Single-use plastic bags banned as part of budget deal

a hand holding plastic bag walking in the street As part of the new budget, state leaders passed a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags at most retail and grocery stores (restaurants are exempted). A provision was created for localities to impose a 5¢ fee on paper shopping bags, with revenue to be split 60-40% with the state environmental fund and the locality. (Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin are sponsoring the paper bag fee for New York… Read more

State budget passes with measures to raise funds for the MTA

room full of people for a public hearing about congestion pricing plan The state budget just passed in Albany includes two measures which will provide desperately needed funding to the MTA… Congestion pricing.  A congestion pricing plan—the first in the nation—will impose a fee on most vehicles when they enter Manhattan south of 61st Street, with revenues to be directed mostly to the MTA. I’ve supported congestion pricing as a way to reduce the clog of traffic in the business district and… Read more

Helping retailers transition to new electronic system for WIC payments

WIc program card with vegetables on the front The federal WIC program (“Women Infants Children”) for low-income parents is moving into the digital age. A new system called eWIC will make it easier for participants to redeem benefits and for retailers to get paid by the government. Retailers must obtain new  EBT (eWIC) machines and complete training for the new system by April 30. Staff in my office, in partnership with the New York State Department of Health,… Read more

B.P. Brewer to Albany: Include concerns of Manhattan residents in congestion pricing plan

Canal street on a busy day will a lot of cars and trucks stuck in traffic In a letter, I’m calling on leadership in Albany to add exemptions for people with disabilities, discounts for residents in the proposed zone, and a hold on congestion fee currently in place on NYC yellow and green taxis NEW YORK – I’m calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to add exemptions and discounts for New York City residents in their proposed… Read more

Faith-based institutions face real estate challenges

Reverend Harper seated at the back of his church The pressures facing the Harlem faith-based institutions highlighted in this article are not unique. This is a borough-wide problem that must be addressed, which is why my office has conducted outreach and hosted events, like the Faith-Based Development and Preservation Conference we held early last year in conjunction with Community Board 10.

There oughta be a law: we need a database to track vacant storefronts

Gale speaks into mic at NYC council committee I testified today at the NYC Council Committee on Small Business in support of Intro No 1472-A, a bill that would require owners to report the vacancy status of their storefront properties and establish an open database for vacancies. The crisis facing small businesses has only grown worse. National chains steadily spread throughout the city, storefronts sit vacant for years, and online shopping is reducing foot traffic to our local… Read more

Letter to NYCHA:
Don’t lock nonprofits out of development plans

NYCHA facility on a beautiful day I’m upset that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has a PACT/RAD request for proposals (RFP) on Section 8 conversions at 16 sites in Manhattan that purposely blocks established and experienced nonprofit community development corporations from participating the bidding process by requiring proposals to convert all 16 at once.  I’ve written a letter calling on NYCHA to revise their PACT/RAD policy (and testified in February about it at the… Read more

Public hearing Thursday March 21 on congestion pricing’s impact on Manhattanites.

Canal Street traffic jam, looking westward The congestion pricing plan now under consideration in Albany has the potential to change the way Manhattan works in a major way. For example, equalizing the tolls on all bridges and tunnels would reduce the incentive to cross Manhattan via Canal St. to reach New Jersey. I want to know what Manhattanites think. Attend this public hearing, learn more about the proposal from the experts—and make your voice heard!… Read more