Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Spitzer Cares About Poverty

In New York State, our economy is abysmal...especially in Upstate NY. Not only do we have lower incomes Upstate, but we pay far higher taxes. In 2002, NY State had the highest state and local taxes onpersonal income of all 50 states. State and local taxes were $4,645 per capita in NYS and $3,149 on average across the country.

Too long under Republican government; too long without a decent budget being passed; too long without a decent plan for growth of new business, especially in Upstate New York. New York was rated rock-bottom - #50 (out of 50) on the 2004 U.S. Economic Freedom Index. []

As upstate farmer Mark Bitz [] has said, "If leading the Upstate economy was an athletic competition among the 50 states, Governor Pataki’s, Senator Bruno’s, and Assemblyman Silver’s record would be 0-49."

The very recent raise to $6 minimum wage is not enough to keep New York's working poor from slipping below the poverty line, and I see other states doing so much better.

Last March, there was a groundbreaking Conference on Minimum Wage Enforcement sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where diverse groups from across the country gathered to combat Labor violations. While the minimum wage needed to be raised, lack of enforcement is an equally serious problem for working families, especially in our nation’s immigrant communities. Successful and creative community-government collaboration models as well as legislative and industry-based initiatives to protect and enforce minimum wage standards were highlighted, and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was the keynote speaker.

Spitzer (aka "The Spitz") is a great enforcer, as many of us know. Feared by errant corporate types, he recently admitted that even his own father is afraid to take the call when he hears that 'Eliot Spitzer's on line-one'! *wink*

Eliot Spitzer's running for Governor of New York State in 2006, and I wholeheartedly support his candidacy because he shows, every day, that he truly cares about the issue of Poverty.

I recommend that you listen to this speech given by Spitzer at the National Press Club [] last January. He discusses "values" in the context that only government can enforce corporate behavior which is naturally resistant toward minimum wage. He says, "..the marketplace alone can't get us there.....Democrats believe in the market and we understand the market, but it will not survive if we do not understand it's flaws and government does not enforce the rules of integrity."


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