Valentine's Day Have a Heart Rally-- Fully Fund Schools, Tax Rich, Close Loopholes!
...AND SAVE HYDE PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FROM BEING SHUT DOWN(!)...
[join 360+ already on board on Facebook-- at "Keep Hyde Park Schools Open":
Public Event · By Joel Tyner
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
12:30pm until 1:30pm
Where: In front of state Senator Steve Saland's and Assemblyman Joel Miller's district offices at 3 Neptune Road in Poughkeepsie
Fact: Hyde Park Elementary School may close soon; LaGrange Elementary in Arlington and Smith Elmentary in Poughkeepsie have already shut their doors. $2.7 billion has been cut in state aid to our schools over past two years; there are 30,000 less teachers/educational staff (11,000 cut last year alone); Cuomo has proposed merely to add back in $805 million in state funding for our public schools this year.
Fact: According to the most recent Alliance for Quality Education report (AQENY.org), based on statistics from the NYS Council of Superintendents, because of $2.7 billion being ripped from state funding for public schools over last two years:
-- 63% of school districts increased their class size;
-- 36% of school districts reduced summer school;
-- 22% of school districts cut art classes; 24% cut music classes;
-- 17% of school districts cut honors or advanced placement courses offered.
[...and-- let's not forget-- kindergarten has already been cut back to half-day kindergarten in City of Poughkeepsie schools!...]
While at the same time...
Fact: The 67 billionaires who call New York home have a combined net worth of over $234.9 billion, while the rest of us are paying for their bailouts with drastic cuts to public services and over 100,000 middle-class job cuts in public sector. Deep poverty and income inequality are at an all-time high in NY.
Fact: NY’s millionaires tax used to bring in $4.9 billion in revenue annually; because of December’s tax scheme/deal, it now only brings in $1.9 billion in revenue.
In this economy, it’s crazy for Albany to give $1 billion a year in corporate tax loopholes to wealthy special interests and a $3 billion tax cut to the richest New Yorkers-- while leaving our state and local government services woefully underfunded. We should instead reinvest this money to save our schools and services, and create jobs (FiscalPolicy.org).
[note-- much of the text and many of the facts here come directly from http://www.99PercentNY.org/ -- a broad, statewide coalition made up of groups like 1199SEIU, Center for Working Families, Citizen Action NY, Communications Workers of America, Hunger Action Network of New York, Move On, NAACP, New Deal for NY. New York Students Rising, New York Communities for Change, Strong Economy for All Coalition, VOCAL-NY, Working Families Party; see http://www.ABetterChoiceforNY.org/ and http://www.FiscalPolicy.org/ for much more on all this!]
[call Cuomo/state legislators now: (877) 255-9417!)]
Sponsored by the Real Majority Project
Information: email@example.com 845-444-0599
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Fact: SUNY's total operating budget has already been reduced by over 35% in the past four years, and college tuition has gone up 432% since 1982, 2x the rate of medical care and 4x the rate of inflation(SaveOurSUNY.org).
Fact: Cuomo has proposed to rip $99 million out of state funding for early childhood intervention services over the next five years (and cuts tobacco prevention funding by $10 million over the next two years).
[reaction noted in recent Albany Times-Union piece on this: "Early intervention providers were stunned by the cuts to the program. 'I'm extremely disappointed,' said Leslie Grubler, of the United New York Early Intervention Providers."]
Also-- according to the Environmental Advocates of New York:
Fact: Our state's Department of Environmental Conservation was funded to the tune of $1.5 billion in 2009-2010; Cuomo has proposed less than $1.1 billion in funding for the DEC for 2012-2013.
Fact: There were 4050 DEC staff in 1989; less than 3000 DEC staff are proposed in Cuomo's budget for next year.
Fact: Cuomo has proposed a $1.2 million cut to the DEC's Air and Water Quality Management program, a $4.2 million cut to the DEC's Solid and Hazardous Waste Management program, seven less staff for the NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, two less staff for NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and $190,000 less for municipal recycling (among other cuts; see EANY.org pdf report).
Fact: As it is now already, over the last four years, DEC and Ag and Markets have each lost over 20% of their staffing.
Recall cuts last year-- http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/apr2011/nybu-a12.shtml .
Recent Dutchess County budget cuts (at least partially due to state budget cuts)-- the GOP have eliminated funding for our county's Human Rights Commission, Office of Consumer Affairs, and our Youth Bureau's Project Return program for troubled teens, and there's no longer a full five-day week at our county Office for the Aging Senior Friendship Centers-- just the current four-day week. Also, our county DSS' Day Care Unit needs to be fully funded-- as your annual report's 2011 Departmental Annual Summary informs us all that, "Effective July 1, 2011 the income guidelines for the Day Care Unit were changed to those whose income is below 125 percent of the poverty level-- from those whose income is below 200 percent of the poverty level."
[see http://www.petitiononline.com/cobudget ]
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From: Ronald Deutsch
Subject: New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness responds to Executive Budget
Date: Jan 17, 2012 3:26 PM
Budget on Revenues: Smoke Em if You Can Afford Em
Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness responds to Lack of Corporate Loopholes Closers in Executive Budget Proposal
"The Governor's 'Smoke Em if You Got Em' revenue generating agenda leaves much to be desired. Raising taxes on cigars and loose tobacco fall far short of a substantive loophole closing agenda especially when our current corporate tax law has more holes than swiss cheese."
"Last week, organizations from across New York called upon the Governor to follow three simple principles when it comes to closing corporate loopholes; enforcement, transparency and fairness. New York could and should collect hundreds of million in uncollected tax revenue simply by enforcing current tax law, especially when it comes to unreported gains from Real Estate Partnerships.
"Before we cut one program for needy New Yorkers we should make sure that wealthy real estate moguls are actually paying their taxes. We must also ensure that big multi-national corporations that do business in NYS pay something in corporate taxes. Too many are avoiding paying any taxes to NYS. We need to level the playing field so that small businesses are not left 'holding the bag' while big businesses are allowed to avail themselves of billions of dollars in corporate tax subsidies and loopholes."
New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness
212 Great Oaks Blvd
Albany, NY 12203
(518) 452-2130 - office
(518) 469-6769 - cell
(518) 869-8649 - fax
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Coalition Wants Corporate Tax Loopholes Closed
WAMC/Dave Lucas (2012-01-10)
Progressive groups gathered Monday in Albany to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature to close corporate tax loopholes that they say would raise $1 billion for the state budget this year. ..:: WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas ::..
ALBANY, NY (WAMC) - A large coalition of community, labor, student, faith and Occupy organizations gathered at the New York State Capitol on Monday to announce their campaign to bring fairness and transparency to New York's corporate tax system. WAMC's Dave Lucas was there and files this report.
Unified under the "99 per cent New York" banner, the coalition, which includes Citizen Action of New York, the New York State Public Employees Federation, Occupy Albany and others, is calling on Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to close corporate tax loopholes, raising over $1 billion dollars for this year's state budget. They say additional revenue will help New York to create jobs, create a fairer environment for small business, and prevent more devastating budget cuts to services and our safety net and allow for restorations of reduced funding. Occupy Albany's Colin Donnaruma said "The fact that all too often powerful corporations are able to wield political influence to create tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair-share is a paradigmatic example of the broader economic and political inequalities that have motivated the Occupy movement."
The groups produced a list of companies they allege are New York's worst corporate tax dodgers, including Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, Travelers Insurance, Verizon, and Goldman Sachs. PEF President Ken Brynien notes the list highlights the gross inequities in our tax system that hinder small businesses, job creation, and our economy. Angelica Clarke, organizer with New York Students Rising and Save Our SUNY, says students demand Governor Cuomo and the legislature initiate a tuition freeze.
The coalition's plan to reform New York's corporate tax structure is based on three main principles: enforcement, fairness, and transparency. The Governor's office did not immediately return calls for comment.
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In Cuomo’s Budget, Nip-and-Tuck Cuts and Big Policy Aims
Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is trying to reduce the cost of running New York State by $1.1 billion. His priorities reflected last year's.
By THOMAS KAPLAN
Published: January 17, 2012
ALBANY — Mr. Cuomo proposed a $132.5 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins April 1. That would be $225 million less than what the state is spending this year — a cut of 0.2 percent...
He also proposed limiting retirement benefits for newly hired public workers across the state, including in New York City, offering a choice between a pension that is less generous than that for current public employees, or a defined contribution plan, which is similar to a 401(k)...
Seeking to reduce the projected cost of running the state government by more than $1.1 billion, Mr. Cuomo proposed continuing a hiring freeze, combining some offices and agencies, and consolidating procurement and information technology services.
Mr. Cuomo also proposed saving more than $750 million by limiting planned increases on mental health programs and social services, including eliminating an automatic cost-of-living increase for nonprofit providers of services like foster care, adoption and family counseling...
Public employee unions immediately rejected Mr. Cuomo’s proposal to limit pension benefits, the second consecutive year the governor has tried to do so.
Kenneth Brynien, the president of the Public Employees Federation, said that the budget “ignores the fact that state workers have done their share to address the state’s fiscal problems.” And Danny Donohue, the president of the Civil Service Employees Association, called Mr. Cuomo’s pension proposal “an assault on the middle class and a cheap shot at public employees.”
Stephen J. Cassidy, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, invoked the firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001, as he criticized the proposal.
“This legislation, if enacted, will throw the widows and children of future firefighters killed in the line of duty under the bus,” Mr. Cassidy said.
Mr. Cuomo’s task this year was considerably easier than last year, when the state faced a $10 billion budget gap, prompting the governor to seek sharp reductions in spending on health care and education, as well as wage and benefit concessions from state workers. This year, Mr. Cuomo needed only nips and tucks rather than huge cuts to address a budget gap of $2 billion.
Outlining several contested policy objectives as part of his annual budget proposal, Mr. Cuomo vowed to withhold a promised increase in state aid to school districts that did not adopt a teacher evaluation system.