Green Party's Howie Hawkins outlines his own state of the state
The man who finished in third place for governor of New York last fall has still issued his own state of the state in hopes of a continued push for his vision.
Howie Hawkins, a Syracuse resident, has been a constantly more progressive voice than the state’s liberal leaders. He’s pushing for programs that go a step beyond what Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo will lay out in his State of the State address Wednesday afternoon.
Hawkins says the governor’s recently announced plan to forgive two years of student debt for graduates from state colleges is good, but during his campaign, Hawkins proposed free higher education for in-state schools.
Hawkin’s Green State of the State spends a lot of time on racial and economic equality, which he says are linked.
"When you have greater equality you have less violent crime in society. And when people have opportunities to make legitimate livings, crime goes down," he said in an interview. "So that’s a reason for jobs that pay living wages."
As for Cuomo’s proposal for property tax relief, Hawkins says the governor’s plan is not necessarily a winning formula.
"You don’t get that tax break unless your community stays within that two percent tax cap. At the same time, he’s freezing revenue sharing, state aid to municipalities," Hawkins said. "So that puts local communities in a fiscal bind."
Cuomo’s proposal is that homeowners who pay six percent or more of their annual paychecks in taxes would receive a credit on their tax filings. A similar credit would be available to renters.
Hawkins is also a big proponent of investment in green energy and public education. He says a progressive tax structure would bring in more funding for those programs.