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Our middle class needs property tax relief.

Middle-class, upstate New Yorkers pay too much in property taxes. It’s completely out of line with the average wages in the area. Having a cap on property taxes and getting a refund check isn’t enough for the voters of SD-46. It simply doesn’t address the root cause of the problem: the very rich and well-connected still enjoy many loopholes and tax breaks. The middle class, small business owners and family farmers are left to fight for the scraps amongst themselves.

Middle class families and small businesses are just getting penalized and taxed in other ways. Essential services are being cut to the bone. And families have to choose between struggling and leaving.

Part of the solution is to bring good jobs to our area. As the executive director of the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State, I’ve supported the movements to raise workers’ wages and provide family leave for working families. Over the same period of time, George Amedore has repeatedly voted against raising the minimum wage at all.

Part of the solution is in more effective economic development programs. New York State spends $9B annually in our state, but it’s not clear that it’s benefiting our region’s small businesses and family farms. Let’s stop giving handouts to political insiders.

Let’s stop giving handouts to political insiders.

And finally, to the benefit our funding-deprived upstate schools, I will fight for our schools to no longer rely on property taxes for the bulk of their funding. The year-to-year uncertainty about budgets is putting our most vulnerable schools into desperate situations. Programs are being cut and students are suffering, especially compared to those in well-funded downstate schools. My opponent’s only suggestion is that parents who send their kids to private school should get tax breaks.

I’ve dedicated my career to fighting for the middle class, and I’m not stopping now. Here’s what I had to say in 2013:

“New York State’s current tax system is built upon a strong preference for the very rich and a shameful willingness to let the majority of New Yorkers struggle needlessly with issues of quality education, critical community resources, and astronomical property taxes compared to income. The wealthiest among us owe a debt to the communities that brought them prosperity and lawmakers need to finally hold them to account.”

Let’s put our community back on track. Vote for me on November 8.

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