Sunday, January 11, 2009

Duncan rates Paterson - says NY needs sustainable funding

Green Party of New York
For Immediate Release Jan. 7, 2009

Ann Link 347-226-1195

Duncan Rates Paterson On 25 Green Party Challenges For His First Year In Office; Says NY Needs A Sustainable Funding Source

NEW YORK, NY -- Alison Duncan, the Green Party of New York State's 2006 candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has rated Governor David Paterson on 25 Green Party challenges for his first year in office. The challenges, which are listed below, were first issued to Eliot Spitzer after he was elected to office in 2006. They include bringing National Guard troops home from Iraq, marrying same-sex couples, promoting single-payer universal health care, and investing in public schools.

Duncan emphasized the need for a sustainable funding source to pay for necessary state services. "The McCourt/Duncan Green Party campaign advocated investment in local, sustainable industry," said Duncan. "The state has for too long depended on tax proceeds from large firms in the financial, insurance and real estate industries that depend on a level of growth that cannot be maintained over the long term. State tax policy must promote a sustainable local business model instead of the corporate subsidies that have been favored in the past. Local investment will enable neighborhood businesses and cooperatives to buy and invest locally -- producing jobs, conserving energy and reducing waste as part of a truly "green" and stable economy."

"The cuts in Paterson's proposed budget are coming at a time when people need state services the most," Duncan added. "With as many as 200,000 people in the financial sector likely to join the 500,000 already officially unemployed in NY, NY's pool of unemployment insurance is expected to run out in the early part of 2009. If NY cannot provide both a safety net and a clear plan for job creation, the state is likely to suffer a decline in public health, an increase in crime, and migration of residents out of state. Paterson asserts that his budget will share the deficit burden across economic classes. However, his proposed cuts in health care will fall most heavily on the poor and providers who serve the poor, his sales tax and "sin tax" increases are regressive, and his proposed cuts in education will limit our children's economic potential at a time when we need to do exactly the opposite."

"Eliot Spitzer lost his political power to arrogance and heavy-handedness long before he lost his job to scandal," said Duncan. "Paterson also entered office with a comfortable bank of political goodwill that he is now in danger of squandering."


I. War in Iraq:
- bring New York State's National Guard troops home as soon as possible by using his veto power

[F --Governor Paterson has kept our National Guard fighting an illegal and immoral war instead of serving their home state]

II. Civil Rights:
- marry same-sex couples at the Empire State Plaza by the end of 2007

[C+ -- Paterson has upheld NY's human rights law by directing all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. With a Democratic majority in the legislature, the governor has never had a better opportunity to pass marriage equality legislation. To do so, however, will require active work on his part. I hope that with Paterson's history of working for civil rights, he will follow through on campaign promises and next year LGBT New Yorkers will be able to marry at home.]

- repeal the New York State version of the PATRIOT Act that Spitzer drafted with Pataki, which rescinded constitutional due process and probable cause protections

[F -- The longer we live without due process, the more difficult it will be for future lawmakers to reestablish civil liberties. Paterson should take advantage of the current "change" sentiment to repeal New York's version of the PATRIOT Act.]

III. Health Care:
- actively promote the Legislative Commission on Health Care Coverage Act of 2005 (A.6575) sponsored by Assembly Member Richard Gottfried as a first step toward implementing universal, single-payer health care

[D- -- Paterson's expanded coverage for children will be undermined by his plans to severely cut the state Medicaid program that serves low income patients]

- increase funding for public health research and programming with an emphasis on prevention, especially prevention of blood-borne diseases such as AIDS

[F -- Proposed cuts in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes will severely impact people living with HIV]

- keep hospitals open that have been targeted by Pataki's hospital closure commission

[F -- Proposed Medicaid cuts will force additional hospitals and clinics to close and will decrease matching federal funds]

IV. Education:

- immediately follow through on his promise to invest $4 to $6 billion in New York City's schools, commit to investing $8.5 billion statewide, and commit an additional 500 million yearly to fund after-school programs in every district

[F -- Paterson will reverse the financial commitment made by Spitzer to increase school funding incrementally over 4 years, reaching $7 billion by 2010-11. Cuts in education are cuts in the future quality of New York's economy]

V. Energy Policy:

- increase the percentage of electricity produced with renewable energy sources (not nuclear) to 25% in the first year, with a goal of 40% by the end of his term

[C -- Paterson's renewable energy task force has many good recommendations in their initial report, and he has made incremental steps toward promoting renewable energy sources by expanding net metering, conservation, and solar power. These recommendations, however, are offset by Paterson's approval of a bill to permit hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas in upstate New York, which will contaminate the watershed that feeds much of the state while prohibiting local governments from banning or taxing the drilling. Also, Paterson has remained silent on a proposed NYR1 powerline project that will invoke eminent domain to build an unsustainable energy conduit serving downstate residents.]

- promote energy conservation and research to create 25,000 new jobs for each year of his term

[D -- Green collar jobs are part of the renewable energy talk force report but the governor has not enacted the recommendations]

VI. Criminal Justice Reform:

- submit a bill to the NYS legislature to restore sentencing control to judges -- no mandatory minimums and use of alternative sentencing with a focus on restorative justice to prevent recidivism

[F -- Although Paterson has spoken in favor of these reforms in the past, he has not promoted them as governor]

- submit a bill to the NYS legislature to legalize marijuana and repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws

[F -- Before becoming governor, Paterson was well respected for his commitment to overturning these draconian laws. Now that he is in a strong position to actually repeal them, he has not acted]

VII. Death Penalty:

- advocate against the death penalty and refuse to sign any bill to reinstate it

[Pass -- No bills have come before him]

- commit $40 million per year for the permanent funding of legal services programs

[D -- New grants for legal services to homeowners affected by the subprime mortgage crisis have been countered by proposed cuts to legal aid services]

VIII. Housing:

- build 250,000 units of affordable housing each year of his term -- the criteria "affordable" being that all New Yorkers are able to find housing near their work for no more than 30% of their family income

[D -- Paterson announced financing for 11,459 units this year, far less than what is needed]

- repeal the Urstadt Law that bars New York City from adopting rent limitations and tenant protections that are more restrictive than those allowed by the state


IX. Agriculture:

- submit a bill for labeling laws that identify food by origin (defining "family farm," "small farm), and whether commercial products are genetically modified


- submit a bill to require every public school cafeteria to serve locally grown food รข€” with a priority on small, organic farms


X. Labor:

- repeal the Taylor Law to give public unions negotiating tools that are as powerful as management's while protecting public safety

[F -- In this economic crisis, public employees need strong unions to negotiate for their interests]

- give union organizers full access to organize workfare workers and prisoners in New York State

[F -- As unemployment increases and more New Yorkers are pushed into workfare programs, they must become more organized in order to avoid exploitation]

XI. Electoral Reform:

- promote conversion to hand-counted paper ballots


- institute instant runoff voting by actively promoting A03509 and A03510 sponsored by Assembly Member Fred Thiele to establish an instant runoff voting method for certain primary and local elections


XII. Multiparty Democracy:
- introduce legislation to more fairly define ballot status of political parties by either enrollment or the vote totals of any statewide or federal office


- introduce clean election legislation that doesn't penalize third parties


- introduce legislation to provide for proportional representation of political parties on the county and state boards of elections


XIII. Public Authorities:

- spearhead a public review of public authorities including their mandates, governing structures and budgets; and implement a comprehensive reform with a focus on transparency and accountability

[D -- although Spitzer and Paterson announced on May 24, 2007 that they had submitted limited reform legislation, it remains to be seen whether Paterson will get it passed and whether the reforms will be implemented]

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