Policies

Health Care for all… It’s a Human Right.

We can lead the nation in providing health care for all New Yorkers. Where you work, whether you can pay your deductible, or if you are on public assistance or on the street, you should not have to choose between eating and getting your prescription filled. Today, it’s difficult for some Medicare patients, people who have worked all their lives, to find a doctor who will take them. And many New Yorkers face an even worse fate, without coverage or the means to buy it. We must also protect the full range of women’s health care needs from curtailment by religious extremism.

Health insurance costs are bankrupting our local governments and school districts. Small businesses struggle to provide health benefits to their workers. The US is the only modern democracy where people literally go bankrupt because of medical bills…even if they are insured!

Every other modern democracy, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, provide health care for their people. We can, too. A government-run health care system, whether expansion of Medicare or some other model, will benefit everyone:

  • Providers will eliminate insurance company red tape and administrative costs, leaving more time for patient care;
  • Governments & school districts will no longer face rising health insurance costs for their employees, and rising taxes for their residents;
  •  Local taxes will be more stable once local governments’ insurance rate increases are gone;
  • Individuals will no longer face huge deductibles and gaps in coverage;
  • Insurance costs will no longer be a bar to hiring.
  • Job mobility will increase, as your health care will no longer depend upon your employer.

Providing health care independent of employment will be key to economic growth here in New York. It will be easier for small business to create jobs and keep workers; it will lower state and local taxes by ending corporate welfare to insurance companies; and save lives and protect families in the bargain. 

Building a Solid Economic Future for Upstate New York

We are fortunate to have among the most beautiful landscapes and undeveloped places in America. The Catskills, the Adirondacks, our Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions are drawing visitors from all over the country and the world. Tourism is the state’s 3rd largest employer, generating a record $114.8 Billion in 2018. 

Our clean air and sparkling waters must be protected, as the irreplaceable assets they are. If we continue to support and promote our agricultural resources, our small farmers, craft breweries, orchards and more, we can help sustain and redevelop our traditional agricultural economy while protecting natural resources for the health of the planet.

Unlike the mill and factory jobs that foreign competition and automation have taken away, these green jobs are local and cannot be outsourced.

Addressing the Climate Challenge

New York has one of the world’s largest economies. Our emissions are a significant part of the nation’s greenhouse gas burden, so what we do to lessen our emissions makes a significant difference. Scientists and most people agree that global climate change is an existential threat to us, our children and grandchildren, and our planet. 

We can make New York a world leader in building a 100% clean renewable homegrown energy economy by 2050. With locally produced energy supporting local communities and good paying green jobs that cannot be outsourced, by streamlining the siting of solar and wind farms, by creating meaningful incentives for electric vehicles and solar installations, and by requiring new build to be energy-neutral  — We can do this! If we learn from cities and states around the world who have made these changes, — We can do this!

We can have a completely green New York, which will protect the environment from the grave dangers of climate change, build the local economy, and create sustainable jobs right here in New York.

Bringing Budget Justice Back to New York

Over the past decade, NY’s population of millionaires grew 72%, and NY’s billionaires have a combined wealth greater than 300% of our entire NYState budget! Yet, $4billion in court ordered funding for our children’s schools remains unpaid; more than 92 thousand NYers are homeless; thousands suffer and die as our health care system operates for profits and the opioid crisis explodes; and basic services decline as state budget cuts force increases in local property and school taxes.  

We can do better! Budget Justice means taxing the very richest New Yorkers and investing to make New York a better place for all of us.  Here’s how:

  • Second homes valued over $5M 
  • Annual income over $5M 
  • Carried interest (so hedge funders will pay appropriate income taxes)
  • Stock transactions (already taxed but rebated)

If we tax the very wealthiest among us more fairly, in proportion to their wealth, more than $40 Billion annual additional revenue could address our most pressing social and economic issues, create jobs, and make NY a better, fairer place for all of us. And these increases would fall upon only big corporations and the uber-rich, who can well afford to pay their fair share.

Empowering Voters by: 

… ending the influence of Dark Money/Big Money in Public Policy.

Sadly, many people believe their votes have little impact on politicians, and that big money corrupts government policies. They are right. When dialing for dollars is our representatives’ nearly full time job, the big money donors make that job easier. And so, big money buys access to our politicians,  access means influence, and influence makes policies that benefit the 1%.

In Connecticut, where voluntary public financing of elections was instituted in 2008, the change has been dramatic. Politicians have more time to devote to their constituents —  the people — and legislation addressing the people’s needs predominates. Important public benefit legislation gets bipartisan support. Lobbyists and big money have less influence on public policy. Policies Connecticut has adopted since public financing was implemented are more aligned with the public’s preferences and needs. This means democracy works better.

We too can eliminate the worst aspects of “pay to play” with a robust system of public financing.

…and by  Greater Voter Participation 

New York has among the worst voter turnout rates in the nation. Before the presidential election of 2016, NY was among the bottom half, and in 2016 only 57.2 % of eligible voters cast their votes. WHY? People do not think their vote matters, when big money buys the state’s policies. Small donor matching funds and lower contribution limits will make regular voters’ needs more important.  

Another reason for our low voter turnout is difficulty in registering and in voting. Last year, with Democrats in control of the NYS Senate as well and the Assembly, we enacted early voting across NY to allow greater access to the polls, as well as combined primaries, to reflect the needs of modern workers and caregivers. Even greater turnout could result if NY enacts  automatic voter registration of 18 year olds, with an opt out provision. 

Voting should be made a “thing”, part of what we all do as New Yorkers. Engaging the public in our Democracy will sustain our freedoms and fight corruption.

Short Takes

  1. Joe will continue fighting for our children’s future and Upstate NY communities in the Assembly.
  2. We must make the full range of health care available to everyone. This is the right thing to do for families, and it will make it easier for small businesses to create jobs and retain workers, lower property & school taxes by freeing communities from excessive health insurance premiums going directly to insurance company profits.
  3. We will cut takes for average New Yorkers by closing corporate loopholes and making Wall Street and the super wealthy pay their fair share.
  4. Make NY a world leader in building a 100% Clean Energy economy with locally produced energy supporting local communities and good paying sustainable green jobs that cannot be outsourced. This will protect our environment and our children’s future from the grave dangers of Climate Change.
  5. We will end legalized bribery that is corrupting our Democracy, with meaningful Campaign Finance Reform to keep wealthy corporate interests from buying elections and public policy.