How Howie Hawkins Would Help New York

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A $15 an hour minimum wage, health care for all, increased funding for mass transit, support for teachers and other union members, stronger rent control and reversing income inequality are just a few of the way I will help city residents if elected governor of New York. Unlike my opponents, I do manual labor for a living, unloading trucks at night for UPS. I understand the challenge that many New Yorkers face in paying for basic necessities. Unlike my opponents, I do not take donations from corporate interests. I set a voluntary limit on the size of contributions I will accept because I want modest contributions from lots of people, not legalized bribes from a few wealthy special interests. The governor has the legal authority to raise the minimum wage without the need for legislative approval. I will make it a living wage rather than Cuomo’s sub-poverty wage by administratively raising it statewide to $15. I will give New York City and other local governments the power to raise it higher. A full women’s equality platform must include a higher minimum wage because the over 60 percent of minimum wage workers are women. I will direct the State Labor Department to take aggressive action to cut down on the epidemic of wage theft that steals a billion dollars a year from low-income workers’ paychecks in New York City. I will also push to increase unemployment benefits. My Green New Deal builds on what FDR proposed in his 1944 State of the Union Address to Congress to complete the New Deal, namely, an Economic Bill of Rights to secure for everyone a useful job, a living wage, affordable housing, health care, and a good education. The green in the Green New Deal is building a 100 percent clean-energy economy over the next 15 years to fight climate change and build a sustainable prosperity. A peer-reviewed study found that powering New York State 100 percent by wind, water, and sun by 2030 will cut electric rates in half and create 4.5 million new jobs building out this renewable energy system. People will flock to New York for the good middle-income construction and manufacturing jobs. It is a shame that so little has been done two years after Sandy to repair damaged communities, especially among our most vulnerable residents. I will also work to reduce the impact of storm surges by restoring wetlands and other natural barriers. I will fortify our water and sewage treatment plants and subway system. I will promote distributed renewable energy, making every building a mini-power plant, and link them with more a resilient smart grid, including decentralized micro-grids that can isolate the impact of storms from the larger grid. Too many New York communities lack access to adequate medical care and have seen their neighborhood hospitals close. Many state legislators, unions, faith groups, nurses, doctors and consumers—but not Cuomo—want New York to make health care a right for everyone, with no co-pays, premiums or deductibles. The state’s own study found that this would reduce health care spending by $28 billion a year by 2019. The rent really is too damned high in New York City. The real-estate industry donates millions of dollars to upstate legislators to weaken rent control in the city. I support allowing repealing the Urstadt Law and return home rule on rent regulations to New York City. City officials should make the decisions about city rent control and stabilization. I will increase funding for both new, quality public housing and better maintenance of existing homes. Cuomo blocked raising taxes on wealthy city residents to help pay for universal pre-k. New York State leads the nation in income disparity, and the city has the worst disparity of any city in the country. A third of our children live in poverty, and the situation is much worse in communities of color. I will make the rich and Wall Street pay their fair share of taxes. My program of tax reform, ending the Stock Transfer Tax rebate and ending the corporate welfare program (five times larger in New York State than anywhere else) would increase state revenues by 20 percent while providing 95 percent of us with a tax break. Progressive tax reform is how we pay for the Green New Deal. I would restore funding to human service programs that have been slashed by Gov. Cuomo. I will raise the welfare grant above the poverty level. I will push for universal childcare and paid family leave—benefits enjoyed in nearly every civilized industrial country except the United States. I will work to end hunger and homelessness. I will adequately fund our mass transit, improving maintenance and capital expenditures while cutting fares. New York City is the marijuana arrest capital of the planet, despite the state having decriminalized small amounts of pot 40 years ago. Marijuana arrests have increased under Mayor de Blasio and Cuomo did every thing he could to weaken and hinder the recent medical marijuana law. I will end the war on drugs and mass incarceration, starting with legalizing marijuana. Cuomo has given only three pardons as governor. I will pardon every nonviolent drug offender in New York and expunge all offenses for nonviolent drug offenses. I will seek to repair and rebuild the damage done to many communities by the failed war on drugs and mass incarceration. I will return control of our school systems to communities. I oppose the privatization of our education system, which is driven by profits for hedge-fund investors. I will end the high stakes testing that narrows the curriculum to teaching to the test and penalizes teachers for teaching in disadvantaged communities. I will end New York State’s status as the most segregated state in the nation in both our schools and housing. It is time to end the culture of corruption that plagues our political system in New York. Of the $45 million raised by Gov. Cuomo, half came from 331 donors who each donated $40,000 or more. Those donations are for the express purpose of buying favors from the governor. It should be illegal. A campaign donation should not be the best investment that Wall Street can make. I am polling better than any progressive third party candidate for Governor in New York’s history. I have a similar number of donations as Cuomo; his backers just donate 100 times more funds than mine. And though my goal is to win this race, if I do not I have a very good chance of winning enough votes to permit the Green Party to attain Row C on the ballot. If we get there, the Green Party will be able to even more powerfully push for our progressive agenda and policies for New York City and State. In many ways the governor has more impact on the daily lives of New York City residents than the mayor does. Our present governor has promised to continue his economic policies of austerity, benefiting the wealthy with tax breaks and handouts while cutting spending for essential services. He embraces trickle down economics. I believe the way to economic prosperity is to put more money into the pockets of the 99 percent, not the 1 percent. There are many more ways my election would help the average New Yorker. Please check out my platform at www.howiehawkins.org/platform. I hope you will consider voting for Howie Hawkins for Governor on Row F, the Green Party.