Dominick Calsolaro

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OPEN LETTER TO NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATS

February 28, 2011

Dear Fellow Democrats:

We are writing to express concerns about the direction of our party and our state.
As we all know, New York faces serious fiscal problems. We all understand that difficult decisions must be made. As loyal Democrats, we believe that protecting children, seniors, working families and our communities must always be a priority.

But the truth in Albany right now is that some of Governor Cuomo’s budget policies are neither balanced nor well conceived:

The Governor would make deep cuts in education funding, by abandoning the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case – the hard-won victory that is supposed to ensure fairness in the distribution of school aid and give all children a sound basic education.

And furthermore, the Governor would slash health care spending, eliminating prescription drug coverage for two thirds of our seniors through the EPIC program, a program which so many seniors rely on.
At the same time the Governor is taking these and other drastic actions, he wants to give the richest three percent of New Yorkers a massive tax break by allowing the expiration of the “Millionaire’s Tax”, a tax that would generate $5 billion annually.

According to the Governor, this is what it means to be a “new Democrat.” According to the Governor, this is the path to becoming “the most progressive state in the nation.”

If this is what it means to be a New Democrat, and if this is what it means to be progressive then something is very wrong.

We cannot be silent on this matter – not when the Tea Party, the Conservative Party, Republicans and a group of wealthy Wall Street executives are cheering the Governor’s policies.

Of course, as we want the new Governor to succeed, we also recognize our duty and obligation to remember what our party has always stood for: fiscal responsibility, fairness, compassion and vision.
We have a duty and responsibility to speak out now.

To us, the answer is simple. Were it not for the proposed tax break for millionaires – worth $5 billion annually – our fiscal problems would be much less severe. We would still need to reduce spending, but we could lessen the severity of the cuts this year and even more so next year.

We ask that you join us in urging Governor Cuomo and our state lawmakers to extend the existing millionaire’s tax as a way of avoiding drastic cuts to schools and health facilities.

It is imperative that we protect children and seniors, not millionaires.

Very truly yours,

Robert Jackson,
New York City Council Member,
Co-Chair, Black, Latino and Asian Caucus

Fernando Cabrera,
New York City Council Member,
Co-Chair, Black, Latino and Asian Caucus

Margaret Chin
New York City Council Member,
Secretary, Black, Latino and Asian Caucus

Melissa Mark-Viverito,
New York City Council Member,
Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus

Catherine Fahey,
7th Ward,
Albany Common Council

Lea Webb,
Binghamton City Councilwoman

Jennifer Fuentes,
Alderwoman, 5th Ward,
Kingston Common Council

Brad Lander,
New York City Council Member,
Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus

Carrie Andrews,
Monroe County Legislator, 21st District (City of Rochester)

Dominick Calsolaro,
1st Ward, Albany Common Council

Connie L. Coker,
Deputy Majority Leader, Rockland County Legislature

Edward Collins,
Binghamton City Council, District 7

Richard Conti,
President Pro Tempore,
Council Member, 6th Ward, Albany Common Council

Henry Conyers,
Deputy Mayor of the Village of Hempstead

Inez E. Dickens,
New York City Council Member,
Assistant Deputy Majority Leader

David Donaldson,
Ulster County Legislator

Mathieu Eugene
New York City Council Member, Brooklyn

Julissa Ferreras,
New York City Council Member, Queens

Helen D. Foster,
New York City Council Member, Bronx

Pamela Goddard,
Danby Town Clerk

Leah Golby,
10th Ward, Albany Common Council

John Hutchings,
Broome County Legislature, District 5

Letitia James,
New York City Council Member

Anton Konev,
11th Ward, Albany Common Council

Charles Kramer,
Binghamton City Council President, District 6

Willie Joe Lightfoot,
Monroe County Legislator, 27th District (City of Rochester)

Carolyn McLaughlin,
Council President, Albany Common Council

Darlene Mealy
New York City Council Member, Brooklyn

Michael O'Brien,
12th Ward, Albany Common Council

Annabel Palma,
New York City Council Member, Bronx

Martha Robertson,
Chair, Tompkins County Legislature

Tony Rosario,
Trustee of the Village of Hempstead

Deborah L. Rose
New York City Council Member Treasurer
Black, Latino and Asian Caucus

James Sano,
9th Ward, Albany Common Council

Larry Seabrook
New York City Council Member, Brooklyn

Barbara Smith,
4th Ward, Albany Common Council

Demone Smith,
Buffalo Common Council

Joel Tyner,
Dutchess County Legislator

Robert Weslar,
Binghamton City Council Majority Leader, District 1

Shirley Whitlock,
Alderwoman, 4th Ward, Kingston Common Council

Jumaane D. Williams,
New York City Councilman
Co-Vice Chair Black, Latino and Asian Caucus

Susan Zimet,
Ulster County Legislator