Hawkins, Dunlea call for Upstate Fiscal Relief

Hawkins, Dunlea call for Upstate Fiscal Relief

For immediate release: October 30, 2018

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, and Mark Dunlea, the NYS Comptroller candidate, were in Utica on discuss their respective campaigns.

Both candidates want to repeal the state’s 2% cap on local property taxes and replace it with a restoration of state revenue sharing with local governments. State law (Sec. 54 of State Finance Law) used to require the state to share 8% of its revenues with local governments. Under Cuomo, revenue sharing has dropped to 0.4%.

“Upstate New York suffers from the highest property taxes in the country and the Governor’s tax cap has been just a sound-bite gimmick that has done nothing to lower them. The state government has a much broader base than the sales and property tax to finance government operations. Restoring revenue sharing would offset the cost of unfunded mandates and enable local governments to reduce local taxes while making needed investments in services and infrastructure,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins said that both parties have been unwilling to enact solutions to problems that are readily solvable. Hawkins has pointed to the high levels of lead contamination in children in inner city communities after the US Surgeon General 47 years ago called for urgent action to end the problem.

The Greens point out that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity yet the state has made little progress in stopping the use of fossil fuels and moving to renewable energy. The United Nations recently said the world has only 12 years to take dramatic worldwide action to avoid climate catastrophe.

“The state comptroller has failed to take the easy step of protecting our health and tax dollars by divesting the state pension fund from the $6 to $11 billion it has invested in fossil fuels. We need to go much further, immediately halting all new fossil fuel infrastructure and moving to 100% clean energy by 2030, including enacting a state carbon tax to make polluters pay for the damage they have caused,” said Dunlea.

Access to debates has been a major challenge for both candidates. Dunlea was included in the first debate but excluded from the only sponsored by Spectrum yesterday. Hawkins was excluded from the debate organized by CBS but will be included in the debate this Thursday organized by the NYS league of Women Voters. Cuomo, however, has not yet committed to the LWV debate.

“Our system of democracy requires the voters to be informed of the positions of the various candidate. The corporate media unfortunately is acting like state media for the American two-party state much like Pravda served the one-party state in the old Soviet Union. The media promote two major parties to exclusion of the third parties. The result is that non-voters win almost every election because most people are disgusted with both major parties, as Gallup polling on the question has shown for decades now,” said Hawkins.

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