Hawkins To Paladino: Debate the Real Progressive

Real Debate Is Between Paladino/Cuomo Austerity Plan and Hawkins' Green New Deal

(Video News from WIVB)


From the Hawkins campaign:

At a news conference outside Carl Paladino's Buffalo office Friday, Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, challenged his Republican opponent to debate him – and to insist that there be a series of debates open to all the gubernatorial candidates.

Hawkins also challenged Paladino's claim to be an outsider that will clean up Albany.

"Paladino just another rich guy who has been milking the government for years while buying politicians left and right, and now he thinks he can buy his way into the Governor's mansion," said Hawkins.

During the Republican primary, Paladino hired some one to run after Rick Lazio in a chicken suit because Lazio was ducking debates.

"Let's see what Paladino about thinks about open debate and vetting candidates now that he is the Republican nominee," Hawkins said

“A debate with just Paladino and Cuomo debate would just be an argument over how to cut spending, attack public employee unions, and cap property taxes. The real choice in this election is between my progressive tax reforms to fund a Green New Deal of full employment, clean energy, and fully funded schools and the conservative platforms of Paladino and Cuomo who offer variations on the same theme: a rich folks' agenda of making working people pay for the deficit caused by tax cuts and corporate welfare for the free-loading rich,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins called for both Paladino and Cuomo to tell voters the specific programs they plan to cut to close the state's projected $9 billion state budget deficit. He said their general plans to cap or cut state spending in a recession would prolong economic stagnation and increase state deficits due to resulting lower tax revenues.

Hawkins in contrast has laid out plans to raise $34 billion in additional revenues through stopping the rebate of the Stock Transfer Tax, giving 95% of New Yorkers a tax cut by going back to the more progressive 1970 state income tax structure, and a 50% tax on bonuses that large bankers paid themselves after taxpayers spent trillions of dollars to bail to them out. Hawkins would use the additional revenues to fund a Green New Deal program to transition to a clean energy system, provide a public living wage job to everyone unable to obtain one from the private sector, and fully fund the public schools and colleges.

“Paladino admitted he and Cuomo advocate the same basic economic program when he said in his primary victory speech, 'Andrew thinks he can … hijack our agenda.' The truth is that Cuomo's 'New Democrat' economic agenda is the same as the old Republican agenda. Paladino's new Republican agenda is the same as the old Know Nothing agenda of the 1840s and 1950s, except that the religious scapegoats this time around are Muslims instead of Catholics and the immigrant scapegoats are Latino and Asian instead of Irish and German,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins dismissed the notion that either Paladino or Cuomo are Albany outsiders who will reform the system. "Paladino is a rich real estate baron who's long played the insider game of legalized bribery, giving enormous sums to candidates to get favorable treatment for his special interests. Cuomo is as big a political insider as they come, using his family and political connections to climb the ladder of political influence. His campaign war chest is stuffed with contributions from the big Wall Street real estate, hedge fund, and banking interests," Hawkins said.

A Buffalo News analysis of Paladino's federal, state and local donations over the past 10 years shows he has poured more than $452,000 into a wide assortment of candidates, a huge amount by Western NY standards. Many of the beneficiaries of these donations were mainstream Democrats who are anathema to Paladino's Tea Party followers, including Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, Louise Slaughter, and Brian Higgins.

The News reported that "the donations come directly from Paladino and from at least 18 corporations and partnerships tied to the developer, according to records with the Federal Election Commission and the state Board of Elections. State law limits individual corporation donations, but Paladino has for years used different corporate entities he controls to keep within those legal limits."

"For all of Paladino's talk of taking down the ruling class, he is in the ruling class. For all his talk of cutting government, Paladino has enriched himself off government business dealings. Now Paladino thinks he can come out from behind the curtain and become a public face for the Tea Partiers. But that's par for the course for the Tea Party movement, an allegedly spontaneous grassroots rebellion that has in fact been conjured up by huge corporate and media interests, including Koch Industries, Fox News, and the 1300-station Clear Channels empire featuring right-wing talk radio," Hawkins said.

According to Buffalo News investigative reporter James Heaney, Paladino holds at least 37 leases with government agencies that will bring him $10.1 million in rent this year. Paladino is reportedly the biggest landlord in Western New York. Paladino also has obtained at least $12 million in tax breaks since 2003, and the figure is likely substantially larger because not all the benefits have been calculated by the assorted economic development agencies that have awarded Paladino benefits. He also bought at least a couple of buildings dirt cheap from the government. He acquired the former United Office Building in Niagara Falls for only $10 after the state spent about $1 million to land the property. Paladino redeveloped the building recently, with the help of more than $2 million in tax breaks.

"When Paladino whines about poor people living off the work of taxpayers, he diverts attention from the far greater taxpayer handouts to the finance, insurance, and real estate freeloaders who live off the tax breaks and subsidies of the corporate welfare state. His 'Dignity Corps' proposal for putting poor people to work at underused state prisons is utterly reactionary, a 21st century version of the work houses, poor farms, and chain gangs of the Robber Baron era of the 19th century,” Hawkins said.

“Paladino says he'll cut state spending by 20%, but will he cut the $10 million a year in rent he gets from the state by 20%? Paladino talks about cleaning up corruption but one of his companies had to cop a plea on a felony charge of asbestos dumping. He talks about freedom yet calls for repression of Muslim's religious liberties and property rights. He says he wants to rid Albany of insider conflicts of interest, but he's a living embodiment of insider conflicts of interest.

"Paladino says he speaks for the people but he has denigrated the majority of the people, including women who are half of New Yorkers, people of color who are one-third of New Yorkers, immigrants whose families are one-third of New Yorkers, union members who are one-fourth of New York workers, and poor people when 1 in 6 New Yorkers are using food stamps to put food on their tables. The aren't many people left who Paladino hasn't vilified. At the rate he's alienating groups of voters, he'll be lucky to come in second in this election, “ Hawkins said