When it comes to advancing policy changes in New York, it’s important to remember that New York City often has to go to Albany to get the governor and the state Legislature to sign off on its requests. A similar dynamic comes into play nationally, when New York officials look to Washington for federal approval – or federal funding – to move forward on key projects or policies. Here is a rundown of five of the biggest federal issues affecting New York – and what Congress and the White House are doing about them.
Paying for Gateway
Among the many tooth and nail partisan policy fights in Washington, infrastructure projects are often a bipartisan breath of fresh air. But the long-delayed efforts to build the new Gateway rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey is proof that even projects with support from both major parties can be stalled when the president doesn’t stand behind them. Read the full story here.
Funding for 9/11 victims
The James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was “one of the few bipartisan efforts in Congress,” as Rep. Carolyn Maloney put it.
But is there enough money to cover all the costs? Read the full story here.
Fighting over SALT
For over a century, state and local tax deductions have been enshrined in the federal tax code. But due to President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – Americans will now only be able to claim up to $10,000 in SALT deductions starting with 2018’s taxes.
About a third of tax filers in New York state itemize their deductions on their federal tax returns, and the average amount claimed is nearly $36,000 – the highest in the nation, according to data from the New York State Association of Counties. Since the IRS blocked high-tax states like New York from circumventing the federal cap on SALT deductions, the matter is now effectively up to Congress. Read the full story here.
Battling the opioid epidemic
While not the state most affected by the opioid crisis, the epidemic has not left New York untouched.
The opioid-related overdose death rate in the state was 15.1 per 100,000 people in 2016, according to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, higher than the national rate of 13.3 deaths. Between 2009 and 2016, prescription-opioid-related deaths in the state nearly doubled, and between 2012 and 2016, heroin-related deaths more than doubled and synthetic opioid-related deaths increased tenfold. Read the full story here.
Fixing NYCHA’s infrastructure
For the past year, the New York City Housing Authority has been mired in controversies ranging from a failure to inspect lead paint hazards to claims that NYCHA’s employees have been drinking and having sex on the job. Behind these high-profile headlines are the more than 400,000 New Yorkers who are NYCHA tenants, struggling to deal with the mold infestations, heating failures and broken locks that are prevalent in the city’s public housing. Read the full story here.