Hawkins Says Vote for the Green Prosperity Plan, Not Cuomo's Austerity Plan

Green Party of New York

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Says Cuomo would slash state funding for education, health care, other essential services

(Syracuse) Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called today for New York voters to support the Hawkins prosperity plan rather than the Cuomo-Duffy austerity plan.

"The Democrats are trying to win votes by scaring people about Paladino, who is admittedly a scary person - a bigoted, rich real estate developer. But the really scary thing is that Cuomo and Duffy, with their right-wing economic agenda, scapegoating of unions, and education privatization agenda are likely to win. As Cuomo has told the media, Tea Partiers should vote for him because he has the same economic agenda as Paladino but he will do a better job of getting it implemented because he talks nicer," said Hawkins.

Hawkins pointed out that Cuomo has failed to tell the voters what programs he plans to cut in order to resolve the state's projected $9 billion deficit next year.

Hawkins urged New Yorkers to liberate their vote from the two corporate parties and invest it in making the Green Party the true third party in New York. Fifty-eight percent of Americans believe a third major political party is needed because the Republican and Democratic Parties do a poor job of representing the American people.

"The Greens' positions on job creation, peace, taking action on climate change, and universal health care are the positions of the majority of New York voters. Cuomo is unfortunately going to be elected our next Governor, so a vote on him is not only wasted, it just encourages him to follow through on this threats to workers, teachers, and the budget. We have to stand up and cast as many votes as possible to a progressive alternative to Cuomo," said Hawkins.

Hawkins said that that Cuomo has made the Republican candidate irrelevant by promoting a Republican economic agenda. This has led to a number of Republican endorsements of Cuomo, including Republican Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney;  Patrick Barrett, former state Republican Party chairperson (who is Co-Chair of Cuomo's campaign); Anthony Scaramucci, the former campaign finance chairman for Republican Rick Lazio's gubernatorial campaign; and Republican Assemblyman Joe Errigo. Cuomo has also been endorsed by the NYS Business Council, and recently said he would seek to give more influence to the Business Council while undercutting unions.

Hawkins also chided Cuomo for supporting Governor Paterson's effort to break an agreement with state workers to avoid layoffs in exchange for a new, less generous pension tier for state workers.

"Cuomo is going to slash not only state workers but essential services in the state budget, including education and health care. He is going to protect tax cut for the rich at the expense of working New Yorkers," Hawkins added.

"As we have pointed out throughout this campaign, the state's fiscal crisis is the result of the handouts to the rich from state lawmakers, including massive tax cuts to the wealthy and the rebate of $16 billion from the stock transfer tax. State workers are not the cause of the state's fiscal crisis and should not be scapegoated like this. Cuomo as Attorney General has put the politics rewarding rich campaign contributors ahead of the law in holding that these layoffs are not in violation of the state's agreement with the work force," Hawkins stated.

"Cuomo just doesn't get it when it comes to grasping the magnitude of the problems facing New York. For instance, when it comes to jobs and the economy, Cuomo acts like Herbert Hoover rather than FDR. We are in the deepest recession since the Great Depression and Cuomo refuses to create public jobs. Instead he scapegoats unions and calls for property tax caps and a freeze on public spending," noted Hawkins.

Hawkins has said he would help strengthen New York's urban areas with a massive public jobs program; strong tenant rights and affordable housing; increased funding for child care, education and other essential services; and enactment of a state single payer Medicare for All program.

The Green Party of New York State is committed to a rapid Clean Energy Transition that will create hundreds of thousands of good jobs, stimulate economic recovery, advance social justice, and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in a decade. In 1931, what became the federal New Deal was initiated in New York State by Governor Roosevelt, Francis Perkins, and Harry Hopkins with a public jobs program as the Great Depression deepened. It is now time for New York State to again lead the nation in the face of persistent high unemployment and pending climate catastrophe, this time with a Green New Deal in which a Clean Energy Transition is the centerpiece for stimulating an economic recovery with full employment and for stabilizing the global climate on the precipice of runaway global warming.

Hawkins said that his administration would assist local communities in developing sustainable Green Cities. Integrating environmental priorities into economic, transportation, zoning, anti-sprawl, urban agriculture and community food security, energy, solid waste and planning decisions would improve the quality of life of city residents.

Hawkins also outlined a related five point plan to provide local property tax relief, including a state takeover of the local contributions to Medicaid; compliance with existing state law on state revenue sharing; and increased state funding of local schools.

Hawkins has previously released a revenue plan to raise $34 billion more a year through progressive tax reforms, including a halt to the rebate of the stock transfer tax ($16 billion); restoring progressivity to the state income tax system by going back to the 1970s tax structure ($8 billion in added revenue, with tax cuts for 95% of New Yorkers); and a 50% tax on bankers bonuses ($10 billion).

Hawkins said that a property tax cap was the wrong approach to address the problem of high property taxes. It would merely freeze in place existing inequities in the state's tax system that already hurts senior citizens and workers while starving schools of much needed funding increases that have been mandated by the courts. Hawkins would have the state takeover the county portion of Medicaid expenses which now equal 45% of counties' property tax levy, enabling the counties to reduce property taxes and still adequately fund schools and other local government services.

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