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Senate Passes Bill to Restore State’s Commuter Tax Benefit

Friday, 02 March 2012 00:00

Legislation would ensure that commuters receive $240 a month state tax benefit to help offset mass-transit costs

The New York State Senate passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), and co-sponsored by Senator Jack M. Martins, to fully restore the state’s pretax commuter benefit to provide savings to commuters who use the Long Island Rail Road and other mass transit.
The legislation would fully restore the state’s monthly pretax transit benefit, which would be $240 for 2012, that was cut when the federal government did not approve an extension by the December 31, 2011 deadline.

It would also create parity with the current federal and state pretax benefits which help offset parking costs for commuters who drive. That benefit increased to $240 on Jan. 1.


Around the Town with Lou: February 21, 2012

Written by Lou Sanders Friday, 24 February 2012 00:00
Eli Manning was the name on everybody’s mind at the Kiwanis Super Bowl Breakfast. We got to talk with Arlindo Cunha, Helene and Joel Harris, Paul and Peggy May, Lois Hanson, Sadie Belle Carlson who was celebrating her 88th birthday, Bob Carlson, Madeline and Neil Piloto, Ann Claus, Grace Klvana, Rick and Joann Ueland, Paul Cusato, Ron Bieber, Phyliss Burnett, Rev. Kenneth Nelson, Rich Forte, Bob Rosenthal, Ed Schutz, Michael, Jennifer and Sean Reddy, Luisa Castela Filipe, Gabe Parajos, Scott and Linda Fairgrieve, Joyce Gorycki, Susan Hepburn Schmuck, Joe LaPorte, Greg Nold, Cathy Papandreu, Jamie Segura, Mayor Scott Strauss, Joan and Frank Nedelka, George Durham, Branden Shannon Durham, John Davanzo, Robbin Valentine, John Carroll, Lou and Pat Santosus, Dick and Marguerite O’Callaghan and Julia Cava, Lisa Bonanni. One man missed was former Chief of Detectives Ed Curran who was always so much a part of the breakfast. Everybody was rooting, of course, for the New York Giants.

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Colin Ryan Craine was born Jan. 24 to Annie and Kevin Craine. Annie is the daughter of Kevin and Claire Boland. Among Kevin’s proud aunts are Catherine Boland.


From the desk of NY State Senator Jack Martins: February 21, 2012

Written by Senator Jack Martins Friday, 24 February 2012 00:00

Next Stop: Congestion and Fare Hikes

All aboard! A bad idea is about to leave the station.

I won’t be getting on, but I’ll tell you about it in case you missed the news this past week. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is now considering a proposal that will allow Metro-North railroad to operate trains into Penn Station using the existing tracks.

I can already hear the gnashing of teeth and the pulling of hair as I write this but some of you may wonder what the harm is. To answer that, neighbors may suggest making their commute on an average business day. Wake up before dawn, wait on a freezing platform for a Long Island Rail Road train on which you will likely stand elbow to elbow with fellow commuters the entire way, due to over-crowding. Once you arrive, you must launch yourself out of the train and be swept along with the wave of people rushing up woefully undersized staircases, being sure to avoid perpetually out-of-order escalators.


From the desk of NY State Senator Jack Martins: February 15, 2012

Written by Senator Jack Martins Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00

The Art of Listening

Like many of you, I’m up early, reading the news and making breakfast before the rest of the family wakes up. Later, I manage to grab a few minutes to get ready between my wife and (four) children before embarking on daddy’s a.m. taxi service. This day, I’m a little late to an 8 a.m. meeting with union officials to discuss issues impacting them, but I’m sure I’ll make up the time somewhere in the day’s schedule. By 9:30 a.m., I’m at a grammar school in another part of the district explaining how a bill becomes law to 200 fourth-graders. They prove remarkably well-informed and pursue an analysis as to what recent legislation is likely to work and what they believe will not. I take mental notes.

Next up, I have the honor of introducing Governor Cuomo at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, where he is giving a presentation on his new budget. He stirs the pot and immediately following, I listen to many people sharing many opinions. Then I’m off to a 12:30 p.m. meeting (I haven’t made up that lost time yet, in fact – I’m falling further behind!) with the Manhasset Men’s Club where I give a speech and host a Q&A session about what’s happening in Albany and what this year’s goals are. At 2:15 p.m. I’m at Westbury High School for “Pizza and Politics.”  My office established this program to encourage high school students to discuss their views on current events and to encourage careers in public service.


Nassau Community College Holds Presidential Awards

Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00

Nassau Community College recently held their semi-annual Presidential Awards presentation. Scholarship recipients, honored guests, administration, and faculty filled the seats of the college’s multipurpose room.

The program was kicked off with a musical ensemble showcasing the talent of Sean Lucas, a current student of Nassau. More than 75 deserving full and part-time students were awarded with generous scholarships thanks to the benevolence of many esteemed donors and business partners of the college. Five honorable and commendable students were awarded with the Nassau Community College Foundation Diversity Honors Scholarship.


From the desk of NY State Senator Jack Martins: February 7, 2012

Written by Senator Jack Martins Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00

Peeling Onions

If you’ll indulge me, I’d ask you to imagine a very complex flow chart, one with a jumble of miniscule numbers and overlapping arrows pointing in every direction that are nearly impossible to decipher. That’s what government bureaucracies tend to create. But in my years of public service, I happen to have gotten pretty good at analyzing these labyrinths, tracing their complexities back to their respective centers. What’s more, I can now almost always predict what you’ll find there: an overburdened taxpayer that doesn’t know what hit him.  

You see, bureaucracies avoid coming right out and asking you for more money because they know it makes you angry. Now I know you’re saying “Are you kidding, Jack? Have you seen my property tax bill?” But I can assure you that if government truly approached you, the taxpayer, directly for everything they want, your head would explode. Rather, they prefer creating ingenious new taxes and fees, pinching a bit here, squeezing a bit there and hopefully distancing taxpayers from the sting. The former Senate majority came up with an astonishing 214 of them in 2009 alone, imposing billions of dollars in new taxes and fees as we struggled through a recession. If there was a trophy for creatively fleecing people, I have no doubt it would be found sitting on their mantle.     


Around the Town with Lou: February 7, 2012

Written by Lou Sanders Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00

Giants – Patriots Super Bowl was a winner with a huge crowd attending the annual Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast. Pancakes donated by iHOP and the sausages by Churrasqueira Bairrada owned by Manny Carvalho. Orange juice, sausages, eggs and coffee were served. Paul May, the co-chair, said it was an “all you can eat” breakfast.

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At long last the diner on Herricks Road has opened. This is the site of the old Sparta Diner. The new place, called The Park City Diner, opened with a bang; enjoying breakfast were Tom and Christina Martins, Sean and Ryan Burke, Helen Culleny and Paula Calao and, at another time, Christina Barcos. She is the lay reader at Corpus Christi Church. Christina is the lady with the accent of East London. She and her husband Claude live on Emory Road. In the evening we met Larry and Sarah Cascio. The diner was closed for more than four years. Breakfast and lunch were always busy at the old Sparta. But dinner was very slow but since then, we have a popular new Portuguese restaurant nearby and lots of new offices in the area. Dinner business has been good so far, along with breakfast and lunch. Park City has 45 parking places and with parking allowed on the side streets, it shouldn’t be a problem.


Letter: Cut in State Aid Will Only Hurt, Not Help Mineola Schools

Friday, 03 February 2012 00:00

We are writing this letter on behalf of PEACE – People for Excellence, Affordability, and Commitment to Education. PEACE is comprised of a number of community members from throughout the Mineola School District. We continue to be involved and committed to issues, both financial and educational, that affect the students of our district and the community as a whole.

Mineola has gone through the long and difficult process of deciding to close two buildings to cut costs while saving the programs so vital to students’ educational experience. We succeeded in containing costs last year by passing a budget with a 2.3 percent tax increase, our fourth consecutive year of 2.5 percent or under.


From the desk of NY State Senator Jack Martins: January 31, 2012

Written by Senator Jack Martins Friday, 03 February 2012 00:00

State Aid to Long Island Schools Doesn’t Add Up

 I flipped through hundreds of pages until I found it. I was scanning the proposed budget released by Governor Cuomo last week, looking to see how our district fared with state aid, in particular the amounts for our school districts. I guess to say I was disappointed by what I saw is an understatement – the Governor had proposed increasing state aid to education by 4 percent, yet time and again our districts were shortchanged. 

It’s no secret that I happen to agree with many of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to get New York’s fiscal train back on track. For too many years, the obvious truth that many in Albany were all too happy to ignore was that New York was well on its way to financial ruin. But in tandem with Governor Cuomo, we were able to change that paralyzing mindset. In fact, the nine State Senators from Long Island were instrumental in helping to close last year’s $10 billion budget gap, capping taxes and reducing overall spending. This year, we face a $2 billion budget shortfall but we remain as committed as ever to balancing the budget without increasing taxes or raising fees.


Around the Town with Lou: January 24, 2012

Written by Lou Sanders Friday, 27 January 2012 00:00

Cardinal-designate Archbishop Timothy Dolan is a popular man with a winning Irish smile and a quick wit. He enjoys good relations with Governor Cuomo in spite of difference over gay marriage. He also found President Obama receptive to many of his ideas. On a personal note, we appreciate Bishop Dolan’s cutting the ribbon on the “Women of the Spirit” exhibit at Ellis Island. This is the history of America’s nuns put together by our daughter Sister Annmarie and six other religious sisters. It has toured the U.S. and has been seen by more than a million people. Bishop Dolan said the exhibit was wonderful.

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At last the local St. Patrick’s parade staged by the Irish American Society will be held in Mineola on Sunday, March 4. Since the parade’s inception it has been held in Garden City.


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