http://dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-is-wamc-giving-credibility-to-gary.html -- and feel free to email email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org-- ridiculous, folks!]
[Co. Leg. mtg. tonite http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/Legislature/CLagenda.htm ]
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[five reasons here below to call NYS Leg. (and Cuomo) TODAY at 877-255-9417-- pass it on, folks!]
At least today's NY Times editorial "Nice Work If You Can Get It" gets it partially right with these 5 points:
[click here for full version; edited below-- http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/opinion/16thu2.html ]
Nice Work if You Can Get It
Published: June 15, 2011
New York's legislators plan to go home for the rest of the year on Monday, even though they have not finished what the public pays them to do. If they were students, they would earn F's for diligence. Here are crucial measures still on the Legislature's to-do list:
1. MARRIAGE EQUALITY Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday released a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Several Republican senators have said they would not vote for such legislation unless it made clear that no religious group would be required to marry gay or lesbian couples against its beliefs. Mr. Cuomo included that language in the bill, removing any excuse for opposing this important legislation.
[...join 199 others signed on to my http://www.PetitionOnline.com/MARRIAGE effort if you haven't yet!...]
2. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM Mr. Cuomo and the Legislature should pass Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's bill to create public campaign financing for the comptroller's race. This bill takes one step toward broader, desperately needed campaign finance reform. [real solution: CMCE reform-- see: http://www.CitizenActionNY.org ]
3. ANTI-GERRYMANDERING PROTECTION Governor Cuomo should push for an independent commission to create new Congressional and state legislative districts, which must be drawn by early next year. Without legislation to create such a commission, the political parties will divide up the state unfairly to protect incumbents and make it even harder for challengers. [needed here in Dutchess too, folks!]
4. HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGES New York must pass a law that would allow it to qualify for multiyear federal funds that would help create health insurance exchanges, which need to be operational by January 2014 to serve small businesses and individuals who buy their own insurance. Other states have enacted or begun the process to enact such laws. New York should stop dawdling lest it fail to qualify for receiving federal aid. [note: real solution: http://www.SinglePayerNewYork.org !]
5. RENTS IN NEW YORK CITY More than a million apartments and an estimated 2.5 million people in New York City are protected by limits on rent increases that are expiring this week. Senate Republicans have proposed a bill that would expand a lucrative tax write-off for residential developers. The regulations should be extended, but the tax write-off is too costly for the city to be expanded in a last-minute vote. [can't tell you how many times folks have suggested rent control HERE-- needed!]
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Recall NYTimes editorial Tues. too-- http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/opinion/15wed3.html ...
[funny, isn't it?...this editorial, in marked contrast to recent Pok. Journal editorial, pressures GOP as well]
Albany's Duty to Stop Domestic Violence
Published: June 14, 2011
There are just a few days left in the New York State legislative term, and there is a lot of important business left to do. We want to draw particular attention to two bills that would help protect victims of domestic violence. Both need to pass before lawmakers go home.
One of the measures recognizes that low-level domestic abuse is typically not a one-time problem and often escalates into greater violence. The bill would allow for felony prosecution of serial abusers who commit two or more misdemeanor domestic violence offenses within five years, such as repeated beatings that do not cause major physical injuries.
The defendants could be placed under probation supervision for five years or, in more serious cases, sent to prison for up to four years. Under current law, these abusers face the same penalty no matter how many convictions they rack up. The measure is on track to clear the Democratic-controlled Assembly. The leader of the Republican-controlled Senate, Dean Skelos, needs to push for its passage.
The second bill would help ensure that those who commit serious domestic violence misdemeanors, such as attempted strangulation or other forcible attack, are blocked from buying a gun. Federal law bars such sales. But enforcement relies on states transmitting the information to the federal database that gun dealers use to determine if a would-be purchaser is qualified.
The bill would facilitate the transfer of information from the State Division of Criminal Justice Services to the federal gun background check system. It has bipartisan support in both chambers, but there is a real danger it will get lost in the rush toward adjournment. It is up to the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, and Mr. Skelos, the Senate majority leader, to make sure that does not happen.
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Finally-- a few more reasons to call state legislators today/tomorrow-- at 877-255-9417-- pass it on!...
Three more reasons to throw the GOP Co. Leg. majority bums out this November, folks(!)...
They call it democracy-- copy and paste this link into your browser:
Why?...because there at that website you can view the carnage that took place Tues. nite on the 6th floor of the County Office Building (the monthly Committee Day just ended for our County Legislature)...
To be specific, the GOP Co. Leg. majority decided Tues. night to (quel surprise) kill three of my initiatives/resolutions that were on the agenda-- one pushing the state to enact the Solar Jobs Act (thx to testimony today from Rhinebeck's Jeff Irish of Hudson Valley Clean Energy and Clinton's Ron Kamen, Pres. of NY Solar Energy Industry Alliance)-- this was bipartisan Bonacic/Cahill legislation, one pushing for true middle-class circuitbreaker property tax relief (more bipartisan Bonacic/Cahill legislation)-- and one that Jim Doxsey co-sponsored with me to ban fracking of Utica Shale here in Dutchess on county-owned land (recall-- just this March the Ulster Co. Leg. unanimously voted to do this-- even with GOP majority there!)...
From http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/Legislature/CLagenda.htm ...
5:15 PM Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee meeting
2011143 Dutchess County Legislature Strongly Urges State Legislature Pass and Governor Sign into Law Legislation for Expanded Property Tax Circuitbreaker Relief (bipartisan legislation: Cahill/Bonacic)
[ http://www.dutchessny.gov/CountyGov/Departments/Legislature/ResolutionsPDF/2011143.pdf ;
http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/propertytaxresources.html ; http://www.OmnibusTaxSolution.org ; not tax cap:
6:30 PM Environmental Committee meeting
2011148 Resolution to Not Lease any County-Owned Lands for High-Volume Slick-Water Hydraulic Fracturing to Extract Natural Gas (recall-- Ulster Co. Leg. unanimously passed identical bill this March!)
[ http://www.dutchessny.gov/CountyGov/Departments/Legislature/ResolutionsPDF/2011148.pdf ]
2011149 Dutchess County Legislature Strongly Urges State Legislature to Pass and our Governor Sign into Law the Solar Jobs Act of 2011 (bipartisan legislation from Cahill/Bonacic-- we need this NOW!!!)
[ http://www.dutchessny.gov/CountyGov/Departments/Legislature/ResolutionsPDF/2011149.pdf ;
http://votesolar.org/new-york-solar-jobs-act-of-2011/ -- 22,000 solar jobs for NYS-- many here in valley!]
From Julia Walsh
More-- Westchester, Tompkins, Sullivan, Cortland, Putnam, and Onondaga counties have all also passed anti-fracking resolutions-- along with Cities of Beacon, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
Fact: This March the Ulster Co. Leg. unanimously voted to ban hydrofracking on public lands there (same resolution wording as Tuesday)!
[see: http://www.ulstercountyny.gov/legislative_press/031720111.pdf ]
A.7218/S.4220: legislation to ban hydrofracking- co-sponsored by
state Senators Tony Avella, Addabbo, Krueger, Montgomery, and
Serrano-- and Assemblymembers William Colton, Michael Miller, Rivera,
Jaffee, Jacobs, Stevenson, Brennan, Glick, and Millman
A.7013/S.4616: legislation ending hazardous waste loophole for
fracking fluid disposal- co-sponsored by state Senators Avella,
Addabbo, Montgomery, Oppenheimer, and Serrano and Assemblymembers
Cahill, Sweeney, Maisel, Paulin, Rivera, Dinowitz, Millman,
Zebrowski, Schimel, Benedetto, Gottfried, Englebright, Galef, Colton,
Barron, Jaffee, Rosenthal, Weisenberg, Weprin, Russell, Abinanti,
Braunstein, Cymbrowitz, Glick, Latimer, Markey, McEneny, Nolan,
Peoples-Stokes, Perry, Pheffer, Thiele, and Titone [endorsed by
FrackAction.com, EANY.org, NYPIRG.org, NYLCV.org, Audobon NY!]
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Fact: Marist/YNN, Siena, Quinnipiac, Hart polls show most NY'ers (even GOP!) for millionaires tax:
http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2010/08/16/100816ta_talk_surowiecki GOP voters for this too.
Fact: The richest 1% of NYS households increased their share of all income statewide from 10% in 1980 to 35% in 2007; we in the middle-class here in NYS now pay over 11% of our income in state and local taxes-- while millionaires pay only 8% of their income in state and local taxes.
[ http://www.FiscalPolicy.org ; http://www.ITEPnet.org/wp2009/ny_whopays_factsheet.pdf ]
Fact: Millionaires used to pay a 15 1/2% state income tax rate in the 1970's under Rockefeller-- but now pay only 8.97% (see: http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/taxhistory2.htm ).
Fact: "Top earners have seen a four percentage point decrease in their federal income taxes, thanks to the Bush Administration tax cuts extended for two years by the Obama Administration."
[see http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/FPI_NewYorkShouldContinueTheIncomeTax.pdf ]
Fact: All of the following members of the statewide Growing Together NY/Better Choice Budget Coalition stand in strong support of extending the currently tiny millionaires tax surcharge-- NYS AFL-CIO, NYSUT, CSEA, PEF, AFSCME, Working Families Party, NY Jobs with Justice, Dutchess Outreach, NY Statewide Senior Action Council, NYS Alliance for Retired Americans, Interfaith Alliance of NYS, Interfaith Impact of NYS, Environmental Advocates, Citizen Action, NYS Community Action Association, Green Party, Fiscal Policy Institute, Hunger Action Network of NYS.
[see http://www.ABetterChoiceforNY.org ]
Fact: 67% of Americans support support raising the minimum wage to $10/hour to end the recession.
[see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/06/americans-minimum-wage-poll_n_752921.html ]
Fact: 70% of New Yorkers (Oct. 2000 Zogby poll) support Clean Money Clean Elections reform.
[see: http://www.CitizenActionNY.org -- CMCE reform already in Maine, North Carolina, New Mexico]
Fact: Even GOP state Senator John Bonacic has come out with Assembly Dems for millionaires tax.
[kudos to all of you who came out last Thurs.:"200 Hudson River Psychiatric Center Workers Rally Against Closing" -- http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2011/June/09/HRPC_rally-09Jun11.htm ;
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Recall this from Ulster Co. Leg. Sue Zimet (email@example.com)/ http://www.TaxReformAgenda.org :
[also see http://www.OmnibusTaxSolution.org ; http://www.TrendNY.org ]
Subject: Fw: tax cap letter
Date: June 9, 2011 11:11:50 AM EDT
To: Ulster Count Legislature Clerk Karen Binder
Can you send this letter asking all legislators to add their name.
The Cap will be devastating to County government.
We need to control spending. We as legislators all know this too well. However, it is the State that needs to get their house in order and take on the responsibility of the mandates they force the county to pay.
We are up against the wall and we all need to weigh in.
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2011 10:58:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: tax cap letter
Alliance for Quality Education
94 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206
Dear Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver, and Majority Leader Skelos:
Our constituents, like the majority of New Yorkers, are weary of ever-increasing property taxes. The proposed solution in the form of a 2% local property tax cap, however, is not the answer. It provides no actual property tax relief for New Yorkers, but will produce cuts in services including public education, police and fire departments, road and parks maintenance to name a few. We, as local elected officials who know first hand the needs of our constituents and communities, ask you to modify this proposal.
This tax cap proposal is particularly onerous in its failure to provide exemptions due to the main drivers of higher property taxes that local government can't control. Local government, for example, can't slow the ever-increasing cost of health care or employee pensions. Neither can it change the demand for local public services, such as quality K-12 education, public safety, and well-maintained roads and other infrastructure. These built-in, additional yearly costs will not disappear with a property tax cap and, as a result, necessary and vital services will be eliminated.
Lower income communities will be more affected by the tax cap than wealthier ones. Poorer communities have significantly smaller tax levies currently creating tremendous disparities in our schools and communities. The 2% cap, imposed on local voters by Albany, would lock in and exacerbate these inequities. For the wealthier communities, the 2% cap will generate significantly larger revenues than for the poorer communities because they start with much higher tax levies as a baseline. Every year this disparity will continue to grow, the tax cap will increasingly exacerbate the disparities between New York's communities based on income and wealth.
The 60% override provision is undemocratic and will also increase inequities. Currently school and local budgets, like other elections and votes, are governed by the concept of one person, one vote where a majority of the voters, or elected officials, have the power to make decisions. Under this provision, 41% of the voters would have more power than 59% of the voters in making local decisions on local school budgets. In towns, cities, villages and counties, the same undemocratic principle would apply to local elected officials. The override provision is in fact a shift of control over local decision-making to Albany. Instead of allowing a majority of local voters or elected officials to decide the fate of their schools and communities, Albany would impose the cap thus overriding the will of 59% of voters or local electeds. Furthermore, evidence from Massachusetts and from local school budget votes in New York indicate that achieving the 60% override will be more difficult in poorer communities, thus further exacerbating the growth in inequities caused by the cap.
There are other answers that would both alleviate high property taxes and address the needs of those who can't afford them. Real and meaningful reform to our local property tax system cannot be achieved without maintaining the higher tax rates on wealthy New Yorkers that are now set to expire at the end of December. If millionaires are to receive tax cuts and local resources are to be significantly restricted by Albany, then the only outcome will be cuts in vital services in communities all over New York State. These cuts undermine the vision of restoring New York to its great progressive traditions that so many of us share.
There is no argument that property tax relief is needed throughout NYS, the best way to do it is to institute a circuit breaker. However, we ask that our state leaders develop solutions that are equitable and have the least impact possible on the majority of residents and their quality of life. The 2% tax cap proposal currently being considered is neither equitable nor does it preserve people's quality of life and should not be approved.
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[recall below-- recent PoJo front-page article]
Critics of N.Y. property tax cap fight to stop deal
ALBANY - Despite a tentative agreement on a property-tax cap, education and civic groups continued to rail against it Tuesday, contending it would exacerbate school funding inequities.
And Senate Republicans, who are in the majority, oppose a key part of the deal that would place an expiration date on the tax cap. But Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said this week that he doesn't think the sunset provision would prevent the deal from going forward.
Cuomo and legislative leaders have said they are confident the bill will become law before the legislative session ends June 20. Under the proposal, announced two weeks ago, property-tax growth would be limited to 2 percent annually. The law would have an expiration date tied to that of rent-control laws that legislators have to renew this session. Rent-control laws expire June 15.
The Alliance for Quality Education, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Citizen Action, among other organizations, are making a last-ditch effort to stop the tax-cap deal.
Opponents say the requirement of 60 percent voter approval for overriding the tax cap would be undemocratic, going "against one person, one vote," said the Rev. Cornelius Clark, president of the Troy branch of the NAACP.
Critics also say overriding the cap would be more attainable in wealthy districts.
In Massachusetts, which has a tax cap, wealthy school districts are more than twice as likely to override the caps and have generated four times as much money as the poor districts, said Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education.