New York Senator Jack Martins deserves credit for bucking the Republican Party on opposing fracking and supporting the NY Save Act, incurring the ire of gun rights ideologues in the state.
Otherwise, though, he toes the Republican line.
He won the Long Island Progressives’ “Roadblock Award” last month for being a key obstacle to major legislation, including opposing increasing the minimum wage with local wage authorization, full funding for Long Island public schools, the Women’s Equality Act, the New York DREAM Act, and public financing of elections.
The biggest difference between Martins and Haber is their stance on women’s rights – specifically, a woman’s right to make critical choices. You can’t be in favor of women’s rights if you don’t grant women’s complete control over their own health, their own bodies, and their own future, including economic wellbeing (anti-choice advocates love the fetus, hate the child and do nothing to give working parents the supports they need).
Martins has paraded his wife and daughters in a commercial to convey the impression he is all for women’s equality – if only he could vote on each of the 10-point agenda separately (he says he would vote for 9 out of 10). The tenth, of course, is a codification of Roe v Wade which despite the flimsy 1972 Supreme Court decision, has been eviscerated in other states.
Martins makes all sorts of disclaimers, saying Roe v Wade is in place, and New Yorkers have no need to worry about it. But we should worry about it – a dodge.
“Whether you are pro life or pro choice, there is no one in this room or state that should believe reasonably that a woman’s right to make a decision to terminate a pregnancy is in jeopardy in NYS –in 4 years in senate, neither sponsored legislation, co-sponsored legislation on this issue.”
But, Martins continued, “I will not allow expansion of termination rights, late term abortions,” Martins stated at the Oct. 7 League of women Voters debate. “If [people are] so concerned about the issue, put the bill on the floor as I have advocated and allow up/down vote on that issue. There is a debate that has to be held.”
Haber gave unqualified support for a woman’s right to choose. “I’m pro-choice, he’s not. We have seen Hobby Lobby, how the court in Texas just killed half the abortion clinics 3 states have 72 hour waiting period. The Supreme Court is 1 justice away [from reversing Roe]. We have an antiquated law [in New York] – it focuses on the life of the mother, not her health. That’s what this law would do, codify choice – I support all 10 points of the Governor’s plan – our district is 2:1 in favor of pro choice and we should be represented by people who believe that.”
I truly resent Martins’ ads which sow fear in the hearts of Long Islanders that a vote for Adam Haber is a vote for higher taxes. “Tax Hike” Haber and the NYC politicians treat Nassau County families like their own personal ATM”. Indeed, that is the present Legislature that uses Long Island like a cash machine – basically funding 50% of New York City’s public schools, while shortchanging Long Island.
That, in a nutshell, is why our property taxes are so high. In Great Neck, state aid covers only 3% of our budget – we have to finance the rest through property taxes.
Overall, Long Island has 17% of the state’s students, but gets only 13% of state aid to education – which does not even take into account the higher cost of living here on the Island.
Linking Haber with New York City, as opposed to representing Nassau County interests, is patently ridiculous – based on what, exactly?
Indeed, Haber has come out extremely forcibly for the property tax cap which limits municipalities to 2% increase in taxes (or CPI, whichever is lower).
Martins, of course, says he championed the property tax cap (and we should thank him), but I have opposed the cap from the beginning, correctly noting that municipalities have no trouble piercing the cap – they only require 3/5 of their trustees to adopt, but school and library budgets require 60% majority to exceed the cap.
At the time, Martins pledged to overturn the onerous unfunded state mandates -but that never happened.
As a result, Long Island school districts, whether they are high performing or low, are unsustainable, and have had to cannibalize their programs – tossing everything that specifically mandated.
It shocks me in fact that Haber, who has seen first hand the impacts of the tax cap on public schools since his record in public service consists of being on Roslyn’s school board, now says he i would double-down on the property tax cap, eliminating “loopholes” (for example, school districts are allowed to deduct the amount paid in debt service in calculating the cap).
The cap, Haber says, “is to force school districts to be more efficient” – such as cooperative purchasing, busing, and refinancing outstanding bonds to take advantage of low interest and such. What about a school district that already does these things and has no place else to cut?
Haber says he sees people’s stress at being overtaxed. But what about getting a fair distribution of school aid? Well, sure, that would help, too.
Haber made a reference to the thousands of local districts through the state, which Cuomo and Spitzer and others have argued contributes to higher taxes because of lost efficiencies, but Haber said he does not favor consolidation of school districts (as Cuomo does) or fire departments.
Haber says he wants a Senate “committee on Government Efficiency” and points me to a site he has maintained, nassausuggestionbox.com, to invite crowdsourcing suggestions to promote efficiency.
Other ways to reduce Long Island property taxes? Haber wants to promote new business, jobs, affordable housing and public transportation (why not a ferry from the North Shore into Manhattan, or a tunnel from the Seaford-Oyster Bay to New Rochelle or Stamford?
“Infrastructure dollars are a big deal. I’m dreaming big,” Haber says.
On the other hand, both candidates stand up for “local control” when it comes to mitigating the undesirable impacts of implementing Common Core and over-testing that is associated with it (actually, over-testing has less to do with Common Core, but is attached to the federal No Child Left Behind mandates and Race to the Top funding formula so that NYS could collect $5 billion in federal funding).
Martins promised to mitigate the cruel impact of a property tax cap (2% or the CPI whichever is lower), by promising to end unfunded mandates. That never happened and he never sought to relieve school districts of their impossible burden (make more bricks with no straw!), which means that our public school districts are literally cannibalizing themselves. Yet, he has stood up against Common Core
The ads in this campaign have been particularly nasty – and false.
Martins’ flyers – a slew paid for by the NYS Association of Realtors – has resorted to stereotype in sowing the fear (without any basis, it would seem), that Haber’s election would mean higher taxes. In one of the most bizarre campaign attacks, a flyer says “If Adam Haber goes to Albany, hold on to your money! Haber opposed the property tax cap because he wants to spend even more!” and a commercial suggests that Haber wants to shift Long Island’s tax money to New York City.
Of course, Haber responds with a pledge never to raise taxes. “Taxpayers are Hurting. Help is On the Way,” reads his campaign flyer.
Haber describes himself as a liberal on social issues but a conservative on financial issues.
“Taxes are the biggest issue,” Haber said during the debate. “It’s time for a businessman who has run billion dollar budget.”
As far as I am concerned, business interests have done exceptionally well under Cuomo and the Democrats, with tax giveaways and incentives in New York State.
Martins has stood firmly against public financing mechanisms, such as presently exist in New York City, saying that he favors lowering the cap on donations – sounds good, except for the Supreme Court’s despicably decided McKutcheon which bars limits to contributions because cash, don’t you know, is just the same as speech.
Martins deserves credit for being the only Republican in the Senate to co-sponsor a bill to make ban on fracking permanent, and prime sponsor that would not allow fracking fluid in any area that relies on sole source aquifer – like Long Island – but it also makes sense since our district is one of the hotbeds for anti-fracking activism in the state.
During the debate, Martins added,” I am very disturbed about news in the last few days that had revelations about Governor’s intervention with regard to study [to downplay the environmental impact of fracking]. Fracking is dangerous to environment, the consequence to environment is clear, documented. We can’t afford to allow upstate communities to be destroyed environmentally. We are one state.
And Martins has used fracking as a weapon against Haber, who, Martin charges, has profited from fracking companies.
But Haber was clear in his opposition to fracking: “My position is completely against fracking in HY – 20 million people in tight area – a lot in Marcellous Shale – I will never ever support, and if the Governor passes, I would seek law that would give local control to override.
“Every time you drill for fossil fuels, you frack. I don’t want to see fracking anywhere on the East Coast –it’s too populated. Corners are cut, campaign dollars flow to people for self-interest….. There is no place for fracking in NYS. We need energy and states that do it, go get ’em, but I support the moratorium as it stands, and a bill that even if heaven forbid it passes, local communities can stop.”
Newsday’s endorsement remarked,”The evolution of Jack Martins continues. …His continuing maturation and nuanced approach to many issues suggest Martins could develop into the kind of next-generation leader Long Island will need in Albany.”
I disagree. Martins hasn’t “evolved” or “matured” as much as honed his masterful skills as a politician.
Indeed, Haber and Martins are well matched – two sides of a similar coin. But Haber will (for the most part) stand for Democratic principles and break the Republican hold on the Senate (so unfairly upheld in the last term because of renegade Democrats), whereas Martins will advance the Republican agenda with rare exceptions. If Democrats take control of the Senate (and Haber could be the 31 Senator), we might see a Dream Act, minimum wage, the Women’s Agenda, and election reform.
In Cuomo-Astorino match-up for NYS Governor, Astorino is no match
LWV: Israel for MiddleClass, Women; Lally for Deregulation, Corporate Personhood
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