Monday, February 29, 2016


   A new audit released today of the South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures and the Arts by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer found unauthorized expenditures that include travel, $16,000 spent on MetroCards that could not be accounted for and thousands in overpayments to the principal.
“Nothing is more important than the education of our children,” Comptroller Stringer said. “If we are going to make sure that every child in our City has a fair and fighting chance to succeed, we must ensure that money spent on their education actually goes toward that goal. The South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures and the Arts must take immediate action to correct overpayments and overhaul its financial oversight.”
The financial audit examined whether the South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures and the Arts, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit education corporation overseen by a Board of Trustees, had proper internal controls in place to ensure responsible oversight of its fiscal affairs from July 2012 through June 2014.  The audit is the first in aseries of charter school audits that the Comptroller announced in October 2014.
The Comptroller’s office reviewed $876,016 in operating expenditures and found that $104,915 were not properly documented and an additional $31,151 in charges were not properly authorized.  Main findings of the audit include:
Poor oversight of credit card expenditures
  • Auditors sampled $40,263 worth of credit card transactions and found $10,194, or 25 percent, had insufficient documentation, such as original invoices or copies of receipts. Of this amount, there was no documentation whatsoever for $2,095 in charges, including $230 for an unexplained car rental on the principal’s credit card along with phone bills, meals and shipping charges.
  • $7,129 of these charges had no itemized receipts, of which $6,473 were for meals.
  • An additional $7,125 in travel expenses for the principal were not approved by the board for trips to Boston, Albany, and Las Vegas.
Principal overpaid by $23,000 for work that is part of her employment agreement 
  • The principal was compensated a total of $23,000 for work as a supervisor at an after-school program during the school year even though managing school programs during the school year is part of her contractual responsibilities.
School-based checking account used improperly
  • The school bypassed controls that require proper documentation and authorization by using a school-based account, which is intended for small purchases and emergency payments that require less documentation and approvals, instead of the main checking account.
  • As a result, out of the sample reviewed, the audit found $4,039 in payments made by a single staffer without any of the required approvals; $4,286 in payments purportedly made to a vendor that did not contain the vendor’s business address, phone and fax number and taxpayer ID; and additional payments including $4,725 in teacher training and $33,149 in off-site storage units that were improperly processed.
  • An additional $5,923 was spent without adequate documentation, including two payments totaling $1,525 where invoices were dated months after purchases were made.
$16,000 spent on MetroCards that were not tracked
  • The school purchased 180 30-day unlimited MetroCards for students, but was unable to provide signed receipts from parents for 143, worth $16,000.
The Comptroller’s Office recommended that the school:
  • Update its written policies to address internal control weaknesses;
  • Improve how it maintains receipts and records to ensure school funds are used for proper purposes;
  • Refer the principal’s after school payments to the Board for review and recoup funds if necessary; and
  • Continue its efforts to help teachers gain their certifications.
“There’s no excuse for thousands of dollars to slip through the cracks, and it’s even more concerning when those funds should have gone toward the education of our schoolchildren.  The school should continue to take steps to improve how it operates to better serve its students,” Stringer said.
To read the full audit, please click here.


  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is partnering with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation to help Bronx businesses do more business with the transit authority.

The MTA and the BOEDC, which serves as the borough president’s economic development arm, will co-host a business development seminar titled “Learn How to do Business with the MTA,” on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The event will take place at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, and will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event will provide an opportunity for certified minority, women-owned, disadvantaged or small business enterprises to learn about contracting and procurement opportunities available with the MTA.

“From construction to concessions and everything in between, there is tremendous opportunity for MWBE’s, small businesses and others to do business with the MTA. Our four forthcoming Metro North stations in the East Bronx will offer tremendous contracting opportunities close to home, and the maintenance of such an enormous transit system requires constant procurement. I want Bronxites to be able to take advantage of these opportunities, and I hope our business community will take advantage of this important event,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"We are delighted to work with Borough President Diaz and the BOEDC to help increase opportunities for all businesses that could be interested in doing work that will further our Capital Program," said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. "Not only is it the right thing to do, but to the extent we can increase involvement of new firms, over the long term, we expect greater competition will help the MTA's bottom line."

“We have worked tirelessly to bring new projects, a new vision and thousands of new jobs to The Bronx in the last six years.  By providing our Bronx businesses with new mentoring, training and access opportunities with the state, we will add to the level of prosperity we are currently experiencing in our borough,” said Marlene Cintron, President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

Businesses interested in participating in this seminar should RSVP to George Llanos at The complete flyer for the event can be downloaded at

Music Titans to Host Fundraiser for Ischia Bravo - Tue. March 1st

As momentum builds for her groundbreaking candidacy, entertainment industry heavyweights
Will endorse Ms. Bravo's vision for the 78th Assembly District and The Bronx

On Tuesday March 1st, 2016, Power 105.1 radio personality, Angela Yee and Executive Vice President of Def Jam Recordings, Shawn "Pecas" Costner, will join community leader, Ischia Bravo, for a special gathering of young professionals in support of Ms. Bravo’s bid to represent the 78th Assembly District of The Bronx.

Ischia Bravo, the former Executive Director of the Bronx Democratic County Committee under now-Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie, launched her bid in early February 2016 to represent the neighborhoods of Belmont, Bedford and Kingsbridge in the State Assembly.

Ms. Bravo, 31, is a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hostos Community College, where she served as President of Student Government.  In addition to her time with the Democratic County Committee, her accomplishments include serving as a volunteer for the Latino Commission on AIDS, serving on the staff of both Congressman Jose Serrano & State Senator Jose M. Serrano, and serving as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention for President Barack Obama in 2012.  She is currently a member of Bronx Community Board #7.

Ms. Bravo credits her involvement with her community and the Democratic County Committee at a young age as being crucial to preserving her passion to serve the borough which raised her.  “I was given the reigns of the organization at a very young age,” relays Ms. Bravo. “I was a single mother in charge of the Democratic Committee, and I’m proud that I played a part to elect talented citizens who have gone on to serve The Bronx in an upstanding and noteworthy fashion as electedofficials.”

Ms. Bravo, now launching her own bid to serve her home district with “pride and dignity” in The Bronx and in Albany, is calling on young professionals to become more involved in their communities and the political process.  Joining Ms. Bravo in this effort on March 1st are radio personality Angela Yee of Power 105.1 and EVP of Def Jam Recordings Shawn "Pecas" Costner. 

Angela Yee is cohost of the popular The Breakfast Club's weekday morning show on Power 105.1.  Known for her candor on issues from relationships to politics, Ms. Yee has been a staple on radio since she began her career with Sirius in 2005.  In 2010, Ms. Yee moved to Power 105.1, and has since expanded her presence to TV, appearing on MTV2's Sucker Free and VH1’s reality show The Gossip Game.  

Shawn “Pecas” Costner, prior to his role as EVP at Def Jam, joined Island Def Jam as VP of Lifestyle Promotion before being promoted to SVP in 2010. Prior to his time at Island Def Jam, Coster worked in promotions for V2 Records, Elektra and Arista Records as Director of Urban Promotions for the Northeast Region.

Ms. Bravo wishes to highlight some of the great things young professionals are capable of.   “It is vital that we activate young professionals in our community,” said Ms. Bravo.  “We speak about the next generation being the future, but we cannot lose sight of the young men and women who are currently doing great things in our neighborhoods.  We cannot afford to lose valuable talent to other boroughs.”

March 1, 2016~ Bridges Bar & Lounge: 4100 E. Tremont Avenue,
Bronx NY from 6pm-9pm

You can contribute online for this event at:
View event flyer:
For more information on Ischia Bravo’s campaign, 

Click on the image to make it larger.

BCEQ's Harlem River Water Conference 3/23 at 5 pm

Spring is coming

So, it is time to start 
Talking about the Bronx side of the Harlem River Waterfront at the 
Bronx Council for Environmental Quality (BCEQ) 
15th Annual Water Conference & Membership Meeting.  
We are celebrating all the good news.

Manhattan College
3840 Corlear Avenue at 238th St., Bronx, NY 10463
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 from 5 to 7 pm
 Join us!

Harlem River (HR) News:

BCEQ’s HR Brownfield Opportunity Area Plan Step 2 and Designation completed in Bronx Community Boards 4, 5, 7 & 8

Parks Department HR Watershed Planning Project, and Daylighting Tibbetts Brook

Friends of Van Cortlandt Park Wetland Stewardship for Healthier Bronx
Update on the HR’s own CSO Long Term Control Plan (LTCP)

Seating is Limited Please Register On Eventbrite by 3.21 at or latest news on 

Refreshments will be served, courtesy of ConEdison.   

BCEQ Logo Name

Sunday, February 28, 2016


New York City unemployment rate fell below the national average for the first time since 2011

  New York City created more than 90,000 private-sector jobs in 2015, the fifth straight year it has accomplished that feat, but more than half of those new jobs were in low-wage sectors, according to a Quarterly Economic Update of the City’s economic performance in the fourth quarter of 2015 released today by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.
“The good news is that unemployment continues to decline and more New Yorkers are employed than ever before in modern history,” Comptroller Stringer said. “But too many of these new jobs are in low-wage industries, a sector of our economy that has seen a decline in real wages during our recovery from the Great Recession. When wages are decreasing for hard-working low-income New Yorkers, they can’t afford to raise their families and build our communities, which is why we must continue to push to raise the minimum wage and ensure all workers share in our economic gains.”
The NYC Quarterly Economic Update analyzes economic trends and reports on New York City’s economy within the national context. It examines a broad range of economic indicators that reflect the City’s current conditions. These indicators include the Comptroller’s Office’s measure of Gross City Product (GCP), as well as job growth, unemployment rates, labor participation rates, income tax collections, venture capital investment, commercial real estate vacancy and rental rates, residential real estate sales, hotel occupancy rates, and public transit ridership.
Jobs, Unemployment and Wages
  • The City added a net total of 10,700 private sector jobs in the fourth quarter as compared to an increase of 27,200 in the third quarter of 2015. High-wage sectors added 6,400 jobs and low-wage sectors added 9,000 jobs while medium-wage sectors, including professions such as education and health care, lost 4,700 jobs.
  • In total, New York City created 97,700 new jobs in 2015. However, the City’s quarterly private-sector job growth of 1.2 percent was below the national growth of 2.4 percent.
  • New York City civilian employment reached a record level of about 4 million, as the City’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from 5.4 percent in the third quarter and the employment-to-population ratio reached a record 57.8 percent.
  • Of the City’s total private-sector job gains in the fourth quarter, 84 percent were in export sectors, which generate income from outside the city.

Unemployment Q42015 Graphic

  • Continued job growth was one of the factors that lowered New York City’s unemployment rate to 4.9 percent, which is 0.1 percentage points below the national rate. The last time that the City’s unemployment rate fell below the national rate was in 2011.
    • From 2009 to 2015, after adjusting for inflation, real wages for private-sector workers declined in all boroughs except for Manhattan (where they increased by 7.5 percent):
    • Real wages declined 3.0 percent in Queens;
    • Real wages declined 2.9 percent in Brooklyn;
    • Real wages declined 2.5 percent in the Bronx; and
    • Real wages declined 1.6 percent in Staten Island.
Overall City Economic Growth Continued as the Nation Stalls
  • New York City’s economy, as measured by Gross City Product (GCP), grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2015. During the same period, U.S. GDP grew at a 0.7 percent rate.
  • For all of 2015, the City recorded economic growth of 3.4 percent, an improvement from 2.1 percent growth in 2014.
Real Estate Market Strengthened
  • The City’s vacancy rate for commercial property in Manhattan fell to 8.5%, its lowest fourth-quarter level since 2008.
  • On a year-over-year basis, the commercial vacancy rate dropped one percentage point in Midtown, 0.9 percentage points in Midtown South, and 0.3 percentage points in Downtown.
  • Residential apartment sales in Queens rose 32.7 percent in the fourth quarter, followed by a 24.5 percent increase in Brooklyn and 9.4 percent growth in Manhattan. Home prices increased in all three boroughs.
Venture Capital Investment Soared
  • Venture capital investment in the New York metro area rose 34 percent to about $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, the highest fourth-quarter level since 2000.
  • For all of 2015, New York metro area investments climbed 38.7 percent to over $7.3 billion.
“New York City continues to be the engine that could, with robust job growth and economic expansion outpacing the nation.  However, not enough New Yorkers are feeling the recovery where it matters the most: in their wallets. While the City’s economy continued to grow through 2015, the prospects for strong growth in 2016 have diminished with recent volatility in the stock markets and a global economic slowdown. As always, my office will continue to monitor economic indicators and evaluate how shifts in the broader economy impact the city,” Stringer said.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman - Equal Access For All, Holding Public Employees Accountable & More

AG banner_NEW


Ensuring Equal Access For New Yorkers With Disabilities 

The largest privately owned shopping mall owner in New York State is pledging to make its malls and centers more accessible for all New Yorkers, thanks to an agreement reached with the Attorney General’s office. The office received a complaint about various accessibility barriers at a Pyramid Management Group owned mall in Plattsburgh, and a subsequent investigation identified several issues, including improperly sized parking spaces, moveable objects in the path of travel, and steep slopes at curb ramps. The agreement requires Pyramid to retain an ADA consultant, ensure common areas at its malls meet accessibility standards, and conduct ADA training for relevant employees, among other reforms. This investigation is part of the Attorney General’s ongoing efforts to ensure accessibility at shopping malls and shopping centers across New York, which has included agreements with Vornado Realty Corporation and Kimco Realty Corp, which required more than fifty shopping centers to comply with accessibility requirements.   

Holding Public Employees Accountable

The Attorney General announced the arrest of Sean Porter, the Landside Operations Manager with the Port Authority, for allegedly failing to disclose a vacation paid for by a vendor operating at JFK airport. In 2014, Porter allegedly received over $3,000 from a cargo handling company licensed to do business at JFK to take a vacation to Florida, which included plane tickets, hotel accommodations, dining and golf. Yet Porter allegedly failed to disclose on his yearly financial disclosure statements that he received the vacation, despite the requirement that her report gifts received from the same donor in excess of $1,000.

Taking Down Fraudsters

Tyrone “Reece” Lee, the ringleader of an identity theft ring that sole over $450,000 from customers of Wachovia Bank, has been convicted following a trial in Orange County Court. Lee, who is already serving a sentence of 4 ½ to 9 years for operating a similar identity-theft scheme in Westchester County, now faces up to 20 years in prison. Evidence at trial demonstrated that Lee had his girlfriend obtain a bank teller position at Wachovia Bank in Newburgh, whom he then directed to steal customer data by searching for common names and to copy specific information, such as social security numbers and signature cards of the account holders. They were then able to access the identification information of over 200 bank account holders, and were then subsequently able to withdraw funds from the accounts. Lee also was able to withdraw funds from customers in Nassau County and New York City, and from individuals in states as far as Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. The Attorney General will continue to do everything he can to protect innocent businesses and their customers from the growing problem of identity theft.

Safeguarding Taxpayer Dollars 

The Attorney General, along with Comptroller DiNapoli and the New York State Police, secured the guilty plea of Jean Noel, the former Director of the Putnam County Department of Consumer Affairs, for stealing thousands in cash that she accepted from local contractors to resolve county-issued fines. Noel will repay the full amount that was illegally obtained, and will also pay back a portion of her salary. This case is the latest conducted as part of Operation Integrity, a joint partnership with the State Comptroller to root out waste in government, which has now returned more than $9 million in restitution to the state.

Returning Money To Non-Profits And The Public Sector

Non-profits and government entities across New York will receive over $56 million in restitution thanks to two multi-state settlements that the Attorney General has reached with Natixis Funding Corporation and Societe Generale. An investigation found that misconduct by Natixis and Societe Generale led local and state governments, as well as nonprofits, to enter municipal bond contracts at less advantageous terms. These agreements were part of an ongoing investigation into fraud in municipal derivative sales, which already yielded $350 in settlements with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and others.

Stopping Insurance Fraud

A former NYPD officer has been sentenced to 2-6 years in in prison for perpetrating an elaborate scheme to defraud insurance companies. While he was a police officer, Jose Urena submitted a series of false auto insurance claims in order to avoid the financial costs of the high-end vehicles he purchased—vehicles he couldn’t afford. In one instance, Urena reported that his Mercedes Benz had been stolen, when he in fact he had actually given the keys to an individual to dispose of it in order to avoid payments he owed. Furthermore, Urena staged accidents and submitted claims for repairs that never occurred, allowing him to collect thousands in insurance payouts. Urena’s sentence of 2-6 years in New York County will run concurrently with the previous of sentence of 1-3 years in prison he received in Westchester County.
Have a question, comment, or complaint? Click here. You can also learn more about the various initiatives of the Attorney General's office by visiting our website at

Saturday, February 27, 2016

100 PERCENT Saturday February 27, 2016

By Robert Press

Time to Unite

   For those who say that it was business as usual in this past Tuesday's special election they must be in the less than 40 percent that the Bronx Democratic County organization received as a winning percentage. As the John Lennon song 'Imagine That' goes, imagine that the Bronx Democratic County organization had been rejected by the voters in the special election. In reality over 60 percent of the voters rejected the Bronx Democratic organization, and it is now time to join together and put that majority to the test. There can be no more division among the ranks, but unity to win and keep on winning. The only way the Bronx Democratic County organization got away with a win in the special election was that you saw elected officials like Congressman Jose Serrano out at train stops doing for county what he does not even do for himself, campaigning. Congressman Serrano should be the first example to have a united single challenger. No more of this four or five people seeking to get on the ballot, only to split the majority of the vote and have everyone loose. there must be one united candidate against Congressman Jose Serrano, and then the Bronx Democratic County organization will get the message. After that the assembly districts can be picked away from county one by one. Next year the City Council districts, and maybe a whole new county organization. This mat be a dream for now, but it can become a reality in just a few short years if there is unity.

   State Senators Ruben Diaz Sr., and Gustavo Rivera, several assembly districts like the 78th, 82nd, 83rd (if he is not indicted, as NY 1 political commentator Curtis Swilia says Assemblyman Heastie will be), 84th, and maybe one or two others including the 85th currently held by the Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo are also vulnerable. Next year there will be a few city council seats up such as Jimmy Vacca's, Anabele Palma's, and maybe one or more if current Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. decides to run for mayor, plus the possibility of a couple more weak incumbents. So my insurgent friends do not fear, there will be many opportunities to run. The only way to do this however is to unite together, otherwise you are only going to help the Bronx Democratic County organization. Remember 2008 and the Rainbow Rebellion. It was a united effort put up to overthrow the Bronx Democratic County Leader that worked, and it can be done again. The only question is when?

    The Bronx Chamber of Commerce has many upcoming events, and you can check the archive section on the left of this blog for them. Also check for upcoming March events that Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj will be hosting. It looks like KAZ Realty will be handling the business end of the Coop-City Riverbay Board leasing of the malls in Coop-City, and the Riverbay Board has made a fine choice in Bronx based KAZ Reality. 

    Moving to the race to replace Charlie Rangel there are now eight announced candidates, and tomorrow afternoon the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan and the People's Theatre Project will be co-hosting a congressional candidates forum for the 13th district of New York. the eight candidates are Current State Senator Adriano Espaillat, State Senator Bill Perkins, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, former Assemblyman Adan Clayton Powell, Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, Mr. Mike Gallagher, and Mr. Clyde Williams. the forum is to be held at the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center located at 530 West 166th Street Manhattan, starting at 3 PM. Let's hope that the eight candidates remember that while the majority of the 13th Congressional District lies in Manhattan that there is still a substantial part of the district that lies in the Bronx.   

    If you have any political information that you want to share or have checked out, any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on this blog, you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.  



  Monday, the New York City Council's Committee on Housing and Buildings, chaired by Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, will hold an oversight hearing on the Mitchell Lama Housing Program.

Mitchell Lama was one of the most effective affordable housing programs ever implemented in New York City. Currently, however, the program is in crisis and affordable units are rapidly disappearing through buyouts, tenant harassment and opt-outs. Yet, the city has not held a hearing to review the status of the Mitchell Lama program since 2009.

The hearing will be hosted at Brooklyn Borough Hall by Borough President Eric Adams.

WHO: The Committee expects to receive testimony from representatives of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Mitchell Lama Residents' Coalition, Cooperators United for Mitchell Lama, affordable housing advocates and Mitchell Lama tenants and owners.

WHERE: Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn

WHEN: Monday, January 29, 2016, 11:00 AM

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Bronx Chamber of Commerce - Irish Heritage Luncheon March 9, 2016

Attend the next Business & Networking Mixer!

Take advantage of the 
Early Reservation and Member Discounts!

We look forward to seeing you at our excellent 
business networking events!

March 18, 2016       
Women of Distinction Luncheon
Villa Barone Manor 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
April 13, 2016          
Annual Gala
Marina del Rey Caterers 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
May 3, 2016           
Annual Golf Outing
Trump Links 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
June 16, 2016          
Annual Business Expo
The Mall at Bay Plaza 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Nunzio Del Greco

President and CEO
Bronx Chamber of Commerce
"The Network For Business Success"
1200 Waters Place, Suite 106
Bronx, NY 10461

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj's Events for the Month of March

The month of March is our nation's platform to observe historic achievements in women's history. As we celebrate the success of our nation's women, we must also understand their journey and their unwavering sacrifice for equality. Join us, as we commemorate and honor those who have paved the way for all women to succeed.
Please join us in celebrating Women's History Month at our annual  

Women of Distinction Breakfast
Saturday, March 12th, 2016
9:30 am to 11:30 am
Pelham Bay Diner
1920 East Gun Hill Road
Bronx, N.Y. 10469

Also happening in March 2016

 Health and Wellness Fair
Friday, March 18th, 2016
4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
J.H.S. 80
149 East Mosholu Parkway
Bronx, NY 10467
Metro Card Van to the 80th AD
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
In front of 80th District Office 

1126 Pelham Parkway South 
Bronx, NY 10461
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm 
In front of ZNS Reality Corp. 
3039 Bainbridge Ave, Bronx, NY 10467
(at the corner of E. 204th Street)


Release shocking report: New York’s parents shell out highest percentage of annual income on child care in the country

Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein and State Senator Diane Savino joined Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union, and Macy’s employees, retail workers, and working family advocates, in front of the iconic Macy’s Herald Square on Friday calling for increased funding to child care subsidies.

In New York where residents pay the highest percentage of their annual wages on child care, Macy’s associates and retail workers from the 34th Street Commercial Corridor were helped by a $500,000 allocation secured by the Independent Democratic Conference for the Facilitated Enrollment program. This critical subsidy helps working moms and dads afford day care and provides parenting education. Since its inception, the Facilitated Enrollment pilot program has helped over 6,400 children and 3,900 families.

To illustrate the need to expand this, and other subsidy and tax credit programs for safe, quality child care, the senators released, “New York 2020: Reducing Childcare Costs for Parents Statewide.”

The report paints a bleak picture for New York’s parents. Married couples spend a whopping 12.6 percent of their income on child care, while single parents spend an astronomical 45.1 percent. With ever-rising costs of living such as skyrocketing housing costs, New York was ranked as the least-affordable state in the nation for child care.

“For New York’s working parents, the biggest bite out of their budget, after housing, is safe, quality child care. In this city, a married couple pays 13 percent of their annual income - higher than any other state in the nation. New York’s parents shouldn’t be forced to make hard choices between leaving the workforce or dedicating their hard-earned paycheck just to child care. That is why I am proud to fight for access to safe, quality child care through the proposals laid out in this report. With increased funding and program expansion we can ensure that working parents aren’t forced to make hard choices between staying at home or sacrificing their paycheck to skyrocketing day care costs,” said Senator Jeff Klein.

“The reality is that many single mothers are footing a $11,700 bill on an under-$26,000 salary. While costs of living are rising, we have 40,000 families on the waiting list for child care subsidies. These are families that need relief from the child care cost burden, so that no mom has to sacrifice her career because it’s more economical for her to stay home. We want the best for our children and for our families, and that is just what these proposals do. With these subsidy expansions and tax credit enhancements, we can ensure that every child has access to the safe, quality care that they need, and that every parent can afford it,” said Senator Savino.

Child care costs have spiraled out of control and working families -- many of whom live paycheck to paycheck -- desperately need the kind of help this program would give them. We strongly support the proposal from Senators Klein and Savino to extend and expand this desperately needed program, Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Top 10 Least-Affordable States for Center-Based Care for a Four-Year-Old in 2014[1]
Average Annual Cost of 4-Year-Old Care in a Center*
State Median Income for Single Mother Family**
As a Percentage of Median Income for a Single Mother Family
State Median Income for a Married Couple**
As a Percentage of State and Median Income for a Married Couple
Rank (Based on Percentage of State Median Income for a Married Couple)
New York

[1] Source: “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2015 Report”, Child Care Aware of America.
The average cost of child care for a four-year-old in New York is $11,700. Across the state, the average ranged from $7,000 in the Southern Tier, to $19,000 per year in New York City. Families with multiple children often pay more in child care than for housing.

A combination of expanded subsidies, enhanced tax credits, and a new Working Families Child Care Tax Credit make up the Independent Democratic Conference’s new proposal.

The IDC would enhance the Facilitated Enrollment Child Care subsidy by increasing funding to $25 million and expanding eligibility to those within 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Line, which would increase access to a number of families, and serve approximately 2,571 additional children.

The report also proposes funding child care subsidies in New York by an additional $190 million, for a total of $1.166 billion. The proposal would increase funding for the Child Care Block Grant by $100 million, to add 13,000 new slots in child care centers. It would also pick up $90 million in funding for new federal mandates for background clearances, licensing and regulatory compliance, and training and professional development.
Finally, the IDC would expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, as well as create a new Working Families Child Tax Credit. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit has not been increased since 1999, while many families’ costs of living have increased dramatically. The IDC would increase this credit by 50 percent, with $90 million in additional funding, to ease the child care burden on taxpaying parents.

The Working Families Child Care Tax Credit would establish a new, refundable credit of $1,000 for working and middle class families. The credit would be available to approximately 200,000 families. By expanding current credit and establishing a new credit, the IDC’s proposal would help 712,000 families across New York State.

“Our members are often living paycheck to paycheck. When they have a child, they do not have a savings account built up for years in advance. The members who benefitted from the Facilitated Enrollment Child Care subsidy program in the past are so thrilled that they can finally get some assistance with the high cost of child care. The additional funds in the child care budget will help more working parents than last year. Each year we grow stronger,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director, DC 37, AFSCME, one of the largest unions of NYC public sector employees.