4. What will your top 3 budget priorities be in your first term as Council Member?
I believe that redistribution within the current New York City budgetary process is an essential part of equalizingincome disparity. Hundreds of millions - if not billions - of dollars from the budget are used to give developers,corporations and other non-person entities tax abatements, tax breaks and other monetary gifts at the expense of funding for other critical agencies (Homeless Services, Senior Services, Health/Mental Health Services, ChildProtective Services, Family Support, etc.).1.
Increase taxes on top wage earners in New York City to create a more fair and progressive tax structure,with new benchmarks between $500,000 and $5 million up to a maximum of 6.876%, or almost double theexisting top rate.2.
Remove exemptions and enforce "clawback" provisions for large corporations, which currently cost the citymore than $1.5 billion in tax revenue.3.
Subsequently increase funding for vital services as described in the first paragraph using additional fundsgenerated by the above.
5. Do you plan to use participatory budgeting to allocate your discretionary funds? Why or why not?
In its current form, I believe that participatory budgeting operates more as a beauty contest than anything else andunfairly focuses scarce resources on "sexy" projects. Additionally, with discretionary funding solely under the controlof the Council Speaker, council districts receive wildly differing amounts of discretionary funding based upon loyalty,not need. In order for me to support participatory budgeting, there needs to be an institution of a modified needs-based formula - per district - which also includes not only socio-economic data but also the physical size, complexityand infrastructure of a particular district.
6. Please provide examples of recent legislation in Council that you believe promotes human rights.
Some examples include the major immigration law passed in November 2011 which prohibits the Department of Corrections from detaining someone solely based on immigration status; a whistleblower protection expansion act,which protects city contractors from taking an adverse personnel action against an employee who reports fraud or mismanagement; and an actual amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law which protects those "nothaving a job, being available for work, and seeking employment" from deleterious decisions and discrimination byemployers.
7. Legislation is only one of many ways in which Council Members can work to advance human rights. Whatways
than through legislation will you advance the human rights of New Yorkers as a City CouncilMember?
It is extremely important to coordinate with organizations that promote human rights issues, as societal changes oftenresult when several different segments of society work together. Publicity and press are extremely important to shinelight on a particular issue, and having an elected official allied or involved can raise interest and provide focus tospecific subject matter.