GLENS FALLS -- More taxes on Wall Street, free education for college students and publicly funded jobs.
Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins stated his platform Saturday at the Rock Hill Bakehouse Cafe with how $25 billion in revenue in taxes taken from the rich, Wall Street bonuses and electronic trading would fund services like free education and jobs to mass public transit projects and a single-payer health care system.
Hawkins' platform also includes a ban on hydrofracking, a restructuring of Medicaid so counties don't bill 45 percent of one's property but having the state handle the entire cost of the program, community-owned banks and a moratorium on foreclosures, among other changes.
"So how do you pay for it?" he asked.
According to Hawkins' campaign, a stock transfer tax, which serves as a trading fee of one twentieth of 1 percent for up to $350 per trade, would have brought in $16 billion to the state last year.
Another $8 billion would be brought in from a progressive income tax system, where taxes would be up to 15 percent for the wealthy.
And $10 billion would come from a bankers' bonus tax of 50 percent, Hawkins said, putting that in the context of trillions of dollars in bank bailouts.
Voters at the eatery voiced their concern about how others portray Green Party votes as taking away from the race's two major party candidates, Republican Carl Paladino and Democrat Andrew Cuomo.
But Hawkins had another take, suggesting voters would turn to his party rather than six other candidates for the race because it has a comprehensive program, rather than a single issue.
"We're not splitting the vote, we're liberating the vote. A vote for us will mean something. A vote for Cuomo will be a vote Paladino's agenda because they're very similar. Besides that, Paladino is out of it. He is not going to win. He talked himself out of the race. There are very few people left who don't feel offended by him," Hawkins said.
A Marist College poll released Friday found Cuomo has 60 percent to 37 percent lead over Paladino.
Hawkins, who attended Dartmouth College, has run without success 17 times for political offices ranging from Syracuse Common Council to U.S. Senator and has recently worked unloading trucks at UPS in Syracuse.
Keeping in the theme of his discussion, Hawkins took off a light blue long-sleeve collared dress shirt at the reservation-required talk to reveal a black Teamsters Local 317 union T-shirt.
Hawkins also poked fun at Cuomo, the state's attorney general, for declining to engage in any more gubernatorial debates, suggesting he Cuomo's withdrawn stance should warrant putting a picture of him on a milk carton.
There was no laughter at the startling statistics Hawkins rattled off, though, which included an Urban Institute state-funded study that found a $28 billion health care savings annually for New York state citizens by 2019 for a single-payer system because in private insurance, he said, 30 cents for every dollar is spent on administration.
Realistically, Hawkins' main goal is to get 200,000 signatures to establish the Green Party as the state's third major party. If 50,000 signatures are received, Green Party candidates gain easier access to getting onto ballots, like two local candidates who became mayors in Victory and Greenwich.
Those lower thresholds mean 50 votes, rather than 3,500, are needed to put Green Party candidates on the ballot for an independent nominating petition, Hawkins said in regards to his Congressional district.
"What we get now is people voting defensively for the lesser evil against what they fear most," he said in regards to the two-party system.