Hawkins Has Best Gubernatorial Plan to Revive Upstate Economy

Hawkins Has Best Gubernatorial Plan to Revive Upstate Economy

For immediate release: September 10, 2018

Notice of Media Availability
Location : Little Falls: Faces of Astarte, 407 Canal Pl,
Time: September 10, 2-4:30PM
Location: Utica, The Empowerment Center, 230 James St.
Time: 6 - 8 PM

Hawkins Has Best Gubernatorial Plan to Revive Upstate Economy

Howie Hawkins the Green Party candidate for Governor, said today his call for a Green New Deal was the best gubernatorial plan to increase upstate jobs, wages, and business development. Hawkins also wants to lower property taxes by getting rid of the local property tax cap and replacing it with increased state revenue sharing with local governments.

Hawkins said his Green New Deal for New York would improve the business climate better than Democratic and Republican policies. It would revitalize the public sector and help workers and small businesses by lowering the costs of living and doing business by more cost-effective delivery of public services and improved infrastructure. “Public services and infrastructure provide the public avenues that make private commerce possible,” noted Hawkins.

“Cuomo’s economic development policy of tax cuts and subsidies for the rich and corporations has failed to revive the upstate economy. It’s the old supply-side trickle-down theory that has failed for 40 years. Cuomo has taken it to a new level of pay-to-play corruption, but upstate is still economically depressed,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins pointed out that Gov. Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon have still not put forth plans to revive the upstate economy north of the Tappan Zee/Mario Cuomo bridge over which they have squabled in the last days of their primary contest.

Hawkins was joined by Mark Dunlea, the Green Party nominee for Comptroller, who is pushing for increased action on climate change. As Comptroller, Dunlea would divest the state pension fund from fossil fuels. Dunlea would also promote a more progressive tax system and use the Comptroller’s oversight of state contracts and spending to crack down on corruption.

Hawkins called for a $20 minimum wage by the end of 2020. Hawkins said "Cuomo is lying when he claims to have instituted a $15 minimum wage. The minimum wage upstate is $10.40 today and will only reach $12.50 in 2021, at which time the state will consider further raises. By the time upstate gets to $15, it will still be a poverty wage.”

The centerpiece of the Green New Deal is an emergency program to convert to 100% clean energy by 2030. Hawkins said it is needed to address the climate emergency, but that it would also create 100,000s of new jobs and lower the costs of electricity in half.

Hawkins wants to bring the energy system under public ownership and democratic control in order to more effectively execute the transition to clean energy and lower energy costs. Public power provides power at 13% less than private utilities. Hawkins wants to expand upon the 50 municipal and 8 cooperative utilities to cover the whole state under the umbrella of a democratized New York Power Authority that is accountable to local public and cooperative utilities.

Dunlea and Hawkins both want the state to establish a public bank, similar to North Dakota’s, which provides business and consumer loans and public infrastructure financing at substantially lower costs than financing through Wall Street banks.

Hawkins said he would lower property taxes, which are the highest in the nation north of New York City, by having the state pay for its mandates on local governments and restore state revenue sharing, which Gov. Cuomo has frozen at a fraction of its former level. Hawkins said these fiscal reforms would enable local governments to provide good public services while lowering property taxes.

“The state is balancing its budget on the backs of local property taxpayers, which is depressing the economy upstate by raising the costs of living and doing business.” Hawkins said the state should help fund local schools and government more through the progressive state income tax instead of forcing local governments to raise regressive local property and sales taxes.

Hawkins said the squeeze on local government services due to the state’s fiscal policies forces local governments to cut back on essential services, like remediating lead paint in old housing stock. He said child lead poisoning is a crisis in the city of Utica where lead levels in children’s blood above the federal safety standard are 37% of children in the 13501 zip code on the city’s east side and 28% of children in zip codes 13502 on the west side and 13503 on the north side. Children with elevated lead levels suffer from permanent neurological disabilities that affect the development of motor skills and cognitive capacities and cause behavioral and emotional problems.

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