Statement on Cuomo's Minimum Wage Board for Fast Food Workers

Statement of Howie Hawkins, former Green Party candidate for Governor,

re Cuomo Announcement of Minimum Wage Board for Fast Food Workers

"While I am glad that Cuomo has finally admitted that the Governor has the power to raise the minimum wage without legislative agreement, I am disturbed by the timing and content of today's announcement. All workers, not just fast food workers, are entitled to a living wage and that should be at least $15 an hour. The fast food workers have been demanding $15 in their demonstrations. Once again the Governor is providing an excuse for lawmakers not to enact a more robust wage hike. They still have more than a month to act before taking their five month vacation. Lawmakers should pass a $15 minimum wage for every worker in the state, including tip workers, with indexing and home rule for local governments that want to set a higher minimum wage in their jurisdictions."

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Hawkins: Cuomo's 5th Straight Austerity Budget Escalates His War on Public Education

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party of New York's gubernatorial candidate in 2014, said today that the state budget just adopted is an austerity budget that assaults public schools, students, and teachers, underfunds needed social and environmental programs, and fails on ethics. He also criticized the failure to raise the minimum wage or pass the Dream Act.

"The state budget adopted in the wee hours of April Fool's Day is no joke," Hawkins said. "In Cuomo's fifth straight austerity budget, hedge funds and yacht owners win and public education, ethics, and urgent social and environmental needs lose."

Hawkins said the Green Party will be working with allies during the remainder of the legislative session to win policy reforms that were proposed as part of the budget but dropped, including raising the state minimum wage and allowing local governments to set higher than state minimum wages, the Dream Act, criminal justice reforms, and public campaign financing. Hawkins said the Greens will also work to defeat bills for tuition tax credits.

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Greens Slam Dems' Ethics Package as "Bandaid"

The Green Party said today that the Democrats deal on ethics reform is too little too late and will not end the culture of corruption that dominates Albany.

"We want to end the various forms of legalized bribery in Albany, not require more disclosure of it. We need to prohibit those lobbying politicians or getting state contracts from making campaign donations. We should end donations all together with a full public campaign finance system. And we need to prohibit state legislators from getting outside income," said Howie Hawkins, the recent Green Party candidate for Governor.

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Cuomo Avoids Real Ethics Reform

Hawkins says Governor Cuomo's 5 Point Plan falls Far Short of Real Ethics Reform

Howie Hawkins, the recent Green Party candidate for Governor, issued the following statement today in response to the announcement that Governor Cuomo would require state lawmakers to adopt a 5 point ethics reform plan as part of the state budget process.

Real Ethics Reform

The ethics reform package announced by Governor Cuomo today doesn't reform. It doesn't get at the root of corruption in the money that wealthy individuals and special interests shower on elected officials in the form of campaign contributions and outside salaries. Cuomo wants more disclosure of influence buying, the Green Party wants to outlaw it. Our state government should not be for sale to the highest bidder.

This pay-to-play corruption is bigger than the illegal corruption that has ensnared a few dozen state elected officials over the last 15 years. It includes the legalized bribery of the implicit quid pro quo that exists when wealthy individuals and special interests pay for the campaigns and extra incomes of elected officials. We have seen such behavior in Assemblymember Carl Heastie, soon to be the new speaker of the State Assembly. And Governor Cuomo shut down the Moreland Commission once they began to ask questions about Cuomo's own pay-to-play campaign fundraising.

A real ethics reform package would include these four reforms:

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Silver Should Resign, Bad Cuomo Budget Education, Energy

Howie Hawkins, the recent Green Party candidate for New York Governor, said today that Cuomo's proposed state budget will do little to improve the quality of life for the average New Yorker. 

Hawkins was especially critical of Cuomo’s education proposals, saying that they reflect the privatization program of hedge fund campaign donors, not a program to improve poorly performing public schools. 

Hawkins also said that the corruption charges against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was just the most recent evidence of the cesspool of greed that dominates Albany. He called on the Assembly to strip him of his leadership if he fails to resign. 

Hawkins also said that Cuomo should be investigated by the US Attorney for similar crimes. The real estate mogul apparently at the center of the Silver case, Leonard Litwin, gave over $1 million to Cuomo's campaign fund. Hawkins said the investigation should look into the contributions of hedge fund managers who would benefit from Cuomo's education privatization agenda. Silver fought subpoenas from Cuomo's Cuomo Moreland Commission on Public Corruption. Cuomo shut the Commission down once it began asking questions about his own campaign contributors.

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A Green State of State Message on MLK Day

Governor Cuomo's State of the State address comes as we are celebrating Martin Luther King's birthday. 

Unfortunately, half a century after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the dream of equality and prosperity for all remains unrealized. 

Income inequality in New York is the highest in the nation, with one-sixth of New Yorkers living below the poverty line. In upstate cities, more than half of all children live in poverty. New York has the most segregated housing and schools in the country, worse than Mississippi or Alabama. More than a million New Yorkers lack access to health care. Shelters and soup kitchens have record lines of people looking for help. 

In his “I Have a Dream Speech,” Dr. King reminded us that one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks still lived on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. When asked when those we seek civil rights will be satisfied, Dr. King responded, “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” 

Far too little has changed in the last half century since Dr. King was murdered. 

Today many New Yorkers will be marching to call for justice in the name of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and many others who have suffered due to the color of their skins. 

Black lives matter. 

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Cuomo's Circuit Breaker Takes Back with One Hand What It Gives With the Other

Howie Hawkins, the recent Green Party candidate for Governor, said today that the state should provide property tax relief by restoring a more progressive structure of state taxation and revenue sharing with local municipalities. He said the state should also enact a single payer health care plan that would eliminate the counties’ contribution to the Medicaid program as well as the private health insurance bills that local governments and school districts now pay for their employees.

Hawkins urged lawmakers to not extend Cuomo’s 2% property tax cap program, which he said does not relieve the fiscal crises faced by many local governments and school districts across the state.

“I agree with the Governor that public funds to provide property tax relief for renters and property owners should use a circuit breaker approach to reach those who most need relief. Unfortunately, Cuomo’s tax cap combined with unnamed cuts to state spending to create the surplus needed to pay for the circuit breaker means that what he gives with one hand in a circuit breaker he takes back with the other hand as cuts to the schools and municipal services these same people use,” said Hawkins.

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Greens Celebrate Reported Fracking Ban, Credit Grassroots Movement

The Green Party of New York (GPNY) and its recent gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins join the chorus of New Yorkers celebrating what appears to be an imminent fracking ban, arising from today’s reports from Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.  

“This news is a victory for all New Yorkers who have dedicated their lives for the past six years to keep fracking out of New York,” said Howie Hawkins, 2014 Green candidate for Governor. Hawkins ran in 2010 and 2014 on a strong anti-fracking platform and confronted Cuomo about the issue during the October 2014 gubernatorial debate in Buffalo. “Together, we have won more than just a ban – today, we have a strong movement that must now use our people power to win the transition to 100% renewable energy for New York by 2030 in order to fight climate change.”

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Garner: Cops Shouldn't Have License to Kill

Says Independent Federal Prosecutors should always be used in police violence cases 

Howie Hawkins, the recent, Green Party candidate for Governor, said today that it was a travesty of justice for Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan to fail to get a grand jury to indict David Pantaleo, the cop who killed Eric Garner. Hawkins repeated his long standing call for independent prosecutors to be appointed in cases involving police violence.

"Being a cop shouldn't be a license to kill people of color. If you are going to arrest someone for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, you should be able to do so without killing him, especially when he is nonviolent," noted Hawkins. 

Hawkins said that to effectively hold police officers accountable to the law, federal prosecutors must be appointed who are not tied to the local "old boys’ networks" in the local justice system. Whenever the police kill, brutalize, or otherwise violate a citizen's civil rights, the US Department of Justice should be brought in to investigate and file charges if warranted because the DA's and police are constant collaborators.

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Time for Cuomo to Come Clean on Causes on Global Warming

Howie Hawkins, the recent Green Party candidate for Governor, called today upon Governor Cuomo to acknowledge the climate change is being caused by human activity, starting with the burning of fossil fuels. 

Hawkins also said that Cuomo needs to appoint a strong independent DEC Commissioner who will take seriously their role to be the voice of environmental protection. 

"Cuomo as weatherman-in-chief is not the solution to climate change. He loves closing highways during storms but we need him to stop the burning of fossil fuels that is causing climate change. His biggest test is to finally stop promoting the burning of natural gas by banning fracking," said Hawkins.

 "We don't need another DEC Commissioner who just rubber stamps the directives and politics of the second floor. We need someone who will tell Cuomo that you can't rewrite science to reflect your personal beliefs or desires of your campaign contributors," noted Hawkins.

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