Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/executive-budget 2017-12-12T20:03:41+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Budget Leaves Cuomo's Affordable Housing Plan A Mystery 2016-04-05T18:32:33+00:00 2016-04-05T18:32:33+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6265:budget-leaves-cuomos-affordable-housing-plan-a-mystery Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/26096516561_6243fce802_z.jpg" alt="cuomo entering stage left" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo arrives to outline the budget agreement (photo <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/26096516561/in/album-72157666086275370/" target="_blank">via The Governor's Office</a>)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a sweeping $20 billion plan to build and preserve affordable housing and fight homelessness during his State of the State speech earlier this year. The plan, to be implemented over five years, is expected to create 100,000 new units of affordable housing and 6,000 supportive housing beds for the homeless. The policy book accompanying Cuomo's speech and executive budget outlines several general housing categories and promised more detail "in the coming weeks."</p> <p>Last week, Cuomo and legislators agreed on a new $147 billion state budget for fiscal year 2017 that includes nearly $2 billion for affordable housing, but it offers no details on where the housing will be built, who will build it, or when the state will start looking for projects to fund.</p> <p>In the place of specifics is a notice that the plan is to be worked out in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Cuomo and legislative leaders. In other words, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and Cuomo will be allowed to decide behind closed doors, through a negotiated legal document, how to spend the initial $2 billion intended for affordable housing projects. It is unlikely to face scrutiny from the public or rank-and-file legislators.</p> <p>"The debate over supportive and affordable housing was pushed off because all the oxygen in the room was sucked up by the minimum wage debate," said Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi, a Queens Democrat who has sparred with the Cuomo administration in the past over the governor's funding of supportive housing, of budget negotiations.</p> <p>Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, said she believes that Cuomo and legislative leaders will have to spell out what they plan to do with the $2 billion of budget money lined out for housing programs in a resolution later this year and put it to a vote in both houses. "I believe each house will have to vote on a resolution lining out specifically how it's going to be spent," Krueger told Gotham Gazette. "I don't know what they believe, however," she said referring to legislative leaders and the Cuomo administration. "We are a little loosey-goosey with the law around here, it's just the Capitol."</p> <p>Hevesi said he believes that the same budget negotiating teams that negotiated human services and housing issues from both legislative houses and the Cuomo administration will reconvene to hash out the details later this session. He does not expect a public vote. He said he expects the Assembly, which is dominated by New York City Democrats including Heastie, to work as an advocate for the city and its specific housing needs during negotiations.</p> <p>During a Tuesday press conference at the Capitol, Assembly housing committee Chair Keith Wright said that housing is still "an open question in the budget" that will be worked out by "MOU."</p> <p>"This has never been done before," said Krueger. "You are not supposed to have lump sum appropriations decided without the vote of the Legislature. We are talking about a hypothetical plan to spend $20 billion on housing, there should be a robust discussion on how it's being spent, where it's being spent, and the plusses and minuses of any particular approach."</p> <p>David Friedfel of the Citizens Budget Commission said that while it isn't "uncommon" for MOUs to be used in the budget, it is new to see one used in a program related to housing. "It's not uncommon but it's not something we support," Friedfel told Gotham Gazette. "We've seen these MOUs used to create the pots of money that got Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos into trouble."</p> <p>In fact, MOUs are used throughout this year's budget, especially in language funding the governor's major infrastructure projects.</p> <p>This year's budget also includes more of what good government groups have come to call "slush funds" created for use by the Governor and Legislature.</p> <p>Cuomo administration officials did not respond to requests for comment about the housing MOU or about when to expect more details about the governor's affordable housing and homelessness plans.</p> <p>In January, Cuomo outlined some overarching goals for his housing plan. His <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/2016_State_of_the_State_Book.pdf" target="_blank">policy book</a> released for his State of the State and budget address says the intention of his $10 billion housing plan is: "To add critical supply to the state's stock of affordable housing."</p> <p>It says the plan "will create and preserve 100,000 units across the state. This historic investment offers a transformational blueprint to address the diversity of housing need across the state, strengthen protections for tenants, and create new opportunities for low-to moderate income households. The Plan —which boosts state spending on housing programs by nearly $5 billion—will build and preserve affordable units and individual homes; make homeownership affordable for first-time buyers; increase investments in the revitalization of our communities; promote housing choice opportunities for all New Yorkers; revamp services in ways that better serve clients including New Yorkers seeking affordable housing..."</p> <p>The policy book is short on other specifics, but promised, "The comprehensive House NY 2020 Plan will be released in the coming weeks." Almost three months later and with the new budget passed, there still aren't many specifics.</p> <p>The Capital Budget shows a $1,973,475,000 allocation for a "Housing Program" under the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Nearly $600,000,000 of that goes to the creation of an "Infrastructure Investment Account." The language for the program states:</p> <p>"In support of a comprehensive, statewide multi-year housing program in accordance with a plan approved in a memorandum of understanding executed by the director of budget, the speaker of the assembly and the temporary president of the senate."</p> <p>Any of the cash appropriated to the account can be "suballocated to any state department, agency, or public authority for the purposes stated herein, only in accordance with a plan approved in a memorandum of understanding executed by the director of the budget, the speaker of the assembly, and the temporary president of the senate, who shall file such approval with the department of audit and control and copies thereof with the chair of the senate finance committee and the chair of the assembly ways and means committee."</p> <p>The budget language further stipulates that the cash for the fund be doled out over a five-year period.</p> <p>The budget also contains a $57.5 million line for the creation of supportive housing, which is long-term housing with social services, and $5 million for emergency and transitional housing for people with AIDS.</p> <p>"It's concerning that we have a verbal commitment of $20 billion but here we have a $2 billion commitment meant to be spent over five years," said Sen. Krueger, who said it could be worrisome for those interested in building affordable housing. She noted that the nature of construction dictates that all the money wouldn't need to be spent up front, but having it lined out in budget documents would be helpful to those interested in utilizing state cash to subsidize affordable housing.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio appears to be one of the many New Yorkers interested in having more details on the state's affordable housing agenda. De Blasio has an ongoing ten-year, 200,000 unit affordable housing plan, as well as several programs aimed at combatting homelessness. "We look forward to seeing further action on increased State support for homelessness and housing as the session continues, and ensuring those priorities receive the scrutiny they merit," de Blasio said in a statement reacting to the passage of the state budget.</p> <p>The mayor had a similar reaction after Cuomo's State of the State address in January. "You know, it's an initial idea," de Blasio told reporters at the time of the $20 billion, five-year plan announced that day. "We have to see the specifics about timelines and how it's going to play out, but look, it can only be for the good of New York City if the state is making an additional commitment to New York City on affordable housing on top of the 200,000 units we're already committed to."</p> <p>A representative of the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) had the same message this week. "We are looking forward to hearing more about the State's plans for additional resources for the construction and preservation of affordable housing in New York City," a spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Cuomo's plan follows de Blasio's, outlined in 2014, to create 80,000 units of affordable housing and preserve another 120,000 units (preservation of units includes extending rent regulations through benefit-agreements with landlords). De Blasio also pledged to create 15,000 supportive housing units over the next 15 years, announcing in December a new supportive plan after negotiations with the state on a new joint program did not yield results (there have been three such programs in the past, stretching back several mayors and governors). Going back to last year, the governor has been a regular critic of de Blasio's management of the city's homelessness crisis. When announcing his supportive housing plan, de Blasio challenged the state to act. It appeared Cuomo was doing so as he delivered his State of the State.</p> <p>Now, advocates are concerned there may not be all that much new money in the budget. Cuomo administration sources have indicated the $20 billion figure includes "on and off budget resources" including tax credits and funding for housing-related departments such as the Department of Homes and Community Renewal.</p> <p>Friedfel of CBC said that the use of MOUs makes it harder to follow how money is being spent, but that it also has advantages for those spending it. "It does make it more difficult to track than a more generic appropriation," said Friedfel. "It also gives them more freedom about how to spend it."</p> <p>

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by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/26096516561_6243fce802_z.jpg" alt="cuomo entering stage left" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo arrives to outline the budget agreement (photo <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/26096516561/in/album-72157666086275370/" target="_blank">via The Governor's Office</a>)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a sweeping $20 billion plan to build and preserve affordable housing and fight homelessness during his State of the State speech earlier this year. The plan, to be implemented over five years, is expected to create 100,000 new units of affordable housing and 6,000 supportive housing beds for the homeless. The policy book accompanying Cuomo's speech and executive budget outlines several general housing categories and promised more detail "in the coming weeks."</p> <p>Last week, Cuomo and legislators agreed on a new $147 billion state budget for fiscal year 2017 that includes nearly $2 billion for affordable housing, but it offers no details on where the housing will be built, who will build it, or when the state will start looking for projects to fund.</p> <p>In the place of specifics is a notice that the plan is to be worked out in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Cuomo and legislative leaders. In other words, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and Cuomo will be allowed to decide behind closed doors, through a negotiated legal document, how to spend the initial $2 billion intended for affordable housing projects. It is unlikely to face scrutiny from the public or rank-and-file legislators.</p> <p>"The debate over supportive and affordable housing was pushed off because all the oxygen in the room was sucked up by the minimum wage debate," said Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi, a Queens Democrat who has sparred with the Cuomo administration in the past over the governor's funding of supportive housing, of budget negotiations.</p> <p>Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, said she believes that Cuomo and legislative leaders will have to spell out what they plan to do with the $2 billion of budget money lined out for housing programs in a resolution later this year and put it to a vote in both houses. "I believe each house will have to vote on a resolution lining out specifically how it's going to be spent," Krueger told Gotham Gazette. "I don't know what they believe, however," she said referring to legislative leaders and the Cuomo administration. "We are a little loosey-goosey with the law around here, it's just the Capitol."</p> <p>Hevesi said he believes that the same budget negotiating teams that negotiated human services and housing issues from both legislative houses and the Cuomo administration will reconvene to hash out the details later this session. He does not expect a public vote. He said he expects the Assembly, which is dominated by New York City Democrats including Heastie, to work as an advocate for the city and its specific housing needs during negotiations.</p> <p>During a Tuesday press conference at the Capitol, Assembly housing committee Chair Keith Wright said that housing is still "an open question in the budget" that will be worked out by "MOU."</p> <p>"This has never been done before," said Krueger. "You are not supposed to have lump sum appropriations decided without the vote of the Legislature. We are talking about a hypothetical plan to spend $20 billion on housing, there should be a robust discussion on how it's being spent, where it's being spent, and the plusses and minuses of any particular approach."</p> <p>David Friedfel of the Citizens Budget Commission said that while it isn't "uncommon" for MOUs to be used in the budget, it is new to see one used in a program related to housing. "It's not uncommon but it's not something we support," Friedfel told Gotham Gazette. "We've seen these MOUs used to create the pots of money that got Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos into trouble."</p> <p>In fact, MOUs are used throughout this year's budget, especially in language funding the governor's major infrastructure projects.</p> <p>This year's budget also includes more of what good government groups have come to call "slush funds" created for use by the Governor and Legislature.</p> <p>Cuomo administration officials did not respond to requests for comment about the housing MOU or about when to expect more details about the governor's affordable housing and homelessness plans.</p> <p>In January, Cuomo outlined some overarching goals for his housing plan. His <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/2016_State_of_the_State_Book.pdf" target="_blank">policy book</a> released for his State of the State and budget address says the intention of his $10 billion housing plan is: "To add critical supply to the state's stock of affordable housing."</p> <p>It says the plan "will create and preserve 100,000 units across the state. This historic investment offers a transformational blueprint to address the diversity of housing need across the state, strengthen protections for tenants, and create new opportunities for low-to moderate income households. The Plan —which boosts state spending on housing programs by nearly $5 billion—will build and preserve affordable units and individual homes; make homeownership affordable for first-time buyers; increase investments in the revitalization of our communities; promote housing choice opportunities for all New Yorkers; revamp services in ways that better serve clients including New Yorkers seeking affordable housing..."</p> <p>The policy book is short on other specifics, but promised, "The comprehensive House NY 2020 Plan will be released in the coming weeks." Almost three months later and with the new budget passed, there still aren't many specifics.</p> <p>The Capital Budget shows a $1,973,475,000 allocation for a "Housing Program" under the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Nearly $600,000,000 of that goes to the creation of an "Infrastructure Investment Account." The language for the program states:</p> <p>"In support of a comprehensive, statewide multi-year housing program in accordance with a plan approved in a memorandum of understanding executed by the director of budget, the speaker of the assembly and the temporary president of the senate."</p> <p>Any of the cash appropriated to the account can be "suballocated to any state department, agency, or public authority for the purposes stated herein, only in accordance with a plan approved in a memorandum of understanding executed by the director of the budget, the speaker of the assembly, and the temporary president of the senate, who shall file such approval with the department of audit and control and copies thereof with the chair of the senate finance committee and the chair of the assembly ways and means committee."</p> <p>The budget language further stipulates that the cash for the fund be doled out over a five-year period.</p> <p>The budget also contains a $57.5 million line for the creation of supportive housing, which is long-term housing with social services, and $5 million for emergency and transitional housing for people with AIDS.</p> <p>"It's concerning that we have a verbal commitment of $20 billion but here we have a $2 billion commitment meant to be spent over five years," said Sen. Krueger, who said it could be worrisome for those interested in building affordable housing. She noted that the nature of construction dictates that all the money wouldn't need to be spent up front, but having it lined out in budget documents would be helpful to those interested in utilizing state cash to subsidize affordable housing.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio appears to be one of the many New Yorkers interested in having more details on the state's affordable housing agenda. De Blasio has an ongoing ten-year, 200,000 unit affordable housing plan, as well as several programs aimed at combatting homelessness. "We look forward to seeing further action on increased State support for homelessness and housing as the session continues, and ensuring those priorities receive the scrutiny they merit," de Blasio said in a statement reacting to the passage of the state budget.</p> <p>The mayor had a similar reaction after Cuomo's State of the State address in January. "You know, it's an initial idea," de Blasio told reporters at the time of the $20 billion, five-year plan announced that day. "We have to see the specifics about timelines and how it's going to play out, but look, it can only be for the good of New York City if the state is making an additional commitment to New York City on affordable housing on top of the 200,000 units we're already committed to."</p> <p>A representative of the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) had the same message this week. "We are looking forward to hearing more about the State's plans for additional resources for the construction and preservation of affordable housing in New York City," a spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Cuomo's plan follows de Blasio's, outlined in 2014, to create 80,000 units of affordable housing and preserve another 120,000 units (preservation of units includes extending rent regulations through benefit-agreements with landlords). De Blasio also pledged to create 15,000 supportive housing units over the next 15 years, announcing in December a new supportive plan after negotiations with the state on a new joint program did not yield results (there have been three such programs in the past, stretching back several mayors and governors). Going back to last year, the governor has been a regular critic of de Blasio's management of the city's homelessness crisis. When announcing his supportive housing plan, de Blasio challenged the state to act. It appeared Cuomo was doing so as he delivered his State of the State.</p> <p>Now, advocates are concerned there may not be all that much new money in the budget. Cuomo administration sources have indicated the $20 billion figure includes "on and off budget resources" including tax credits and funding for housing-related departments such as the Department of Homes and Community Renewal.</p> <p>Friedfel of CBC said that the use of MOUs makes it harder to follow how money is being spent, but that it also has advantages for those spending it. "It does make it more difficult to track than a more generic appropriation," said Friedfel. "It also gives them more freedom about how to spend it."</p> <p>

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
De Blasio Concerned with Lack of Clarity as State Budget Deadline Nears 2016-03-29T04:21:50+00:00 2016-03-29T04:21:50+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6248:de-blasio-concerned-with-lack-of-clarity-as-state-budget-deadline-nears Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/15592874696_f8e1387917_z.jpg" alt="de blasio on phone we don't know with who" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p>De Blasio (<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/nycmayorsoffice/15592874696/in/dateposted/" target="_blank">photo</a>: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday afternoon that he has been in regular contact with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and that he spoke with Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier in the day, but that he did not gain much clarity as Albany budget negotiations enter their final days.</p> <p>A new state budget is due by midnight Thursday, with the state's fiscal year beginning Friday, April 1. There are several areas of budget concern for de Blasio and others who represent New York City, including Heastie. On Monday, de Blasio repeatedly cited Heastie and the Democratically-controlled Assembly as essential allies in the fight to protect city interests throughout negotiations.</p> <p>At an unrelated press conference at 1 Police Plaza, Gotham Gazette asked the mayor what he is watching for as state lawmakers negotiate the final details of a $140-plus billion budget. While expressing frustration about the lack of clarity, de Blasio said, "What I can tell you for sure, I've spoken to Speaker Heastie today and yesterday. He has, and the Assembly has, consistently supported the interests of New York City."</p> <p>It appears that de Blasio and others are again depending on Heastie to be the strongest defender of New York City during "three men in a room" negotiations with Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican.</p> <p>"I spoke to the governor this morning, and I still don't have real answers," de Blasio said Monday. "There's no budget language."</p> <p>Cuomo's Executive Budget, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6088-cuomo-outlines-144-billion-budget-" target="_blank">unveiled in January</a>, caused concern for de Blasio on several fronts, including hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed CUNY and Medicaid cost shifts to the city. The governor also upset de Blasio by proposing a new layer of state approval in the process by which the state allocates federal affordable housing bonds to the city, among other measures de Blasio and his allies have been fighting.</p> <p>"[T]here have been voices speaking out since February saying that the city should not suffer cutbacks when it comes to CUNY and when it comes to Medicaid," de Blasio said Monday. "We shouldn't have our affordable housing efforts undermined by needless bureaucracy. We should get more support in our efforts to end homelessness - these issues have been talked about now for months and months."</p> <p>"This is supposed to be one of the decision days," the mayor added, referring to the fact that state budget bills would need to be printed Monday in order to have the required three-day aging period so that they can be voted on and passed by Thursday night's deadline. No deal has been reached, no bills were printed, so the governor is likely to issue "messages of necessity" to waive the aging period. Cuomo has prided himself on leading a new era of on-time budgets and more functional and responsible government.</p> <p>The governor told reporters on Friday that he is reluctant to use messages of necessity, but that he does when needed. While the governor, whose tenure began in 2011, has indeed shepherded through on-time budgets (last year's was technically late by a few minutes), state government remains dogged by corruption scandals. Last year saw both legislative leaders convicted on federal corruption charges in separate cases.</p> <p>Cuomo, who vowed to clean up Albany and has not been able to, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6087-cuomo-unveils-ethics-plan-to-questions-of-follow-through" target="_blank">unveiled an aggressive ethics reform plan</a> in his January State of the State address, but has said little about it since and all parties have indicated that ethics will not be part of the budget.</p> <p>Asked about whether he is troubled that ethics reform won't be taken up in the state budget, de Blasio said Monday, "I want to see ethics reform in Albany." Citing "public financing of elections and obviously a lot more disclosure," de Blasio said state lawmakers must act, but he cut Cuomo, Heastie, and others slack in terms of when. "Whether it happens now or it happens in the legislative session is less important to me than the fact that it needs to happen," de Blasio said.</p> <p>On more urgent budgetary matters, after months of questions Cuomo's office said last week that it was tabling the CUNY cost shifts, but that it would be appointing a monitor to find efficiencies in the joint city-state system. It was a message met with some relief at City Hall, but de Blasio still said Monday that he wants to see budget language.</p> <p>"There's no confirmation or guarantees related to CUNY, related to Medicaid or any of these other issues," de Blasio said, sounding at least a little frustrated. "And the things I talked about back in February when I gave my budget testimony in Albany, I talked about the fact that the State was going to take away some of our sales tax revenue in a way that we thought was arbitrary and unfair, and now things have been resolved on that front. So I want to see action, and I want to see real language that we can take to the bank right now."</p> <p>De Blasio continued: "You know, the same reality as the day after the governor's State of the State is true. He said none of this would cost New York City a penny and I said I will hold him to it. I'll take a man's word but I'll hold him to it, and I'll still hold him to it because as of this moment, there are no guarantees and we need them. The people of New York City need those guarantees."</p> <p>A spokesperson for Governor Cuomo declined to comment in response to de Blasio.</p> <p>On other issues of concern to the mayor, it appears both mayoral control of city schools and a renewed property tax break to incentivize affordable housing development will have to wait for the legislative session after a budget is settled.</p> <p>The governor proposed a three-year extension of mayoral control, which expires in June, but Senate Republicans have rejected both that proposal and the Assembly Democrats' call for a longer extension. Last week, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6241-senate-schedules-de-blasio-for-two-hearings-on-mayoral-control-of-city-schools" target="_blank">the Senate announced</a> it would be calling de Blasio to testify at two May hearings on his education leadership.</p> <p>There's been almost no talk of a new 421-a program, or something like it, to spur affordable housing development through tax abatements. The expiration of the previous system is <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">one of the key sources of tension between de Blasio and Cuomo</a>.</p> <p>In Albany, de Blasio has had to rely on Heastie, the Bronx Democrat thrust into the Speaker's chair last year when Sheldon Silver was indicted on the federal corruption charges that led to his conviction.</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio credited Heastie and other Assembly Democrats for sticking up for the city, as Silver was infamous for doing. The Assembly, de Blasio said, "fought hard to make sure that there would be no cuts to our budget in terms of CUNY and in terms of Medicaid; there would be nothing that would stand in the way of our efforts to create affordable housing. The Assembly and its one house bill went out of its way to say the State would have to do more to help us deal with homelessness. So the Assembly has been very consistent."</p> <p>Once de Blasio sees the details of the state budget, he'll have to adjust his city spending plan for fiscal year 2017 accordingly. De Blasio's preliminary $82 billion spending plan, which did not account for the CUNY and Medicaid cost shifts, is in the midst of a series of City Council hearings. The city's fiscal year begins July 1.</p> <p>Further north, Heastie said a few words Monday to reporters trying to find out how the closed-door budget negotiations were going. "Albany is the art of the compromise," Heastie <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2016/03/heastie-albany-is-the-art-of-the-compromise/?utm_source=twitterfeed&amp;utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">said</a> in the capital on Monday, adding that the big-ticket items of minimum wage and paid family leave are being debated. Cuomo's two major policy priorities - both of which de Blasio supports - have taken center stage, though many other smaller issues could become part of a larger compromise by the time the budget is announced.</p> <p>"I think in some regards we are able to move forward," Heastie said, "but there's still some outstanding issues about how the City of New York comes out of this."</p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/15592874696_f8e1387917_z.jpg" alt="de blasio on phone we don't know with who" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p>De Blasio (<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/nycmayorsoffice/15592874696/in/dateposted/" target="_blank">photo</a>: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday afternoon that he has been in regular contact with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and that he spoke with Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier in the day, but that he did not gain much clarity as Albany budget negotiations enter their final days.</p> <p>A new state budget is due by midnight Thursday, with the state's fiscal year beginning Friday, April 1. There are several areas of budget concern for de Blasio and others who represent New York City, including Heastie. On Monday, de Blasio repeatedly cited Heastie and the Democratically-controlled Assembly as essential allies in the fight to protect city interests throughout negotiations.</p> <p>At an unrelated press conference at 1 Police Plaza, Gotham Gazette asked the mayor what he is watching for as state lawmakers negotiate the final details of a $140-plus billion budget. While expressing frustration about the lack of clarity, de Blasio said, "What I can tell you for sure, I've spoken to Speaker Heastie today and yesterday. He has, and the Assembly has, consistently supported the interests of New York City."</p> <p>It appears that de Blasio and others are again depending on Heastie to be the strongest defender of New York City during "three men in a room" negotiations with Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican.</p> <p>"I spoke to the governor this morning, and I still don't have real answers," de Blasio said Monday. "There's no budget language."</p> <p>Cuomo's Executive Budget, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6088-cuomo-outlines-144-billion-budget-" target="_blank">unveiled in January</a>, caused concern for de Blasio on several fronts, including hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed CUNY and Medicaid cost shifts to the city. The governor also upset de Blasio by proposing a new layer of state approval in the process by which the state allocates federal affordable housing bonds to the city, among other measures de Blasio and his allies have been fighting.</p> <p>"[T]here have been voices speaking out since February saying that the city should not suffer cutbacks when it comes to CUNY and when it comes to Medicaid," de Blasio said Monday. "We shouldn't have our affordable housing efforts undermined by needless bureaucracy. We should get more support in our efforts to end homelessness - these issues have been talked about now for months and months."</p> <p>"This is supposed to be one of the decision days," the mayor added, referring to the fact that state budget bills would need to be printed Monday in order to have the required three-day aging period so that they can be voted on and passed by Thursday night's deadline. No deal has been reached, no bills were printed, so the governor is likely to issue "messages of necessity" to waive the aging period. Cuomo has prided himself on leading a new era of on-time budgets and more functional and responsible government.</p> <p>The governor told reporters on Friday that he is reluctant to use messages of necessity, but that he does when needed. While the governor, whose tenure began in 2011, has indeed shepherded through on-time budgets (last year's was technically late by a few minutes), state government remains dogged by corruption scandals. Last year saw both legislative leaders convicted on federal corruption charges in separate cases.</p> <p>Cuomo, who vowed to clean up Albany and has not been able to, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6087-cuomo-unveils-ethics-plan-to-questions-of-follow-through" target="_blank">unveiled an aggressive ethics reform plan</a> in his January State of the State address, but has said little about it since and all parties have indicated that ethics will not be part of the budget.</p> <p>Asked about whether he is troubled that ethics reform won't be taken up in the state budget, de Blasio said Monday, "I want to see ethics reform in Albany." Citing "public financing of elections and obviously a lot more disclosure," de Blasio said state lawmakers must act, but he cut Cuomo, Heastie, and others slack in terms of when. "Whether it happens now or it happens in the legislative session is less important to me than the fact that it needs to happen," de Blasio said.</p> <p>On more urgent budgetary matters, after months of questions Cuomo's office said last week that it was tabling the CUNY cost shifts, but that it would be appointing a monitor to find efficiencies in the joint city-state system. It was a message met with some relief at City Hall, but de Blasio still said Monday that he wants to see budget language.</p> <p>"There's no confirmation or guarantees related to CUNY, related to Medicaid or any of these other issues," de Blasio said, sounding at least a little frustrated. "And the things I talked about back in February when I gave my budget testimony in Albany, I talked about the fact that the State was going to take away some of our sales tax revenue in a way that we thought was arbitrary and unfair, and now things have been resolved on that front. So I want to see action, and I want to see real language that we can take to the bank right now."</p> <p>De Blasio continued: "You know, the same reality as the day after the governor's State of the State is true. He said none of this would cost New York City a penny and I said I will hold him to it. I'll take a man's word but I'll hold him to it, and I'll still hold him to it because as of this moment, there are no guarantees and we need them. The people of New York City need those guarantees."</p> <p>A spokesperson for Governor Cuomo declined to comment in response to de Blasio.</p> <p>On other issues of concern to the mayor, it appears both mayoral control of city schools and a renewed property tax break to incentivize affordable housing development will have to wait for the legislative session after a budget is settled.</p> <p>The governor proposed a three-year extension of mayoral control, which expires in June, but Senate Republicans have rejected both that proposal and the Assembly Democrats' call for a longer extension. Last week, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6241-senate-schedules-de-blasio-for-two-hearings-on-mayoral-control-of-city-schools" target="_blank">the Senate announced</a> it would be calling de Blasio to testify at two May hearings on his education leadership.</p> <p>There's been almost no talk of a new 421-a program, or something like it, to spur affordable housing development through tax abatements. The expiration of the previous system is <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">one of the key sources of tension between de Blasio and Cuomo</a>.</p> <p>In Albany, de Blasio has had to rely on Heastie, the Bronx Democrat thrust into the Speaker's chair last year when Sheldon Silver was indicted on the federal corruption charges that led to his conviction.</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio credited Heastie and other Assembly Democrats for sticking up for the city, as Silver was infamous for doing. The Assembly, de Blasio said, "fought hard to make sure that there would be no cuts to our budget in terms of CUNY and in terms of Medicaid; there would be nothing that would stand in the way of our efforts to create affordable housing. The Assembly and its one house bill went out of its way to say the State would have to do more to help us deal with homelessness. So the Assembly has been very consistent."</p> <p>Once de Blasio sees the details of the state budget, he'll have to adjust his city spending plan for fiscal year 2017 accordingly. De Blasio's preliminary $82 billion spending plan, which did not account for the CUNY and Medicaid cost shifts, is in the midst of a series of City Council hearings. The city's fiscal year begins July 1.</p> <p>Further north, Heastie said a few words Monday to reporters trying to find out how the closed-door budget negotiations were going. "Albany is the art of the compromise," Heastie <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2016/03/heastie-albany-is-the-art-of-the-compromise/?utm_source=twitterfeed&amp;utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">said</a> in the capital on Monday, adding that the big-ticket items of minimum wage and paid family leave are being debated. Cuomo's two major policy priorities - both of which de Blasio supports - have taken center stage, though many other smaller issues could become part of a larger compromise by the time the budget is announced.</p> <p>"I think in some regards we are able to move forward," Heastie said, "but there's still some outstanding issues about how the City of New York comes out of this."</p> <p>

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
De Blasio Heads to Albany to Fund Agenda, Fight Cuts 2016-01-26T01:24:50+00:00 2016-01-26T01:24:50+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6113:de-blasio-heads-to-albany-to-fund-agenda-fight-cuts Carmen Russo <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/24565939995_5effcb4b09_z.jpg" alt="de blasio car snow" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio (photo:&nbsp;Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Thirteen days after his most recent visit, Mayor Bill de Blasio heads back to Albany Tuesday morning to testify about the city's needs and progress, and to evaluate Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Budget.</p> <p>In front of members of the state Senate and Assembly at a joint legislative budget hearing, de Blasio is expected to push for increased state funding for key aspects of his inequality-fighting agenda and an extension of mayoral control of city schools, while also insisting that the state not go through with potential cuts to city aid outlined by the governor.</p> <p>De Blasio's testimony, including question-and-answer with lawmakers, is likely to touch upon the <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">recently expired</a> 421-a real estate tax abatement program, which is meant to spur affordable housing and is seen as essential to the mayor's goals. The program, in existence for decades, expired on Jan. 15. Three days later de Blasio <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">told reporters</a>, "I'm deeply disappointed that the way it was pursued has failed, in terms of the Albany process. And Albany has a chance to make it right and fix it because this is crucial to continuing the work we need to do to create affordable housing."</p> <p>Other key topics the mayor is likely to address include his management of homelessness and schools, the city-state share of the MTA capital plan, overall education funding the city receives, and the mayor's Vision Zero traffic safety program. At a recent press conference outlining progress in reducing pedestrian fatalities, de Blasio indicated that he'll be asking the state for further investments in Vision Zero, including to allow the city to run its school zone speed cameras 24-hours-a-day as opposed to only during school hours, as is the case now.</p> <p>When de Blasio was last in Albany on Jan. 13, he met with Cuomo for about thirty minutes and then watched from the third row as Cuomo delivered his State of the State and budget address. Immediately after, de Blasio found much to praise in the governor's 2016 platform, including planned investments in supportive housing and calls for increasing the minimum wage and passing paid family leave. However, de Blasio also learned that day that Cuomo's Fiscal Year 2017 budget plan includes significant cuts to state aid to the city for CUNY and Medicaid.</p> <p>De Blasio reacted cautiously that day, but had harsher words the next, after he and his budget team had had more time to review Cuomo's plan. De Blasio pledged to "fight them by any means necessary."</p> <p>The mayor helped stir a bit of a groundswell from budget watchdogs and like-minded legislators. The governor quickly said that the cuts were the start of a negotiation, that he was outlining plans for finding "efficiencies" in cooperation with the city for the two jointly-run programs. He promised that his plan "won't cost New York City a penny."</p> <p>De Blasio quickly praised the governor's promise and has said repeatedly since that he will hold him to it.</p> <p>When outlining <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6107-de-blasio-releases-cautious-82-billion-preliminary-budget" target="_blank">his own preliminary fiscal 2017 budget</a> on Jan. 21, de Blasio did not account for potential cuts to CUNY and Medicaid, which could cost $1 billion annually. Instead, he said of the governor, "He said he wants to find collaborative process to find reforms and savings. That's something we would always be happy to engage in, but we cannot accept a cut that would undermine the education of our young people or the healthcare of our people. So, you know, we'll work in good faith, and we'll work from the assumption – given what he said – that we do not have to lay out what almost a billion dollars in cuts would mean for the people of New York City. If anything changes, we'll certainly speak to it."</p> <p>On <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/did-you-get-snowedin/" target="_blank">Monday's Brian Lehrer Show</a> on WNYC, de Blasio sounded a similar tune, saying, "We want to make sure New York City is treated fairly throughout and we're pleased that the governor is saying that CUNY and Medicaid cuts they originally proposed would not cost us – the city – "a penny," and we respect that, but we will also hold them to that."</p> <p>The issue will be a key aspect of the mayor's testimony on Tuesday. He's also likely to touch on a couple of other ways in which it appears Cuomo is trying to pad state funds at the expense of the city, including the governor's seeking city debt savings that he thinks the state is entitled to, <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2016/01/8588758/state-tries-claw-back-650m-new-york-city" target="_blank">as reported by</a> Politico New York.</p> <p>Still, the mayor is sure to have a lot of praise for Cuomo's budget Tuesday - not only are the two experiencing a calm patch in their largely antagonistic relationship, but de Blasio appears genuinely appreciative of much of what Cuomo is putting forward.</p> <p>As Cuomo has shifted left over the past six months, de Blasio has liked what he's seen from the governor on the minimum wage and other more progressive policies. He seems especially pleased with Cuomo's $20 billion commitment to housing and homelessness over the next five years, though it is not clear how much of that is going to New York City-based efforts (the governor's State of the State policy book says more specific housing plans will be unveiled in the next few weeks).</p> <p>To combat homelessness Cuomo has pledged a major investment in supportive housing, which matches an announcement de Blasio made late last year, and affordable housing. After rolling out his pre-kindergarten program, de Blasio has turned to affordable housing as the top priority of his tenure.</p> <p>Education is never far from the top of any mayor's agenda, of course. While de Blasio is pleased that Cuomo is calling for a three-year extension of mayoral control of city schools - the same that Cuomo proposed last year, before agreeing to just one year - the mayor is again asking that the state make the system permanent. "I want to be clear about what's working for the children of New York City and mayoral control clearly works," de Blasio said Monday at an unrelated press conference. He called the old school board system rife with "chaos and corruption," and said, "mayoral control works, it makes things happen, it's the reason we got pre-K done in two years."</p> <p>De Blasio's frustrations over last year's Albany deals on mayoral control, as well as the governor's handling of 421-a and rent regulations, led to de Blasio's infamous June 30, 2015 tirade against the governor.</p> <p>Since they met on Jan. 13, de Blasio and Cuomo have been on solid, fairly positive terms - each has gone out of his way to praise the other, they report to be speaking more regularly by phone, in part provoked by the major weekend snowstorm, and they have avoided direct criticism of one another.</p> <p>How the mayor speaks Tuesday about the governor and Cuomo's budget will have the ear of many. If de Blasio says anything the governor feels is out of turn, Cuomo is all but sure to address it through the media almost immediately.</p> <p>"We're never going to say to a governor, 'everything you do is right' or 'everything you do is wrong' when it comes to New York City," de Blasio said Monday. He added that he will maintain his ongoing standard to call it like he sees it, mixing praise with criticism as needed.</p> <p>De Blasio is set to meet with Cuomo in person on Tuesday, as well as Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, <a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/john-flanagan-finally-agrees-meet-mayor-de-blasio-article-1.2509083?cid=bitly" target="_blank">according to</a>&nbsp;the Daily News. If de Blasio is able to stay on good terms with Cuomo, which is no given, it may be Flanagan who is the largest impediment to de Blasio's agenda. Flanagan has expressed concerns about de Blasio's handling of city schools, including the mayor's opposition to charter schools.</p> <p>In meeting with Flanagan and in front of other legislators at the budget hearing, de Blasio is likely to defend mayoral control by citing progress under his leadership in terms of increasing graduation rates and student scores on state standardized tests (which are still far too low according to critics). De Blasio has also outlined new education programs under an "Equity and Excellence" banner, which cost millions and may feature in his requests for additional funding. The mayor is among those who continue to call on the state to fully fund the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court ruling, by which the city is still owed billions in state education money.</p> <p>During his testimony in front of lawmakers, de Blasio may harken back to much of what he said last year in the same position - including his defense of mayoral control, requests for additional education funding, and state investment in affordable housing.</p> <p>"New York City has 43% of the State's population," de Blasio told legislators during his testimony on Feb. 25, 2015, "and a New York City Department of Finance analysis shows that 50% of New York State tax revenues are attributable to New York City." But, he said, according to a report by city Comptroller Scott Stringer, who will also testify Tuesday, state revenue has dipped to about 15% of the city budget, down from an average of about 19% between 1985 and 2009. This change, the mayor said, amounted to what would have been an additional $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2014.</p> <p>With the city on strong financial footing, it is unclear how receptive state lawmakers will be to any requests de Blasio makes for additional funding, but there is always a large contingent of New York City-based legislators in Albany, including Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie of the Bronx.</p> <p>De Blasio recently called his first two Albany budget testimonies as mayor "very productive conversations."</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank">@tweetBenMax</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/24565939995_5effcb4b09_z.jpg" alt="de blasio car snow" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio (photo:&nbsp;Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Thirteen days after his most recent visit, Mayor Bill de Blasio heads back to Albany Tuesday morning to testify about the city's needs and progress, and to evaluate Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Budget.</p> <p>In front of members of the state Senate and Assembly at a joint legislative budget hearing, de Blasio is expected to push for increased state funding for key aspects of his inequality-fighting agenda and an extension of mayoral control of city schools, while also insisting that the state not go through with potential cuts to city aid outlined by the governor.</p> <p>De Blasio's testimony, including question-and-answer with lawmakers, is likely to touch upon the <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">recently expired</a> 421-a real estate tax abatement program, which is meant to spur affordable housing and is seen as essential to the mayor's goals. The program, in existence for decades, expired on Jan. 15. Three days later de Blasio <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">told reporters</a>, "I'm deeply disappointed that the way it was pursued has failed, in terms of the Albany process. And Albany has a chance to make it right and fix it because this is crucial to continuing the work we need to do to create affordable housing."</p> <p>Other key topics the mayor is likely to address include his management of homelessness and schools, the city-state share of the MTA capital plan, overall education funding the city receives, and the mayor's Vision Zero traffic safety program. At a recent press conference outlining progress in reducing pedestrian fatalities, de Blasio indicated that he'll be asking the state for further investments in Vision Zero, including to allow the city to run its school zone speed cameras 24-hours-a-day as opposed to only during school hours, as is the case now.</p> <p>When de Blasio was last in Albany on Jan. 13, he met with Cuomo for about thirty minutes and then watched from the third row as Cuomo delivered his State of the State and budget address. Immediately after, de Blasio found much to praise in the governor's 2016 platform, including planned investments in supportive housing and calls for increasing the minimum wage and passing paid family leave. However, de Blasio also learned that day that Cuomo's Fiscal Year 2017 budget plan includes significant cuts to state aid to the city for CUNY and Medicaid.</p> <p>De Blasio reacted cautiously that day, but had harsher words the next, after he and his budget team had had more time to review Cuomo's plan. De Blasio pledged to "fight them by any means necessary."</p> <p>The mayor helped stir a bit of a groundswell from budget watchdogs and like-minded legislators. The governor quickly said that the cuts were the start of a negotiation, that he was outlining plans for finding "efficiencies" in cooperation with the city for the two jointly-run programs. He promised that his plan "won't cost New York City a penny."</p> <p>De Blasio quickly praised the governor's promise and has said repeatedly since that he will hold him to it.</p> <p>When outlining <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6107-de-blasio-releases-cautious-82-billion-preliminary-budget" target="_blank">his own preliminary fiscal 2017 budget</a> on Jan. 21, de Blasio did not account for potential cuts to CUNY and Medicaid, which could cost $1 billion annually. Instead, he said of the governor, "He said he wants to find collaborative process to find reforms and savings. That's something we would always be happy to engage in, but we cannot accept a cut that would undermine the education of our young people or the healthcare of our people. So, you know, we'll work in good faith, and we'll work from the assumption – given what he said – that we do not have to lay out what almost a billion dollars in cuts would mean for the people of New York City. If anything changes, we'll certainly speak to it."</p> <p>On <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/did-you-get-snowedin/" target="_blank">Monday's Brian Lehrer Show</a> on WNYC, de Blasio sounded a similar tune, saying, "We want to make sure New York City is treated fairly throughout and we're pleased that the governor is saying that CUNY and Medicaid cuts they originally proposed would not cost us – the city – "a penny," and we respect that, but we will also hold them to that."</p> <p>The issue will be a key aspect of the mayor's testimony on Tuesday. He's also likely to touch on a couple of other ways in which it appears Cuomo is trying to pad state funds at the expense of the city, including the governor's seeking city debt savings that he thinks the state is entitled to, <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2016/01/8588758/state-tries-claw-back-650m-new-york-city" target="_blank">as reported by</a> Politico New York.</p> <p>Still, the mayor is sure to have a lot of praise for Cuomo's budget Tuesday - not only are the two experiencing a calm patch in their largely antagonistic relationship, but de Blasio appears genuinely appreciative of much of what Cuomo is putting forward.</p> <p>As Cuomo has shifted left over the past six months, de Blasio has liked what he's seen from the governor on the minimum wage and other more progressive policies. He seems especially pleased with Cuomo's $20 billion commitment to housing and homelessness over the next five years, though it is not clear how much of that is going to New York City-based efforts (the governor's State of the State policy book says more specific housing plans will be unveiled in the next few weeks).</p> <p>To combat homelessness Cuomo has pledged a major investment in supportive housing, which matches an announcement de Blasio made late last year, and affordable housing. After rolling out his pre-kindergarten program, de Blasio has turned to affordable housing as the top priority of his tenure.</p> <p>Education is never far from the top of any mayor's agenda, of course. While de Blasio is pleased that Cuomo is calling for a three-year extension of mayoral control of city schools - the same that Cuomo proposed last year, before agreeing to just one year - the mayor is again asking that the state make the system permanent. "I want to be clear about what's working for the children of New York City and mayoral control clearly works," de Blasio said Monday at an unrelated press conference. He called the old school board system rife with "chaos and corruption," and said, "mayoral control works, it makes things happen, it's the reason we got pre-K done in two years."</p> <p>De Blasio's frustrations over last year's Albany deals on mayoral control, as well as the governor's handling of 421-a and rent regulations, led to de Blasio's infamous June 30, 2015 tirade against the governor.</p> <p>Since they met on Jan. 13, de Blasio and Cuomo have been on solid, fairly positive terms - each has gone out of his way to praise the other, they report to be speaking more regularly by phone, in part provoked by the major weekend snowstorm, and they have avoided direct criticism of one another.</p> <p>How the mayor speaks Tuesday about the governor and Cuomo's budget will have the ear of many. If de Blasio says anything the governor feels is out of turn, Cuomo is all but sure to address it through the media almost immediately.</p> <p>"We're never going to say to a governor, 'everything you do is right' or 'everything you do is wrong' when it comes to New York City," de Blasio said Monday. He added that he will maintain his ongoing standard to call it like he sees it, mixing praise with criticism as needed.</p> <p>De Blasio is set to meet with Cuomo in person on Tuesday, as well as Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, <a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/john-flanagan-finally-agrees-meet-mayor-de-blasio-article-1.2509083?cid=bitly" target="_blank">according to</a>&nbsp;the Daily News. If de Blasio is able to stay on good terms with Cuomo, which is no given, it may be Flanagan who is the largest impediment to de Blasio's agenda. Flanagan has expressed concerns about de Blasio's handling of city schools, including the mayor's opposition to charter schools.</p> <p>In meeting with Flanagan and in front of other legislators at the budget hearing, de Blasio is likely to defend mayoral control by citing progress under his leadership in terms of increasing graduation rates and student scores on state standardized tests (which are still far too low according to critics). De Blasio has also outlined new education programs under an "Equity and Excellence" banner, which cost millions and may feature in his requests for additional funding. The mayor is among those who continue to call on the state to fully fund the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court ruling, by which the city is still owed billions in state education money.</p> <p>During his testimony in front of lawmakers, de Blasio may harken back to much of what he said last year in the same position - including his defense of mayoral control, requests for additional education funding, and state investment in affordable housing.</p> <p>"New York City has 43% of the State's population," de Blasio told legislators during his testimony on Feb. 25, 2015, "and a New York City Department of Finance analysis shows that 50% of New York State tax revenues are attributable to New York City." But, he said, according to a report by city Comptroller Scott Stringer, who will also testify Tuesday, state revenue has dipped to about 15% of the city budget, down from an average of about 19% between 1985 and 2009. This change, the mayor said, amounted to what would have been an additional $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2014.</p> <p>With the city on strong financial footing, it is unclear how receptive state lawmakers will be to any requests de Blasio makes for additional funding, but there is always a large contingent of New York City-based legislators in Albany, including Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie of the Bronx.</p> <p>De Blasio recently called his first two Albany budget testimonies as mayor "very productive conversations."</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank">@tweetBenMax</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 25 2016-01-24T05:00:00+00:00 2016-01-24T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6111:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-january-25 Carmen Russo <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" width="600" height="450" alt="New York City Hall" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio is back in Albany this week - this time, he's not taking in Governor Cuomo's budget address, he's testifying about it. This will be on Tuesday as de Blasio and other city officials testify in front a joint legislative budget hearing,</p> <p>First, the week starts with a major City Council hearing Monday morning at 10 a.m., at which the new, eight-bill Criminal Justice Reform Act will be heard - details below.</p> <p>The HOPE Count of homeless people living on the street is scheduled for Monday evening. Mayor de Blasio and other officials, including HUD Secretary Julian Castro, will kick off one volunteer group at 10:30 p.m. in Manhattan. This weekend's snowstorm could delay this event, check back here and elsewhere for any changes on Monday.</p> <p>On Tuesday, de Blasio and other city officials head to Albany to testify - other officials giving testimony and fielding questions from Assembly members and state Senators will include Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. Many are watching to see what de Blasio and others prioritize in their testimony and how de Blasio is received by Albany lawmakers. City officials get to respond to <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6088-cuomo-outlines-144-billion-budget-" target="_blank">Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget</a> in front of the legislature - how de Blasio approaches Cuomo's budget could lead to a significant response from the governor, something else to watch for. We know that the governor has several proposals that the mayor has praised, including on the minimum wage, paid family leave, and supportive housing, along with several he has concerns about, including proposed cuts to funding for CUNY and Medicaid. Other topics likely to come up include mayoral control of city schools, the expired 421-a real estate/affordable housing tax break, and homelessness.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p>Monday<br />The New York State Legislature is in session on Monday and will have a joint legislative budget hearing about “Health/Medicaid” at 9:30 a.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Public Safety will hear the new, eight-bill Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2016, which seeks to add civil penalties for a variety of low-level, nonviolent, quality-of-life offenses like open container of alcohol, public urination, and violations of park rules. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is spearheading this reform effort and is a lead sponsor on several of the bills, will give opening remarks.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Education will meet for the introduction of a bill that “would require the Department of Education to provide data, related to student participation in various free school breakfast, free salad bar, and free afterschool meals, to the Council and on their website” with a report that would also provide information “about initiatives and programs aimed at increasing student participation in the free meals.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Representatives from Gov. Cuomo's administration are again fanning the state Monday to give presentations of the Governor's 2016 State of the State agenda, including events in Hudson, Elizabethtown, and elsewhere.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the Hope Program in Brooklyn, there will be a press conference about the Fair Chance Act’s enforcement at 10 a.m. Monday attended by City Commission on Human Rights officials, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and City Council Member Jumaane Williams.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in Manhattan to speak at the Harvard Club during an event in which “Mortimer Zuckerman will announce the Zuckerman Scholars Program in STEM Leadership, a transformative program to support next generations of leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. Monday at Queens Borough Hall., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz<a href="http://queensbp.org/upcoming-public-hearing-on-fy17-budget-priorities-upcoming-funding-application-deadlines/" target="_blank"> will hold</a> a public hearing “to obtain the views and recommendations of the Queens Community Boards, residents and stakeholders on the proposals contained in the Mayor’s FY 2017 Preliminary Budget.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3:30 p.m. Monday, Speaker Mark-Viverito will speak at&nbsp;the New American Leaders Project 'States of Inclusion' at the Ford Foundation. And at 5 p.m. Mark-Viverito will host&nbsp;"Melissa Meet Up" on training on the discretionary funding process at the Council District 17 office in the Bronx - there is currently no sitting Council member in that district after the resignation of former Council Member Maria Del Carmen Arroyo.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. at The Hilton Albany, the Business Council of New York State, Inc. <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#top" target="_blank">will have</a> its 2016 Legislators’ Reception.</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council Member Costa Constantinides<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/820026074773311/" target="_blank"> will give</a> his State of the District address at 7 p.m. at Astoria’s PS 122 Elementary School on Monday.</p> <p dir="ltr">The annual HOPE Count (the Department of Homeless Services’ count of street homelessness in the city) is scheduled to<a href="http://www.nychope.site/" target="_blank"> be taken</a> by DHS and partners Monday night. More than 3,000 people are volunteering for the count, which starts at 10 p.m. and will end at 4 a.m. on Tuesday. Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro “will kick-off a HOPE count volunteer training session at PS 116 in Manhattan” at 10:30 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />The New York State Legislature is in session on Tuesday and will have a joint legislative budget hearing at 10 a.m. regarding “Local Government Officials/General Government.” This is the hearing de Blasio, Stringer, Mark-Viverito, and Ferreras-Copeland will testify during.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Tuesday: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Health will meet for the introduction of a bill aimed at “Setting nutritional standards for distributing incentive items aimed at children.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 6 p.m., the Committee on Public Housing will hold an off-site oversight hearing about “The NextGeneration NYCHA Development Plan” at Holmes Community Center on East 93rd Street in Manhattan.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 9 a.m. Tuesday, there will be a<a href="http://nycfoodpolicy.org/eventcalendar/food-policy-for-breakfast-universal-school-meals/" target="_blank"> panel</a> called “Food Policy for Breakfast: Universal School Meals: A Research Agenda” will be held by the New York City Food Policy Center at the CUNY Graduate Center. Community Food Advocates Executive Director Liz Accles, PhD. candidate Renalta Peralta of Columbia University’s Teachers College and Randi Herman of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators will be featured speakers, and Professor Jon Poppendieck, the center’s policy director, will moderate.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/WAM/20160111/" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday: a joint legislative budget hearing on “Elementary &amp; Secondary Education” at 9:30 a.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Wednesday: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Immigration will meet for an oversight hearing about the question “How can the City support ethnic media to ensure that immigrant communities receive information on local matters?”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committees on Civil Service and Labor, Small Business, and Economic Development will meet for a joint oversight hearing about “Decreasing Job Placements at Workforce 1 Centers.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will meet for an oversight hearing for an “Update Concerning Local Law 77 of 2013, Which Created a Curbside Organics Collection Pilot Program.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 8 a.m., City &amp; State will holds its 2016 NYC Legislative Preview forum <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-york-city-2016-legislative-preview-tickets-20078594617" target="_blank">at Baruch College</a>. Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, City Council Members Julissa Ferreras, Dan Garodnick, and Jumaane Williams are among those who will speak.</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon on Wednesday at City Hall, “elected officials, community leaders, and residents will hold a rally calling on the administration to stop the inequitable placement of homeless shelters in Southeast Queens. The rally will come one day ahead of residents’ court date on their action seeking an injunction against the City.” The participants will include state Sen. Leroy Comrie, members of the NAACP, local community board, National Action Network, and other groups.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Wednesday at Civic Hall, <a href="http://civichall.org/events/green-infrastructure-workshop-2/" target="_blank">there will</a> be a green infrastructure grant workshop for the Department of Environmental Protection. Those participating “will get an in-depth understanding of the eligibility requirements and application process.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m., the Brooklyn Historical Society<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-asian-communities-in-bensonhurst-tickets-19624248656" target="_blank"> will host</a> a discussion about Bensonhurst’s growing Asian communities and their implications for city politics. City Council Member Mark Treyger, Professor Peter Kwong of the CUNY Graduate Center and Brooklyn College, City Limits Executive Editor Jarrett Murphy, and Brooklyn Chinese-American Association President Paul Mak will speak on the panel.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/WAM/20160111/" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Thursday: a joint legislative budget hearing on “Environmental Conservation” at 9:30 a.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will meet. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services will meet for an oversight hearing on “Thrive NYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet on two bills - one “Requiring a study of potential environmental justice communities in NYC and the publication of the results of such study on the city’s website” and the other “Identifying and addressing environmental justice issues.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Governmental Operations will meet.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan<a href="http://www.abny.org/Content/Events/EventViewer.aspx?EventID=186" target="_blank"> will speak about</a> “the New York State budget and his priorities for the current session and beyond” at an Association for a Better New York breakfast.</p> <p dir="ltr">Queens Borough President Melinda Katz <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2-2-2-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3/?instance_id=1420" target="_blank">will hold </a>a public land use hearing at Queens Borough Hall’s conference room at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. Thursday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and other political, nonprofit and economic development leaders<a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cities-building-community-wealth-tickets-19498684089" target="_blank"> will speak</a> at a forum called “Cities Building Community Wealth” organized by the Surdna Foundation, the Democracy Collaborative and the CUNY School of Law, which is hosting the event.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 2 p.m. Thursday, New York Law School will<a href="http://www.citylandnyc.org/cle-event-new-york-city-property-tax-2015-2016/" target="_blank"> will host</a> a presentation by the Center for New York City Law, the Center for Real Estate Studies, and the New York City Tax Commission called “New York City Property Tax 2015-2016.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Thursday, City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett<a href="http://ccem.journalism.cuny.edu/upcoming-event/newsmakers-2016-qa-with-nyc-health-commissioner-dr-mary-travis-bassett/" target="_blank"> will speak</a> about the Health Department’s agenda and participate in a Q&amp;A session with Errol Louis of NY1 and CUNY J-School, Jarrett Murphy of City Limits, and Vania Ambre of The Haitian Times, at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Thursday, Dr. Christina Greer, a Fordham political science professor, will moderate “What Is Going to Happen? A Discussion of the 2016 Primaries: Pitfalls, Predictions, and Popularity” with Alexis Grenell, a City and State columnist and Democratic political strategist and Jessica Proud, a partner at the November Team and a Republican strategist. The event is at Fordham University’s McMahon Hall Lounge.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Friday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., an oversight hearing on “Examining Cultural Non-Profits in the New York City Juvenile Justice System” will be held by the Committees on Juvenile Justice and Cultural Affairs.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer <a href="https://madmimi.com/p/b1e827?fe=1&amp;pact=43609-129282282-7479891792-e947ef5196776bb44d535dd162d8a6a9c7cd4658" target="_blank">will host</a> her State of the Borough event at 2 p.m. at the New School. The event will be “youth- and culture-focused” and host panelists including Dr. Sumie Okazaki, Francisco Nunez, and Kharry Lazarre White.</p> <p>Assemblymember Michael Blake will deliver his State of the District address at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Dreamyard in the Bronx.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ryan Brady and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" width="600" height="450" alt="New York City Hall" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio is back in Albany this week - this time, he's not taking in Governor Cuomo's budget address, he's testifying about it. This will be on Tuesday as de Blasio and other city officials testify in front a joint legislative budget hearing,</p> <p>First, the week starts with a major City Council hearing Monday morning at 10 a.m., at which the new, eight-bill Criminal Justice Reform Act will be heard - details below.</p> <p>The HOPE Count of homeless people living on the street is scheduled for Monday evening. Mayor de Blasio and other officials, including HUD Secretary Julian Castro, will kick off one volunteer group at 10:30 p.m. in Manhattan. This weekend's snowstorm could delay this event, check back here and elsewhere for any changes on Monday.</p> <p>On Tuesday, de Blasio and other city officials head to Albany to testify - other officials giving testimony and fielding questions from Assembly members and state Senators will include Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. Many are watching to see what de Blasio and others prioritize in their testimony and how de Blasio is received by Albany lawmakers. City officials get to respond to <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6088-cuomo-outlines-144-billion-budget-" target="_blank">Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget</a> in front of the legislature - how de Blasio approaches Cuomo's budget could lead to a significant response from the governor, something else to watch for. We know that the governor has several proposals that the mayor has praised, including on the minimum wage, paid family leave, and supportive housing, along with several he has concerns about, including proposed cuts to funding for CUNY and Medicaid. Other topics likely to come up include mayoral control of city schools, the expired 421-a real estate/affordable housing tax break, and homelessness.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p>Monday<br />The New York State Legislature is in session on Monday and will have a joint legislative budget hearing about “Health/Medicaid” at 9:30 a.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Public Safety will hear the new, eight-bill Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2016, which seeks to add civil penalties for a variety of low-level, nonviolent, quality-of-life offenses like open container of alcohol, public urination, and violations of park rules. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is spearheading this reform effort and is a lead sponsor on several of the bills, will give opening remarks.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Education will meet for the introduction of a bill that “would require the Department of Education to provide data, related to student participation in various free school breakfast, free salad bar, and free afterschool meals, to the Council and on their website” with a report that would also provide information “about initiatives and programs aimed at increasing student participation in the free meals.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Representatives from Gov. Cuomo's administration are again fanning the state Monday to give presentations of the Governor's 2016 State of the State agenda, including events in Hudson, Elizabethtown, and elsewhere.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the Hope Program in Brooklyn, there will be a press conference about the Fair Chance Act’s enforcement at 10 a.m. Monday attended by City Commission on Human Rights officials, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and City Council Member Jumaane Williams.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in Manhattan to speak at the Harvard Club during an event in which “Mortimer Zuckerman will announce the Zuckerman Scholars Program in STEM Leadership, a transformative program to support next generations of leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. Monday at Queens Borough Hall., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz<a href="http://queensbp.org/upcoming-public-hearing-on-fy17-budget-priorities-upcoming-funding-application-deadlines/" target="_blank"> will hold</a> a public hearing “to obtain the views and recommendations of the Queens Community Boards, residents and stakeholders on the proposals contained in the Mayor’s FY 2017 Preliminary Budget.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3:30 p.m. Monday, Speaker Mark-Viverito will speak at&nbsp;the New American Leaders Project 'States of Inclusion' at the Ford Foundation. And at 5 p.m. Mark-Viverito will host&nbsp;"Melissa Meet Up" on training on the discretionary funding process at the Council District 17 office in the Bronx - there is currently no sitting Council member in that district after the resignation of former Council Member Maria Del Carmen Arroyo.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. at The Hilton Albany, the Business Council of New York State, Inc. <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#top" target="_blank">will have</a> its 2016 Legislators’ Reception.</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council Member Costa Constantinides<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/820026074773311/" target="_blank"> will give</a> his State of the District address at 7 p.m. at Astoria’s PS 122 Elementary School on Monday.</p> <p dir="ltr">The annual HOPE Count (the Department of Homeless Services’ count of street homelessness in the city) is scheduled to<a href="http://www.nychope.site/" target="_blank"> be taken</a> by DHS and partners Monday night. More than 3,000 people are volunteering for the count, which starts at 10 p.m. and will end at 4 a.m. on Tuesday. Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro “will kick-off a HOPE count volunteer training session at PS 116 in Manhattan” at 10:30 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday</strong><br />The New York State Legislature is in session on Tuesday and will have a joint legislative budget hearing at 10 a.m. regarding “Local Government Officials/General Government.” This is the hearing de Blasio, Stringer, Mark-Viverito, and Ferreras-Copeland will testify during.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Tuesday: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Health will meet for the introduction of a bill aimed at “Setting nutritional standards for distributing incentive items aimed at children.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 6 p.m., the Committee on Public Housing will hold an off-site oversight hearing about “The NextGeneration NYCHA Development Plan” at Holmes Community Center on East 93rd Street in Manhattan.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 9 a.m. Tuesday, there will be a<a href="http://nycfoodpolicy.org/eventcalendar/food-policy-for-breakfast-universal-school-meals/" target="_blank"> panel</a> called “Food Policy for Breakfast: Universal School Meals: A Research Agenda” will be held by the New York City Food Policy Center at the CUNY Graduate Center. Community Food Advocates Executive Director Liz Accles, PhD. candidate Renalta Peralta of Columbia University’s Teachers College and Randi Herman of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators will be featured speakers, and Professor Jon Poppendieck, the center’s policy director, will moderate.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday</strong><br />At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/WAM/20160111/" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday: a joint legislative budget hearing on “Elementary &amp; Secondary Education” at 9:30 a.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Wednesday: &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Immigration will meet for an oversight hearing about the question “How can the City support ethnic media to ensure that immigrant communities receive information on local matters?”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committees on Civil Service and Labor, Small Business, and Economic Development will meet for a joint oversight hearing about “Decreasing Job Placements at Workforce 1 Centers.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will meet for an oversight hearing for an “Update Concerning Local Law 77 of 2013, Which Created a Curbside Organics Collection Pilot Program.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 8 a.m., City &amp; State will holds its 2016 NYC Legislative Preview forum <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-york-city-2016-legislative-preview-tickets-20078594617" target="_blank">at Baruch College</a>. Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, City Council Members Julissa Ferreras, Dan Garodnick, and Jumaane Williams are among those who will speak.</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon on Wednesday at City Hall, “elected officials, community leaders, and residents will hold a rally calling on the administration to stop the inequitable placement of homeless shelters in Southeast Queens. The rally will come one day ahead of residents’ court date on their action seeking an injunction against the City.” The participants will include state Sen. Leroy Comrie, members of the NAACP, local community board, National Action Network, and other groups.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Wednesday at Civic Hall, <a href="http://civichall.org/events/green-infrastructure-workshop-2/" target="_blank">there will</a> be a green infrastructure grant workshop for the Department of Environmental Protection. Those participating “will get an in-depth understanding of the eligibility requirements and application process.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m., the Brooklyn Historical Society<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-asian-communities-in-bensonhurst-tickets-19624248656" target="_blank"> will host</a> a discussion about Bensonhurst’s growing Asian communities and their implications for city politics. City Council Member Mark Treyger, Professor Peter Kwong of the CUNY Graduate Center and Brooklyn College, City Limits Executive Editor Jarrett Murphy, and Brooklyn Chinese-American Association President Paul Mak will speak on the panel.</p> <p><strong>Thursday</strong><br />At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/WAM/20160111/" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Thursday: a joint legislative budget hearing on “Environmental Conservation” at 9:30 a.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will meet. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services will meet for an oversight hearing on “Thrive NYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet on two bills - one “Requiring a study of potential environmental justice communities in NYC and the publication of the results of such study on the city’s website” and the other “Identifying and addressing environmental justice issues.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m., the Committee on Governmental Operations will meet.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan<a href="http://www.abny.org/Content/Events/EventViewer.aspx?EventID=186" target="_blank"> will speak about</a> “the New York State budget and his priorities for the current session and beyond” at an Association for a Better New York breakfast.</p> <p dir="ltr">Queens Borough President Melinda Katz <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2-2-2-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3/?instance_id=1420" target="_blank">will hold </a>a public land use hearing at Queens Borough Hall’s conference room at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. Thursday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and other political, nonprofit and economic development leaders<a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cities-building-community-wealth-tickets-19498684089" target="_blank"> will speak</a> at a forum called “Cities Building Community Wealth” organized by the Surdna Foundation, the Democracy Collaborative and the CUNY School of Law, which is hosting the event.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 2 p.m. Thursday, New York Law School will<a href="http://www.citylandnyc.org/cle-event-new-york-city-property-tax-2015-2016/" target="_blank"> will host</a> a presentation by the Center for New York City Law, the Center for Real Estate Studies, and the New York City Tax Commission called “New York City Property Tax 2015-2016.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Thursday, City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett<a href="http://ccem.journalism.cuny.edu/upcoming-event/newsmakers-2016-qa-with-nyc-health-commissioner-dr-mary-travis-bassett/" target="_blank"> will speak</a> about the Health Department’s agenda and participate in a Q&amp;A session with Errol Louis of NY1 and CUNY J-School, Jarrett Murphy of City Limits, and Vania Ambre of The Haitian Times, at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Thursday, Dr. Christina Greer, a Fordham political science professor, will moderate “What Is Going to Happen? A Discussion of the 2016 Primaries: Pitfalls, Predictions, and Popularity” with Alexis Grenell, a City and State columnist and Democratic political strategist and Jessica Proud, a partner at the November Team and a Republican strategist. The event is at Fordham University’s McMahon Hall Lounge.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend</strong><br />At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Friday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., the Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m., an oversight hearing on “Examining Cultural Non-Profits in the New York City Juvenile Justice System” will be held by the Committees on Juvenile Justice and Cultural Affairs.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer <a href="https://madmimi.com/p/b1e827?fe=1&amp;pact=43609-129282282-7479891792-e947ef5196776bb44d535dd162d8a6a9c7cd4658" target="_blank">will host</a> her State of the Borough event at 2 p.m. at the New School. The event will be “youth- and culture-focused” and host panelists including Dr. Sumie Okazaki, Francisco Nunez, and Kharry Lazarre White.</p> <p>Assemblymember Michael Blake will deliver his State of the District address at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Dreamyard in the Bronx.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ryan Brady and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> Once Rife with Problems, City Budget Process Now a Model for State System in Need of Reform 2016-01-18T05:28:20+00:00 2016-01-18T05:28:20+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6097:once-rife-with-problems-city-budget-process-now-a-model-for-state-system-in-need-of-reform kfan <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/14201878985_7561049369_z.jpg" alt="cuomo exec budget pres 2014" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p>Governor Cuomo <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/14201878985/in/dateposted/" target="_blank">presents</a> his 2014-2015 Executive Budget</p> <hr /> <p>In 1975 New York City was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, having balanced its budget for years with massive borrowing and shady accounting tricks. Banks were at the point where they would lend no more. Mayor Abe Beame had written the announcement of the city's default. City lawyers were in State Supreme Court filing a petition for bankruptcy and police were prepared to serve the banks.</p> <p>At the last minute bankruptcy was averted as the federal government provided the city with loans. Those loans combined with the state-created Financial Control Board, which required the city to use generally accepted accounting practices and provide four-year financial plans, are credited with turning things around.</p> <p>Gone were the days when operating expenses were reclassified as capital investments, when labor costs were paid for with new loans, when raids on existing funds were acceptable ways to pay for new expenses. The city underwent such a turnaround in the following decades that its budget process is now thought to be a shining beacon across the country. The Financial Control Board that used to strike fear into the hearts of mayors is now a sleepy, almost forgotten entity.</p> <p>The state government, however, is facing a crisis of its own--not a fiscal one, but a crisis of trust, brought on by a series of convictions of sitting legislators that was capped late last year by the convictions of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. For years, the Silver and Skelos served as two of the 'three men in a room' deciding the budget with the Governor. It's a process that has been decried by good government advocates, reform-minded legislators, and the U.S Attorney, Preet Bharara, who brought Silver and Skelos to justice for abusing their positions.</p> <p>"I think people should start to talk about budget transparency as a matter of ethics," said Sen. Liz Krueger, the Democrats' ranking member on the state Senate finance committee. "People really should care about the lack of transparency in the state budget process for a whole lot of reasons. One of them is that if you don't know what's going on, pay-to-play wins the day. If someone wants something in the budget they get it there with a whole lot of lobbying money that no one knows about. That's the harm, that's the danger and I'll tell you that happens constantly."</p> <p>A number of major corruption cases, including Silver's, have centered on the opaqueness of the budget process that allows legislators and the governor to put aside secret slush funds. For example, Silver was able to direct discretionary funding to a cancer doctor who in turn sent Silver and his law firm lucrative clients suffering from a rare form of cancer.</p> <p>Former Sen. Malcolm Smith was convicted in a scheme whereby he would provide a developer a $500,000 lump sum from the budget. <a href="http://www.citizensunion.org/site_res_view_template.aspx?id=44c00241-f127-49c8-b019-f2d3d8cd1c41" target="_blank">A report</a> from good government group Citizens Union found that the 2014 and 2015 fiscal year budgets had over $3 billion in lump funds, while Cuomo's proposed 2016 budget had around $2.6 billion. Citizens Union, Common Cause NY, and NYPIRG have this year <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6069-good-government-groups-want-legislators-to-pledge-to-fight-for-reform" target="_blank">called on legislators</a> to support reforms making budget spending more transparent.</p> <p>"Preet Bharara, the federal prosecutor who convicted both Silver and Skelos, basically said the strongest tool these guys had to game the system was unbridled power and an unbelievable lack of transparency in policing 'three men in a room,'" said Assemblymember Jim Tedisco, a Republican from the Capital Region who has proposed a bill that would force any pot of cash negotiated in the budget to be line-itemed and mandate that it is publicly documented how the cash is eventually spent.</p> <p>"The other thing Bharara told us is 'if you see something, say something,'" Tedisco said. "I didn't know about these pots of money and I'm sure my Democratic colleagues in the chamber didn't know either. So if you don't know who got the money, you can't stop what's going on. We just don't have that transparency holistically."</p> <p>Slush funds aren't the only part of the state budget that thwart transparency. Today the bad practices New York City was forced to abandon are commonplace in the state budget process. The state budgets without generally accepted accounting practices, routinely raids other programs, has lump-sum appropriations where spending is at times decided by memorandum of understanding between the governor and legislators, and routinely pushes expenses down the road.</p> <p>This year Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a slew of major infrastructure projects including the revamp of Penn Station and a third track for the Long Island Rail Road, but his budget proposal does not lay out how to fund them. Meanwhile, his budget continues funneling cash to economic development projects that are managed by entities with little transparency. Cuomo's Buffalo Billion project is currently <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/28/nyregion/us-investigating-contract-awards-in-buffalo-turnaround-project.html?_r=0" target="_blank">under investigation</a> by Bharara's office.</p> <p>Frank Mauro, executive director emeritus of the Fiscal Policy Institute, who also served as the director of research for the city's last major charter revision and as secretary of the Assembly's ways and means committee, said that the differences between the city and state budget processes are striking. "I don't think many people know just how different the city process is from the state's," said Mauro.</p> <p>The city budget process begins when the Mayor submits his Preliminary Budget to the City Council before January 21 each year (this was just moved from Jan. 16). Then the City Council holds public hearings over a period of several weeks, bringing in agency commissioners and budget directors to examine spending, considers budget priorities from community boards and borough presidents, and takes testimony from groups and citizens.</p> <p>The Council must issue its findings and recommendations by March 25. The Mayor then has until April 26 to propose an Executive Budget, with explanations of programs as well as a fiscal outlook for the city. The Council then holds another series of public hearings which are followed by negotiations between the mayor's budget office and the Council finance division. These negotiations must result in a balanced budget by the end of June, with the new fiscal year beginning July 1.</p> <p>The Council <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/about/budget.shtml" target="_blank">is allowed</a> to increase, decrease, add or omit any appropriation for personal services, or omit or change conditions related to any appropriation. The Council then votes on the budget. The mayor can veto any additions or increases the Council adds but may not interfere with any decreases.</p> <p>The city process also includes a significant role for the Comptroller, who oversees city contracts and audits city agencies. The Comptroller is the city's chief financial watchdog and analyzes the Mayor's budget proposals, performing independent forecasting, raising red flags, and making recommendations.</p> <p>"In the state budget you have to investigate where the money has gone, where certain programs are accounted for, and even then, good luck," said Sen. Krueger. "Even the [state] comptroller's office does not know until years later what was actually spent."</p> <p>The state process begins when the Governor devises an Executive Budget based on the needs of agencies and any programs he or she supports and delivers the budget to the Legislature. Both houses of the the Legislature put out their own budgets, mainly to signal their major priorities for the year. The Governor delivers his executive budget along with appropriation, revenue and budget bills by February 1. The Legislature typically holds a series of budget hearings on particular topics, like transportation and local governments.</p> <p>Under reform legislation passed in 2007, the Legislature is supposed to convene conference committees between both houses to reach agreements on aspects of the budget and set priorities. These committees have been ignored in the past despite the reform legislation.</p> <p>The Governor and Legislature are also required agree on a revenue forecast on or before March 1. They are generally very good at doing this, failure to do so results in the state Comptroller setting the forecast. The Legislature can only reduce or entirely remove spending proposed by the Governor and it has no control over the Governor's proposals for spending. The Legislature can add spending, but the Governor has the ability to line-item veto. The Legislature must vote on a budget by April 1, which is the start of the state's fiscal year.</p> <p>It isn't until the budget is voted on that a new financial plan is created showing how all the changes impact spending. So while a budget may start as balanced under the Governor's proposed plan, it rarely ends that way.</p> <p>The state budget is usually full of non-budget policies because the budget process gives the Governor the upper hand - the Legislature can either negotiate the Governor's priorities, stall, or fail to vote on a budget on time, in which case the Governor can simply issue emergency extenders that put his budget into place.</p> <p>Budgets are normally negotiated exclusively between the two majority leaders of the Legislature and the Governor, and time and again budget bills are not given the three-day waiting period for review mandated by law. Instead, the Governor issues messages of necessity that allow the budget bills to be voted on immediately. The result is legislators voting on voluminous budget bills late at night, having little or no time to actually read them. "To say there is any level of public review is just insulting," Krueger said.</p> <p>"I think the biggest difference between the state and city budget processes is that the state budget is a political negotiation and you don't see a financial plan until a month later," said Tammy Gamerman, a senior research associate with the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC). "With the city they tell you how they are going to balance the budget."</p> <p>Adding further mystery to the state budget, Governor Cuomo has taken to combining his State of the State address and Executive Budget presentation, doing so this year and last. This leads to less public explanation of the budget and more focus on big policy initiatives the governor is backing. In his speech last week, the governor laid out a number of government ethics proposals, including public financing of campaigns. He did not discuss changing the budget process.</p> <p>The city budget process is not perfect, of course. The City Council continues to push the Mayor to more specifically account for agency spending, providing more units of appropriation instead of lump sums. There is also a good deal of discretionary spending available to the City Council Speaker that watchdogs want more accounting for.</p> <p>Sen. Krueger, who is one of the most outspoken legislators during late night state budget votes, picking at and tracking spending threads while most legislators are waiting to simply cast a "yes" vote and get back to their districts, said that 'three men in a room' has led to an absolute lack of budget transparency and alienated the public.</p> <p>Krueger says she has seen a decrease in attendance at budget hearings, even from groups that have a lot at stake in the budget. "At the end of the budget process each year, after I'm done beating my head against the wall over one thing that made it through the budget process or the other, I come to find out there are 16 other things I missed," Krueger told Gotham Gazette. "I don't catch a huge number of things and I do care about this. So imagine what it is like for someone who isn't a legislator, who doesn't have experience with this. I want people to know they should be involved in the process. They should come to hearings just to point out 'Hey, you know New York has state parks that need to be funded and that isn't in here.'"</p> <p>Most rank-and-file legislators and advocates acknowledge that budget reform is not a hot topic at the moment. The last time there was major attention on the subject was in 2009 when Senate Democrats briefly controlled the chamber. They issued <a href="https://www.nysenate.gov/sites/default/files/articles/attachments/krueger_budget_ar09_v1r2-final.pdf" target="_blank">a report</a> that recommended conference committees be given control over larger sums of budget funds, that the state adopt generally accepted accounting principles, a two-year budget cycle, and the creation of a legislative budget office.</p> <p>Krueger has since introduced bills that would create a state agency in the model of the city's <a href="http://www.ibo.nyc.ny.us/" target="_blank">Independent Budget Office</a> - a nonpartisan, publically funded agency that provides information to elected officials and the public about the budget, reviews budget proposals, and provides policy analysis. The bill has gone nowhere in the Senate.</p> <p>Krueger and other reformers also want to see the state require bills to have truthful financial impact statements. Currently, bills introduced from rank-and-file legislators, committee chairs, legislative leaders, or the Governor are supposed to have impact statements, but some simply lack them while others are presented in a dishonest way. Rather than presenting a program's cost for a year, some bills only represent a month's cost, or less.</p> <p>Gamerman said she feels that some progress has been made toward budget transparency over the last few years.</p> <p>"Accountability issues born of the financial crisis of the '70s forced the city to use generally accepted accounting principles," said Gamerman. "There isn't any similar oversight of the state. The state has increased transparency through the <a href="https://www.budget.ny.gov/" target="_blank">Open Budget website</a>. There is more info on agency spending. One of the big differences between the city and state is the city does a much better job tracking performance with the Mayor's Management Report. The state has been talking about doing something similar."</p> <p>Mauro said that he finds it unlikely there will be a major push for reform unless the Legislature feels the Governor is abusing his current powers because the status quo still works for the leadership. "It's an unlikely scenario where the Governor isn't running roughshod over the Legislature with budget powers that we'll see a push for change," said Mauro.</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> <p>Note: Gotham Gazette is an independent publication of Citizens Union Foundation, sister organization of Citizens Union.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/14201878985_7561049369_z.jpg" alt="cuomo exec budget pres 2014" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p>Governor Cuomo <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/14201878985/in/dateposted/" target="_blank">presents</a> his 2014-2015 Executive Budget</p> <hr /> <p>In 1975 New York City was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, having balanced its budget for years with massive borrowing and shady accounting tricks. Banks were at the point where they would lend no more. Mayor Abe Beame had written the announcement of the city's default. City lawyers were in State Supreme Court filing a petition for bankruptcy and police were prepared to serve the banks.</p> <p>At the last minute bankruptcy was averted as the federal government provided the city with loans. Those loans combined with the state-created Financial Control Board, which required the city to use generally accepted accounting practices and provide four-year financial plans, are credited with turning things around.</p> <p>Gone were the days when operating expenses were reclassified as capital investments, when labor costs were paid for with new loans, when raids on existing funds were acceptable ways to pay for new expenses. The city underwent such a turnaround in the following decades that its budget process is now thought to be a shining beacon across the country. The Financial Control Board that used to strike fear into the hearts of mayors is now a sleepy, almost forgotten entity.</p> <p>The state government, however, is facing a crisis of its own--not a fiscal one, but a crisis of trust, brought on by a series of convictions of sitting legislators that was capped late last year by the convictions of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. For years, the Silver and Skelos served as two of the 'three men in a room' deciding the budget with the Governor. It's a process that has been decried by good government advocates, reform-minded legislators, and the U.S Attorney, Preet Bharara, who brought Silver and Skelos to justice for abusing their positions.</p> <p>"I think people should start to talk about budget transparency as a matter of ethics," said Sen. Liz Krueger, the Democrats' ranking member on the state Senate finance committee. "People really should care about the lack of transparency in the state budget process for a whole lot of reasons. One of them is that if you don't know what's going on, pay-to-play wins the day. If someone wants something in the budget they get it there with a whole lot of lobbying money that no one knows about. That's the harm, that's the danger and I'll tell you that happens constantly."</p> <p>A number of major corruption cases, including Silver's, have centered on the opaqueness of the budget process that allows legislators and the governor to put aside secret slush funds. For example, Silver was able to direct discretionary funding to a cancer doctor who in turn sent Silver and his law firm lucrative clients suffering from a rare form of cancer.</p> <p>Former Sen. Malcolm Smith was convicted in a scheme whereby he would provide a developer a $500,000 lump sum from the budget. <a href="http://www.citizensunion.org/site_res_view_template.aspx?id=44c00241-f127-49c8-b019-f2d3d8cd1c41" target="_blank">A report</a> from good government group Citizens Union found that the 2014 and 2015 fiscal year budgets had over $3 billion in lump funds, while Cuomo's proposed 2016 budget had around $2.6 billion. Citizens Union, Common Cause NY, and NYPIRG have this year <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6069-good-government-groups-want-legislators-to-pledge-to-fight-for-reform" target="_blank">called on legislators</a> to support reforms making budget spending more transparent.</p> <p>"Preet Bharara, the federal prosecutor who convicted both Silver and Skelos, basically said the strongest tool these guys had to game the system was unbridled power and an unbelievable lack of transparency in policing 'three men in a room,'" said Assemblymember Jim Tedisco, a Republican from the Capital Region who has proposed a bill that would force any pot of cash negotiated in the budget to be line-itemed and mandate that it is publicly documented how the cash is eventually spent.</p> <p>"The other thing Bharara told us is 'if you see something, say something,'" Tedisco said. "I didn't know about these pots of money and I'm sure my Democratic colleagues in the chamber didn't know either. So if you don't know who got the money, you can't stop what's going on. We just don't have that transparency holistically."</p> <p>Slush funds aren't the only part of the state budget that thwart transparency. Today the bad practices New York City was forced to abandon are commonplace in the state budget process. The state budgets without generally accepted accounting practices, routinely raids other programs, has lump-sum appropriations where spending is at times decided by memorandum of understanding between the governor and legislators, and routinely pushes expenses down the road.</p> <p>This year Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a slew of major infrastructure projects including the revamp of Penn Station and a third track for the Long Island Rail Road, but his budget proposal does not lay out how to fund them. Meanwhile, his budget continues funneling cash to economic development projects that are managed by entities with little transparency. Cuomo's Buffalo Billion project is currently <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/28/nyregion/us-investigating-contract-awards-in-buffalo-turnaround-project.html?_r=0" target="_blank">under investigation</a> by Bharara's office.</p> <p>Frank Mauro, executive director emeritus of the Fiscal Policy Institute, who also served as the director of research for the city's last major charter revision and as secretary of the Assembly's ways and means committee, said that the differences between the city and state budget processes are striking. "I don't think many people know just how different the city process is from the state's," said Mauro.</p> <p>The city budget process begins when the Mayor submits his Preliminary Budget to the City Council before January 21 each year (this was just moved from Jan. 16). Then the City Council holds public hearings over a period of several weeks, bringing in agency commissioners and budget directors to examine spending, considers budget priorities from community boards and borough presidents, and takes testimony from groups and citizens.</p> <p>The Council must issue its findings and recommendations by March 25. The Mayor then has until April 26 to propose an Executive Budget, with explanations of programs as well as a fiscal outlook for the city. The Council then holds another series of public hearings which are followed by negotiations between the mayor's budget office and the Council finance division. These negotiations must result in a balanced budget by the end of June, with the new fiscal year beginning July 1.</p> <p>The Council <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/about/budget.shtml" target="_blank">is allowed</a> to increase, decrease, add or omit any appropriation for personal services, or omit or change conditions related to any appropriation. The Council then votes on the budget. The mayor can veto any additions or increases the Council adds but may not interfere with any decreases.</p> <p>The city process also includes a significant role for the Comptroller, who oversees city contracts and audits city agencies. The Comptroller is the city's chief financial watchdog and analyzes the Mayor's budget proposals, performing independent forecasting, raising red flags, and making recommendations.</p> <p>"In the state budget you have to investigate where the money has gone, where certain programs are accounted for, and even then, good luck," said Sen. Krueger. "Even the [state] comptroller's office does not know until years later what was actually spent."</p> <p>The state process begins when the Governor devises an Executive Budget based on the needs of agencies and any programs he or she supports and delivers the budget to the Legislature. Both houses of the the Legislature put out their own budgets, mainly to signal their major priorities for the year. The Governor delivers his executive budget along with appropriation, revenue and budget bills by February 1. The Legislature typically holds a series of budget hearings on particular topics, like transportation and local governments.</p> <p>Under reform legislation passed in 2007, the Legislature is supposed to convene conference committees between both houses to reach agreements on aspects of the budget and set priorities. These committees have been ignored in the past despite the reform legislation.</p> <p>The Governor and Legislature are also required agree on a revenue forecast on or before March 1. They are generally very good at doing this, failure to do so results in the state Comptroller setting the forecast. The Legislature can only reduce or entirely remove spending proposed by the Governor and it has no control over the Governor's proposals for spending. The Legislature can add spending, but the Governor has the ability to line-item veto. The Legislature must vote on a budget by April 1, which is the start of the state's fiscal year.</p> <p>It isn't until the budget is voted on that a new financial plan is created showing how all the changes impact spending. So while a budget may start as balanced under the Governor's proposed plan, it rarely ends that way.</p> <p>The state budget is usually full of non-budget policies because the budget process gives the Governor the upper hand - the Legislature can either negotiate the Governor's priorities, stall, or fail to vote on a budget on time, in which case the Governor can simply issue emergency extenders that put his budget into place.</p> <p>Budgets are normally negotiated exclusively between the two majority leaders of the Legislature and the Governor, and time and again budget bills are not given the three-day waiting period for review mandated by law. Instead, the Governor issues messages of necessity that allow the budget bills to be voted on immediately. The result is legislators voting on voluminous budget bills late at night, having little or no time to actually read them. "To say there is any level of public review is just insulting," Krueger said.</p> <p>"I think the biggest difference between the state and city budget processes is that the state budget is a political negotiation and you don't see a financial plan until a month later," said Tammy Gamerman, a senior research associate with the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC). "With the city they tell you how they are going to balance the budget."</p> <p>Adding further mystery to the state budget, Governor Cuomo has taken to combining his State of the State address and Executive Budget presentation, doing so this year and last. This leads to less public explanation of the budget and more focus on big policy initiatives the governor is backing. In his speech last week, the governor laid out a number of government ethics proposals, including public financing of campaigns. He did not discuss changing the budget process.</p> <p>The city budget process is not perfect, of course. The City Council continues to push the Mayor to more specifically account for agency spending, providing more units of appropriation instead of lump sums. There is also a good deal of discretionary spending available to the City Council Speaker that watchdogs want more accounting for.</p> <p>Sen. Krueger, who is one of the most outspoken legislators during late night state budget votes, picking at and tracking spending threads while most legislators are waiting to simply cast a "yes" vote and get back to their districts, said that 'three men in a room' has led to an absolute lack of budget transparency and alienated the public.</p> <p>Krueger says she has seen a decrease in attendance at budget hearings, even from groups that have a lot at stake in the budget. "At the end of the budget process each year, after I'm done beating my head against the wall over one thing that made it through the budget process or the other, I come to find out there are 16 other things I missed," Krueger told Gotham Gazette. "I don't catch a huge number of things and I do care about this. So imagine what it is like for someone who isn't a legislator, who doesn't have experience with this. I want people to know they should be involved in the process. They should come to hearings just to point out 'Hey, you know New York has state parks that need to be funded and that isn't in here.'"</p> <p>Most rank-and-file legislators and advocates acknowledge that budget reform is not a hot topic at the moment. The last time there was major attention on the subject was in 2009 when Senate Democrats briefly controlled the chamber. They issued <a href="https://www.nysenate.gov/sites/default/files/articles/attachments/krueger_budget_ar09_v1r2-final.pdf" target="_blank">a report</a> that recommended conference committees be given control over larger sums of budget funds, that the state adopt generally accepted accounting principles, a two-year budget cycle, and the creation of a legislative budget office.</p> <p>Krueger has since introduced bills that would create a state agency in the model of the city's <a href="http://www.ibo.nyc.ny.us/" target="_blank">Independent Budget Office</a> - a nonpartisan, publically funded agency that provides information to elected officials and the public about the budget, reviews budget proposals, and provides policy analysis. The bill has gone nowhere in the Senate.</p> <p>Krueger and other reformers also want to see the state require bills to have truthful financial impact statements. Currently, bills introduced from rank-and-file legislators, committee chairs, legislative leaders, or the Governor are supposed to have impact statements, but some simply lack them while others are presented in a dishonest way. Rather than presenting a program's cost for a year, some bills only represent a month's cost, or less.</p> <p>Gamerman said she feels that some progress has been made toward budget transparency over the last few years.</p> <p>"Accountability issues born of the financial crisis of the '70s forced the city to use generally accepted accounting principles," said Gamerman. "There isn't any similar oversight of the state. The state has increased transparency through the <a href="https://www.budget.ny.gov/" target="_blank">Open Budget website</a>. There is more info on agency spending. One of the big differences between the city and state is the city does a much better job tracking performance with the Mayor's Management Report. The state has been talking about doing something similar."</p> <p>Mauro said that he finds it unlikely there will be a major push for reform unless the Legislature feels the Governor is abusing his current powers because the status quo still works for the leadership. "It's an unlikely scenario where the Governor isn't running roughshod over the Legislature with budget powers that we'll see a push for change," said Mauro.</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> <p>Note: Gotham Gazette is an independent publication of Citizens Union Foundation, sister organization of Citizens Union.</p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 18 2016-01-18T00:38:21+00:00 2016-01-18T00:38:21+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6096:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-january-18 Carmen Russo <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6088-cuomo-outlines-144-billion-budget-" target="_blank">released his Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017</a>, which, for the state, begins April 1. It was not without controversy for the city, with Cuomo including significant cuts to state aid for city Medicaid and CUNY costs. Mayor Bill de Blasio and others from the city pushed back quickly and firmly, and the governor <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan/de-blasio-vows-fight-cuomo-budget-cuts-means-article-1.2497175" target="_blank">seemed to indicate</a> that he was ready to work with the mayor and others to find efficiencies in the two programs in order to save money, rather than simply moving costs to the city.</p> <p>This week, it's de Blasio's turn. The mayor is due to release his Preliminary Budget for FY17 on Thursday. It will be especially interesting to see how the mayor accounts for the Medicaid and CUNY aspects of Cuomo's budget. Also, many are watching to see if the mayor calls for clearer savings from his agencies - a majority of City Council members <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6072-majority-of-council-members-urge-mayor-to-identify-budget-savings" target="_blank">sent the mayor a letter recently, asking him to ask his commissioners to identify five percent savings</a>. The city budget has grown significantly over the past two years, in part due to labor contracts the mayor has signed - he inherited a labor situation with none of the city's labor unions under non-expired contract.</p> <p>The state legislature is in session on Wednesday and Thursday in Albany, beginning budget hearings on the governor's budget. And, on Wednesday, the legislature will consider the governor's nominee to fill the vacancy for the state's chief judge. Details below.</p> <p>In the city, we're watching reaction to the announcement of a deal on Central Park carriage horses, announced Sunday evening; what the next steps are related to the for-hire vehicle study the city released Friday, as well as the related legislative package the City Council announced, and more. We also saw on Friday the expiration of the 421-a real estate development tax break meant to spur affodable housing. What's next there is also to be seen.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There are commemorative events all over the city and many elected officials are either holding events or participating in them.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio is speaking at three Martin Luther King Jr. Day events Monday, per his public schedule:</p> <ul> <li>At 11 a.m. Monday at BAM in Brooklyn, "Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at the 30th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." (after which the mayor will speak with members of the media)</li> <li>At 2:45 p.m., "the Mayor will deliver remarks at the National Action Network's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Policy Forum in Manhattan."</li> <li>"In the evening, the Mayor will deliver remarks at the St. Mary's Episcopal Church's Community Celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day."</li> </ul> <p>City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will also speak at the BAM event, at 10:30 a.m. She will then speak at Convent Avenue Baptist Church's Martin Luther King Day service at 11:30, and at the National Action Network event at 1:15 p.m.</p> <p>Public Advocate Letitia James has nine Martin Luther King Jr. Day events on her schedule, including the BAM and NAN events mentioned above. Comptroller Scott Stringer has several MLK Day events on his schedule, too.</p> <p>Gov. Cuomo will be honored at NAN, according to the governor's public schedule, on Monday at 3 p.m.,&nbsp;"Governor Cuomo Delivers Remarks and Receives the "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Crusader for Social Justice Award" at the National Action Network's Annual NY King Day Public Policy Forum." After the event, "the Governor will join the National Action Network in a "Fight for Fair Pay" march."</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Tuesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li>At 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet on three bills related to business improvement districts, one bill that would "require the Department of Finance to include a notice regarding legal and preferential rents on certain documents related to the NYC Rent Freeze Program" and a resolution to approve designation changes in its expense budget.</li> <li>At 1:30 p.m., the Council will have a Stated Meeting. It will be prefaced, as usual, by the Speaker's pre-stated press conference at 12:30.</li> </ul> <p>Prior to the stated meeting, at 10 a.m., "elected officials, labor and community leaders will gather on the steps of New York City Hall to rally in anticipation of a vote on the Grocery Worker Retention Act (GWRA). The GWRA (Int 632-2015) provides for a ninety day transition period to eligible employees following a change in ownership of a grocery store." This will be led by "Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Council Progressive Caucus members, RWDSU, RWDSU 338, UFCW 1500, other elected officials, labor and community leaders, and more." [Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5907-city-council-considers-regulation-of-grocery-personnel-decisions" target="_blank">City Council Considers Regulating Grocery Personnel Decisions</a>]</p> <p>At 10 a.m. in the John Adams Houses projects in the Bronx, New York City Housing Authority CEO and Chair Shola Olatoye is expected to announce "the completion of major CCTV installation and ongoing security upgrades at 32 NYCHA developments citywide."</p> <p>At 11 a.m. at the Razi School in Queens,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio will host a press conference to make an announcement related to Vision Zero."</p> <p>At 11:30 a.m. outside City Hall,&nbsp;"Wheelchair advocates and taxi drivers will join together...in a first-of-its-kind rally aimed at forcing the City Council to act and leveling the playing field for all sectors of the taxi and for-hire industries...Uber now has over 30,000 vehicles in the city, but not a single one is wheelchair accessible. Uber's growth has also driven down medallion values, poached drivers from the taxi industry, and reduced taxi-generated MTA revenue by displacing existing taxi pickups."</p> <p>On Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. a large number of community groups will organize representatives outside U.S. Attorney Preet Bharar's office, where "Youth speakout to demand Preet Bharara &amp; DOJ prioritize justice in killing of Ramarley Graham and protection of Black &amp; Brown young people's lives." The action is being led by Communities United for Police Reform.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m., the Museum of the City of New York is <a href="http://www.mcny.org/event/housing-growing-city" target="_blank">hosting</a> a panel called "Housing a Growing City," featuring City Council Member Ritchie Torres, Department of City Planning Executive Director Purnima Kapur, Citizens Housing and Planning Council Executive Director Sarah Watson and Seema Agnani and National CAPACD's director of policy and civic engagement. The panel will be moderated by Ingrid Gould Ellen, NYU professor and the director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At the City Council on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li>At 10 a.m., the Committees on Fire and Criminal Justice Services and Parks and Recreation will meet for an oversight hearing to examine Hart Island's future and to introduce a bill that would give the Department of Parks and Recreation jurisdiction over the island, which is currently controlled by the corrections department.</li> <li>At 1 p.m., the Committee on Youth Services will have an oversight hearing to discuss "Connecting Young People to Volunteer Opportunities".</li> </ul> <p>The New York state legislature is in session on Wednesday, and will also have three hearings in Albany, including the first joint budget hearing on Governor Cuomo's recently unveiled Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017:</p> <ul> <li>At 9:30 a.m., a joint legislative public hearing on the governor's 2016-2017 budget proposal on transportation.</li> <li>At 11 a.m., a joint hearing by the Assembly Standing Committees on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry will be held about "Providing Affordable and High Quality Cable, Broadband, and Telephone Service".</li> <li>At 1 p.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing about the appointment of Gov. Cuomo's nominee for Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.</li> </ul> <p>The City Planning Commission will discuss several items during <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/luproc/calendar.pdf?r=010616a" target="_blank">a public meeting</a> at 22 Reade Street at 10 a.m. Wednesday.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Educational Policy will meet at the Taft Educational Campus in the Bronx. The panel is set to vote on the DOE Community Schools Policy, "proposals for significant changes in school utilization" and Chancellor's Regulations amendments and proposed contracts.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>The New York state legislature is in session on Thursday.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver his preliminary fiscal year 2017 budget on Thursday. Later on Thursday, de Blasio will head to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter gathering. He's set to speak at a Friday plenary and then head back to New York City.</p> <p>Queens Borough president Melinda Katz will will deliver the State of the Borough address at Queens College's Colden Auditorium at 10 a.m.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Thursday, there will be a press conference held by state legislators, health professionals, advocates and educators about the Mental Health First Aid bill sponsored by State Senator Jesse Hamilton, at the Legislative Office building in Albany.</p> <p>At the City Council on Thursday: At 1 p.m., the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet to introduce a bill to absolve criminal and civil penalties for owners of buildings with code violations that were created in response to natural disaster, and a bill with the same function for building owners waiting for repairs from a city disaster recovery program that also requires that the city refund them of fines paid for these penalties.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m., Representative Hakeem Jeffries will give his State of the District address at Long Island University's Paramount Theatre.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Mayor de Blasio will speak Friday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering in Washington, D.C.</p> <p>Success Academy Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz<a href="http://www.citylandnyc.org/center-for-new-york-city-law-breakfast-eva-moskowitz/" target="_blank">&nbsp;will speak</a>&nbsp;at a CityLaw breakfast at 8:15 a.m on Friday at New York Law School.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Friday at 9 a.m., the Urban Justice Center will host a policy briefing. The Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision and the Coalition for Community Advancement in Cypress Hills/East New York will discuss the community plans, which are alternatives to the de Blasio’s administration’s plans.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Friday: at 10 a.m., the Committees on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations and Juvenile Justice will discuss “Cultural Non-Profits in the New York City Juvenile Justice System” in a joint oversight hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> Friday: at 1 p.m., the Assembly Standing Committee on Real Property Taxation will have a public hearing about the real property tax system of New York City.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. on Saturday, Assemblymember Michael Blake <a href="https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-6440420854953867520" target="_blank">will deliver</a> his State of the District address at Dreamyard in the Bronx on Saturday.</p> <p>The second public workshop on Inwood’s neighborhood rezoning will<a href="http://www.nycedc.com/project/inwood-nyc-neighborhood-study" target="_blank"> be held</a> by Community Board 12, the Department of City Planning, and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez at J.H.S. 52 on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ryan Brady and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6088-cuomo-outlines-144-billion-budget-" target="_blank">released his Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017</a>, which, for the state, begins April 1. It was not without controversy for the city, with Cuomo including significant cuts to state aid for city Medicaid and CUNY costs. Mayor Bill de Blasio and others from the city pushed back quickly and firmly, and the governor <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan/de-blasio-vows-fight-cuomo-budget-cuts-means-article-1.2497175" target="_blank">seemed to indicate</a> that he was ready to work with the mayor and others to find efficiencies in the two programs in order to save money, rather than simply moving costs to the city.</p> <p>This week, it's de Blasio's turn. The mayor is due to release his Preliminary Budget for FY17 on Thursday. It will be especially interesting to see how the mayor accounts for the Medicaid and CUNY aspects of Cuomo's budget. Also, many are watching to see if the mayor calls for clearer savings from his agencies - a majority of City Council members <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6072-majority-of-council-members-urge-mayor-to-identify-budget-savings" target="_blank">sent the mayor a letter recently, asking him to ask his commissioners to identify five percent savings</a>. The city budget has grown significantly over the past two years, in part due to labor contracts the mayor has signed - he inherited a labor situation with none of the city's labor unions under non-expired contract.</p> <p>The state legislature is in session on Wednesday and Thursday in Albany, beginning budget hearings on the governor's budget. And, on Wednesday, the legislature will consider the governor's nominee to fill the vacancy for the state's chief judge. Details below.</p> <p>In the city, we're watching reaction to the announcement of a deal on Central Park carriage horses, announced Sunday evening; what the next steps are related to the for-hire vehicle study the city released Friday, as well as the related legislative package the City Council announced, and more. We also saw on Friday the expiration of the 421-a real estate development tax break meant to spur affodable housing. What's next there is also to be seen.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There are commemorative events all over the city and many elected officials are either holding events or participating in them.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio is speaking at three Martin Luther King Jr. Day events Monday, per his public schedule:</p> <ul> <li>At 11 a.m. Monday at BAM in Brooklyn, "Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks at the 30th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." (after which the mayor will speak with members of the media)</li> <li>At 2:45 p.m., "the Mayor will deliver remarks at the National Action Network's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Policy Forum in Manhattan."</li> <li>"In the evening, the Mayor will deliver remarks at the St. Mary's Episcopal Church's Community Celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day."</li> </ul> <p>City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will also speak at the BAM event, at 10:30 a.m. She will then speak at Convent Avenue Baptist Church's Martin Luther King Day service at 11:30, and at the National Action Network event at 1:15 p.m.</p> <p>Public Advocate Letitia James has nine Martin Luther King Jr. Day events on her schedule, including the BAM and NAN events mentioned above. Comptroller Scott Stringer has several MLK Day events on his schedule, too.</p> <p>Gov. Cuomo will be honored at NAN, according to the governor's public schedule, on Monday at 3 p.m.,&nbsp;"Governor Cuomo Delivers Remarks and Receives the "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Crusader for Social Justice Award" at the National Action Network's Annual NY King Day Public Policy Forum." After the event, "the Governor will join the National Action Network in a "Fight for Fair Pay" march."</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Tuesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li>At 10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet on three bills related to business improvement districts, one bill that would "require the Department of Finance to include a notice regarding legal and preferential rents on certain documents related to the NYC Rent Freeze Program" and a resolution to approve designation changes in its expense budget.</li> <li>At 1:30 p.m., the Council will have a Stated Meeting. It will be prefaced, as usual, by the Speaker's pre-stated press conference at 12:30.</li> </ul> <p>Prior to the stated meeting, at 10 a.m., "elected officials, labor and community leaders will gather on the steps of New York City Hall to rally in anticipation of a vote on the Grocery Worker Retention Act (GWRA). The GWRA (Int 632-2015) provides for a ninety day transition period to eligible employees following a change in ownership of a grocery store." This will be led by "Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Council Progressive Caucus members, RWDSU, RWDSU 338, UFCW 1500, other elected officials, labor and community leaders, and more." [Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5907-city-council-considers-regulation-of-grocery-personnel-decisions" target="_blank">City Council Considers Regulating Grocery Personnel Decisions</a>]</p> <p>At 10 a.m. in the John Adams Houses projects in the Bronx, New York City Housing Authority CEO and Chair Shola Olatoye is expected to announce "the completion of major CCTV installation and ongoing security upgrades at 32 NYCHA developments citywide."</p> <p>At 11 a.m. at the Razi School in Queens,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio will host a press conference to make an announcement related to Vision Zero."</p> <p>At 11:30 a.m. outside City Hall,&nbsp;"Wheelchair advocates and taxi drivers will join together...in a first-of-its-kind rally aimed at forcing the City Council to act and leveling the playing field for all sectors of the taxi and for-hire industries...Uber now has over 30,000 vehicles in the city, but not a single one is wheelchair accessible. Uber's growth has also driven down medallion values, poached drivers from the taxi industry, and reduced taxi-generated MTA revenue by displacing existing taxi pickups."</p> <p>On Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. a large number of community groups will organize representatives outside U.S. Attorney Preet Bharar's office, where "Youth speakout to demand Preet Bharara &amp; DOJ prioritize justice in killing of Ramarley Graham and protection of Black &amp; Brown young people's lives." The action is being led by Communities United for Police Reform.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m., the Museum of the City of New York is <a href="http://www.mcny.org/event/housing-growing-city" target="_blank">hosting</a> a panel called "Housing a Growing City," featuring City Council Member Ritchie Torres, Department of City Planning Executive Director Purnima Kapur, Citizens Housing and Planning Council Executive Director Sarah Watson and Seema Agnani and National CAPACD's director of policy and civic engagement. The panel will be moderated by Ingrid Gould Ellen, NYU professor and the director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At the City Council on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li>At 10 a.m., the Committees on Fire and Criminal Justice Services and Parks and Recreation will meet for an oversight hearing to examine Hart Island's future and to introduce a bill that would give the Department of Parks and Recreation jurisdiction over the island, which is currently controlled by the corrections department.</li> <li>At 1 p.m., the Committee on Youth Services will have an oversight hearing to discuss "Connecting Young People to Volunteer Opportunities".</li> </ul> <p>The New York state legislature is in session on Wednesday, and will also have three hearings in Albany, including the first joint budget hearing on Governor Cuomo's recently unveiled Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017:</p> <ul> <li>At 9:30 a.m., a joint legislative public hearing on the governor's 2016-2017 budget proposal on transportation.</li> <li>At 11 a.m., a joint hearing by the Assembly Standing Committees on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry will be held about "Providing Affordable and High Quality Cable, Broadband, and Telephone Service".</li> <li>At 1 p.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing about the appointment of Gov. Cuomo's nominee for Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.</li> </ul> <p>The City Planning Commission will discuss several items during <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/luproc/calendar.pdf?r=010616a" target="_blank">a public meeting</a> at 22 Reade Street at 10 a.m. Wednesday.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Educational Policy will meet at the Taft Educational Campus in the Bronx. The panel is set to vote on the DOE Community Schools Policy, "proposals for significant changes in school utilization" and Chancellor's Regulations amendments and proposed contracts.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>The New York state legislature is in session on Thursday.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver his preliminary fiscal year 2017 budget on Thursday. Later on Thursday, de Blasio will head to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter gathering. He's set to speak at a Friday plenary and then head back to New York City.</p> <p>Queens Borough president Melinda Katz will will deliver the State of the Borough address at Queens College's Colden Auditorium at 10 a.m.</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Thursday, there will be a press conference held by state legislators, health professionals, advocates and educators about the Mental Health First Aid bill sponsored by State Senator Jesse Hamilton, at the Legislative Office building in Albany.</p> <p>At the City Council on Thursday: At 1 p.m., the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet to introduce a bill to absolve criminal and civil penalties for owners of buildings with code violations that were created in response to natural disaster, and a bill with the same function for building owners waiting for repairs from a city disaster recovery program that also requires that the city refund them of fines paid for these penalties.</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m., Representative Hakeem Jeffries will give his State of the District address at Long Island University's Paramount Theatre.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Mayor de Blasio will speak Friday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering in Washington, D.C.</p> <p>Success Academy Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz<a href="http://www.citylandnyc.org/center-for-new-york-city-law-breakfast-eva-moskowitz/" target="_blank">&nbsp;will speak</a>&nbsp;at a CityLaw breakfast at 8:15 a.m on Friday at New York Law School.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Friday at 9 a.m., the Urban Justice Center will host a policy briefing. The Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision and the Coalition for Community Advancement in Cypress Hills/East New York will discuss the community plans, which are alternatives to the de Blasio’s administration’s plans.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank"> City Council</a> on Friday: at 10 a.m., the Committees on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations and Juvenile Justice will discuss “Cultural Non-Profits in the New York City Juvenile Justice System” in a joint oversight hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> Friday: at 1 p.m., the Assembly Standing Committee on Real Property Taxation will have a public hearing about the real property tax system of New York City.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. on Saturday, Assemblymember Michael Blake <a href="https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-6440420854953867520" target="_blank">will deliver</a> his State of the District address at Dreamyard in the Bronx on Saturday.</p> <p>The second public workshop on Inwood’s neighborhood rezoning will<a href="http://www.nycedc.com/project/inwood-nyc-neighborhood-study" target="_blank"> be held</a> by Community Board 12, the Department of City Planning, and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez at J.H.S. 52 on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Ryan Brady and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> De Blasio's Executive Budget: What We Know So Far 2015-05-07T05:00:00+00:00 2015-05-07T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5714:de-blasio-executive-budget-2016-what-we-know-so-far Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/BdB_City_Hall_Alatriste.jpg" alt="BdB City Hall Alatriste" height="447" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio at City Hall on Wednesday (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio will outline his Fiscal Year 2016 Executive Budget on Thursday afternoon at City Hall. The mayor will also release his administration's first iteration of the city's 10-year capital plan. While there may still be a few surprises, we already know quite a bit about the changes the mayor has made from his preliminary budget to his executive budget.</p> <p>The budget presentation will build off the mayor's $77 billion Preliminary Budget, which he unveiled in February. That spending plan was then vetted by the City Council throughout March hearings, leading to a formal response from the Council on April 14 and ongoing negotiations, heading toward a final agreement between the mayor and the Council by the end of June. City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">Executive Budget Hearings</a>&nbsp;are set to begin May 18 and finish June 9. The city's fiscal year begins on July 1.</p> <p>In its formal response to de Blasio, the Council pushed for, among other items: creating a citywide bail fund (ask: $1.4M); additional investments in NYCHA (ask: additional $25M); creating a year-round youth employment program (ask: $17.3M); expanding the Mayor's Office of Veteran's Affairs (ask: additonal $600,000); providing universal free lunch to city students; investing in street resurfacing (ask: additional $103M); and of course, the big button ask: hiring 1,000 additional NYPD officers (ask: $68.7M). (Note: the asks listed are for FY2016, some numbers are projected to change in subsequent years. Read full details of the Council's preliminary budget response <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2016/prelim.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>).</p> <p>It appears the mayor is accounting for most of the items listed above and other council asks in some fashion or another, though on several fronts the details have not yet been released. Many are eagerly waiting to see where the mayor has come down on the expansion of the NYPD force.</p> <p>But in the days leading up to Thursday's executive budget presentation, the de Blasio administration has previewed several elements of the new spending plan as reported by a variety of news outlets. Some of these relate to City Council asks, some do not - a rundown of what we know so far:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/05/8567541/de-blasio-propose-500-m-reserve-capital-projects" target="_blank">Capital New York is reporting</a> several details around savings that de Blasio will unveil: he plans "to create a first-of-its-kind $500 million account to pay for long-term capital projects" called "The Capital Stabilization Reserve"; he will set "aside $1 billion for the F.Y. 2016 "general reserve""; and it appears that "city agencies have come up with $530 million in savings through the end of F.Y. 2016" while "agencies found $125 million through F.Y. 2016 in additional revenue."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/nyregion/mayor-de-blasios-budget-commits-100-million-to-combat-homelessness-in-new-york.html?smid=tw-share" target="_blank">The New York Times is reporting</a> that de Blasio will announce new homelessness prevention spending: "the city [will] commit $100 million in annual spending, including funding for rental assistance to more than 7,000 new households, anti-eviction efforts and other measures."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://nydn.us/1FJhLK9" target="_blank">The New York Daily News is reporting</a> that de Blasio is including additional spending on the city's most-struggling schools:&nbsp;"struggling and underfunded city schools will get an additional $33.6 million," with over "$20 million of the added money [going] to 94 low-performing schools already targeted for renewal by city Department of Education officials. Those schools will receive an added $250,000 per year on average, enough to hire two additional staffers or pay for hundreds of hours of extra programming for students."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150505/BLOGS04/150509927/mayor-to-nearly-triple-funding-for-industrial-businesses" target="_blank">Crain's New York Business is reporting</a> that de Blasio is set to&nbsp;"propose to nearly triple funding for the city's eight industrial business service providers to $1.5 million from this year's $570,000" and&nbsp;"include $450,000 for new industrial and manufacturing training to give workers the skills that industrial employers seek."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/05/city_to_boost_road_repair_budg.html" target="_blank">The Staten Island Advance is reporting</a> that de Blasio will announce&nbsp;"the city plans to boost the road resurfacing budget by $242.1 million this year."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-city-small-business-agency-will-get-budget-boost-1430960727" target="_blank">The Wall Street Journal is reporting</a> that the mayor will boost&nbsp;"propose increasing city funding to programs run by the Department of Small Business Services by 73.5%...recommending spending $43.9 million," up from "$25.3 million for the agency in the current fiscal year. The mayor is proposing that the agency's overall budget, including funding from other sources, such as the federal government, total $167 million."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/exclusive-de-blasio-expand-rat-program-citywide-article-1.2213416?cid=bitly" target="_blank">The New York Daily News is reporting</a> that de Blasio will announce he's devoting more money to fighting rats:&nbsp;"he's beefing up a successful pilot program aimed at ridding the vermin from seven neighborhoods with $3 million to make it permanent and allow it to expand citywide...over six times the $400,000 the pilot received in last year's budget."</li> </ul> <ul> <li>At Gotham Gazette, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5711-city-board-of-elections-expected-to-again-see-budget-bump" target="_blank">we are reporting</a> that it is likely the city's Board of Elections will see an increase from the preliminary to the executive budget, which would follow a trend of several years and is expected by stakeholders and experts, such as the Independent Budget Office and the BOE executive director, Michael Ryan. The mayor's office has not confirmed this report though.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://techcrunch.com/2015/05/04/de-blasio-broadband/" target="_blank">TechCrunch is reporting</a> that&nbsp;the de Blasio administration is "putting down a $70 million financial commitment over 10 years to make universal affordable broadband a reality — with most of that money being spent in the first two to three years." It's not immediately clear if that indicates new money being put into this year's executive budget, but the article came just before de Blasio spoke at a TechCrunch conference on Monday.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://jpupdates.com/2015/05/07/de-blasio-to-permanently-restore-12-6m-for-priority-5-vouchers-in-new-budget/" target="_blank">JP Updates</a> is reporting that de Blasio&nbsp;"is expected to restore funding for priority-5 child care vouchers...the FY2015 budget provided $12.6 million...According to an administration official, as part of the FY16 Executive Budget, the Mayor is permanently funding the childcare vouchers by baselining the $12.6 million a year."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/apnewsbreak-nyc-waive-30m-public-housing-payment-30839009" target="_blank">The AP is reporting</a> that de Blasio is relieving NYCHA of money the authority is due to send the city:&nbsp;"New York City will waive an annual $30 million payment it is owed from the city's public housing authority...De Blasio will announce the elimination of the payment, issued every year since 1949 as a "Payment in Lieu of Taxes,"...[a] decision will save the New York City Housing Authority approximately $130 million through fiscal year 2019."</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Additionally, <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=vNLgqATn" target="_blank">the AP is reporting</a> that de Blasio is including $125 million per year over the next five years toward the MTA budget, which has become a major source of tension.</li> </ul> <p>This week, the mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray, who chairs the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City,&nbsp;"<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/projects/center-for-youth-employment.shtml" target="_blank">announced</a> the creation of the Center for Youth Employment, which will coordinate and expand efforts to connect New York City's young people to opportunities for career exposure, summer jobs, quality skills-building programs, supportive mentors, and thoughtful guidance towards college and a career." The Center is a public-private initiative "conceived and launched by the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City in collaboration with City agencies and private partners, [and] will be integrated into the existing Mayor's Office of Workforce Development."</p> <p>The mayor also outlined what he'd like to see from Albany in terms of housing and tenant-protection policy, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/nyregion/mayor-de-blasios-plan-aims-to-spur-more-affordable-housing-in-new-york.html?ref=nyregion" target="_blank">as reported by the Times</a>, and, <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/bill-de-blasio-nyc-contract-with-america-new-york-117676.html" target="_blank">as reported by POLITICO</a>, the mayor will be heading to Washington, DC next week to both lobby federal lawmakers for more infrastructure and transportation funding, as well as to unveil the "Progressive Agenda" he and others have been formulating to affect the national conversation around inequality and opportunity.&nbsp;</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank">@TweetBenMax</a></p> <p>Note: this article has been updated</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/BdB_City_Hall_Alatriste.jpg" alt="BdB City Hall Alatriste" height="447" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mayor de Blasio at City Hall on Wednesday (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio will outline his Fiscal Year 2016 Executive Budget on Thursday afternoon at City Hall. The mayor will also release his administration's first iteration of the city's 10-year capital plan. While there may still be a few surprises, we already know quite a bit about the changes the mayor has made from his preliminary budget to his executive budget.</p> <p>The budget presentation will build off the mayor's $77 billion Preliminary Budget, which he unveiled in February. That spending plan was then vetted by the City Council throughout March hearings, leading to a formal response from the Council on April 14 and ongoing negotiations, heading toward a final agreement between the mayor and the Council by the end of June. City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">Executive Budget Hearings</a>&nbsp;are set to begin May 18 and finish June 9. The city's fiscal year begins on July 1.</p> <p>In its formal response to de Blasio, the Council pushed for, among other items: creating a citywide bail fund (ask: $1.4M); additional investments in NYCHA (ask: additional $25M); creating a year-round youth employment program (ask: $17.3M); expanding the Mayor's Office of Veteran's Affairs (ask: additonal $600,000); providing universal free lunch to city students; investing in street resurfacing (ask: additional $103M); and of course, the big button ask: hiring 1,000 additional NYPD officers (ask: $68.7M). (Note: the asks listed are for FY2016, some numbers are projected to change in subsequent years. Read full details of the Council's preliminary budget response <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/2016/prelim.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>).</p> <p>It appears the mayor is accounting for most of the items listed above and other council asks in some fashion or another, though on several fronts the details have not yet been released. Many are eagerly waiting to see where the mayor has come down on the expansion of the NYPD force.</p> <p>But in the days leading up to Thursday's executive budget presentation, the de Blasio administration has previewed several elements of the new spending plan as reported by a variety of news outlets. Some of these relate to City Council asks, some do not - a rundown of what we know so far:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/05/8567541/de-blasio-propose-500-m-reserve-capital-projects" target="_blank">Capital New York is reporting</a> several details around savings that de Blasio will unveil: he plans "to create a first-of-its-kind $500 million account to pay for long-term capital projects" called "The Capital Stabilization Reserve"; he will set "aside $1 billion for the F.Y. 2016 "general reserve""; and it appears that "city agencies have come up with $530 million in savings through the end of F.Y. 2016" while "agencies found $125 million through F.Y. 2016 in additional revenue."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/nyregion/mayor-de-blasios-budget-commits-100-million-to-combat-homelessness-in-new-york.html?smid=tw-share" target="_blank">The New York Times is reporting</a> that de Blasio will announce new homelessness prevention spending: "the city [will] commit $100 million in annual spending, including funding for rental assistance to more than 7,000 new households, anti-eviction efforts and other measures."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://nydn.us/1FJhLK9" target="_blank">The New York Daily News is reporting</a> that de Blasio is including additional spending on the city's most-struggling schools:&nbsp;"struggling and underfunded city schools will get an additional $33.6 million," with over "$20 million of the added money [going] to 94 low-performing schools already targeted for renewal by city Department of Education officials. Those schools will receive an added $250,000 per year on average, enough to hire two additional staffers or pay for hundreds of hours of extra programming for students."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150505/BLOGS04/150509927/mayor-to-nearly-triple-funding-for-industrial-businesses" target="_blank">Crain's New York Business is reporting</a> that de Blasio is set to&nbsp;"propose to nearly triple funding for the city's eight industrial business service providers to $1.5 million from this year's $570,000" and&nbsp;"include $450,000 for new industrial and manufacturing training to give workers the skills that industrial employers seek."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/05/city_to_boost_road_repair_budg.html" target="_blank">The Staten Island Advance is reporting</a> that de Blasio will announce&nbsp;"the city plans to boost the road resurfacing budget by $242.1 million this year."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-city-small-business-agency-will-get-budget-boost-1430960727" target="_blank">The Wall Street Journal is reporting</a> that the mayor will boost&nbsp;"propose increasing city funding to programs run by the Department of Small Business Services by 73.5%...recommending spending $43.9 million," up from "$25.3 million for the agency in the current fiscal year. The mayor is proposing that the agency's overall budget, including funding from other sources, such as the federal government, total $167 million."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/exclusive-de-blasio-expand-rat-program-citywide-article-1.2213416?cid=bitly" target="_blank">The New York Daily News is reporting</a> that de Blasio will announce he's devoting more money to fighting rats:&nbsp;"he's beefing up a successful pilot program aimed at ridding the vermin from seven neighborhoods with $3 million to make it permanent and allow it to expand citywide...over six times the $400,000 the pilot received in last year's budget."</li> </ul> <ul> <li>At Gotham Gazette, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5711-city-board-of-elections-expected-to-again-see-budget-bump" target="_blank">we are reporting</a> that it is likely the city's Board of Elections will see an increase from the preliminary to the executive budget, which would follow a trend of several years and is expected by stakeholders and experts, such as the Independent Budget Office and the BOE executive director, Michael Ryan. The mayor's office has not confirmed this report though.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://techcrunch.com/2015/05/04/de-blasio-broadband/" target="_blank">TechCrunch is reporting</a> that&nbsp;the de Blasio administration is "putting down a $70 million financial commitment over 10 years to make universal affordable broadband a reality — with most of that money being spent in the first two to three years." It's not immediately clear if that indicates new money being put into this year's executive budget, but the article came just before de Blasio spoke at a TechCrunch conference on Monday.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://jpupdates.com/2015/05/07/de-blasio-to-permanently-restore-12-6m-for-priority-5-vouchers-in-new-budget/" target="_blank">JP Updates</a> is reporting that de Blasio&nbsp;"is expected to restore funding for priority-5 child care vouchers...the FY2015 budget provided $12.6 million...According to an administration official, as part of the FY16 Executive Budget, the Mayor is permanently funding the childcare vouchers by baselining the $12.6 million a year."</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/apnewsbreak-nyc-waive-30m-public-housing-payment-30839009" target="_blank">The AP is reporting</a> that de Blasio is relieving NYCHA of money the authority is due to send the city:&nbsp;"New York City will waive an annual $30 million payment it is owed from the city's public housing authority...De Blasio will announce the elimination of the payment, issued every year since 1949 as a "Payment in Lieu of Taxes,"...[a] decision will save the New York City Housing Authority approximately $130 million through fiscal year 2019."</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Additionally, <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=vNLgqATn" target="_blank">the AP is reporting</a> that de Blasio is including $125 million per year over the next five years toward the MTA budget, which has become a major source of tension.</li> </ul> <p>This week, the mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray, who chairs the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City,&nbsp;"<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/projects/center-for-youth-employment.shtml" target="_blank">announced</a> the creation of the Center for Youth Employment, which will coordinate and expand efforts to connect New York City's young people to opportunities for career exposure, summer jobs, quality skills-building programs, supportive mentors, and thoughtful guidance towards college and a career." The Center is a public-private initiative "conceived and launched by the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City in collaboration with City agencies and private partners, [and] will be integrated into the existing Mayor's Office of Workforce Development."</p> <p>The mayor also outlined what he'd like to see from Albany in terms of housing and tenant-protection policy, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/nyregion/mayor-de-blasios-plan-aims-to-spur-more-affordable-housing-in-new-york.html?ref=nyregion" target="_blank">as reported by the Times</a>, and, <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/bill-de-blasio-nyc-contract-with-america-new-york-117676.html" target="_blank">as reported by POLITICO</a>, the mayor will be heading to Washington, DC next week to both lobby federal lawmakers for more infrastructure and transportation funding, as well as to unveil the "Progressive Agenda" he and others have been formulating to affect the national conversation around inequality and opportunity.&nbsp;</p> <p>***<br />by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank">@TweetBenMax</a></p> <p>Note: this article has been updated</p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 6 2015-04-05T05:00:00+00:00 2015-04-05T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5669:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-6 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>It appears to be a fairly quiet week, as it can be this time of year with schools on vacation and the City Council following suit, and the state Legislature adjourned until April 21 in its post-budget, pre-legislative session hibernation. It's promising to be a very busy legislative session as so many key policy issues <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5667-with-new-budget-key-issues-championed-by-city-officials-left-for-later" target="_blank">were not a part of the budget deal and will be taken back up</a>. There will, of course, be news and there are a few things pre-scheduled. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will speak at New York Law School on Friday and this weekend will see the beginning of voting in the many city council districts where participatory budgeting is happening, for example. See below for our day-by-day rundown.</p> <p>In the meantime, both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo start the week wrapping up long weekends in the Caribbean. It does not appear that they were traveling together (the mayor said that he and his wife were heading to Puerto Rico, the governor's office was not as specific about the destination for him and his family), but it is fun to imagine the two laughing it up under the sun about their perfectly orchestrated budget dance and ongoing faux conflict.</p> <p>The mayor will return to New York City and his team will continue to work on their Executive Budget, due later this month, highly informed by the state budget deal reached by Cuomo et. al. this past week. The City Council will soon be delivering its formal response to the mayor's preliminary budget, which he will also take into account in preparing his next iteration - which the Council will then evaluate during a set of May hearings. A city budget deal is due by July 1. As we continue to sift through the new FY2016 state budget, there are sure to be other stories coming this week on aspects of that deal and what they mean for the state and the city.</p> <p>The race in New York's 11th Congressional District is heating up, though it is unclear if the Democratic candidate has much of a chance. Vinny Gentile, the Democrat, and Dan Donovan, the Republican, met at a debate this past week in Bay Ridge (they were also joined by Green Party candidate James Lane). The two will meet again in a debate on Staten Island to be televised on NY1, but not until April 14.</p> <p>See below for more...</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>On Monday morning, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will be a guest on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC.</p> <p>At 11:15 Monday morning, "Justice League NYC will officially announce the April 13th March2Justice at a press conference with the march's Honorary Chairs Harry Belafonte and 1199SEIU President George Gresham at 1199 Offices - 330 W 42nd Street, Penthouse, between 8th &amp; 9th Ave. March2Justice will begin in New York City on Monday, April 13 and will span 5 states and 250 miles to end in Washington, DC on Tuesday, April 21." The press conference will be led by Tamika D. Mallory &amp; Linda Sarsour, March2Justice Co-chairs and feature New York State Senators Gustavo Rivera and Ruth Hassell-Thompson, New York State Assemblyman Michael Blake, City Councilwoman &amp; Chair of Public Safety, Vanessa Gibson, and others.</p> <p>Monday evening, Effective NY, led by Bill Samuels and Morgan Pehme, will host: "Bill Samuels and Michael Shnayerson Debate Cuomo's Political Future," asking, "Is Governor Andrew Cuomo still a contender for the presidency?" More: "Michael Shnayerson's new book, The Contender, concludes that even a flawed Andrew Cuomo still has a shot at the presidency. But Democratic activist Bill Samuels and others think Cuomo has sabotaged his chances, after a series of damaging events and missteps in recent years. At this lively event, Shnayerson and Samuels will debate Andrew Cuomo's political future, and dissect his career as Governor, focusing on the psychology and motivations behind his actions."</p> <p>Also Monday evening, "Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens President Michael Mallon and club co-founder and New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm host forum on Rikers Island" in Jackson Heights, according to City &amp; State NY.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday evening, Bronx City Council Member Andy King will host a constituent services night at a NYCHA development in his district: "I believe it's important to meet with NYCHA residents in their developments because it gives me the opportunity to see things up close and first hand, as well as show my constituents that their representative in city government cares about their community and will bring their concerns to management." Services covered will include resources and solutions for housing, food stamps, immigration, Access-A-Ride and basic services.</p> <p>Also <a href="http://www.meetup.com/ny-tech/events/218809133/" target="_blank">Tuesday evening</a>, at 7 p.m., "Join fellow technologists for an evening of live demos from companies developing great technology in New York" for the April New York Tech Meetup.</p> <p>And, Governor Cuomo is having a campaign fundraiser Tuesday evening in Manhattan, <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/03/8563987/cuomo-raising-campaign-cash-again" target="_blank">according to Capital New York</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette</a>]</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>PSA: Wednesday is one week till tax day.</p> <p>"Big Money and Politics: Can Your Voice Count?"&nbsp;<a href="http://bricartsmedia.org/events/big-money-politics-can-your-voice-count-a-community-town-hall" target="_blank">will be</a>&nbsp;Wednesday evening in Brooklyn, hosted by Brooklyn Independent Media, with a panel discussion featuring Public Advocate Letitia James; former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout; Executive Director of Citizens Union Dick Dadey; former Assemblymember and Councilmember Al Vann; economic journalist Doug Henwood and comedian/activist Ted Alexandro. Brooklyn Independent Media's Brian Vines will moderate. "This town hall will take a look at the inequality created when wealth holds the power to make policies that affect us all. From Sheldon Silver to Michael Grimm, political corruption is becoming so commonplace that it's hard for voters to feel they have a voice. A ballot is cast and the elected official goes to work, but the system in place can make your vote seems like pennies compared to funding from big donors and corporations. Is there a way for the average citizen to have a say in a pay to play system? How do we approach changing the policies that pit community voice against big money?"</p> <p>Wednesday evening, the <a href="http://www.digital.nyc/" target="_blank">Digital NYC</a> Five Borough Tour will hit Staten Island. Panelists will include John Salis, CEO at SIABC, Aileen Gemma Smith, CEO at Vizalytics, and Kevin Lawrie, Co-Founder and CTO at INBOX25.</p> <p>Wednesday <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/mbpo-landmarks-50th-reception-registration-16108690527" target="_blank">evening</a>, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer&nbsp;"hosts and delivers remarks at reception celebrating the 50th anniversary of New York City's Landmarks Law, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House Rotunda."</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>Thurday evening, the governor's office, in collaboration with a variety of Queens lawmakers, will host a citizens preparedness training: the event in Queens is&nbsp;in cooperation with Congress Member Gregory Meeks, Senator Leroy Comrie, Assembly Member William Scarborough, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council Member Daneek Miller and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday morning, New York Law School <a href="http://www.nyls.edu/center-for-new-york-city-law/center-for-new-york-city-law-events/" target="_blank">will host</a> another in its CityLaw Breakfast Series, featuring City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</p> <p>Friday and Saturday is <a href="http://www.organizing20.org/" target="_blank">Organizing 2.0</a>, the annual conference for progressive activists and advocates. Hosted at the Murphy Institute at CUNY this year, "The 2015 Organizing 2.0 conference will bring leaders, organizers, fundraisers, techies and activists together for workshops, trainings, discussions, consulting, networking, visionary speakers, and thoughtful debates about movement building strategies and practices." More: "What is special about this conference is our focus on the needs of people working at labor unions, community based organizations, local campaigns and small organizations that are often short on resources. Our trainings help you work smarter and better. You will grow your skills no matter what level of expertise you have from total beginner to experienced online organizer." Sample Sessions include "Facebook and Twitter for campaigning" and "Online advertising on a budget." Guests and trainers will include "Mark Winston Griffith - Brooklyn Movement Center. Paul Baker &amp; Andrew Angelos - lead digital organizers for the Chuy Garcia campaign in Chicago. Beth Becker - Becker Digital Strategies. Colin Delaney - ePolitics.com. Libero Della Piana - Alliance for a Just Society. Asher Huey - AFT. Jennifer Edwards - Purpose. Elizabeth McKenna - New York District Council of Carpenters. Kevin Eitzmann - NY AFL-CIO. Ben Kallos - NYC Councilmember. Dara Silverman - Standing Up for Racial Justice. Joe Dinkin - Working Families Party. And many more!"</p> <p>On Saturday, "400 New Yorkers will get hands-on tips and training for improving their neighborhood parks—including Fundraising 101— at an upcoming parks equity conference hosted by City Parks Foundation and the NYC Parks." The conference is being put on with "Hundreds of NYC Parks Volunteers," City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, City Parks Foundation Executive Director Heather Lubov, and City Council Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Mark Levine - 10:15 am – 12:35 pm at New York University School of Law.</p> <p>Saturday marks <a href="http://pbnyc.org/content/vote-april-11-19" target="_blank">the start</a> of the community voting week of the participatory budgeting cycle, taking place in over 20 city council districts around the city.</p> <p>Saturday <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/04/8565416/ready-hillary-plans-mid-april-fund-raiser-nyc" target="_blank">evening</a>, "Ready for Hillary, the pro-Clinton super PAC, will host a fundraiser at South West New York in Battery Park City." Communications strategist Jodi Ochstein, Manhattan district leader Jenifer Rajkumar and event planner Ny Whitaker are hosting the event.</p> <p>On Sunday at 12 p.m., the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and NYCImmigrants will <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/imm/html/deferred_action/deferred_action.shtml" target="_blank">co-host</a> an executive action legal screening for immigrant New Yorkers who might be eligible for the DACA/DAPA programs. "Get the latest updates on executive action. Find out if you might be eligible for deferred action through DACA or DAPA. Learn how to prepare to apply."</p> <p>Also Sunday, at 2 p.m., Council Member Carlos Menchaca will deliver his state of the district address at Sunset Park High School.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank" style="text-align: center;">Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>It appears to be a fairly quiet week, as it can be this time of year with schools on vacation and the City Council following suit, and the state Legislature adjourned until April 21 in its post-budget, pre-legislative session hibernation. It's promising to be a very busy legislative session as so many key policy issues <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5667-with-new-budget-key-issues-championed-by-city-officials-left-for-later" target="_blank">were not a part of the budget deal and will be taken back up</a>. There will, of course, be news and there are a few things pre-scheduled. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will speak at New York Law School on Friday and this weekend will see the beginning of voting in the many city council districts where participatory budgeting is happening, for example. See below for our day-by-day rundown.</p> <p>In the meantime, both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo start the week wrapping up long weekends in the Caribbean. It does not appear that they were traveling together (the mayor said that he and his wife were heading to Puerto Rico, the governor's office was not as specific about the destination for him and his family), but it is fun to imagine the two laughing it up under the sun about their perfectly orchestrated budget dance and ongoing faux conflict.</p> <p>The mayor will return to New York City and his team will continue to work on their Executive Budget, due later this month, highly informed by the state budget deal reached by Cuomo et. al. this past week. The City Council will soon be delivering its formal response to the mayor's preliminary budget, which he will also take into account in preparing his next iteration - which the Council will then evaluate during a set of May hearings. A city budget deal is due by July 1. As we continue to sift through the new FY2016 state budget, there are sure to be other stories coming this week on aspects of that deal and what they mean for the state and the city.</p> <p>The race in New York's 11th Congressional District is heating up, though it is unclear if the Democratic candidate has much of a chance. Vinny Gentile, the Democrat, and Dan Donovan, the Republican, met at a debate this past week in Bay Ridge (they were also joined by Green Party candidate James Lane). The two will meet again in a debate on Staten Island to be televised on NY1, but not until April 14.</p> <p>See below for more...</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>On Monday morning, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will be a guest on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC.</p> <p>At 11:15 Monday morning, "Justice League NYC will officially announce the April 13th March2Justice at a press conference with the march's Honorary Chairs Harry Belafonte and 1199SEIU President George Gresham at 1199 Offices - 330 W 42nd Street, Penthouse, between 8th &amp; 9th Ave. March2Justice will begin in New York City on Monday, April 13 and will span 5 states and 250 miles to end in Washington, DC on Tuesday, April 21." The press conference will be led by Tamika D. Mallory &amp; Linda Sarsour, March2Justice Co-chairs and feature New York State Senators Gustavo Rivera and Ruth Hassell-Thompson, New York State Assemblyman Michael Blake, City Councilwoman &amp; Chair of Public Safety, Vanessa Gibson, and others.</p> <p>Monday evening, Effective NY, led by Bill Samuels and Morgan Pehme, will host: "Bill Samuels and Michael Shnayerson Debate Cuomo's Political Future," asking, "Is Governor Andrew Cuomo still a contender for the presidency?" More: "Michael Shnayerson's new book, The Contender, concludes that even a flawed Andrew Cuomo still has a shot at the presidency. But Democratic activist Bill Samuels and others think Cuomo has sabotaged his chances, after a series of damaging events and missteps in recent years. At this lively event, Shnayerson and Samuels will debate Andrew Cuomo's political future, and dissect his career as Governor, focusing on the psychology and motivations behind his actions."</p> <p>Also Monday evening, "Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens President Michael Mallon and club co-founder and New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm host forum on Rikers Island" in Jackson Heights, according to City &amp; State NY.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday evening, Bronx City Council Member Andy King will host a constituent services night at a NYCHA development in his district: "I believe it's important to meet with NYCHA residents in their developments because it gives me the opportunity to see things up close and first hand, as well as show my constituents that their representative in city government cares about their community and will bring their concerns to management." Services covered will include resources and solutions for housing, food stamps, immigration, Access-A-Ride and basic services.</p> <p>Also <a href="http://www.meetup.com/ny-tech/events/218809133/" target="_blank">Tuesday evening</a>, at 7 p.m., "Join fellow technologists for an evening of live demos from companies developing great technology in New York" for the April New York Tech Meetup.</p> <p>And, Governor Cuomo is having a campaign fundraiser Tuesday evening in Manhattan, <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/03/8563987/cuomo-raising-campaign-cash-again" target="_blank">according to Capital New York</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette</a>]</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>PSA: Wednesday is one week till tax day.</p> <p>"Big Money and Politics: Can Your Voice Count?"&nbsp;<a href="http://bricartsmedia.org/events/big-money-politics-can-your-voice-count-a-community-town-hall" target="_blank">will be</a>&nbsp;Wednesday evening in Brooklyn, hosted by Brooklyn Independent Media, with a panel discussion featuring Public Advocate Letitia James; former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout; Executive Director of Citizens Union Dick Dadey; former Assemblymember and Councilmember Al Vann; economic journalist Doug Henwood and comedian/activist Ted Alexandro. Brooklyn Independent Media's Brian Vines will moderate. "This town hall will take a look at the inequality created when wealth holds the power to make policies that affect us all. From Sheldon Silver to Michael Grimm, political corruption is becoming so commonplace that it's hard for voters to feel they have a voice. A ballot is cast and the elected official goes to work, but the system in place can make your vote seems like pennies compared to funding from big donors and corporations. Is there a way for the average citizen to have a say in a pay to play system? How do we approach changing the policies that pit community voice against big money?"</p> <p>Wednesday evening, the <a href="http://www.digital.nyc/" target="_blank">Digital NYC</a> Five Borough Tour will hit Staten Island. Panelists will include John Salis, CEO at SIABC, Aileen Gemma Smith, CEO at Vizalytics, and Kevin Lawrie, Co-Founder and CTO at INBOX25.</p> <p>Wednesday <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/mbpo-landmarks-50th-reception-registration-16108690527" target="_blank">evening</a>, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer&nbsp;"hosts and delivers remarks at reception celebrating the 50th anniversary of New York City's Landmarks Law, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House Rotunda."</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>Thurday evening, the governor's office, in collaboration with a variety of Queens lawmakers, will host a citizens preparedness training: the event in Queens is&nbsp;in cooperation with Congress Member Gregory Meeks, Senator Leroy Comrie, Assembly Member William Scarborough, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council Member Daneek Miller and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday morning, New York Law School <a href="http://www.nyls.edu/center-for-new-york-city-law/center-for-new-york-city-law-events/" target="_blank">will host</a> another in its CityLaw Breakfast Series, featuring City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</p> <p>Friday and Saturday is <a href="http://www.organizing20.org/" target="_blank">Organizing 2.0</a>, the annual conference for progressive activists and advocates. Hosted at the Murphy Institute at CUNY this year, "The 2015 Organizing 2.0 conference will bring leaders, organizers, fundraisers, techies and activists together for workshops, trainings, discussions, consulting, networking, visionary speakers, and thoughtful debates about movement building strategies and practices." More: "What is special about this conference is our focus on the needs of people working at labor unions, community based organizations, local campaigns and small organizations that are often short on resources. Our trainings help you work smarter and better. You will grow your skills no matter what level of expertise you have from total beginner to experienced online organizer." Sample Sessions include "Facebook and Twitter for campaigning" and "Online advertising on a budget." Guests and trainers will include "Mark Winston Griffith - Brooklyn Movement Center. Paul Baker &amp; Andrew Angelos - lead digital organizers for the Chuy Garcia campaign in Chicago. Beth Becker - Becker Digital Strategies. Colin Delaney - ePolitics.com. Libero Della Piana - Alliance for a Just Society. Asher Huey - AFT. Jennifer Edwards - Purpose. Elizabeth McKenna - New York District Council of Carpenters. Kevin Eitzmann - NY AFL-CIO. Ben Kallos - NYC Councilmember. Dara Silverman - Standing Up for Racial Justice. Joe Dinkin - Working Families Party. And many more!"</p> <p>On Saturday, "400 New Yorkers will get hands-on tips and training for improving their neighborhood parks—including Fundraising 101— at an upcoming parks equity conference hosted by City Parks Foundation and the NYC Parks." The conference is being put on with "Hundreds of NYC Parks Volunteers," City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, City Parks Foundation Executive Director Heather Lubov, and City Council Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Mark Levine - 10:15 am – 12:35 pm at New York University School of Law.</p> <p>Saturday marks <a href="http://pbnyc.org/content/vote-april-11-19" target="_blank">the start</a> of the community voting week of the participatory budgeting cycle, taking place in over 20 city council districts around the city.</p> <p>Saturday <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/04/8565416/ready-hillary-plans-mid-april-fund-raiser-nyc" target="_blank">evening</a>, "Ready for Hillary, the pro-Clinton super PAC, will host a fundraiser at South West New York in Battery Park City." Communications strategist Jodi Ochstein, Manhattan district leader Jenifer Rajkumar and event planner Ny Whitaker are hosting the event.</p> <p>On Sunday at 12 p.m., the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs and NYCImmigrants will <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/imm/html/deferred_action/deferred_action.shtml" target="_blank">co-host</a> an executive action legal screening for immigrant New Yorkers who might be eligible for the DACA/DAPA programs. "Get the latest updates on executive action. Find out if you might be eligible for deferred action through DACA or DAPA. Learn how to prepare to apply."</p> <p>Also Sunday, at 2 p.m., Council Member Carlos Menchaca will deliver his state of the district address at Sunset Park High School.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: center;">[</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank" style="text-align: center;">Read the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette</a><span style="text-align: center;">]</span></p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 23 2015-03-20T15:41:48+00:00 2015-03-20T15:41:48+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5644:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-march-23 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>We're getting close to the state budget deadline of April 1. This week will be full of both private negotiations and public sessions in Albany, where lawmakers attempt to come to a budget deal while showing <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5636-three-different-budgets-with-two-weeks-to-go" target="_blank">significantly divergent takes</a> on key issues - as well as central mechanisms related to the budget and policy. Governor Andrew Cuomo has jammed quite a bit of policy into <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5636-three-different-budgets-with-two-weeks-to-go" target="_blank">his budget</a>, attaching initiatives to appropriations in an attempt to strong-arm the Legislature into agreeing to his policy demands. This is especially true around <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5634-schneiderman-unveils-ethics-plan-to-cure-the-disease" target="_blank">ethics</a> and educaiton reforms, but Cuomo has also used creative tactics to push compromise, tying an education tax credit favored by Republicans to <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinions/5628-separating-fact-from-fiction-on-the-dream-act-choi" target="_blank">the DREAM Act</a>, which is favored by Democrats, for example. The Legislature is in session Monday through Thursday again this week.</p> <p>Meanwhile, New York City officials await decisions in Albany (while also <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5600-in-albany-de-blasio-critiques-cuomos-budget-defines-citys-needs" target="_blank">trying to affect those decisions</a>, of course) and carry on their own budget work. The City Council will wrap up its month of preliminary budget hearings this week and then formulate a formal response to the mayor, who will then issue his Executive Budget in April, leading to another round of council hearings and a final budget deal by July 1. The City is eagerly awaiting word from Albany on things like funding for schools, homelessness prevention, public housing, and much more.</p> <p>De Blasio is in Boston on Sunday and Monday, participating in the&nbsp;U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunity Task Force Summit; on Monday,&nbsp;"there will be a press conference on transportation issues at 12:30pm" at Faneuil Hall;&nbsp;he'll return to New York City on Monday evening. De Blasio was in Albany on Saturday for the Somos el Futuro Conference, where he reiterated <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/US%20Conference%20of%20Mayors%20Cities%20of%20Opportunity%20Task%20Force%20Summit" target="_blank">his push</a> for full education funding from the State and other top priorities, and received&nbsp;"the Champion for Latinos Award at the dinner gala."</p> <p>And the whole week builds to the annual Inner Circle Show this Friday (dress rehearsal) and Saturday, at which the press will roast the mayor, and vice versa.</p> <p>There's plenty happening this week. See our day-by-day rundown below for more.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday morning, schools&nbsp;Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit a "CTE program to make an announcement" at the Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Queens.</p> <p>Comptroller Scott Stringer's only public event scheduled for Monday is an 8:15 a.m. appearance&nbsp;on "Buen Día New York," WADO 1280 AM.</p> <p>Also Monday <a href="http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=6a3c6f6168c3f1dbf2e16c506&amp;id=5eb213f604&amp;e=c69e0ca980" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association will host a breakfast with United States Senator Charles Schumer at Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s headquarters.</p> <p>At 10:30 Monday morning,&nbsp;Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer "will issue a report, Small Business, Big Impact: Expanding Opportunity for Manhattan's Storefronters, with case studies and policy recommendations to help small businesses grow and thrive in New York City." At The Halal Guys on the Upper West Side, Brewer will be joined by Robert Cornegy, Chair, New York City Council Small Business Committee; The Halal Guys co-founders Muhammed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka, and Abdelbaset Elsayed; and Noel Hidalgo, Executive Director, BetaNYC. The report's recommendations include "Take the pressure off lease renewals"; "Overhaul regulations and city policies governing street vending" and "Help established, successful small businesses threatened by rent increases by encouraging "condo-ization" of storefront space." [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5621-as-city-eases-burdens-access-to-capital-rising-rents-remain-issues-for-small-businesses" target="_blank">our recent report on key issues facing small business in New York City and the City's new efforts to help ease regulatory burdens</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday’s Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, three of the five borough presidents will appear together: “Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams talk about borough and city-wide issues facing Queens, Brooklyn and Bronx residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, preceding the relevant City Council preliminary budget hearing, "hundreds of New York City seniors and service providers were invited to descend upon City Hall's Council Chambers and make their voices heard at the Department for the Aging budget hearing to advocate for $33 million in critical funding for senior services."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. on Monday at City Hall, Rep. Nydia Velázquez and other local leaders will release a report on how the Republican congressional budget would impact New York City: “From transportation, to housing, to health and human services, New York would be acutely affected by proposed cuts,” says a media advisory on the event.</p> <p>At noon at City Hall, there will be a "Rally for action by Earth Day on plastic bag reduction bill" hosted by Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin, who sponsor the relevant bill, and Council Member and Sanitation Committee Chair Antonio Reynoso, as well as other elected officials: "The bill (Int. 209) will reduce disposable bag use by requiring retail and grocery stores to charge 10 cents per single-use plastic or paper bag. Supporters of the bill turned out in large numbers at a public hearing before the Council's Sanitation Committee last fall, and will rally again for its passage by Earth Day (April 22)."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council schedule consists of two preliminary budget hearings: a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385763&amp;GUID=BD5E9A55-8C53-466C-B096-D1BFF8461AF1&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Aging jointly with the Subcommittee on Senior Centers; and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385724&amp;GUID=227EDE37-9441-425B-BE67-09E3AA150B14&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Health.</p> <p dir="ltr">CUNY Journalism School's brown bag lunch series continues on Monday <a href="http://www.journalism.cuny.edu/events/brown-bag-speaker-event-investigative-edition/" target="_blank">with a conversation</a> between Errol Louis and Tom Robbins, both journalists and CUNY J-school professors. "Tom Robbins, investigative journalist in residence at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, will discuss his recent piece on the brutal beatings of former Attica Prison inmate George Williams...Errol Louis, director of the Urban Reporting Program and host of NY1's Inside City Hall, will pick Robbins' brain on the work that went into the nine-month project, as well as the larger issues of prison violence that it illuminated."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 2 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;outside FDNY headquarters at MetroTech Center, Brooklyn BP Adams "will announce a borough-wide fire safety education campaign, following a fatal fire Saturday in Midwood that claimed the lives of seven siblings, aged five to 16, from the Sassoon family. His effort will include multilingual outreach and the distribution of free smoke detectors...Adams will call for the creation of a burn center in Brooklyn...Adams will be joined by local elected officials and Jewish leaders."</p> <p dir="ltr">Also&nbsp;<a href="https://my.citizenactionny.org/civicrm/event/register?id=475" target="_blank">Monday</a>, in Albany, Citizen Action of New York will hold Moral Monday to Raise the Wage: “Nearly 3 million workers – 37% of New York’s workforce – earn less than $15 an hour. Thirty-six percent of adults earn less than $15 an hour; 41% women earn less than $15 an hour, and 28% of workers with at least some college education earn less than $15 an hour. A full-time worker earning $9 an hour will bring home just $18,720 per year – still below the federal poverty line for a family of three. Under the Self-Sufficiency Standard guidelines, a more accurate measure of the cost of living in New York, the hourly wage that 2 full-time workers must each earn to meet basic budget needs ranges from $13.40 in Schenectady County, to $16.15 in New York City, to $20.73 in Suffolk County.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday at <a href="http://gaming.ny.gov/pdf/03.18.15.GCMeetingNotice.pdf" target="_blank">noon</a>, there will be meeting of the New York State Gaming Commission at the New York State Department of Labor.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/23/corporations-authorities-and-commissions-meeting" target="_blank">afternoon</a> in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions will hold a hearing to consider several pieces of legislation.</p> <p>Monday <a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/03/vincent_gentil_daniel_donovan.html" target="_blank">evening</a>, “The Middle Class Action Project will host a candidates forum with Republican District Attorney Daniel Donovan and Democratic Councilman Vincent Gentile to discuss economic issues facing the middle class,” according to the Staten Island Advance.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday <a href="https://services.nycbar.org/iMIS/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=ELE032415&amp;WebsiteKey=f71e12f3-524e-4f8c-a5f7-0d16ce7b3314" target="_blank">morning</a>, the New York Bar Association will host Campaign Finance: The Current State of Affairs and Where We Go From Here: “Since the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United, campaign finance law has moved at a rapid pace, leading the way for the creation of various entities that facilitate the injection of billions of dollars into elections. And Congress just increased the power of political party committees by significantly increasing applicable campaign finance limits. This program will consist of three panels composed of top-tier campaign finance law experts, regulators, reporters and political consultants.” Panelists will include Nicholas Confessore from The New York Times; Dave Levinthal from the Center for Public Integrity; Eric Friedman from NYC Campaign Finance Board; Bill Hyers from Hilltop Public Solutions; Fritz Schwarz, Jr. from the Brennan Center; Douglas Kellner from the NYS Board of Elections; and Jerry Goldfeder from Stroock &amp; Stroock &amp; Lavan.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include&nbsp;a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385765&amp;GUID=E7600B96-680A-46E7-BC58-6ACCFADDEF6F&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services for a preliminary budget hearing; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=387010&amp;GUID=29E5350F-4E34-4E21-B6AD-F913E0A3708F&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Zoning and Franchises to review proposed Land Use Applications; and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=387012&amp;GUID=D86ABDD6-CD52-4235-84B8-78322F2B5B9D&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions to review land use applications.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/24/environmental-conservation" target="_blank">morning</a> in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will hold a hearing to consider a variety of bills to amend the environmental conservation law; <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/24/transportation-meeting" target="_blank">the Senate</a>&nbsp;Standing Committee on Transportation will meet to consider several bills amending the highway law and the vehicle and traffic law; <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/24/judiciary-meeting" target="_blank">the Senate</a>&nbsp;Standing Committee on Judiciary will meet to discuss the reappointments of several judges at the New York Court of Claims; and in the <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/24/codes-meeting" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, the Senate Standing Committee on Codes will meet to discuss a series of act to amend the civil rights law and the penal law.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eaomsfdf2f42506f&amp;oseq=&amp;c=&amp;ch=" target="_blank">evening</a>, the YWCA will host its Women's History Month Reception 2015. The theme of this year's series of events is Leadership and Generosity: A Call to Action; and as it culminates on Tuesday, the YWCA is <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5631-after-making-history-james-seeks-change" target="_blank">honoring Public Advocate Letitia James</a> as "YW Woman of the Year" for her hard work toward gender and racial equity for women and girls. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5631-after-making-history-james-seeks-change" target="_blank">our new profile of PA James as a recent history-maker, the first woman of color elected to city-wide office</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday evening, City Council Member Andy King and his staff will be hosting one in a series of Constituent Services Nights in different NYCHA housing developments. The program will include resources and solutions for housing, food stamps, immigration, Access-A-Ride and more.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/public-space-new-ideas-for-civic-life-tickets-16040805481" target="_blank">evening</a>, Parsons DESIS Lab and Lower Manhattan HQ will host Public Space: New Ideas for Civic Life: “New York City has an abundance of public spaces rich in culture and design, from Central Park to the New York Public Library. However, despite these places’ role as the physical center of civic life, digital platforms have emerged as the preferred way for government to engage the public. How can we revitalize public spaces as places to enhance civic life and public participation in government?” Speakers will include Mary Rowe of&nbsp;Municipal Arts Society&nbsp;and Victoria Milne of the city's&nbsp;Department of Design and Construction.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Tuesday <a href="https://sipa.columbia.edu/experience-sipa/events/public-policy-challenges-womens-empowerment-in-new-york-city" target="_blank">evening</a>, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs presents Public Policy Challenges: Women’s Empowerment in NYC: “Come learn from and engage with leading practitioners on New York law, policy, and services related to violence against women.” The panel will include Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of the New York Women's Foundation; Rose Pierre-Louis, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence; and Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Wednesday’s City Council schedule will include two preliminary budget hearings: a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=386665&amp;GUID=0791D02E-BA44-4E3B-96D8-D0BAAD5BF30D&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Education and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385766&amp;GUID=6C600A3D-FE2C-4DB4-801B-510A3E846734&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/25/social-services-meeting" target="_blank">morning</a> in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Services will meet to discuss a variety of potential amendments to the social services law.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday at noon, the New York State Bar Association will host Human Trafficking in New York State: Legal Issues and Advocating for the Victim, “to educate attorneys across the country on how to identify potential victims of human trafficking.” [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinions/5538-new-york-must-strengthen-sex-trafficking-laws-manhattan-da-cy-vance" target="_blank">Manhattan DA Cy Vance's recent op-ed on the need to strengthen sex trafficking laws in New York</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday evening, the city's Panel on Educational Policy (PEP) will host a public meeting at Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Wednesday, at <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/digitalnyc-five-borough-tour-queens-tickets-15204438886" target="_blank">6:30 p.m</a>., the Digital NYC Five Borough Tour will hit Queens. Panelists will include Kristin Hodgson, Communications Director at Meetup, and Jukay Hsu, Founder of Coalition for Queens.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>Thursday morning at Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, “All alumni are invited to join us for the inaugural interview session and breakfast for the new Oral Archive on Governance in New York City: The Bloomberg Years” featuring Howard Wolfson, former Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385771&amp;GUID=70960B71-4200-4630-8E35-006D6DB7B72A&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Public Housing for a preliminary budget hearing; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385769&amp;GUID=4BF26D8C-3072-40F3-8EF8-4FF3B44EB540&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">joint meeting</a> of the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Economic Development for a preliminary budget hearing; and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=387013&amp;GUID=FD998D40-A475-47DA-B8A5-E1787EE801FA&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Land Use to review all items reported out of the Subcommittee hearings.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-lead-evening-of-politics-and-power-tickets-15996007489?aff=efbeventhttp://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-lead-evening-of-politics-and-power-tickets-15996007489?aff=efbevent" target="_blank">evening</a>, “Join us at Civic Hall – the new beautiful co-working space for civic tech and VRL’s new NY home! – for an evening of workshops and an engaging panel of women leaders.” The event is hosted by VoteRunLead, Veracity Media, Civic Hall, Republican Majority for Choice, Women's Information Network NYC (WIN NYC), She Should Run, Emerge America, Rising Stars and Greater NYC for Change.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at <a href="https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ea9bntf9b8933a9b&amp;oseq=&amp;c=&amp;ch=" target="_blank">5:30 p.m.</a>, CUNY Institute for Educational Policy at Roosevelt House will host Challenging the Tenure Laws in New York State: Why or Why Not?: “Davids vs. New York, a highly publicized lawsuit challenging New York's teacher tenure and seniority laws, is underway. Plaintiffs contend that the current laws violate children's constitutional right to a sound, basic education by keeping ineffective teachers in classrooms; defendants claim the lawsuit is a spurious attempt to destroy hard-won protections for the state's teaching profession.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday evening, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and members of the Council's Irish caucus - Council Members Danny Dromm, Corey Johnson, Liz Crowley, and Jimmy Van Bramer - along with other council members, will host the Council's Irish Heritage and Culture celebration at City Hall.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Thursday <a href="https://twitter.com/idaneekmiller/status/577573825614761984?refsrc=email&amp;s=11" target="_blank">evening</a>, City Council Members Donovan Richards and Member Daneek Miller, and the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs will host an IDNYC Community Meeting in Queens.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.VQuSZYF4pNu" target="_blank">6 p.m</a>., City and State will host Above and Beyond: Honoring Women of Public and Civic Mind: “Each year, City &amp; State honors 25 women who exhibit exceptional leadership in their fields and have made important contributions to society."</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday at City Hall, the Committee on Contracts, the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, the Committee on Community Development and the Committee on Youth Services will all hold preliminary budget oversight <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">hearings</a> throughout the day.</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="https://twitter.com/elizcrowleynyc/status/578573565894795264?refsrc=email&amp;s=11" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, in celebration of Women’s History Month, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley will host a special film screening of a documentary on Geraldine Ferraro’s life titled “Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way,” the film about the life of the first female Vice Presidential nominee of a major political party.</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1yYWIuIiFwwpYrE7fswc-okWyVrw_K6TFiKgvfXZMBao/viewform" target="_blank">evening</a>, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, District Leader Shirley Patterson and Green Earth Poets Café will host Shirley Chisholm Women of Excellence Awards and Reception: “Brooklynite Shirley Chisholm was a catalyst of change who made history by becoming the first African-American woman elected to Congress. Because of her values Barack Obama became the first African-American President in 2008. Senator Hamilton will continue her legacy by recognizing the achievements of iconic Brooklyn women on Friday, March 27th at the historic First Baptist Church in Crown Heights.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday evening, the Inner Circle Show will hold its rehearsal; with the main event on Saturday <a href="http://innercircleshow.org/?page_id=2503" target="_blank">night</a>, both at the New York Hilton Hotel.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday at noon, Zephyr Teachout and others are <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/835159699896878/" target="_blank">holding a rally</a>:&nbsp;"Gov. Cuomo has turned his back on our students. Join us as we rally outside his Midtown Office to demand that he fully fund our public schools, support struggling schools, not raise the cap on charter schools, and limit high-stakes testing!"</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>We're getting close to the state budget deadline of April 1. This week will be full of both private negotiations and public sessions in Albany, where lawmakers attempt to come to a budget deal while showing <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5636-three-different-budgets-with-two-weeks-to-go" target="_blank">significantly divergent takes</a> on key issues - as well as central mechanisms related to the budget and policy. Governor Andrew Cuomo has jammed quite a bit of policy into <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5636-three-different-budgets-with-two-weeks-to-go" target="_blank">his budget</a>, attaching initiatives to appropriations in an attempt to strong-arm the Legislature into agreeing to his policy demands. This is especially true around <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5634-schneiderman-unveils-ethics-plan-to-cure-the-disease" target="_blank">ethics</a> and educaiton reforms, but Cuomo has also used creative tactics to push compromise, tying an education tax credit favored by Republicans to <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinions/5628-separating-fact-from-fiction-on-the-dream-act-choi" target="_blank">the DREAM Act</a>, which is favored by Democrats, for example. The Legislature is in session Monday through Thursday again this week.</p> <p>Meanwhile, New York City officials await decisions in Albany (while also <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5600-in-albany-de-blasio-critiques-cuomos-budget-defines-citys-needs" target="_blank">trying to affect those decisions</a>, of course) and carry on their own budget work. The City Council will wrap up its month of preliminary budget hearings this week and then formulate a formal response to the mayor, who will then issue his Executive Budget in April, leading to another round of council hearings and a final budget deal by July 1. The City is eagerly awaiting word from Albany on things like funding for schools, homelessness prevention, public housing, and much more.</p> <p>De Blasio is in Boston on Sunday and Monday, participating in the&nbsp;U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunity Task Force Summit; on Monday,&nbsp;"there will be a press conference on transportation issues at 12:30pm" at Faneuil Hall;&nbsp;he'll return to New York City on Monday evening. De Blasio was in Albany on Saturday for the Somos el Futuro Conference, where he reiterated <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/US%20Conference%20of%20Mayors%20Cities%20of%20Opportunity%20Task%20Force%20Summit" target="_blank">his push</a> for full education funding from the State and other top priorities, and received&nbsp;"the Champion for Latinos Award at the dinner gala."</p> <p>And the whole week builds to the annual Inner Circle Show this Friday (dress rehearsal) and Saturday, at which the press will roast the mayor, and vice versa.</p> <p>There's plenty happening this week. See our day-by-day rundown below for more.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday morning, schools&nbsp;Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit a "CTE program to make an announcement" at the Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Queens.</p> <p>Comptroller Scott Stringer's only public event scheduled for Monday is an 8:15 a.m. appearance&nbsp;on "Buen Día New York," WADO 1280 AM.</p> <p>Also Monday <a href="http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=6a3c6f6168c3f1dbf2e16c506&amp;id=5eb213f604&amp;e=c69e0ca980" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association will host a breakfast with United States Senator Charles Schumer at Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s headquarters.</p> <p>At 10:30 Monday morning,&nbsp;Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer "will issue a report, Small Business, Big Impact: Expanding Opportunity for Manhattan's Storefronters, with case studies and policy recommendations to help small businesses grow and thrive in New York City." At The Halal Guys on the Upper West Side, Brewer will be joined by Robert Cornegy, Chair, New York City Council Small Business Committee; The Halal Guys co-founders Muhammed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka, and Abdelbaset Elsayed; and Noel Hidalgo, Executive Director, BetaNYC. The report's recommendations include "Take the pressure off lease renewals"; "Overhaul regulations and city policies governing street vending" and "Help established, successful small businesses threatened by rent increases by encouraging "condo-ization" of storefront space." [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5621-as-city-eases-burdens-access-to-capital-rising-rents-remain-issues-for-small-businesses" target="_blank">our recent report on key issues facing small business in New York City and the City's new efforts to help ease regulatory burdens</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday’s Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, three of the five borough presidents will appear together: “Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams talk about borough and city-wide issues facing Queens, Brooklyn and Bronx residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday at 10 a.m. at City Hall, preceding the relevant City Council preliminary budget hearing, "hundreds of New York City seniors and service providers were invited to descend upon City Hall's Council Chambers and make their voices heard at the Department for the Aging budget hearing to advocate for $33 million in critical funding for senior services."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. on Monday at City Hall, Rep. Nydia Velázquez and other local leaders will release a report on how the Republican congressional budget would impact New York City: “From transportation, to housing, to health and human services, New York would be acutely affected by proposed cuts,” says a media advisory on the event.</p> <p>At noon at City Hall, there will be a "Rally for action by Earth Day on plastic bag reduction bill" hosted by Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin, who sponsor the relevant bill, and Council Member and Sanitation Committee Chair Antonio Reynoso, as well as other elected officials: "The bill (Int. 209) will reduce disposable bag use by requiring retail and grocery stores to charge 10 cents per single-use plastic or paper bag. Supporters of the bill turned out in large numbers at a public hearing before the Council's Sanitation Committee last fall, and will rally again for its passage by Earth Day (April 22)."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council schedule consists of two preliminary budget hearings: a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385763&amp;GUID=BD5E9A55-8C53-466C-B096-D1BFF8461AF1&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Aging jointly with the Subcommittee on Senior Centers; and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385724&amp;GUID=227EDE37-9441-425B-BE67-09E3AA150B14&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Health.</p> <p dir="ltr">CUNY Journalism School's brown bag lunch series continues on Monday <a href="http://www.journalism.cuny.edu/events/brown-bag-speaker-event-investigative-edition/" target="_blank">with a conversation</a> between Errol Louis and Tom Robbins, both journalists and CUNY J-school professors. "Tom Robbins, investigative journalist in residence at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, will discuss his recent piece on the brutal beatings of former Attica Prison inmate George Williams...Errol Louis, director of the Urban Reporting Program and host of NY1's Inside City Hall, will pick Robbins' brain on the work that went into the nine-month project, as well as the larger issues of prison violence that it illuminated."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 2 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;outside FDNY headquarters at MetroTech Center, Brooklyn BP Adams "will announce a borough-wide fire safety education campaign, following a fatal fire Saturday in Midwood that claimed the lives of seven siblings, aged five to 16, from the Sassoon family. His effort will include multilingual outreach and the distribution of free smoke detectors...Adams will call for the creation of a burn center in Brooklyn...Adams will be joined by local elected officials and Jewish leaders."</p> <p dir="ltr">Also&nbsp;<a href="https://my.citizenactionny.org/civicrm/event/register?id=475" target="_blank">Monday</a>, in Albany, Citizen Action of New York will hold Moral Monday to Raise the Wage: “Nearly 3 million workers – 37% of New York’s workforce – earn less than $15 an hour. Thirty-six percent of adults earn less than $15 an hour; 41% women earn less than $15 an hour, and 28% of workers with at least some college education earn less than $15 an hour. A full-time worker earning $9 an hour will bring home just $18,720 per year – still below the federal poverty line for a family of three. Under the Self-Sufficiency Standard guidelines, a more accurate measure of the cost of living in New York, the hourly wage that 2 full-time workers must each earn to meet basic budget needs ranges from $13.40 in Schenectady County, to $16.15 in New York City, to $20.73 in Suffolk County.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday at <a href="http://gaming.ny.gov/pdf/03.18.15.GCMeetingNotice.pdf" target="_blank">noon</a>, there will be meeting of the New York State Gaming Commission at the New York State Department of Labor.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/23/corporations-authorities-and-commissions-meeting" target="_blank">afternoon</a> in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions will hold a hearing to consider several pieces of legislation.</p> <p>Monday <a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/03/vincent_gentil_daniel_donovan.html" target="_blank">evening</a>, “The Middle Class Action Project will host a candidates forum with Republican District Attorney Daniel Donovan and Democratic Councilman Vincent Gentile to discuss economic issues facing the middle class,” according to the Staten Island Advance.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday <a href="https://services.nycbar.org/iMIS/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=ELE032415&amp;WebsiteKey=f71e12f3-524e-4f8c-a5f7-0d16ce7b3314" target="_blank">morning</a>, the New York Bar Association will host Campaign Finance: The Current State of Affairs and Where We Go From Here: “Since the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United, campaign finance law has moved at a rapid pace, leading the way for the creation of various entities that facilitate the injection of billions of dollars into elections. And Congress just increased the power of political party committees by significantly increasing applicable campaign finance limits. This program will consist of three panels composed of top-tier campaign finance law experts, regulators, reporters and political consultants.” Panelists will include Nicholas Confessore from The New York Times; Dave Levinthal from the Center for Public Integrity; Eric Friedman from NYC Campaign Finance Board; Bill Hyers from Hilltop Public Solutions; Fritz Schwarz, Jr. from the Brennan Center; Douglas Kellner from the NYS Board of Elections; and Jerry Goldfeder from Stroock &amp; Stroock &amp; Lavan.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include&nbsp;a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385765&amp;GUID=E7600B96-680A-46E7-BC58-6ACCFADDEF6F&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services for a preliminary budget hearing; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=387010&amp;GUID=29E5350F-4E34-4E21-B6AD-F913E0A3708F&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Zoning and Franchises to review proposed Land Use Applications; and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=387012&amp;GUID=D86ABDD6-CD52-4235-84B8-78322F2B5B9D&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions to review land use applications.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/24/environmental-conservation" target="_blank">morning</a> in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will hold a hearing to consider a variety of bills to amend the environmental conservation law; <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/24/transportation-meeting" target="_blank">the Senate</a>&nbsp;Standing Committee on Transportation will meet to consider several bills amending the highway law and the vehicle and traffic law; <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/24/judiciary-meeting" target="_blank">the Senate</a>&nbsp;Standing Committee on Judiciary will meet to discuss the reappointments of several judges at the New York Court of Claims; and in the <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/24/codes-meeting" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, the Senate Standing Committee on Codes will meet to discuss a series of act to amend the civil rights law and the penal law.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eaomsfdf2f42506f&amp;oseq=&amp;c=&amp;ch=" target="_blank">evening</a>, the YWCA will host its Women's History Month Reception 2015. The theme of this year's series of events is Leadership and Generosity: A Call to Action; and as it culminates on Tuesday, the YWCA is <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5631-after-making-history-james-seeks-change" target="_blank">honoring Public Advocate Letitia James</a> as "YW Woman of the Year" for her hard work toward gender and racial equity for women and girls. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5631-after-making-history-james-seeks-change" target="_blank">our new profile of PA James as a recent history-maker, the first woman of color elected to city-wide office</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday evening, City Council Member Andy King and his staff will be hosting one in a series of Constituent Services Nights in different NYCHA housing developments. The program will include resources and solutions for housing, food stamps, immigration, Access-A-Ride and more.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/public-space-new-ideas-for-civic-life-tickets-16040805481" target="_blank">evening</a>, Parsons DESIS Lab and Lower Manhattan HQ will host Public Space: New Ideas for Civic Life: “New York City has an abundance of public spaces rich in culture and design, from Central Park to the New York Public Library. However, despite these places’ role as the physical center of civic life, digital platforms have emerged as the preferred way for government to engage the public. How can we revitalize public spaces as places to enhance civic life and public participation in government?” Speakers will include Mary Rowe of&nbsp;Municipal Arts Society&nbsp;and Victoria Milne of the city's&nbsp;Department of Design and Construction.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Tuesday <a href="https://sipa.columbia.edu/experience-sipa/events/public-policy-challenges-womens-empowerment-in-new-york-city" target="_blank">evening</a>, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs presents Public Policy Challenges: Women’s Empowerment in NYC: “Come learn from and engage with leading practitioners on New York law, policy, and services related to violence against women.” The panel will include Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of the New York Women's Foundation; Rose Pierre-Louis, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence; and Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Wednesday’s City Council schedule will include two preliminary budget hearings: a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=386665&amp;GUID=0791D02E-BA44-4E3B-96D8-D0BAAD5BF30D&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Education and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385766&amp;GUID=6C600A3D-FE2C-4DB4-801B-510A3E846734&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.nysenate.gov/event/2015/mar/25/social-services-meeting" target="_blank">morning</a> in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Services will meet to discuss a variety of potential amendments to the social services law.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday at noon, the New York State Bar Association will host Human Trafficking in New York State: Legal Issues and Advocating for the Victim, “to educate attorneys across the country on how to identify potential victims of human trafficking.” [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinions/5538-new-york-must-strengthen-sex-trafficking-laws-manhattan-da-cy-vance" target="_blank">Manhattan DA Cy Vance's recent op-ed on the need to strengthen sex trafficking laws in New York</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday evening, the city's Panel on Educational Policy (PEP) will host a public meeting at Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Wednesday, at <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/digitalnyc-five-borough-tour-queens-tickets-15204438886" target="_blank">6:30 p.m</a>., the Digital NYC Five Borough Tour will hit Queens. Panelists will include Kristin Hodgson, Communications Director at Meetup, and Jukay Hsu, Founder of Coalition for Queens.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>Thursday morning at Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, “All alumni are invited to join us for the inaugural interview session and breakfast for the new Oral Archive on Governance in New York City: The Bloomberg Years” featuring Howard Wolfson, former Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385771&amp;GUID=70960B71-4200-4630-8E35-006D6DB7B72A&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Public Housing for a preliminary budget hearing; a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=385769&amp;GUID=4BF26D8C-3072-40F3-8EF8-4FF3B44EB540&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">joint meeting</a> of the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Economic Development for a preliminary budget hearing; and a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=387013&amp;GUID=FD998D40-A475-47DA-B8A5-E1787EE801FA&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Land Use to review all items reported out of the Subcommittee hearings.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-lead-evening-of-politics-and-power-tickets-15996007489?aff=efbeventhttp://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-lead-evening-of-politics-and-power-tickets-15996007489?aff=efbevent" target="_blank">evening</a>, “Join us at Civic Hall – the new beautiful co-working space for civic tech and VRL’s new NY home! – for an evening of workshops and an engaging panel of women leaders.” The event is hosted by VoteRunLead, Veracity Media, Civic Hall, Republican Majority for Choice, Women's Information Network NYC (WIN NYC), She Should Run, Emerge America, Rising Stars and Greater NYC for Change.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at <a href="https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ea9bntf9b8933a9b&amp;oseq=&amp;c=&amp;ch=" target="_blank">5:30 p.m.</a>, CUNY Institute for Educational Policy at Roosevelt House will host Challenging the Tenure Laws in New York State: Why or Why Not?: “Davids vs. New York, a highly publicized lawsuit challenging New York's teacher tenure and seniority laws, is underway. Plaintiffs contend that the current laws violate children's constitutional right to a sound, basic education by keeping ineffective teachers in classrooms; defendants claim the lawsuit is a spurious attempt to destroy hard-won protections for the state's teaching profession.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday evening, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and members of the Council's Irish caucus - Council Members Danny Dromm, Corey Johnson, Liz Crowley, and Jimmy Van Bramer - along with other council members, will host the Council's Irish Heritage and Culture celebration at City Hall.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Thursday <a href="https://twitter.com/idaneekmiller/status/577573825614761984?refsrc=email&amp;s=11" target="_blank">evening</a>, City Council Members Donovan Richards and Member Daneek Miller, and the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs will host an IDNYC Community Meeting in Queens.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.VQuSZYF4pNu" target="_blank">6 p.m</a>., City and State will host Above and Beyond: Honoring Women of Public and Civic Mind: “Each year, City &amp; State honors 25 women who exhibit exceptional leadership in their fields and have made important contributions to society."</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday at City Hall, the Committee on Contracts, the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, the Committee on Community Development and the Committee on Youth Services will all hold preliminary budget oversight <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">hearings</a> throughout the day.</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="https://twitter.com/elizcrowleynyc/status/578573565894795264?refsrc=email&amp;s=11" target="_blank">afternoon</a>, in celebration of Women’s History Month, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley will host a special film screening of a documentary on Geraldine Ferraro’s life titled “Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way,” the film about the life of the first female Vice Presidential nominee of a major political party.</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday <a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1yYWIuIiFwwpYrE7fswc-okWyVrw_K6TFiKgvfXZMBao/viewform" target="_blank">evening</a>, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, District Leader Shirley Patterson and Green Earth Poets Café will host Shirley Chisholm Women of Excellence Awards and Reception: “Brooklynite Shirley Chisholm was a catalyst of change who made history by becoming the first African-American woman elected to Congress. Because of her values Barack Obama became the first African-American President in 2008. Senator Hamilton will continue her legacy by recognizing the achievements of iconic Brooklyn women on Friday, March 27th at the historic First Baptist Church in Crown Heights.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday evening, the Inner Circle Show will hold its rehearsal; with the main event on Saturday <a href="http://innercircleshow.org/?page_id=2503" target="_blank">night</a>, both at the New York Hilton Hotel.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday at noon, Zephyr Teachout and others are <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/835159699896878/" target="_blank">holding a rally</a>:&nbsp;"Gov. Cuomo has turned his back on our students. Join us as we rally outside his Midtown Office to demand that he fully fund our public schools, support struggling schools, not raise the cap on charter schools, and limit high-stakes testing!"</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Rati Mukhuradze, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> At Initial Hearing, Council Members Question Budget Transparency 2015-03-04T21:16:23+00:00 2015-03-04T21:16:23+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5615:at-initial-hearing-council-members-question-budget-transparency Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/ferreras.jpg" alt="ferreras" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CM Ferreras questions administration officials (photo: @JulissaFerreras)</span></p> <hr /> <p>NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio calls his budget fiscally responsible, progressive, and honest. But is it transparent? According to members of the City Council, it needs some improvement in that regard.</p> <p>On Wednesday, the Council held its first in a series of hearings on the mayor's fiscal year 2016 preliminary budget. Gone were <a href="http://observer.com/2014/03/de-blasio-budget-director-gets-praise-muffins-at-first-council-hearing/" target="_blank">the muffins</a> and soft lines of questioning from the initial council budget hearing last year, the first budget cycle for the new mayor and largely revamped council. Instead, Council Member Julissa Ferreras, chair of the Finance Committee, and her colleagues came armed with pointed questions, particularly related to transparency.</p> <p>Ferreras cited the continued use of broad units of appropriations, lack of detail about key proposals, such as the City's housing plan, the council receiving delayed access to information, such as the Education Five Year Capital Plan, and the lack of clarity around how the administration will find savings without the use of mandated cuts across agencies.</p> <p>"The lack of transparency in the budget and the administration's failure to timely provide budgetary information to the Council impedes the Council's ability to make informed decisions about the City's current fiscal condition, properly assess past and current proposals, and adequately make long-term planning decisions," Ferreras said at the budget hearing on Wednesday.</p> <p>In its budget response last April, the Council demanded large units of appropriation, particularly around education funding, be broken up into specifics to better track spending and progress on initiatives.</p> <p>"We are greatly concerned with the lack of transparency in units of appropriation in the Executive Budget," the April 2014 response <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pr/050814eb.shtml" target="_blank">reads</a>. "Dividing funding for Universal Pre-Kindergarten, Elementary and Middle Schools and High Schools into smaller units of appropriation would increase accountability and transparency in a massive budget, making it easier to track categories of spending and ensure that all school funding is scheduled in the appropriate budget code."</p> <p>Council members were hoping to curb the transparency issues that had plagued the Bloomberg administration, where including overly broad units of appropriation was common place. The Council asked the de Blasio administration to expand units of appropriations (U of A) in six areas. As of the preliminary budget, the de Blasio administration has complied with three of the six: renaming the U of A in the Miscellaneous Budget to "Reserve for Collective Bargaining," moving networks and clusters from the Schools to Regional Administration, and moving charter support costs to the Charter U of A.</p> <p>The request to clean up U of As for Disease Control and Epidemiology is expected by the executive budget, but a new U of A for Early Intervention and a new U of A for Universal Pre-Kindergarten has not been complete.</p> <p>Ferreras asked de Blasio's Budget Director, Dean Fuleihan, what is causing the delay, to which he responded that the City is committed to releasing the fourth detailed U of A by the executive budget, due in April.</p> <p>"That's still not six. And that is still in fiscal year 16, as opposed to fiscal year 15 as we had discussed," Ferreras fired back, exemplary of a somewhat surprisingly tense session, even as the Council is largely supportive of the mayor's policy and budget plans.</p> <p>Ferreras added the expanded U of A for universal pre-K, a $340 million state-funded program, was very important to the Council.</p> <p>"We made a commitment and we will make sure that we keep that," Fuleihan said.</p> <p>Ferreras noted that the Council is expected to make more requests related to U of A, and Fuleihan said that his team would work to make it happen.</p> <p><strong>PEGs</strong><br />When de Blasio released his first budget in early 2014, he did away with Programs to Eliminate the Gap (PEG), which had become infamous during the Bloomberg years, when the mayor required agencies to identify ways to cut spending. The Council would expend enormous energy to restore proposed PEG cuts to things like firehouses and libraries, cuts which rarely made it into the executive budget.</p> <p>Instead of PEG programs, de Blasio decided to use agency efficiency programs, asking each agency to take a look at their departments and propose cuts. But that process has not been made public and the agency efficiency proposals for FY16 are not in the preliminary budget.</p> <p>"We want to make sure when we are here in FY17, we can follow whether the efficiency failed or not," Ferreras said.</p> <p>Fuleihan noted the administration will be presenting that information soon and is open to discussing the format in which the Council would like to receive it. When presenting his preliminary budget, de Blasio told reporters that the cost savings identified by agency commissioners would be made clear in the April executive budget.</p> <p><strong>Capital Plans</strong><br />The City Charter requires the administration to release a 10-year capital plan every two years. The plan allows the administration to showcase its vision for building things like schools and parks. This document is typically filled with dense narratives, charts, and graphs.</p> <p>But this year, the first in which a 10-year capital plan is due for the de Blasio administration, the plan was not as detailed as it has been in the past, at least according to Ferreras, whose opinion was challenged by Fuleihan. He argued the administration included major agency zeroes and significant reductions in the Department of Education for the second five-year period, something not done in the prior administration.</p> <p>"I would argue what we presented you was much more detailed," Fuleihan said. "We are happy to work with you and discuss the merit, but we believe this was a more realistic plan than the last 10-year capital plan that was presented."</p> <p>Fuleihan noted it was a preliminary plan and several items would be affecting it that had not come down the pike yet, including the new PLaNYC, which is due in April, as well as state education funding, also due in April, and federal funding for the Highway Trust Fund, which is set to expire in May.</p> <p>"They would like more transparency," Fuleihan said following the hearing. "We agreed to additional provisions last year in the adopted budget and we will continue to work with them. There is no reason not to work with them."</p> <p>***<br />by Kristen Meriwether, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/MeriwetherK" target="_blank">@MeriwetherK</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/ferreras.jpg" alt="ferreras" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CM Ferreras questions administration officials (photo: @JulissaFerreras)</span></p> <hr /> <p>NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio calls his budget fiscally responsible, progressive, and honest. But is it transparent? According to members of the City Council, it needs some improvement in that regard.</p> <p>On Wednesday, the Council held its first in a series of hearings on the mayor's fiscal year 2016 preliminary budget. Gone were <a href="http://observer.com/2014/03/de-blasio-budget-director-gets-praise-muffins-at-first-council-hearing/" target="_blank">the muffins</a> and soft lines of questioning from the initial council budget hearing last year, the first budget cycle for the new mayor and largely revamped council. Instead, Council Member Julissa Ferreras, chair of the Finance Committee, and her colleagues came armed with pointed questions, particularly related to transparency.</p> <p>Ferreras cited the continued use of broad units of appropriations, lack of detail about key proposals, such as the City's housing plan, the council receiving delayed access to information, such as the Education Five Year Capital Plan, and the lack of clarity around how the administration will find savings without the use of mandated cuts across agencies.</p> <p>"The lack of transparency in the budget and the administration's failure to timely provide budgetary information to the Council impedes the Council's ability to make informed decisions about the City's current fiscal condition, properly assess past and current proposals, and adequately make long-term planning decisions," Ferreras said at the budget hearing on Wednesday.</p> <p>In its budget response last April, the Council demanded large units of appropriation, particularly around education funding, be broken up into specifics to better track spending and progress on initiatives.</p> <p>"We are greatly concerned with the lack of transparency in units of appropriation in the Executive Budget," the April 2014 response <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pr/050814eb.shtml" target="_blank">reads</a>. "Dividing funding for Universal Pre-Kindergarten, Elementary and Middle Schools and High Schools into smaller units of appropriation would increase accountability and transparency in a massive budget, making it easier to track categories of spending and ensure that all school funding is scheduled in the appropriate budget code."</p> <p>Council members were hoping to curb the transparency issues that had plagued the Bloomberg administration, where including overly broad units of appropriation was common place. The Council asked the de Blasio administration to expand units of appropriations (U of A) in six areas. As of the preliminary budget, the de Blasio administration has complied with three of the six: renaming the U of A in the Miscellaneous Budget to "Reserve for Collective Bargaining," moving networks and clusters from the Schools to Regional Administration, and moving charter support costs to the Charter U of A.</p> <p>The request to clean up U of As for Disease Control and Epidemiology is expected by the executive budget, but a new U of A for Early Intervention and a new U of A for Universal Pre-Kindergarten has not been complete.</p> <p>Ferreras asked de Blasio's Budget Director, Dean Fuleihan, what is causing the delay, to which he responded that the City is committed to releasing the fourth detailed U of A by the executive budget, due in April.</p> <p>"That's still not six. And that is still in fiscal year 16, as opposed to fiscal year 15 as we had discussed," Ferreras fired back, exemplary of a somewhat surprisingly tense session, even as the Council is largely supportive of the mayor's policy and budget plans.</p> <p>Ferreras added the expanded U of A for universal pre-K, a $340 million state-funded program, was very important to the Council.</p> <p>"We made a commitment and we will make sure that we keep that," Fuleihan said.</p> <p>Ferreras noted that the Council is expected to make more requests related to U of A, and Fuleihan said that his team would work to make it happen.</p> <p><strong>PEGs</strong><br />When de Blasio released his first budget in early 2014, he did away with Programs to Eliminate the Gap (PEG), which had become infamous during the Bloomberg years, when the mayor required agencies to identify ways to cut spending. The Council would expend enormous energy to restore proposed PEG cuts to things like firehouses and libraries, cuts which rarely made it into the executive budget.</p> <p>Instead of PEG programs, de Blasio decided to use agency efficiency programs, asking each agency to take a look at their departments and propose cuts. But that process has not been made public and the agency efficiency proposals for FY16 are not in the preliminary budget.</p> <p>"We want to make sure when we are here in FY17, we can follow whether the efficiency failed or not," Ferreras said.</p> <p>Fuleihan noted the administration will be presenting that information soon and is open to discussing the format in which the Council would like to receive it. When presenting his preliminary budget, de Blasio told reporters that the cost savings identified by agency commissioners would be made clear in the April executive budget.</p> <p><strong>Capital Plans</strong><br />The City Charter requires the administration to release a 10-year capital plan every two years. The plan allows the administration to showcase its vision for building things like schools and parks. This document is typically filled with dense narratives, charts, and graphs.</p> <p>But this year, the first in which a 10-year capital plan is due for the de Blasio administration, the plan was not as detailed as it has been in the past, at least according to Ferreras, whose opinion was challenged by Fuleihan. He argued the administration included major agency zeroes and significant reductions in the Department of Education for the second five-year period, something not done in the prior administration.</p> <p>"I would argue what we presented you was much more detailed," Fuleihan said. "We are happy to work with you and discuss the merit, but we believe this was a more realistic plan than the last 10-year capital plan that was presented."</p> <p>Fuleihan noted it was a preliminary plan and several items would be affecting it that had not come down the pike yet, including the new PLaNYC, which is due in April, as well as state education funding, also due in April, and federal funding for the Highway Trust Fund, which is set to expire in May.</p> <p>"They would like more transparency," Fuleihan said following the hearing. "We agreed to additional provisions last year in the adopted budget and we will continue to work with them. There is no reason not to work with them."</p> <p>***<br />by Kristen Meriwether, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/MeriwetherK" target="_blank">@MeriwetherK</a></p>