Green Party of NY on the State of the State

Green Party of New York's Release on the State of the State

Two years ago, the incoming Spitzer/Paterson administration promised New Yorkers that on day one, everything would change.  On day 737, it’s amazing to see how little about New York State government has really changed. 

Gov. Paterson’s speech was sober in its tone and directly addressed the crises that have rocked this state over the last six months, but unfortunately did little to address the problems in any systemic way.  The Green Party of New York State believes there are better ways to address the situation than those proposed by the governor.

“The governor said very little about tax reform – in fact what he did discuss was a sop to the Republicans in the form of property tax caps.  Unlike the thousands of people in New York State from working-class New Yorkers on up to Nobel Laureate economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz who call for the wealthy and corporations to bear an increased burden to help expand needed services Gov. Paterson seems committed to balancing the budget on the back of working and poor New Yorkers,” said Matt Funiciello, activist, owner, and CEO of Rock Hill Bakehouse in Glens Falls, NY.  “Reinstituting progressive income taxation at levels seen in the 1970s could rake in $7.7 billion yearly, along with an additional $3.3 billion from the stock transfer tax which we now rebate back to Wall Street.  This is the opposite of a fair deal,” said Mr. Funiciello.

Another area the governor managed to ignore was governmental reform, which had been high on the list of his administration’s priorities when he was elected Lt. Gov. in 2006.  “There was no talk of public campaign financing to help curb special interests in Albany, which had been very high on the list of reforms discussed merely a year ago in former Gov. Spitzer’s State of the State.  It would be advantageous to New York to adopt such a system to eliminate the culture of pay-to-play politics here, along with things like citizen referendums, recall, term limits and even proportional representation in one of the houses of the Legislature,” said GPNYS Co-chair Peter LaVenia.  “The governor has a perfect opportunity after the ethics scandals of the last year to push these reforms, but he is sadly choosing not to.  He is also doing nothing to strengthen grassroots democracy and control over politics and economics or to empower working New Yorkers against the elite business and class interests that have ruined New York’s economy for decades,” lamented LaVenia.

“One area the governor seems proud of is his proposal on health care, which allows for parents to keep paying premiums for their children up to age 29.  He conveniently ignored what the majority of speakers at the 2007 reform panel on health care his administration convened said – that single-payer, universal health care is cheaper, more efficient, and desperately needed,” said David Doonan, the mayor of Greenwich, NY.  “2.6 million NYers are without health care, and many more are in danger of losing what little they have with this deep recession over their heads.  Why is Gov. Paterson not endorsing Sen. Schneiderman’s single payer New York bill?  It is disappointing that he believes his proposals are adequate in this time of increased need,” Mayor Doonan stated.

 “Gov. Paterson relegated the largest crisis facing our species today – the environment - to what he called a tertiary level.  This is simply unacceptable,” said GPNYS co-chair Eric Jones.  “We are happy to see that Gov. Paterson acknowledges the need to reduce energy consumption and increase renewable sources over the next six years, but we call on him to acknowledge his targets will do little to slow runaway climate change.  We need to decarbonize the economy completely over the next decade or there is little hope of preventing catastrophic temperature rise – we need to get much nearer to 100% renewable in the next ten years, not ’45 by 15’.  The governor should also call for a total halt on shale gas drilling upstate, and pledge to fully fund the DEC.  If he can see the need to support the long-overdue Bottle Bill, he should be able to see the logic of our proposals,” said Mr. Jones.

See also: Green Party offers Paterson alternatives at WNYT