TAKE ACTION: Stop ‘Tax Cap’ Without ‘Mandate Relief’

We are witnessing an historic ‘upping of the ante’ with corporate America and the wealthiest amongst us pushing for an increasing redirection of wealth from the poor, working and middle classes, to those who already benefit the most. Here in New York State this takes the form of Governor Cuomo refusing to extend a small tax surcharge on millionaires, which brings in $5 billion a year! At the same time he is pushing for a ‘tax cap’ levy law, without ‘mandate relief’, that would say that taxes, at local levels, could go up no more than 2% a year. (90% of the average country property tax levy goes to pay for ‘mandates’ from the State government that the State doesn’t help pay for, all or portions–programs such as Medicaid, pensions, child welfare, indigent defense, etc.)

Facing this cap, many of our County legislators in Tompkins County feel that they have no choice but to divest of the County’s money-losing Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA). Not to do this, they say, would just mean worse cuts to other services, layoffs of other employees. The Legislature will be voting on this issue Tuesday evening, 6/21.

Presuming, since you’re getting this email, that you would agree that we, as a society, have to begin to say an emphatic NO to this redirecting of wealth from the vast majority to a select few, the Tompkins County Workers’ Center asks you to take a few ‘actions’ as soon as possible.

Strongly urge, VIA FAX, Governor Cuomo; NY State Senate Leader Skelos; NYS Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver; and local (to Tompkins County) State Senators (O’Mara; Seward; and Nozzolio) to vote against the 2% cap without proper ‘mandate relief’ from the State, and also to preserve/reinstate the millionaires’ surcharge. TAKE ACTION NOW BY GOING TO http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4023/c/200/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2436. For those outside the range of the of O’Mara, Seward and Nozzolio, please go to http://www.nysenate.gov/contact_form to find out who your State Senator is.

It is the Workers’ Center position that the County should keep the CHHA within County hands as it is too risky to be farmed out to a private contractor who would have profit as its first motivation; as well, most likely not be locally-owned. The home health agency, run by the county Health Department, provides home care for 437 county residents. Services include physician-ordered skilled nursing care, supervision over home health aide assistance, and speech, physical, occupational and enterostomal therapy, as well as health education and guidance. All these jobs are union jobs, and thus provide a basic level of worker protection that they most likely would not have in a private non-unionized company. Unfortunately, the jobs of the home health aides themselves have always been contracted out and in most cases are not union. Their situation bears watching.

Of course, the best way to get your message across to State Legislators is to contact them with a phone call. If you are able to do this, here is a list:

Governor Andrew Cuomo – (518) 474-8390

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos as well!
Albany office – (518) 455-3171
Rockville Centre district office – (516) 766-8383

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
Albany office (518) 455-3791
New York City office (212) 312-1420

Senator Jim Seward (In Tompkins County, towns of Groton, Dryden, Caroline, and Danby):
Albany office (518) 455-3131
Cortlandville office (607) 758-9005

Senator Tom O’Mara (In Tompkins County, towns of Ithaca, Newfield, Enfield, and Ulysses, and the City of Ithaca):
Albany office (518) 455-2091
Elmira office (607) 735-9671

Senator Mike Nozzolio (In Tompkins County, town of Lansing)
Albany office (518) 455-2366
Seneca Falls office (315) 568-9816