(U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent the following letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and to Anton Newspapers on March 16.)
With the warmer weather upon us, the activity on our playgrounds and fields increases tremendously. We have hundreds and hundreds of children participating in youth sports programs and many other kids playing on our playground equipment each week. This speaks volumes of our community – we have kids who really enjoy recreational activities. This is exactly how our fields and playgrounds should be utilized.
A couple of points of note.
Spring Athletics. A new season of athletics is now under way. We have the schedules for badminton, baseball, lacrosse, softball and track on our website, http://www.islandtrees.org/pdfs/athletics/sss.pdf. We hope you’re able to come out and support our teams!
Providing transformative relief to millions of taxpayers, creating tens of thousands of new jobs, and ensuring a stronger, more prosperous future for many years to come are the cornerstone of the Senate’s ‘2012 New Jobs – New York’ plan. Nassau County residents will greatly benefit should this plan become law.
In 2011, I and my colleagues successfully reduced state spending, cut income taxes (bringing middle class rates to the lowest level in 58 years), rolled back the MTA Payroll Tax, and provided a 2 percent cap on local property taxes, all of which were particularly onerous for Nassau residents.
On behalf of the family of Matthew T. Walsh, who passed away unexpectedly, we want to express our heartfelt thanks to our friends and families in the Levittown community for their overwhelming support during our time of grief. Your hugs and tears helped us more than you will ever know.
Two recent house fires, one in New Jersey and one right here in Levittown has prompted me, in the interest of fire safety, to review both of them. The fire in South Plainfield, NJ two weeks ago took the lives of four young children and one adult. It scarred the lives of the members of that volunteer fire department’s members. They witnessed horrors there that they will long remember.
The other house fire took place in Levittown on Feb. 24. In that fire, three children and one adult escaped with very minor injuries. The Levittown Fire Department volunteers responded quickly and extinguished the fire.
Learning is like building a house – you need to do it from the foundation up one step at a time. Naturally, children need to know the basics before they can tackle complex topics. These are skills parents can start building in the home step by step and teachers can then enrich at school. To do this, parents need to read and talk with their children each day to develop a strong foundation of knowledge. In fact, it is suggested that pre-school and elementary parents spend at least 15 minutes a day reading with their children. If this is unrealistic in your home, then your children should spend this time with reading materials.
Senator Kemp Hannon reports the New York State Senate has passed a trio of school bus bills, which will protect child safety and enhance communication.
Senate bill 3099A increases the penalties for passing a stopped school bus. The legislation would impose a 60-day suspension of a driver’s license if convicted of passing a stopped school bus two or more times. This legislation would make the penalties for passing a stopped school bus multiple times the same as penalties for drivers convicted of speeding in a construction zone two or more times.
2011 was the year the state Legislature was finally able to come together, put politics aside, and pass some of the most taxpayer-and business-friendly legislation in decades. Despite these accomplishments, however, from the property tax cap, a reduction in state spending, repeal of the MTA payroll tax, and a reformed tax code, there remains one piece of the people’s business left undone: Medicaid.
With an annual tab of nearly $54 billion, nearly a third of the total state budget, Medicaid continues to be one of the top cost-drivers in New York State. There are currently 4.9 million enrollees in our state, with every indication that this number will only continue to rise. Twenty-five percent of our state population is eligible to receive 33 percent of our state’s spending in 2012. That statistic alone is a bruising example of how poorly the Medicaid system is administered. What’s worse, New York currently spends $1 billion per week on Medicaid, with costs skyrocketing annually.
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