Tag Archives: WFP

Electoral Fusion Must Go

17 Jun

It is fundamentally disingenuous for Andrew Cuomo to reject the Working Families Party line because of ongoing investigations into its activities, but then to accept the Independence Party line. After all, the Independence Party is knee-deep in the Haggerty money laundering / grand larceny case, and also in the Steve Pigeon / Pedro Espada investigation regarding, among other things, election law violations and tax fraud.

The Independence Party is the poster child for the corruption that naturally arises out of electoral fusion. Along with independent redistricting, part of what’s critically necessary to reform politics in this state is to abolish electoral fusion. Politics will always have money and quid-pro-quos behind the scenes, but fusion makes it particularly dirty, lucrative, and acute.

Genuine Voter Fraud Alleged

29 Sep

Actual false votes were allegedly cast on the Working Families line in Albany-area races.

Again – abolish. electoral. fusion. It is a breeding ground for corruption. The WFP will bear the brunt of the backlash. Their ties to ACORN will be brought up, and the whole thing will be a great sideshow.

But don’t for a minute think this doesn’t go on in the Conservative or Independence Party lines on a regular basis; don’t for a minute think this is unique to the WFP. Electoral fusion is what fuels this, and parties should be required to run their members as candidates, period. Hopefully this revelation will result in Albany abolishing the fusion system – they’ve been reluctant to do so until now because let’s face it, it helps them get elected.

Reality Collides with Fantasy

19 Mar

In order to balance the state budget, Governor Paterson first suggested taxing just about anything your grubby little hands might touch on an ordinary day. That plan has since been jettisoned.

Instead, there is talk of a “millionaire’s tax“, which the Working Families Party calls a “fair share tax”, raising the tax rate on those earning over $250,000, because Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg pay the same 6.85% marginal rate as you or I.

Now, Fox News acolytes will scream, “class warfare”! Well, it’s quaint the way in which the right-wing media have enlisted middle-class Republicans to be defenders of the interests of the super-wealthy, oftentimes to their own disadvantage. 6.85% levied against someone making $40,000 per year is a disproportionately larger burden than it is for someone making $1,000,000 per year, or even $250,000 per year. It’s also how our federal tax scheme works. Deal with it.

But the most persuasive counter-argument has been, “but they’ll just move!”

Move where, exactly? New Jersey? Connecticut? Extend their commute by 2 hrs to Pennsylvania? Someone’s going to leave Park Avenue or Scarsdale and move to where? Charlotte? People live in New York for a variety of reasons, and it’s safe to say that their super-swell taxation situation isn’t among them. The New York Times reports that New Jersey upped its tax bracket for the wealthy a few years back, and:

New Jersey raised taxes on the wealthy in 2004, increasing by 2.6 percent the tax rate levied on those making more than $500,000 a year; and Gov. Jon S. Corzine this month proposed a new increase on high earners.

But a study by Professor Massey and two colleagues, published in September, estimated that the previous tax increase cost New Jersey only 50 to 350 existing “half-millionaire” households — a relatively small number against the total of 44,000 such households in the state.

While those departures cost the state about $38 million a year in revenue, the study estimates, the higher taxes levied on those who stayed have brought in an average of $895 million a year. Also in 2004, California voters approved a 1 percent income tax surcharge on personal income over $1 million, and Silicon Valley and Beverly Hills appear to remain well populated with the wealthy.

As this Kos Diarist puts it,

Believe it or not, people don’t dig up roots and flounce out of their home state just because of taxes, any more than they quit their jobs when they creep up to the edge of a higher tax bracket (no matter how many times ignorant reporters find stupid people who think that’s how the tax system works).

No matter how hard the tax-cut cult tries to spin it, the truth is people–even rich people!–like to live where there are well-funded public schools and public safety agencies, good roads and hospitals, and quality infrastructure and shared communal spaces.

The melodramatic attempts by the rudderless Republican Party and the Twitterati of the conservative movement to say that the US has made a sharp turn towards Stalinism is entertaining, but little else. When governments find themselves in a hole, taxation gets examined. If the tax rates for the wealthy revert back to Clinton-era levels, that’s not totalitarian Stalinism. Sorry to break it to you. If the wealthiest New Yorkers find themselves in a tax bracket higher than that of a $40,000 earner, it’s not time to start singing the Internationale. Hate to tell you that.

In the end, the mantra that the wealthiest New Yorkers – most of whom live in and around Manhattan – would move if they found themselves in a higher tax bracket – is just as untrue as the “Stalinism” demagoguery.

Even some conservatives who oppose the tax hike on economic growth grounds say the “they’ll leave” argument is nonsense:

“I kind of clench my teeth every time Paterson says people will leave,” said Edmund J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a conservative-leaning research group that has advocated for sharp cuts in spending to balance New York’s budget.

“It is the selling point. It’s also a dumb point,” Mr. McMahon added. “Nobody says your wealthy enclaves will shrink dramatically. What they say is that your economy will suffer.”

Maybe, maybe not. Maybe a handful will indeed go Galt. Most won’t. The problems in New York are myriad and well-documented; overregulation, a feckless legislature, high user fees and property taxes, high sales taxes, duplicative governments and taxing entities, etc. Asking the wealthy to pay a bit more than the middle class do is not the biggest problem affecting New York.

I’ll also note, as an aside, that the WFP is the only minor party taking advantage of electoral fusion that – whether you agree or not – actually takes a stand on, and advocates for, its issues.

Kryzan on Working Families Party Line

31 Oct

From a Kryzan campaign press release:

Court Rules Kryzan Name Must be Put on Ballot

Amherst, NY — Last night, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department ruled that Alice Kryzan’s name must appear on the ballot next Tuesday as the nominee of both the Working Families Party and the Democratic Party.

The court ruling makes official what has been the case for several months: Alice Kryzan is the Working Families Party candidate in this election. Alice received the endorsement of the Working Families Party, Jon Powers, the Buffalo News and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

“Alice is proud to have the support of the Working Families Party, of Jon Powers, and of voters across this district who want a new direction for Western New York’s economy,” said spokesperson Anne Wadsworth. “Despite Chris Lee and the Republican machine’s attempts to block Alice’s name from appearing on the Working Families Party ballot line, today’s ruling will allow voters to have a clear choice when they vote on Tuesday.”