Vision was with the Long Island Lobby Coalition for the annual Long Island Lobby Day in Albany on Wednesday for meetings with the Governor’s office, LI Senate and Assembly members to advocate for the Coalition’s legislative and budget priorities for 2017. Nearly 50 advocates urged state representatives to secure funding for important transportation, sewage and infrastructure projects, housing, human services, championed environmental programs, and supported legislation to benefit small business and encourage economic development.
The Long Island Lobby Coalition was founded in 2009 as a diverse alliance of organizations working together to advance meaningful improvements to Long Island’s quality of life and our economy. Since its founding, the Coalition’s agenda has seen ten bills have been enacted, a slew of budgetary and regulatory proposals approved, and key Long Island infrastructure projects funded.
This year was the coalition’s 9th year with over 90 organizations in support and 40 groups represented for the Lobby Day. This year’s agenda included: Bus Funding for NICE and Suffolk County Transit, Small Business Savings Accounts, Small Business Promotion, Septic Replacement Fund and Water Infrastructure Fund, Affordable Housing and Homeless Housing programs, Child Care funding, and a number of infrastructure projects for sewers, traffic calming, coastal resiliency and parking, among other important issues. After a press conference to present the summary of the platform, the Long Island Lobby Coalition proceeded on with the day which covered the following meetings;
One of the key takeaways from the meetings included interest by the Assembly delegation to look at moving ahead with the Tax-Deferred IRA accounts for small businesses, where businesses may deposit part of their profits and be able to withdraw from such an account tax-free during officially defined recession and other instances which are allowed by the state. This bill (S4376) has been passed by the state Senate, with the Assembly’s version (A6031) in committee.
Assemblyman McDonough mentioned support for Long Island buses, saying that $10 million has been proposed to help out in non-MTA areas. Funding from the state for buses primarily comes State Transportation Operating Assistance (STOA), with Nassau and Suffolk counties not adequately funded in comparison to New York City. Assistance would allow NICE bus to continue operation of some of the 19 routes that are scheduled to be eliminated or reduced on April 9th, as well as assist Suffolk transit in curtailing future cuts, and possibly restore some of the 10 routes that were cut last year.
Support for increased funding for alternative septic systems was discussed, with Senator Hannon calling the proposed funding “anemic”. Long Island has nearly 500,000 homes that are not sewered, with a majority of those homes in Suffolk County. Increased funding would allow for more homes to be connected to alternative septic by subsidizing the cost of conversion to homeowners that otherwise would not be able to afford it.
Special thanks to all of the Legislators and government staff who took the time from intense budget negotiations to strongly factor in the Coalition’s agenda. Very special thanks to Vanessa Lockel, and Lisa Black from the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo for their assistance as well.
Participants and supporters from the Coalition included:
Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers, Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, Long Island Business Council, Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Long Island Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Long Island Bus Riders’ Union, Long Island Jobs with Justice, Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, Child Care Council of Suffolk, Car-Less Long Island, Transit Solutions, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Nassau Suffolk Law Services, AARP, Island Harvest, Renaissance Downtowns, SunPower by EmPower Solar, Friends of Long Island, 100 Black Men, The Elmont Chamber of Commerce, Freeport Chamber of Commerce, Hempstead Chamber of Commerce, Hicksville Chamber Of Commerce, Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, Merrick Chamber of Commerce, Nesconset Chamber of Commerce, Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, Plainview-Old Bethage Chamber of Commerce, Nassau Civic Association, Baldwin Civic Association, Friends of Freeport, Kings Park Civic Association, Oakdale Civic Association, Oceanside Civic Association, Source the Station, Source the Station Millennials, Nassau Legislator Steve Rhoads, and Suffolk Legislators Kate Maguire Browning and Bridget Fleming.
You can view the the platform