Hawkins Says Democrats Stealing Money from Poor New Yorkers

The only way that the Green Party can regain ballot status in NY is to get 50,000 votes for their Governor candidate in 2010. This opportunity comes only once every four years, and it only applies to the Governor’s race. Gaining ballot status will enable the Green Party to run more peace candidates, more single-payer candidates, more anti-fracking candidates, and more sustainable energy candidates. The last time that the Green Party of New York State had ballot status it set the record for running the most Green candidates of any state.

Howie Hawkins for GPNYS Guv by Shawna Cole

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee for Governor, today accused state Democratic leaders of stealing federal dollars intended to help poor people.

The federal government is providing an extra $638 million in federal dollars in the current state budget to help low-income New Yorkers by providing them with employment opportunities; one-time payments; or to deal with increasing caseloads. Instead State lawmakers have agreed to slash funding from last year’s funding levels for job programs and other critical anti-poverty programs, diverting hundreds of millions of these targeted welfare (i.e., Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or TANF) dollars to other parts of the state budget.

Hawkins asked:

New York Democrats are stealing jobs from poor New Yorkers while protecting Wall Street and wealthy New Yorkers from paying their fair share of taxes. Low-income Americans are experiencing unemployment rates in excess of 30%, much higher than the average Americans. That is why Congress decided to give New York more than a billion dollars over the last two years to provide jobs for low-income New Yorkers and to put more money into their pockets, both to help their families and to stimulate the economy. Why isn’t Andrew Cuomo, the leader of the State Democrats, insisting that these funds be spent to lift up our most vulnerable residents?

Paterson earlier this year proposed slashing funding for jobs programs targeting low-income New Yorkers from $70 million to $18 million. Apparently state  lawmakers, as part of the negotiations over the human service budget, have agreed to slash the jobs programs even further – even though Congress has consistently ranked New York’s existing welfare to work programs as among the least effective in the country. Many other programs to help poor New Yorkers are also being slashed, even though the state has an annual surplus of well in excess of $1 billion in the federal welfare block grant (i.e., the difference between the federal block grant and the amount of benefits provided) in addition to this year’s extra $638 million..

“I’m all for more federal dollars to help resolve our state budget deficit. Our state lawmakers should be demanding that Congress cut the nearly trillion dollar military budget by 25 to 50% to help state and local governments, while also expanding funding for a host of domestic programs such as job creation, housing, education, renewable energy, and infrastructure development. But stealing money from poor New Yorkers isn’t the answer. Keeping even half of the money we rebate to Wall Street speculators from the stock transfer tax would be enough by itself to resolve the state budget deficit,” noted Hawkins.

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