AT A GLANCE
- Governor Hochul announces $31.4 million for school technology and security enhancements.
- Governor Hochul announces $110 million in grants awarded to 86 water quality protection projects across the state.
- President Biden’s cap on the cost of insulin could benefit millions of Americans in all 50 states.
- Governor Hochul announces decreases in gun violence in Rochester & highlights FY 2024 Executive Budget proposals to further drive down crime & protect New Yorkers.
- Mayor Adams signs two pieces of legislation, one taking action to protect victims of domestic violence, and the other promoting environmental justice by improving air quality.
- President Biden releases op-ed in the New York Times: My Plan to Extend Medicare for Another Generation.
- President Biden’s budget aims to cut deficits by nearly $3 trillion over 10 years.
- President Biden released a budget outlining his vision to build on the work this Administration has done to make a real difference in people’s lives.
- Governor Hochul and Attorney General James are calling on major pharmacy chains to commit to making medication abortion available in New York.
- Attorney General James calls out Florida Governor DeSantis for violating students’ right to privacy.
- Governor Hochul announces Coxsackie, Kinderhook, and Cambridge as capital region winners of first round of NY forward program.
- Governor Hochul announces completion of $15 million affordable and supportive housing development in Cayuga County.
- Senator Gillibrand, State Senator Rolison, Assemblymember Barrett, and advocates visit the castle point VA to highlight the implementation of the pact act and help veterans exposed to burn pits access new benefits.
- Thomas DiNapoli joins Assemblymember Grace Lee at her inauguration.
DELIVERING FOR YOU
Governor Hochul Announces $31.4 Million For School Technology And Security Enhancements: Governor Kathy Hochul announced the approval of 61 Smart Schools Investment Plans focused on reimagining education in an evolving age and boosting school security. The approved plans, totaling $31.4 million, are part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, a sweeping education technology program.
“Inefficient technology was a huge hurdle during the COVID-19 pandemic – perhaps nowhere more evident than in our schools – and our students’ educational and social experiences suffered,” Governor Hochul said. “This $31.4 million investment will allow students to access the technology to bring them the opportunity to learn at their own pace while providing interactive experiences both inside and outside of the classroom.”
The Smart Schools Review Board met for the 19th time to consider investment plans submitted by school districts and special education schools. The Board is composed of the Director of the Budget, the Chancellor of the State University of New York, and the Commissioner of the State Education Department.
The plans approved by the Board were submitted by 57 school districts and one special education school. Projects include $16.6 million for high-tech security, $7.2 million for classroom technology, $7.1 million for school connectivity, and $500,000 for nonpublic schools’ classroom technology and school connectivity. A summary of the plans is available here.
The investments authorized will help ensure student safety and modernize classrooms statewide. High-tech security tools supported by the Smart Schools Bond Act include entry control systems, video systems, and emergency classroom notification systems. These upgrades are critical as the State and local partners work to bolster the safety of all public spaces.
New technology purchases supported by the Smart Schools Bond Act include computer servers, interactive whiteboards, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, and high-speed broadband and wireless connectivity. These tools help students to learn at their own pace, extend opportunities for interactive experiences both inside and outside the classroom, and promote parent-teacher communication. These purchases are particularly vital in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping students to learn and succeed under multiple learning models including remote learning when necessary.
(Source: Governor Kathy Hochul’s Pressroom)
Governor Hochul Highlights Public Safety Proposals in FY 2024 Executive Budget
Governor Hochul Announces Decreases in Gun Violence in Rochester & Highlights FY 2024 Executive Budget Proposals to Further Drive Down Crime & Protect New Yorkers:
Governor Kathy Hochul announced decreases in gun violence in Rochester last year and outlined her Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget proposals, which include more than $20 million for public safety initiatives in the City of Rochester and Monroe County to further drive down crime, reduce recidivism and strengthen the community. Data from the Rochester Police Department show a 13 percent reduction in shooting incidents with injury — from 350 to 303 shootings — comparing last year to 2021.Data also shows that murders were down 11 percent during the same period. There were also 67 fewer individuals injured by gunfire — from 419 to 352 individuals — when comparing 2022 to 2021. Those declines continued through the first eight weeks of this year, with 14 fewer shooting incidents involving injury, a 42 percent reduction, and 20 fewer people injured by gunfire, a decrease of 51 percent, when compared to the same timeframe in 2022. Governor Hochul outlined the data during an event this morning at the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, where she also announced $2 million in new state funding to community-based organizations through Project RISE and a $112,000 grant for upgrades to the club’s teen center.
“These direct investments in Rochester and other local communities will help to drive down crime and break the vicious cycle of recidivism that prevents many New Yorker’s from getting the second chance they deserve,”Governor Hochul said. “We are working overtime to continue the positive trends we are seeing of decreasing gun violence and crime because one New Yorker lost to gun violence is one too many.”
New York City and communities participating in the State’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative also reported the fewest shooting incidents with injury last month since the first half of 2020. The 20 police departments participating in GIVE, including Rochester, reported 50 shooting incidents with injury in January 2023, the fewest since March 2020, while New York City reported 73 incidents, the fewest since May 2020. Law enforcement agencies across the state seized 10,093 guns last year, an 11 percent increase from 2021, during which 9,088 guns were seized. Gun seizures by the New York State Police also increased 171 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels: 1,429 in 2022 compared to 528 seizures in 2019. State Police also seized 120 ghost guns in 2022, which is 85 percent more than in 2021.
President Biden’s Cap on the Cost of Insulin Could Benefit Millions of Americans in All 50 States: As part of President Biden’s historic Inflation Reduction Act, nearly four million seniors on Medicare with diabetes started to see their insulin costs capped at $35 per month this past January, saving some seniors hundreds of dollars for a month’s supply. But in his State of the Union, President Biden made clear that this life-saving benefit should apply to everyone, not just Medicare beneficiaries. This week, Eli Lilly, the largest manufacturer of insulin in the United States is lowering their prices and meeting that call.
Eli Lilly announced they are lowering the cost of insulin by 70% and capping what patients pay out-of-pocket for insulin at $35. This action, driven by the momentum from the Inflation Reduction Act, could benefit millions of Americans with diabetes in all fifty states and U.S. territories. The President continues to call on Congress to finish the job and cap costs at $35 for all Americans.
IN THE WORKS
Governor Hochul Announces $110 Million in Grants Awarded to 86 Water Quality Protection Projects Across the State: Governor Kathy Hochul announced that approximately $110 million was awarded to 86 projects through two grant programs to improve water quality across the state. The grant programs support projects that will help protect drinking water, combat contributors to harmful algal blooms, update aging water infrastructure, and improve aquatic habitat in communities statewide, with more than $90 million of the funding supporting water quality improvements in Environmental Justice communities that have been disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution.
“New York continues to provide historic levels of financial support to ensure all New Yorkers have access to clean water for generations to come,” Governor Hochul said. “We will continue upgrading New York’s aging infrastructure and strengthening our water security — improving the quality of life and public health of communities across the state.”
The $110 million in grants were administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), with more than $108 million going to 51 projects through the State’s Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program and nearly $2 million going to 35 projects through the Non-Agricultural Nonpoint Source Planning and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Mapping Grant (NPG). New York State continues to prioritize funding for projects that may help decrease the occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Nearly half of the WQIP and NPG awarded grants, totaling approximately $45 million, will support projects in watersheds known to have experienced HABs in the past five years and/or help implement a project identified in a DEC HABs Action Plan.
Mayor Adams Signs Two Pieces of Legislation, Taking Action to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence, Promote Environmental Justice by Improving Air Quality: New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed two pieces of legislation – one to expand the definition of a victim of domestic violence and another to improve New York City’s air quality by phasing out the use of fuel oil No. 4 by 2027. As many survivors of domestic violence face housing or economic insecurity, Intro 148-A will ensure those who faced economic abuse are not discriminated against based off their economic standing. The second piece of legislation, Intro 470-A, will improve air quality across the city by phasing out the use of fuel oil No. 4, which emits high-levels of dangerous pollutants. With 72 percent of buildings that use fuel oil No. 4 located in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, this legislation will also help deliver cleaner air and to communities impacted by poor air quality.
“Every New Yorker deserves safety in their relationships and to live a life free of domestic and gender-based violence,” said Mayor Adams. “But for many New Yorkers, home is no longer safe, and too often, survivors face financial difficulties and discrimination as they move forward with their lives. Intro. 148-A expands the definition of a victim of domestic violence to include economic abuse, so survivors are further protected under the law and not unfairly victimized again based off their economic standing. Additionally, Intro 470-A will phase out fuel oil No. 4 – protecting our environment, improving air quality, and helping ensure Black and Brown communities are not unjustly impacted by this oil. Too often, people of color in low-income communities suffer the most from pollution and climate change. This bill works to address these disparities and helps improve the air quality for all New Yorkers.”
“We know economic abuses like coerced debt, deception, fraud, or manipulation are common experiences for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence,” said New York City Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Commissioner Cecile Noel. “We applaud Mayor Adams and the New York City Council for enacting Councilmember Justin Brannan’s bill to strengthen survivor protections by recognizing economic abuse as a form of domestic and gender-based violence in the city’s Human Rights Law. This legislation strengthens anti-discrimination protections for survivors experiencing financial hardships due to economic abuse and keeps them on the path to safety, healing, and stability including long-term financial stability.”
Drive-In Rally at Broward College – Coconut Creek, FL – October 29, 2020
Joe Biden: My Plan to Extend Medicare for Another Generation: Millions of Americans work their whole lives, paying into Medicare with every working day — starting with their first jobs, even as teenagers. Medicare is more than a government program. It’s the rock-solid guarantee that Americans have counted on to be there for them when they retire.
For decades, I’ve listened to my Republican friends claim that the only way to be serious about preserving Medicare is to cut benefits, including by making it a voucher program worth less and less every year. Some have threatened our economy unless I agree to benefit cuts.
Only in Washington can people claim that they are saving something by destroying it.
The budget I am releasing this week will make the Medicare trust fund solvent beyond 2050 without cutting a penny in benefits. In fact, we can get better value, making sure Americans receive better care for the money they pay into Medicare.
The two biggest health reform bills since the creation of Medicare, both of which will save Medicare hundreds of billions over the decades to come, were signed by President Barack Obama and me.
The Affordable Care Act embraced smart reforms to make our health care system more efficient while improving Medicare coverage for seniors. The Inflation Reduction Act ended the absurd ban on Medicare negotiating lower drug prices, required drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if they increase prices faster than inflation and capped seniors’ total prescription drug costs — saving seniors up to thousands of dollars a year. These negotiations, combined with the law’s rebates for excessive price hikes, will reduce the deficit by $159 billion.
We have seen a significant slowdown in the growth of health care spending since the Affordable Care Act was passed. In the decade after the A.C.A., Medicare actually spent about $1 trillion less than the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected before the A.C.A. reforms were in place. In 2009, before the A.C.A., the Medicare trustees projected that Medicare’s trust fund would be exhausted in 2017; their latest projection is 2028. But we should do better than that and extend Medicare’s solvency beyond 2050.
So first, let’s expand on that progress. My budget will build on drug price reforms by strengthening Medicare’s newly established negotiation power, allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for more drugs and bringing drugs into negotiation sooner after they launch. That’s another $200 billion in deficit reduction. We will then take those savings and put them directly into the Medicare trust fund. Lowering drug prices while extending Medicare’s solvency sure makes a lot more sense than cutting benefits.
Second, let’s ask the wealthiest to pay just a little bit more of their fair share, to strengthen Medicare for everyone over the long term. My budget proposes to increase the Medicare tax rate on earned and unearned income above $400,000 to 5 percent from 3.8 percent. As I proposed in the past, my budget will also ensure that the tax that supports Medicare can’t be avoided altogether. This modest increase in Medicare contributions from those with the highest incomes will help keep the Medicare program strong for decades to come. My budget will make sure the money goes directly into the Medicare trust fund, protecting taxpayers’ investment and the future of the program.
When Medicare was passed, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans didn’t have more than five times the wealth of the bottom 50 percent combined, and it only makes sense that some adjustments be made to reflect that reality today.
Let’s ask them to pay their fair share so that the millions of workers who helped them build that wealth can retire with dignity and the Medicare they paid into. Republican plans that protect billionaires from a penny more in taxes — but won’t protect a retired firefighter’s hard-earned Medicare benefits — are just detached from the reality that hardworking families live with every day.
Add all that up, and my budget will extend the Medicare trust fund for more than another generation, an additional 25 years or more of solvency — beyond 2050. These are common-sense changes that I’m confident an overwhelming majority of Americans support.
MAGA Republicans have a different view. They want to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act. That means they want to take away the power we just gave to Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. Get rid of the $35 per month cap for insulin we just got for people on Medicare. And remove the current $2,000 total annual cap for seniors.
If the MAGA Republicans get their way, seniors will pay higher out-of-pocket costs on prescription drugs and insulin, the deficit will be bigger, and Medicare will be weaker. The only winner under their plan will be Big Pharma. That’s not how we extend Medicare’s life for another generation or grow the economy.
This week, I’ll show Americans my full budget vision to invest in America, lower costs, grow the economy and not raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000. I urge my Republican friends in Congress to do the same — and show the American people what they value.
Biden budget aims to cut deficits nearly $3T over 10 years:
President Joe Biden’s upcoming budget proposal aims to cut deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade, the White House said Wednesday.
That deficit reduction goal is significantly higher than the $2 trillion that Biden had promised in his State of the Union address last month. It also is a sharp contrast with House Republicans, who have called for a path to a balanced budget but have yet to offer a blueprint.
The White House has consistently called into question Republicans’ commitment to what it considers a sustainable federal budget. Administration officials have noted that the various tax plans and other policies previously backed by GOP lawmakers would add roughly $3 trillion to the national debt over 10 years.
“This is something we think is important,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said about the plan Biden intends to discuss Thursday in Philadelphia. “This is something that shows the American people that we take this seriously.”
As part of the budget, the president already has said he wants to increase the Medicare payroll tax on people making more than $400,000 per year and impose a tax on the holdings of billionaires and others with extreme degrees of wealth.
The proposal would seek to close the “carried interest” loophole that allows wealthy hedge fund managers and other to pay their taxes at a lower rate, and would prevent billionaires from being able to set aside large amounts of their holdings in tax-favored retirement accounts, according to an administration official. The plan also projects saving $24 billion over 10 years by removing a tax subsidy for cryptocurrency transactions.
The official who provided the details spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the plan before its official release.
It also includes:
— Expanding the ability of Medicare to negotiate on pharmaceutical drug prices, with an estimated spending cut of $160 billion over a decade.
— Auctioning off rights to the radio spectrum, which would generate $50 billion.
— Taking steps to reduce identity theft and unemployment insurance fraud.
— Targeting insurance companies that overcharge Medicaid, with anticipated savings of $20 billion through repayments to the government.
— Ending subsidies valued at $31 billion for oil and gas companies.
— Scrapping a $19 billion tax break for real estate investors.
March 15th, 6:00pm: Riverhead Dems St. Patrick’s Day Fundraiser
March 18th, 9:00am: Broome County Democratic Party 35th Annual Jefferson Breakfast
March 27th, 5:30pm: Chairman Jeremy Zellner Birthday Celebration
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