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New York State Legislature steps up on climate change

Buffalo News, April 16, 2018

By Howie Hawkins and Steve Breyman

New York State government has taken a well-deserved beating in recent years in the press and the public eye. Corruption appeared at the highest levels of both executive and legislative branches. From brazen demands for “ziti” and low show jobs from individuals and firms doing business with the state, to charges of bid-rigging and millions in illicit payments in exchange for official favors.

It’s most welcome then when Albany gets something right. That something is the boldly ambitious bill recently introduced by Assemblyman William Colton and Senator Brad Hoylman (A5105/S5908) — at the behest of a coalition of more than one hundred citizen groups across the state — to move New York to a completely renewable-energy-powered economy by 2030.

The bill arrives at a crucial moment. To closely follow climate science on a daily basis as we have for the past 30 years is to be convinced of two things: (1) climate change is real, human-caused, happening now, and worsening; and (2) time is of the essence. There is virtually zero doubt among climate scientists of these two facts.

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Pass N.Y. Health Act to Ease Budget Problems

Versions of this commentary were published by the Syracuse Post-Standard, Daily Orange (Syracuse University), Albany Times Union, and Poughkeepsie Journal.

by Howie Hawkins, January 24, 2018

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last September that a state single-payer public health plan would be a “good idea.” But he said nothing about it in his state of the state and budget messages.

A state “Medicare for All” system would save $2.7 billion to insure state employees, which would take a big bite out of the $4.4 billion deficit the state faces.

Instead, Cuomo proposes an austerity budget that is $2.7 billion less than was projected to maintain existing levels of services. He plans to cover the rest of the deficit with about $1.7 billion in “revenue enhancers”: new taxes on opioids, internet sales, the windfall profits of private health insurers due to federal tax changes, and conversions from non-profit to for-profit insurers, ending or deferring several business tax credits, and drawing on legal settlement funds.

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A Green State of the State Message

This statement was published in the Legislative Gazette on January 2, 2018.

by Howie Hawkins

New York can lead the nation and the world toward economic justice and ecological sustainability. Our state can be an inspiring example of full employment at living wages, health care for all, affordable housing, quality public education, and 100 percent clean, climate-stabilizing energy.

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Issue Brief on Public Campaign Finance

The question before progressive advocates of public campaign financing in New York State is whether we push for full public campaign finance on the Clean Money model of equal and sufficient funding grants for all qualified candidates, or whether we settle for partial public campaign financing on the Matching Funds model used for presidential primaries since 1976 and for New York City local elections since 1989. 

Green Party of New York State Issue Brief, Revised March 29, 2015

Prepared by Howie Hawkins, hhawkins@igc.org

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Racism Undermines the Quality of Life in New York

by Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones, 2014 Green Party candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor

Everyone has stake in civil rights and racial justice. A society increasingly polarized into affluent gated communities and impoverished ghettoes puts everyone's freedom, safety, and material security at risk.

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Municipal Development Bank

CommunityWealth.org

By Howie Hawkins, August 05, 2009

Contribution to the Reimagining Society Project hosted by ZCommunications.

Vision and Transition

At the general level of a socialist vision, I think we have broad agreement that we want a participatory democracy of political and economic institutions that empower ordinary people to meet their needs without exploitation or oppression in an ecologically sustainable manner.

But we have differences on many particulars. What should be the respective roles of markets and planning? Which goods and services should be distributed free according to need and which should be distributed in exchange for the value of labor performed? What complex of production technologies are really reproducible on a sustainable basis with renewable energy and resources? What scales of organization of political and economic units optimize the sometimes competing claims of democracy, efficiency, and sustainability? How much participation in direct democracy versus delegation to representatives should there be in our political and economic institutions? How far can one city, region, nation, or bloc of nations move toward socialism in a world still dominated by capitalism and what does this mean for us when we have power at these levels?

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