As the representative of Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, and Rego Park, I am continually reminded of the robust spirit and the staunch, traditional values that define our communities. It is with this understanding and respect that I approach my duties in the Senate. This year, the State has made significant strides in several key areas: supporting our police, combating illicit activities, providing for our veterans, safeguarding property rights, and maintaining fair housing standards.

In partnership with the 104th Precinct, we have strengthened our commitment to these principles, focusing heavily on the safety and security of our neighborhoods. This collaboration has been crucial in addressing local safety concerns and enhancing community policing. It is a testament to what can be achieved when law enforcement and community leaders work hand in hand. Further supporting our police, in addition to funding specific resources for the 104th Precinct, I have advocated strongly for increased pensions for NYPD officers through new legislative measures. My bill (S2148) actually made it into the final state budget, which honors the dedication of officers who choose to serve beyond their retirement eligibility and help retain top talent within the NYPD. By boosting police pensions, I underscore a strong pro-police stance, showing tangible support for those who protect and serve us every day.

The recently adopted budget introduces several key changes aimed at supporting retail workers and businesses. First, it introduces the Assault on a Retail Worker, classifying it as a Class E felony. This move is designed to provide greater protection to retail employees and prevent retail theft in our stores.
The budget also establishes a Commercial Security Tax Credit program, targeting small businesses. Retail establishments with 50 or fewer employees that operate one or more physical locations within the state can now receive a tax credit for expenses related to preventing retail theft. This initiative helps smaller businesses afford necessary security measures to protect their goods and ensure a safer shopping environment.

Additionally, the budget includes adjustments to enhance sentencing for felony larcenies, making it easier to combine multiple offenses. This aims to address repeat offenders and ensure stricter consequences for continual lawbreaking.

The fight against the proliferation of illegal marijuana dispensaries continues with renewed vigor. Through effective coordination with local authorities and the adoption of stricter enforcement policies, we are shutting down these illegal operations more swiftly and preventing them from reopening. This effort reflects our community’s zero-tolerance stance toward illegal activities that threaten our neighborhoods’ safety and coherence.

On the front of veteran support, we have made commendable progress. The New York State Senate recently passed a bill that prioritizes disabled veterans in the Affordable Home Ownership Development Program. This, coupled with another legislative measure offering tax exemptions to severely disabled veterans, underscores our commitment to those who have served our nation. However, not all proposed policies align with our community’s values.

This year, I took a stand against the Good Cause Eviction proposal included in the ELFA portion of the state budget. My vote against this provision was rooted in its failure to address the nuances of our housing crisis and the diverse needs of both tenants and landlords. It was a decision made in the best interest of all my constituents, ensuring that legislative outcomes benefit our community holistically.

The issue of squatters has recently gained attention. The new budget clarifies that squatters are not to be considered tenants, which is a significant victory for homeowners’ rights. This clarification is crucial in ensuring that property rights are respected, that squatters do not have tenants’ rights and that homeowners are not unjustly deprived of their properties.

As we move forward, my office remains dedicated to upholding the principles of law and order, and to fostering safe environments that reflect the traditional values we hold dear. It is my honor to serve you, and I am committed to continuing our work together, ensuring our community remains a safe, supportive, and prosperous place for all. I look forward to your feedback and to further strengthening our efforts in these areas. Together, we can continue to build a better community now and for future generations.

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is dedicated to serving the residents of Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, and Rego Park in the New York State Senate. His Middle Village Office can be reached 24/7 at 718-497-1630 and is located at 66-85 73rd Place, Middle Village, NY 11379.