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A Federal Tax Cut Plan    

by James C. Benerofe

If I were President, this is what I would propose as a tax cut.

Anyone with W-2 income of $50,000.00 or less would pay ZERO Federal Income Tax. They would continue to pay Social Security.

They would still file a tax return. If states that have an income tax

wished to participate they could offer the same tax cut. This plan

would not require any elaborate legislation and would likely create

an immediate stimulus to the economy. There would also be written

into the legislation a qualification gap so that individuals earning say $51,000.00 would still qualify. Reasonably, the gap would be limited to $5,000.00.   After five years, an economic review of how effective

this was in stimulating the economy would be undertaken. If it was determined successful, it would be permanent.  It might also be considered at that time to apply it to higher income levels (although there should be a limitation on how it should go, perhaps based on the cost of living index).

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COUNCILWOMAN MILAGROS LECUONA ANNOUNCES MAYORAL CANDIDACY FOR WHITE PLAINS

White Plains, January 29, 2017— White Plains Common Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona officially announced her candidacy today as Mayor of the City of White Plains, in what she vows will be a vigorous campaign.  Lecuona made the announcement outside of the Westchester County Democrats headquarters at 170 East Post Road, surrounded by vacant storefronts in the heart of business district.

Lecuona stated: “Today’s political announcement should not surprise anyone in White Plains, based on what the current administration has been advocating for the last six years.  We reside in a very competitive regional environment where cities are struggling to attract dynamic business interests as well as new residents all while balancing quality of life issues.  However the ongoing lack of vision, process and leadership have placed White Plains on a dangerous path.  The time to change that path is now.”

The current administration’s lack of transparency is a major issue:  “Developers schedule meetings with city commissioners, but residents are not even able to access basic information.  Our citizens are purposely kept in the dark!”  City Commissioners have been instructed not to talk to specific Common Council members; the information provided is “filtered, manipulated, or delayed.  And as a result, our neighborhoods suffer.”

Alan Himmelstein, a 27-year resident of White Plains, stated: “I am so happy to see that Milagros Lecuona is running for mayor.  She has shown tremendous dedication, integrity and knowledge on the Common Council.  I believe she will conduct city business openly and with a vision for the future based on sound urban planning.”

Lecuona is an immigrant from Spain who moved her family to White Plains in 1987.  A trained architect and urban planner for the last 35 years, she has served on the White Plains Common Council for the past 9 years.  During her time in office, Lecuona has taken on powerful interests on behalf of the people of White Plains.  Entering public service was a natural progression given her lifelong community involvement, for which she as received multiple recognitions and awards.

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Governor Cuomo and Assemblyman Buchwald Help New York Families Save for College

With the financing of higher education becoming an even bigger challenge for Americans, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law legislation that provides an innovative solution to help families save for college. The bill, A.9118, sponsored and introduced by Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester County), unanimously passed both the State Assembly and Senate earlier this year.  The new law allows New Yorkers to directly deposit their state tax refunds into a 529 College Savings Plan.

New York State residents have long been encouraged to save for higher education through the New York 529 College Savings Program. Savings in a 529 account can grow tax-free when used to pay for higher education expenses, including room and board, books and other supplies. And while New Yorkers could always deposit their state income tax refunds into their bank accounts, now they can directly send all or part of their refunds to their 529 college savings accounts. So, Buchwald’s bill provides a more convenient way to save for higher education especially at tax refund time, when it is easier for many families to put money away for the future.

“Government should empower citizens, and that is all the more important when it comes to families saving for their children’s college education,” said Assemblyman Buchwald. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing my bill into law and thank all of my legislative colleagues who voted for this bill.  New Yorkers now have a direct route every April to provide their loved ones improved access to higher education.”

“Every parent of a college-bound student in New York State should take advantage of our 529 college savings plan,” State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.  “Saving early is the best way to combat the rising costs of a college education and Assemblyman Buchwald’s bill will make it even easier to do so.”

“We applaud Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for passing important legislation that will make the possibility of saving for college a reality for ALL children and their families” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children. ‘This new law will enable every New York family that files taxes to split their tax refund and deposit a portion into a 529 college savings account. Research clearly demonstrates how just a small amount of college savings can give a child a college-oriented identity and dramatically increase his or her chances of attending and completing college. In this competitive labor market, we know that we can never start too soon in providing our children with a clear path toward college and career. This law is a win-win for children, youth, families and all New Yorkers.”

“On behalf of New York’s working poor families, The Financial Clinic, wants to it extend sincere gratitude and congratulations to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, especially Assembly Member David Buchwald and State Senator Thomas Croci, for recognizing that New York’s families, and especially its low-income families, need every opportunity to help save for their children to go to college” said Mae Warson Grote, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Clinic. “Now 9 million New Yorkers will have an annual chance to build savings at tax time and thousands will use that opportunity to make college easier for themselves and their children. With the rising cost of education and a greater than ever emphasis placed on educational success in the labor market, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his commitment to New York’s families and the success of their children as well as building the financial security of working poor New Yorkers. Looking forward, The Financial Clinic is eager to support the New York Department of Taxation and Finance as it acts to implement and extend this critical opportunity to New York tax filers.”

New York’s 529 college savings program has been recognized as one of the best in the nation according to SavingForCollege.com in its 2015 and 2016 analyses of individual states’ 529 investment plans.

Buchwald’s bill, A.9118 had 48 co-sponsors in the State Assembly, both Democrats and Republicans. Senator Thomas Croci (R-Suffolk County) carried the bill in the State Senate and was instrumental in getting this bill passed in both houses.

 

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Governor Cuomo Signs Railroad Safety Legislation into Law

Governor Andrew Cuomo has put his signature on legislation he put forward with Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester County) and Senator Joseph Robach (R-Monroe County) to implement more stringent safety measures at grade-level railroad crossings. This law comes after the deadly Valhalla train crash in 2015 in which six individuals were killed after an SUV pulled onto the tracks at a Metro-North Railroad grade crossing.  The new law implements more joint inspections of signals at railroad crossings, aligns state requirements with federal regulations on railroad bridge inspections, and increases penalties on railroad companies that do not comply with the regulations and on drivers that commit railroad crossing violations.

 

“Too often, New Yorkers have experienced tragedies at grade-level railroad crossings. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation into law to provide greater safety, efficiency, and modernization at our railroad crossings,” said Assemblyman David Buchwald. “This law and new safety measures are a result of cooperation between the State Legislature, the Governor, our municipal governments, and the New York State Department of Transportation.”

 

“The safety of our riders and motorists depends upon drivers obeying effective and well maintained traffic signals and grade crossing warning systems” said Randolph Glucksman, Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council Chair.  “We thank Assemblyman David Buchwald for his efforts to ensure that traffic signals coordinated with grade crossing signals are in good working order and that laws requiring compliance with grade crossing signals are effectively enforced.”

 

“I want to thank Governor Cuomo and Assemblyman Buchwald for implementing new railroad safety measures for Westchester and all of New York State” said Srinivasan Selvaraj, a resident of Chappaqua, New York. “My family had a scary incident involving the malfunction of the boom barrier on Metro North’s Harlem line near the intersection of the Saw Mill River Parkway and Roaring Brook Road in Chappaqua. It is comforting to know that steps are being taken to put in place better monitoring of railroad crossings.”

 

In 2014, over 250 deaths were related to railroad crossing collisions across the country.  Many New Yorkers use railroad crossings or rely on trains on a daily basis.  This law is a necessary part of ensuring the safety of commuter trains and drivers.

 

The new law goes fully into effect on December 1.

 

County and Village Officials Join with GDC to Celebrate Grand Opening of The Lofts on Saw Mill River, a 66-Unit Luxury Rental Complex in Hastings

Second GDC Rentals Development to Open in Less Than 4 Months

HASTINGS-ON-HUDON, NY (September 2016) – Ginsburg Development Companies continues to expand its GDC Rentals brand in Westchester County with the grand opening of The Lofts on Saw Mill River, a $34.9-million luxury rental  development in the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson.

County and Village officials joined with GDC executives on September 26 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new development located at 419 Saw Mill River Road (Route 9A). The Lofts on Saw Mill River features 66 loft-style rental apartments in three buildings. Two 3-story buildings each include 27 market-rate units and one 2-story building includes 12 affordable workforce-housing units. The 12 affordable units count towards the affordable units mandated by the County’s affordable housing settlement with the federal government.

Monthly rentals for the market rate apartments range from $3,245 for a large one-bedroom unit (950 SF) to $4,995 for a large 3-bedroom unit (1,656 SF). The affordable units range from $874 for a studio to $1,484 for a three-bedroom unit. The application process for the affordable units closed in June when the  Westchester based Housing Action Council conducted a lottery to select qualified tenants.

“Today’s grand opening of The Lofts on Saw Mill River completes a journey that began more than a decade ago when we first acquired this site. What was once a former industrial parking lot has now been transformed into a one-of-a-kind community of contemporary loft-style rental apartments as well as much-needed affordable workforce housing,” said Martin Ginsburg, Principal of GDC. “We are particularly pleased to dedicate to the Village 1.8 acres of open space to become a beautiful park that includes a pedestrian bridge to the South County Trailway, which runs by our property,” he added.

“In addition to creating 100 construction jobs, The Lofts at Saw Mill River is adding to the vitality of Westchester’s economy with high quality rental apartments, including affordable units,” said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “Westchester County and its Industrial Development Agency are proud to be partnering with Ginsburg Development Companies on this important project.”

GDC received financial incentives for the development from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (IDA). The project also received financial support from the County for land acquisition and infrastructure.

“Ginsburg’s high-quality developments are always an asset to a community – and Hastings will benefit both from the addition of these new high-end rentals as well as the provision of a dozen units at affordable rates,” said Hastings-on-Hudson Village Mayor Peter Swiderski. 

The Lofts on Saw Mill River is GDC’s second new luxury rental development to open in less than four months. In June, GDC opened Harbor Square, a 188-unit luxury rental development on the Ossining waterfront. Harbor Square is already more than 50 percent leased. GDC is nearing completion of River Tides at Greystone, a 330-unit luxury rental complex overlooking the Hudson River in Yonkers. River Tides at Greystone is scheduled to begin leasing in Spring 2017. Earlier this month, GDC broke ground on 1177@Greystone, a new 55-unit luxury rental apartment building located on Warburton Avenue in Yonkers, one block north of River Tides at Greystone.

“The demand of luxury rentals in the Westchester market continues to grow with millennials as well as empty-nesters looking to live in a community with resort-style amenities and services as well as easy access to mass transit. The level of high quality finishes and design featured in our apartments is unlike anything being offered in the region’s rental market,” said Mr. Ginsburg.

 GDC will begin showing The Lofts to the general public this Saturday and Sunday, October 1st and 2nd at a Grand Opening Open House to be held between 12 noon and 4pm each day.

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COUNCIL APPROVES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT FOR REDUCED ALTERNATIVE PLAN FOR FASNY CAMPUS

Vote Puts Lawsuit On Hold While Revised Plan Is Reviewed

 

WHITE PLAINS, NY (September 6, 2016) – The White Plains Common Council tonight approved a settlement agreement that brings to an end a costly legal battle between the French-American School of New York (FASNY) and the City. The Stipulation of Settlement, which would be Court Ordered, is the culmination of five and a half years of discussion, review, meetings, debate, and lawsuits. The vote was 4-3.

The terms of the proposed Stipulation of Settlement include that:

  • The Upper School (grades 6-12) will be built on the already developed portion of the site (“Parcel A”) where the clubhouse and other facilities of the former Ridgeway Country Club now stand.
  • Hathaway Lane will remain open.
  • No environmentally sensitive features on the site will be impacted.
  • The Lower School (Nursery through 5th grade) is eliminated from the application reducing student population by 33 percent from 950 to 640, reducing building square footage by 35 per cent, and significantly reducing traffic by another 42 percent.

Under the proposed Stipulation of Settlement, the Common Council would agree that this plan presents a potentially reasonable alternative for resolving and settling the outstanding litigation. The Council would also agree to provide the Alternative Plan a diligent and fair review in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, mutually agreed to milestones, Court-ordered oversight for the review process, and the staying of all litigation until the Alternative Plan is determined by the city under its normal public review procedures.

“We are gratified that the Common Council has approved the settlement agreement. Tonight’s vote is long overdue and represents a win-win for the City and the FASNY community. All parties can now put aside costly litigation and concentrate on obtaining final approvals for a compromise school plan,” said Andrea Colombel, Board Chairperson of FASNY. “We expect the judge to sign the agreement in the next few days which will give the Court authority to oversee the review process. We expect a timely and fair review and look forward to putting a shovel in the ground. FASNY is a wonderful school with a vibrant community which will contribute to the City of White Plains and its residents for many years to come,” she added.

As a matter of good faith to resolve the dispute, FASNY has already recorded and created a 51-acre publically accessible Conservancy on part of its land with plans to create east-west and north-south pedestrian and bicycle paths for neighborhood residents, as previously proposed. Known as “Parcel D,” the land has frontage on Bryant Avenue, North Street and Hathaway Lane. It has just become the largest private conservation easement in Westchester south of Interstate 287, and the first in the City of White Plains. The conservation easement assures that the property cannot be developed, and will ultimately be open to the public. The conservation easement, which is the largest in White Plains, will   include miles of bike/pedestrian trails safely connecting the neighborhood.

The reduction in conservation easement from the 78 acres offered by FASNY in the original plan reflects the 35 percent reduction in the size of the school buildings and the 33 percent reduction in the student population under the Alternative Plan.

“We are deeply appreciative for the continued and growing support we have received from thousands of residents and businesses across White Plains. We look forward to moving forward and putting this unfortunate delay behind us,” Colombel said.

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Simone Development Acquires 65,000 SF, Fully Leased Industrial Showroom/Office Flex Property in Port Chester, NY for $6.5M

PORT CHESTER, NY (August 2016) – Simone Development Companies, a full-service real estate investment company specializing in the acquisition and development of office, retail, industrial and residential properties in the New York tri-state area, has acquired the fully-occupied, two-story, 65,000 square-foot industrial flex property at 21 Grace Church Street in Port Chester, NY for $6.5 million.

 

The property, acquired in an off-market transaction direct for the owner, Grace 21 Associates, LLC, is 100 percent occupied by Empire Coffee Company, Inc., AlbumX Corp. and Port Chester Market Corp.

 

“This property represents a rare find in the Port Chester market, a modern flex building with 22-foot ceiling heights, a 32,000 square-foot warehouse, two loading docks and modern, air-conditioned office space all under one roof,” said Joseph Simone, President of Simone Development. “The existing tenants are successful, long-time businesses based in Port Chester and this acquisition preserves these home-grown jobs while providing an excellent long-term investment opportunity for Simone Development.”

 

In 1984, Robert Richter and Steve Dunefsky (since retired) founded Empire Coffee to provide private label options to office coffee service and food service distributors across the country with a commitment to providing the best coffee at competitive prices. The business grew, and in 1994 moved to its current Port Chester, location—a 40,000 square foot facility dedicated to roasting, grinding and packaging coffee for clients of all sizes. In 2013, the company evolved again and began developing custom retail packaging for its in-house brands including Waterfront Roasters.
Founded in 1988, AlbumX Corporation is doing business as Renaissance Albums and provides albums for professional photography studios throughout the world. In addition, AlbumX operates a custom digital division that features a professional album shop and offers design, printing, mounting and binding services. It also provides a range of traditional and contemporary-styled albums. The company s products are offered through professional photographers, authorized distributors and laboratories. It also offers a variety of marketing materials, such as sales brochures, tote bags and marketing kits. The company also provides various digital stock products that are ready-made and available for immediate delivery through its more than 30 distributors worldwide.

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WESTMED Medical Group Marks Grand Opening of New Westchester Facility

Development Partners Simone Healthcare Development and Fareri Associates Join Community Leaders to Celebrate First New Construction on Westchester Avenue in 25 Years

3030 ribbon cutting

From left, William Mooney III, Director, Westchester County Office of Economic Development; Westchester Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett; Joanna Simone, Director of Leasing & Property Management, Simone Development; Patricia Simone, Vice President of Leasing & Operations, Simone Development; Joseph Simone, President & CEO, Simone Development; Anthony Viceroy, President, WESTMED Practice Partners and CFO, WESTMED Medical Group; Pat Simone, founder, Simone Development; John Fareri, President & CEO, Fareri Associates; Brenda Fareri, Fareri Associates; Harrison Town Supervisor Ron Belmont

 

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