June-July 2014 — Sivan-Tammuz-Av 5774, Volume 19, Issue 6
DiNapoli Speaks at Annual Government Relations Legislative Breakfast
The Annual Government Relations Legislative Breakfast was held at Jewish Community Center of Harrison (JCCH) on Friday, May 16, hosted by UJA-Federation of New York in Westchester and Westchester Jewish Council (WJC).
Over 100 citizens from Westchester County and outlying communities filled nearly every seat to hear New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli; Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Deputy County Executive Kevin J. Plunkett speak. Ron Soloway, Managing Director, Government and External Affairs, UJA-Federation of New York was honored for 25 years of exemplary service.
“This Annual Breakfast provides an opportunity for the leadership of the Westchester Jewish community to come together and hear from our elected officials and key decision makers in our local, regional and national governments,” UJA-Federation Westchester Government Relations Chair Debra Abrams Weiner noted.
WJC President Paul Warhit introduced Congresswoman Nita Lowey, currently serving her 13th term and first woman to head the powerful House Appropriations Committee. “When I am in Washington fighting for the National Institutes of Health, the money that we bring home not only relieves pain and advances research but creates jobs and strengthens the economy,” Lowey stressed.
Weiner introduced DiNapoli, “the 54th NYS Comptroller, first to hold public office at the age of 18 [with Mineola Board of Education]. The State Comptroller manages the State’s $161 billion dollar pension fund with good results and model for the rest of the country.”
Citing Tikkun Olam, “healing the world,” DiNapoli acknowledged that “We do not spend enough time recognizing the non-profits. In terms of economic impact in New York, a report shows non-profits account for 14% of the 1.2 million workforce. Pathways back to the workforce are often provided by non-profits for people first walking through the door for survival benefits.
He pointed to workshops sponsored by his office to aid non-profits in negotiating contracts and detecting fraud within their organizations. “Although our economic recovery is not as robust as we would like it to be, State unemployment is below 7%; lower Hudson Valley (Rockland, Putnam and Westchester Counties) is 5.6% in March, 1.9% lower than 2010.
“We added 480,000 jobs, replacing those lost at a rate of 145%. There are differences from region to region. The fastest rate of growth is New York City, adding 275,000 jobs. Sales tax collections, 2013 over 2012 are up 5%; Westchester County sales tax collections, 6.2%.”
DiNapoli remarked that State Retirement Fund has equity in Sleepy’s Mattresses and holds Israel Bonds. “However, we are divesting investments in energy firms doing business with Iran.”
Soloway received a special NYS Comptroller Proclamation from DiNapoli and Mezuzah from UJA “to put on his new home in Australia.”
WJC Government Relations Chair Arnold Linhardt pointed out many Assembly, Legislative, Senate and Judicial officials present, including local Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont and New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson.