Speaker Silver on Rent Laws, Restoring Senior Center Funding, Bus Crash Investigation

This morning, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver rallied at City Hall with fellow lawmakers and housing activists to push for the extension and expansion of rent regulation laws. They stood with representatives from the Community Service Society, which has just released a report “documenting rent-stabilized housing’s critical role in protecting millions of working New Yorkers.”  Tomorrow, we’ll have more on the report and the rent law battle in Albany.

Following the rally, Speaker Silver commented on two other stories we’ve been following.

First, he told reporters the Assembly budget (which will be unveiled next week) restores funding cut in the governor’s spending plan.  The needed revenue would be generated by extending the tax on people making more than $1 million/year, an idea the governor opposes:

One of the things we added was a continuation of the income tax surcharge for people who make more than $1 million. We dedicate 30% of the proceeds to education funding so this year we will be adding from that general aid to public schools about $210 million statewide of the $706 million that it raises. we are restoring senior centers in New York City fully, some daycare center slots as well that were cut as a result of this. we also restore the EPIC program, the cuts that were made to the EPIC program, about $35 million. And we keep within the spending caps that the governor has provided in health care and education as we go forward into the future years tied to personal income growth in the state.

Second, the Speaker sent condolences to families of the 14 people killed in yesterday’s casino bus crash in the Bronx.  Investigators are looking at whether the driver and bus company, World Wide Tours, were to blame for the accident. The New York Times reported the company had recently been “flagged by federal regulators for troubles with fatigued drivers.”

While Silver indicated he would reserve judgment until more facts are known, he suggested the tragedy could be “an impetus” to pass legislation (introduced a few weeks ago) regulating interstate buses in New York City.