To the editor:
(re: “We won’t forget, Sen. Klein,” July 6)
It is important for our leaders to work with each other to achieve results on important issues.
I wanted to express my support for working with those in power to get things done in the senate. As this year’s legislative session concluded with a special session that extended mayoral control of city schools for another two years, I also want to shed light on the many other progressive victories spearheaded by our own state senator, Jeff Klein.
Senior citizens are the backbone of our community, but oftentimes, our elderly homeowners lived on a fixed income, leaving them almost unable to cover the costs and taxes of owning a home in New York City.
Sen. Klein recognized this, and thankfully pushed hard — both in the state and the city — to expand the senior citizen homeowner exemption and the disabled homeowners exemption. By raising the income level to qualify for these crucial exemptions, more of our seniors and disabled homeowners will save hundreds to thousands of dollars per year.
A college education for our youngsters lays out the blueprint for a stable future. But as we know, higher education can be very costly. In this year’s state budget, New York led the way in making college more affordable with the introduction of the Excelsior scholarship, and the expansion of the tuition assistance program for private institutions.
Unfortunately, under the initial legislation, proprietary colleges did not qualify for the TAP expansion. But legislation sponsored by Sen. Klein, which passed both houses in the waning days of session, would amend the law to include the for-profit colleges, such as the Bronx’s own Monroe College.
Another piece of noteworthy legislation that Sen. Klein sponsored will help reduce the avoidable scourge of hunger that unnecessarily afflicts too much of our population. In the past, our schools have been forced to discard unused food in the trash. But under Sen. Klein’s bill that passed both houses, the schools can now donate such food to food assistance programs.
I’m a firm believer of giving credit where credit is due, and these end-of-session victories by our own state senator warrants just that.
The author is the development director for the Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corp.