Dear members of the Dutchess County Legislature,
A recent United Way report concluded that forty percent of households in our county suffer economically http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2016...
This is a staggering percentage! We, the undersigned, are citizens of Dutchess County and we urge you to incorporate the following initiatives into your 2017 agenda so that we can begin to bring more of a balance to our County regarding economic inequality. We, the undersigned, are on the same page on these issues and will cast future votes in relation to these specific initiatives. We, the undersigned, will no longer stand for the status quo and we will not tolerate more business as usual. We demand representation! The agenda we endorse is as follows:
1) In Income inequality in the US by state, metropolitan area, and county, a new report published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), Mark Price, an economist at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, PA and Estelle Sommeiller, a socio-economist at the Institute for Research in Economic and Social Sciences in Greater Paris, France detail the incomes of the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent by state, metropolitan area, and county.For New York the findings were bleak and include the following: The top 1 percent earned 45 times more than the bottom 99 percent in New York, the greatest disparity of any state; the average annual income of the top 1 percent was $2 million and New York’s richest 1/100 of top 1% (“the 1% of the 1%”) had average incomes of $61.6 million, second to Connecticut’s $69.5 million; A three decade-long era of shared prosperity came to an end in 1979 when the 1%’s income share started to rise dramatically in New York and in every state in the United States. Since 1979, the average incomes of the top 1% have grown by 272% in inflation-adjusted terms in New York, while the average incomes of the 99% rose a meager 5.4%
Thus, we the undersigned, demand that this body politic restore progressive taxation and reduce property taxes for those properties valued at less than $500,000.00.
2) Begin to study local currency initiatives like "Ithaca Hours" which fosters economic interactions which are based on harmony rather than on more Hobbsian forms of competition. The "Ithaca Hour" is the oldest and largest local currency system in the United States and therefore we can easily avail ourselves of the lessons Ithaca has learned in maintaining this vital system of alternative currency.
3) Places that are home to numerous locally owned businesses are more prosperous, sustainable, and resilient than those in which much of the economy is controlled by a few big corporations. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance offers many policy initiatives which, if adopted by this legislature, would foster more locally-owned businesses and act as a catalyst to help those businesses already operating here thrive. Some of the goals we support that have been suggested by ILS are (a) the enactment of a formula business policy which outlines several factors that a County Commission would consider in its review, including the existing concentration of formula retail in the neighborhood, and whether similar goods are already available within the district[ (b) County legislation which would support the development of more startups by adhering to research that has shown that urban neighborhoods that have a diverse mix of building sizes and ages, including historic buildings that provide smaller commercial spaces, have mores startups and a higher density of small businesses, compared to areas where the buildings are larger, newer, and more homogenous; (C) The adoption of a program which causes set-asides for local businesses in new development; (d) Preferences for local businesses when leasing County property; and (e) permit-fee waivers, assistance with variances, and streamlined plan review processes amongst other incentives to support adaptive reuse by local entrepreneurs in downtown areas experiencing high vacancy rates.
4) Enact rent control legislation in order to keep up with FIFTY ONE other cities in New York State
5) Start municipal broadband
6) Expand recycling
7) Mandate chemical pesticide applicators provide notice twenty-four-hour to adjacent land owners prior to spraying
8) Establish County program incentivizing "Farm-to-Table" eateries
9) Implement campaign finance reform legislation which includes a ban on donations from the real estate industry
10) Establish a Working Group of County officials and outside experts in order to make recommendations for reducing our prison polulation in a safe and orderly manner.