overpayments.

Thank you for updating labor policy to account for the new realities during the pandemic. We urge the Department of Labor to consider methods to mitigate the impact overpayments and provide relief for those affected.

Thank you,

James Gaughran
Andrew Gounardes
Brad Hoylman
Liz Krueger
Rachel May
Shelley Mayer
Elijah Reichlin-Melnick
Zellnor Myrie
Jessica Ramos
Sean Ryan
James Skoufis
Kevin Thomas

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22 Jan
0

Sen. Krueger’s Roundtable for Boomers and Seniors, Session I – Palliative Care and Hospice

This year’s Roundtable series will bring together experts to offer concrete tools to assist with end of life planning, and provide a forum to ignite our imagination about what we value and how we want to live as we age.

Session I: Palliative Care and Hospice
Thursday, January 21st, 2021 10 am – 11:30 am

View full video of the even by clicking here.

Learn about palliative care and hospice services, and what those services can provide to people who are living with serious illness, and for those who decide disease directed treatment is no longer meeting your goals.

Speakers:
– R. Sean Morrison, MD, Ellen and Howard C. Katz Chair Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai

– Brenda Green, LMSW, APHSW-C Social Worker for Palliative Care at Home Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai

– Adrienne Rudden, DNP, AGACNP-BC, ACHPN Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai

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20 Jan
0

Senator Krueger Urges Governor To Create Centralized Vaccine Appointment System

New York – Today, State Senator Liz Krueger released a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to create a statewide, functional, centralized vaccine appointment system. The letter can be downloaded as a PDF here, and can be viewed below.

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15 Jan
0

COVID-19 and the Vaccines

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, January 14th, 2021, with State Senator Liz Krueger, Dr. Torian Easterling, First Deputy Commissioner, and Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

View the full event by clicking here.

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07 Jan
0

Senators Call For President Trump To Be Held Accountable Following Violent Insurrection In US Capitol

Albany – Today New York State Senator Liz Krueger and 39 other senators released a letter to Congressional leaders and Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, calling for President Trump to be held accountable for inciting the violent insurrection against the US government that occurred yesterday in Washington, D.C. The letter from the senators can be downloaded from this page or viewed by clicking here, and is reprinted below.

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January 7th, 2021

Hon. Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader, United States Senate
Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, United States House of Representatives
Hon. Charles E. Schumer, Minority Leader, United States Senate
Hon. Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader, United States House of Representatives
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and Leader McCarthy:

As you know, yesterday, Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and his co-conspirators, directly incited and encouraged an armed and violent insurrection against the government of the United States, with the express purpose of preventing the peaceful transfer of power and overturning the results of a free and fair election.

In the months leading up to yesterday’s events, the President, members of his administration, and numerous elected members of his party, intentionally spread false and inflammatory claims regarding the legitimacy of the election, and both implicitly and explicitly promised violent or armed opposition to prevent the election from being certified and the President-Elect from taking office.

Yesterday, following the President’s incitement, a mob attacked and violently forced entry into the United States Capitol Building, endangering the lives of Capitol Police, Members of Congress, and building staff, and causing a delay in the certification of the results of the recent presidential election.

In the course of their attack, the insurrectionists trespassed on and destroyed Federal property, including flagrantly looting the Capitol, and openly bragged about their exploits on social media. The attackers carried white supremacist symbols including the flag known as the “Confederate battle flag,” as well as anti-Semitic and fascist symbols including swastikas. At the same time as many were carrying these symbols of the enemies of the United States, some of the attackers were observed removing the flag of the United States, throwing it to the ground, and replacing it with a flag bearing the name of President Donald J. Trump.

Respectfully, we draw your attention to 18 U.S. Code § 2383, which states: “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

In addition, we draw your attention to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

In light of yesterday’s appalling events, we, the undersigned members of the New York State Senate, call on the United States Congress to hold President Donald J. Trump accountable for inciting an insurrection against the government of the United States, using all avenues available, up to and including impeachment and immediate removal from office.

In addition, we call on Congress to hold accountable any members of Congress who may have incited, encouraged, assisted, or offered aid and comfort to insurrectionists, using all avenues available, up to and including expulsion of members.

We further call on the United States Department of Justice to thoroughly, transparently, and impartially investigate the incidents of Wednesday, January 6th, and bring to justice anyone and everyone involved, including the President of the United States and his co-conspirators.

As elected representatives of the people of the State of New York, we stand by the two hundred forty-four year old democratic and pluralistic promise of the United States of America. We will not allow it to be destroyed by the divisive and hateful actions of an aspiring petty tyrant and his followers.

Sincerely,

Liz Krueger
Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Joseph Addabo, Jr.
Brian Benjamin
Allessandra Biaggi
Jabari Brisport
John Brooks
Samra Brouk
Leroy Comrie
Jeremy Cooney
James Gaughran
Michael Gianaris
Andrew Gounardes
Peter Harckham
Michelle Hinchey
Brad Hoylman
Robert Jackson
Todd Kaminsky
Anna Kaplan
Timothy M. Kennedy
John Liu
John Mannion
Rachel May
Shelley Mayer
Roxanne Persaud
Jessica Ramos
Elijah Reichlin-Melnick
Gustavo Rivera
Julia Salazar
James Sanders
Diane Savino
Luis Sepulveda
Jose Serrano
James Skoufis
Toby Ann Stavisky
Kevin Thomas
Jamaal Bailey
Zellnor Myrie
Kevin Parker
Neil D. Breslin

cc:
Acting United States Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen
New York State Congressional Delegation

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03 Dec
0

COVID-19 and Your Mental Health

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Wednesday, December 3rd, with State Senator Liz Krueger, Steven N. Moskowitz, MSW Director, Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the State Office Of Mental Health, Douglass Ruderman, Director, Project Hope at the State Office of Mental Health, and Lisa Dixon, MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, and Director of The Center for Practice Innovations (CPI) at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Video of the event can be viewed by clicking here.

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01 Dec
0

The State of the Pandemic

A Virtual Town Hall on The State of the Pandemic: Preventive Strategies to Help Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 and Flatten the Second Curve. Recorded on Monday, November 23rd, 2020, with State Senator Liz Krueger, Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Disease Control, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Ted Long, MD, MHS, Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Care, and Executive Director Test and Trace Corps at New York City Health + Hospitals.
Watch full video of the event by clicking here.

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13 Nov
0

Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D

A Virtual Town Hall recorded on Thursday, November 12th, 2020, with State Senator Liz Krueger and Eric Hausman from the Department for the Aging’s Health Insurance Information and Counseling Program (HIICAP).

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16 Oct
0

Senator Krueger’s Virtual Senior Resource Fair

This year’s Senior Resource Fair went virtual, with presentations about resources you can access online about arts and culture, exercise and meditation, and job search for people over 50. Click on the links below for full video of the events.

ARTS AND CULTURE
Tuesday, October 13th from 2 pm – 3:30 pm
Join us at the theater, at a lecture, and a concert, look at art in the museum, and attend class at the University.

Presentations by:

– Carnegie Hall
– DOROT- University Without Walls, On Site and special programs
– The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
– Theatre Development Fund
– The Streicker Center at Temple Emanu-El

 

EXERCISE AND MEDITATION
Wednesday, October 14th from 2 pm – 3:30 pm
Put on some comfortable clothes to exercise and meditate, and find out about programs designed to keep us healthy and to reduce stress

Presentations by:

– Asphalt Green
– Lenox Hill Neighborhood House – learn about the Simonson Technique, an organic approach to movement
– Health Advocates for Older People – learn about how to exercise with arthritis

 

JOB HUNTING
Thursday, October 15th 2 pm – 3:30 pm
Finding a job is never easy, and it’s even harder for individuals over 50, especially during the time of COVID.  We are continuing our partnership with the Business Center at the New York Public Library to help you hone your job search skills. Topics include establishing the right mindset for the job search, creating an effective resume, and refining your interviewing skills.

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