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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Keeping Our Streets Clean...of Snow!

Senator Felder's continued sponsorship of the ACE program results in keeping major avenues in his district much cleaner than they would otherwise be. And when it snows, the ACE workers are out there shovelling the sidewalks, too.

For more information on ACE's clean streets program, call 212-274-0550 or visit their website.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Felder Hosts Appreciation Event

Rabbi Yosef Gelman, dean of Masores Bais Yaakov, hands state Sen. Simcha Felder
a plaque of appreciation at the event in his school. (Hamodia Photo)
Aided by an auditorium full of attentive youngsters, state Sen. Simcha Felder on Wednesday held a #WHODYA event — or Who Do You Appreciate — thanking emergency workers and the nation’s armed forces for their services to the community.

The young girls of Masores Bais Yaakov were excited to see an array of uniformed officials in their school in Midwood, from the war veteran with a garrison cap perched on his head to the sanitation, police, fire and postal workers. Hatzolah as well put in an appearance.

Green, blue, red and navy reigned at the event which served both to thank the employees for their service and to instill safety issues in the third and fourth graders.

“Imagine,” Felder asked the approximately 100 children, “having to go out in the boiling hot weather… Imagine not taking out your garbage for three days? How would you feel if you knew that people appreciate what you’re doing but nobody ever said thank you?”

Theresa Cunningham, a sanitation worker, told the audience of the many things the department does, including garbage collection, recycling and clearing the snow.

“We’re very appreciative of you appreciating us,” she told the students.

Jackie-Michelle Martinez, a female firefighter from South Jamaica in Queens, led the children in a fire drill, laying low to be able to breathe in smoky areas and jumping up so that firefighters can see them.

“Mice and rats never die from fires because they’re low on the ground,” she noted.

Lazer Rosman, a member of Hatzolah, was then introduced as the unit who once saved Felder’s father when he thought he was having a heart attack. He discussed preventing accidents and distributed stickers with Hatzolah’s number.

But the politics of the day couldn’t help but intrude, a day after Felder engineered the postponement of the city’s impending bag fee.

“As a matter of fact,” Rosman said, gesturing to the senator, “I know he likes plastic bags so I brought him a bag of stickers.”

David Goldberg, a Vietnam war veteran and commander of the Jewish War Veterans, talked about his time serving the country and his subsequent 28-year career as a police officer.

“I don’t wish anyone to have to be in a war,” Goldberg said. “But I’m proud to be in the United States of America and to be a veteran.”

Then came the surprise.

A group of girls dressed as sanitation workers put on a presentation, dressed in garbage bag overalls and holding brooms and trash items. They read a poem of all the things sanitation workers do, ending with handing Cunningham a mini garbage pail with a copy of the poem.

Then came the mailmen, or mailwomen. Girls dressed in the blues of postal workers and holding aloft a giant envelope recited their poetry. The envelope was opened at the end to reveal a bunch of small pockets with thank you notes, which they handed to Martinez.

Next on the podium were New York’s Finest and Bravest, with children holding a huge oak tag police badge and cutouts of police officer figures, followed by the fire crew. Last came the Marines, with a poem recited in honor of Goldberg and Jewish war veterans everywhere.

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” the chorus ended.

This article appeared in print .

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Felder Reaps Significant Political Victory in Anti-Bag Tax Bill

The passage of the bag bill in both chambers of the New York legislature — a rarity granted less than 5 percent of all bills proposed each year — is undeniably a significant political victory to its primary sponsor, Sen. Simcha Felder.

Sen. Felder has been battling the “bag tax” ever since 2008, when the then-city councilman confronted Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s budget chief at a hearing. Taking out of his pocket a prop of three plastic bags, Felder theatrically aired them out and placed them on his desk, questioning if there was a difference in the 5-cent tax charged for a small bag or a much larger one.

The bag tax failed.

Mr. Felder is now in the state Senate, but his flair for visualizing his political positions has not waned.

Withdrawing a bag of bread and a carton of a dozen eggs from under his desk last week, he quizzed a new mayor citing the environment to nickel New Yorkers for a pound of plastic. Is Mayor Bill de Blasio aware of grocery prices today that he was willing to add more expenses to residents, he asked?

“Government’s job is to protect people, not make their lives harder,” Mr. Felder declared. “Our efforts should be geared towards making it easier for New Yorkers to keep more of their hard-earned money, not nickel and diming them every time they turn around.”

The bag fee, or tax, is something which would have been felt in every pocket around the city. There was a rumble of grumbles from Seaside to SoHo, but the general mood was that you can’t fight City Hall. It’s just another tax with the well-meaning goal of changing our habits but whose sponsors had no perception of life on Main Street.

It took a senator who grew up in Boro Park to confront City Hall — and win. Felder quickly won the naming contest, ensuring that when the issue is discussed it will be called a “bag tax,” not fee or fine. He also emphasized that it was not a battle Between a clean environment and dirtying the air just to save a penny.

“Everyone agrees — we all want to protect the environment. Period,” Sen. Felder told the mayor at the Senate hearing last week. “What the mayor isn’t addressing is why the city has to always be punitive. What my colleagues and I object to is the approach. Why can’t it be positive? Why don’t you give a nickel back to New Yorkers for a change?”

Give a nickel back for a change. That, doubtless, would not be called a tax.

Also doubtless — Simcha Felder got behind an issue which resonates among residents and won.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


NY State Assembly Passes Bag Tax Moratorium by Overwhelming Majority

Senator Lanza, Senator Felder, Assemblyman Cusick, Senator Golden, and Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz hold the legislation.
NY City residents are breathing a sigh of relief. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Simcha Felder in the Senate and Michael Cusick in the Assembly, residents can finally look forward to putting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Bag Tax to rest. An agreement between the State Senate and Assembly, sponsored by Senate Cities Committee Chairman Felder, stopped the implementation of the City’s most recent regressive tax by establishing a moratorium—a freeze until a new City Council begins their term in 2018.

This was the second time state legislative pressure and the public outcry helped defeat the Bag Tax’s implementation. Senator Felder was joined by a number of his colleagues in a long fight against the Mayor’s Bag Tax that stretches back to last year’s legislative session. When the City first enacted its legislation to create the tax, it was slated to go into effect in October. But a hearing held by Felder and other legislators, followed by approval of a bill in the Senate prohibiting such taxes and a resulting public outcry, led the City to delay implementation until February 15, 2017.

With the passage of this new moratorium, the City’s Bag Tax is defeated once and for all, removing the unnecessary burden on low- and middle-income New York City residents. The Bag Tax could only be reauthorized by a new City Council with members who begin their terms on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

“Government’s job is to protect people, not make their lives harder,” said Senator Felder. “Our efforts should be geared towards making it easier for New Yorkers to keep more of their hard-earned money, not nickel and diming them every time they turn around. So many of my neighbors and constituents are breathing a sigh of relief now that this Bag Tax is over. My colleagues and I will continue to be diligent and not allow New Yorkers to be over-fined, over-ticketed, and over-taxed.”

“I listened to the cries of the senior citizens, the needy and the poor in our district,” said an impassioned Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. “I heard from seniors who receive $500 per month and from that they have to pay rent and buy their food and medicine. They don’t have 5 cents to waste. The City could have done other things.”

Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz said, “The proposed plastic bag fee was nothing more than a regressive tax that would hurt millions of New Yorkers. In a city with an already high cost of living, it is outrageous to make it more expensive for people to feed their families.”

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz explained that New York State has already proven that recycling plastic bags is possible. “It is up to the City to figure out how to remove and recycle bags before they reach landfills,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the moratorium I co-sponsored will allow more time to work out a solution to the plastic bag dilemma that’s environmentally sound but does not place a financial burden on already overtaxed New Yorkers. Nickel-and-diming our residents is not the answer.”

S.4158/A.4883 (The Bag Fee Moratorium) passed by an overwhelming majority of 43 to 16 in the Senate and 122 to 15 in the Assembly.

Monday, February 6, 2017


Senator Felder asks Mayor de Blasio if he knows the price of bread and eggs
Assembly Joins Senate in Agreement to Indefinitely Halt Bag Tax’s Feb. 15 Start Date

The New York State Senate today passed a bill to stop the implementation of New York City’s bag tax. The moratorium (S4158), an agreement between the Senate and Assembly and sponsored by Senate Cities Committee Chairman Simcha Felder (D, Brooklyn), is the latest step in the Senate’s bipartisan efforts to stop the City’s regressive tax on carry-out merchandise bags and enable consumers to keep more of their hard-earned money.

“Today, we took concrete action to stop Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council's punitive Bag Tax,” said Senator Felder. “I want to thank my colleagues who worked so hard to protect our constituents from this tax, especially Assemblyman Michael Cusick who led the fight in the Assembly. We believe that New Yorkers are the greatest people in the world -- hard-working people who want to do the right thing given that opportunity. We will continue to be diligent and not allow New Yorkers to be over-fined, over-ticketed, and over-taxed.”

This is the second time state legislative pressure and a public outcry helped successfully defeat the bag tax’s implementation. When New York City first enacted legislation last year to create the five-cent tax, it was originally slated to go into effect in October. However, a state Senate hearing held by Senator Felder and other legislators, followed by approval of a bill in the Senate prohibiting such taxes, and a resulting public outcry led the City to delay implementation until February 15, 2017.

With the passage of today’s moratorium, the City’s law implementing the bag tax is defeated, removing an unnecessary burden on low- and middle-income New York City residents. The bag tax could only be reauthorized by a new City Council with members who begin their terms on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

Senator Marty Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) stated, “The New York State Senate acted quickly to put a stop to a tax on plastic bags that would be financially damaging to every hard-working New Yorker living in the City. During these financially challenging times, we need to find ways for New Yorkers to keep every penny to meet the growing cost of living here in the city. I hope that the New York City Council will find other ways to help the environment without imposing burdensome taxes.”

Senator Tony Avella (D, Queens) said, “This bag tax was hastily developed without thought of the impact on low- and middle-class families who are already strapped for cash in New York City. I believe that we must find alternatives to the growing impact of plastic bags on our environment, however this plan was not the way. This moratorium will give the necessary amount of time to develop an economically sound, environmentally friendly way to reduce the use of plastic bags.”

Senator Diane Savino (D, Staten Island/Brooklyn) said, “Since the passage of the bag tax by the City Council I have heard from my constituents that they are opposed to it. Many are senior citizens who just can’t afford anymore nickel and diming by the city. Last year the City Council delayed implementation to find solutions to the problems we discussed on the Senate floor, but they didn’t do anything. With the passage of today’s bill we can ensure that the City Council fully understands the impact on our communities.”

The bill will be sent to the Assembly, which is expected to act on the measure this week.

New Yorkers HATE Mayor de Blasio's Bag Tax

Thursday, February 2, 2017

We Appreciate Community Service!

Senator Felder was happy to present Ashraf Abdelaal, the owner of the Associated Supermarket on 1413 Avenue J, with a Community Service Award for regularly assisting the Senator's Office and staff with their regular outreach programs. Congratulations Mr. Abdelaal!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Call to Action: Help Stop Mayor de Blasio's Bag Tax Now!

Watch Senator Felder confornt the Mayor on the Bag Tax by clicking here.

Mayor de Blasio's Bag Tax will take effect on February 15. Join Senator Felder in fighting this regressive tax!

  • Call 311 and complain to the Mayor.
  • Forward this message to everyone in the City and ask them to do the same.
  • Share this message on social media.

We must take action now before it's too late!

Please Mayor de Blasio: Stop Taxing New Yorkers Over and Over Again!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Senator Felder questions Mayor de Blasio on the Bag Tax

de Blasio: Taxing New Yorkers is the Only Option

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio insists that the only way to address his personal concerns about the environment is to punish New Yorkers with his Bag Tax.

Confronted by NY State Senator Simcha Felder this morning at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on 2017-2018 Executive Budget Proposal, the Mayor stubbornly defended his Bag Tax, which is set to take effect on February 15. Asked why it was necessary to punish New Yorkers with another tax, the Mayor insisted that the Federal Government may not being doing enough to help the environment so New York City must lead the way. But Senator Felder didn’t let the mayor’s sidestep go unchallenged.

“The issue isn’t whether or not to protect the environment,” the Senator replied. “Everyone agrees—we ALL want to protect the environment. Period. What I’m talking about—what the mayor isn’t addressing—is why the City has to always be punitive. What my colleagues and I object to is the approach. Why can’t it be positive? Why don’t you give a nickel back to New Yorkers for a change?”

The Senator noted that an overwhelming number of New Yorkers opposed the Mayor’s Bag Tax, and that the City had promised to revisit the proposed Tax last year but only postponed its implementation. “Yet another commitment ignored,” Felder told the Mayor. “And now we’re just two weeks from a crisis facing average New Yorkers.” Senator Felder held up a loaf of bread and a dozen eggs. “Do you know how much a pound of bread costs today?” he asked the Mayor. “Or a dozen eggs? I was in a local shop last week where I watched a mother put back sliced cheese because she didn’t have enough money for everything when she went to pay for her groceries.

“We should implement existing recycling laws,” Senator Felder continued. “Instead, you’re taking another nickel from poor and middle class New Yorkers. You talked about a mansion tax? This is a mansion credit. This is not a tax on the 1%, it’s a tax on the 99%. The issue is why over-taxed, over-ticketed, over-fined New Yorkers are being punished again instead of being treated like adults. It’s unfair and it doesn’t make sense.”

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Happy Chinese New Year 2017!

Senator Felder joined civic leaders and other elected officials at the 30th annual Sunset Park Chinese Lunar New Year Festival, which included a parade and speeches. The parade began at 11 a.m. at 5002 Eighth Ave. and ran for 10 blocks. Greeting Paul Mak, president of the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association (BCA), and Shiu Kam Leung, vice president, Senator Felder praised the BCA, which was founded in 1998 with the primary mission of providing assistance to the growing Asian-American community.
Senator Felder, Assemblymember Peter Abbate, Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, Brooklyn Chinese-American Association President Paul Mak, Assemblymember Felix Ortiz, and former New York state Comptroller John Liu.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Senator Simcha Felder and Assemblyman Michael Cusick are working to prevent Mayor de Blasio’s upcoming Feb. 15th implementation of the bag tax. Felder, Cusick and their colleagues from both sides of the aisle and both houses are asking New Yorkers to contact their elected officials and community leaders to ask Mayor de Blasio not to force New Yorkers to pay a nickel for every bag.

“Many families have a hard time just getting by, paying for groceries, rent and heat, and now the Mayor wants to shake them down every time they shop just for the privilege of using a plastic bag,” said Senator Felder, who has fought the plastic bag tax since his days as a NY City Councilman. “Mayor de Blasio, please do not nickel and dime New Yorkers with another tax. You always talk about taxing the 1% and now you will be burdening everyone else, the other 99%. This will hurt lower- and middle-income families who already struggle. I'm asking New Yorkers to stand up and tell the Mayor that this bag tax has to go.”

Cusick declared, “As the Assembly Member who represents and helped to close the former Fresh Kills Landfill, I am all too familiar with the harm that improperly disposed plastic bags do to our environment and to the cleanliness of our communities. However, a charge for plastic and paper bags in the City of New York will not solve this problem; instead it is a misguided attempt that will only squeeze more money from the hardworking families of our City. I am proud to Sponsor this legislation to prohibit this tax on consumers from being enacted, and I urge my colleagues in State and City government to come together to develop sensible and honest solutions that will both benefit our environment and the budgets of the families we represent.”

When Felder and Cusick made an effort to stop the bag tax last legislative session, their bill saw broad bipartisan support and passed in the Senate but was tabled in the Assembly pending promised changes by the City Council. But nothing changed except the implementation date of the tax.

“The City Counsel and Mayor wanted to irritate New Yorkers with this bag tax. They’ve succeeded,” said Felder.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Senator Simcha Felder is advising residents not to miss out on the opportunity to get help with heating costs. This year’s Neighborhood Heating Fund—the HeartShare program—has already processed over 500 applications to provide assistance to eligible households who need help with the cost of heating their homes. If you have an open account with National Grid, you may be eligible for a $200 credit on your heating bill.

Eligible households can apply for HeartShare right at Senator Felder’s offices. The Senator’s office has already saved residents over $15,000 this year.

“This week, New Yorkers really felt the cold,” said Senator Felder. “We’re fortunate that there are programs available to help low-income families and seniors with their heating bills. HeartShare is an excellent resource for those on a fixed income and for working families struggling to make ends meet. Just call my office for an appointment to have your application filled out.”

Call 718-253-2015 (Flatbush office) or 718-484-3216 (Boro Park office).