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Democratic Perspective on the State of Dutchess County 2015

February 26, 2015

Poughkeepsie, NY — The Democratic message on the State of Dutchess County: Control deficit spending and runaway borrowing

Tonight Dutchess County Democrats released their perspective on the state of Dutchess County in a balanced response. In a video message, former County Comptroller Diane Jablonski (D), delivered the Democrats’ message warning county residents that Dutchess County government’s continued borrowing and spending practices will lead to higher property taxes.

The Democrats took County Executive Molinaro to task for his recent claims made about Dutchess County’s fiscal situation. “In fact, a true statement of our financial picture tells a very different story – a story of higher debt, higher spending, and higher taxes. A story that should concern every resident of Dutchess County because we, the taxpayers, are ultimately left to pay the bill for the budget gimmicks and misguided policies of this administration,” stated Diane Jablonski, former Dutchess County Comptroller.The Democrats also called for a County Charter Commission to be formed to review the nearly 50 year old County Charter and make recommendations to modernize our local government structures in Dutchess County.

Democratic Chairwoman Elisa Sumner stated, “Former Comptroller Jablonski has made a strong case as to why county residents should be concerned about Dutchess County’s fiscal situation. The fact is this administration has moved to raise every form of taxation under its purview; property taxes, sales taxes, energy taxes, and mortgage taxes.”

Despite all the fanfare about the soundness of the recently adopted 2015 County budget, the reality is the budget has a multi-million dollar deficit and raises property taxes on most homeowners. It is time to rethink county government.

LINK TO VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEps-rF1Zog

COUNTY EXECUTIVE SHOULD REIMBURSE TAXPAYERS $22,000 FOR MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS

January 27, 2015
 *Media Release*

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 20, 2015


COUNTY EXECUTIVE SHOULD REIMBURSE TAXPAYERS $22,000 FOR MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS – 
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Democratic officials are demanding County Executive Marc Molinaro refund the nearly $22,000 of taxpayer money he used on a county-wide mailer advertising his November Tele-Town Hall Forum.
“We discovered after the fact that the money spent for his mailing came from the Department of Community and Family Services,” said Elisa Sumner, chairwoman of the county committee.”This administration has slashed millions of dollars from mental hygiene and other health and wellness programs (see page 9 of link below).   Family services for Dutchess County residents have been severely impacted by cutbacks. The DCFS had to reduce its hours of public operations. That this department’s limited resources should be appropriated and used for political purposes to sway public opinion is reprehensible.”According to a recent report in the Poughkeepsie Journal, caseworkers in Dutchess have the highest caseload per person in a five county area, and is also well above the state average.

In 2007, during Molinaro’s tenure as an Assemblyman (though he did not vote for it), New York State adopted ethics reform laws which included a prohibition on elected officials from appearing in taxpayer-funded announcements. This did not stop him from placing his picture on the taxpayer funded postcard, and may well be a case for JCOPE (Joint Commission on Public Ethics) or the Attorney General.

“Twenty two thousand may seem like a small amount, but it could be half a year’s salary for a case worker and should have been used as budgeted, for our neediest residents,” concluded Sumner. “We call on the County Executive to reimburse Family Services immediately.”

COUNTY OF DUTCHESS,
NEW YORK
Basic Financial Statements, Required
Supplementary Information and
Federal Awards Information
for the Year Ended December 31, 2013 and
Independent Auditors’ Reports (see page 9)

Candidate Comparison: Enough said.

October 13, 2014
Candidate Comparison: Enough said.

SEN. GIPSON: Setting the Record Straight on Upstate Education Funding

October 7, 2014

“The facts laid out by the Alliance for a Quality Education provide further proof that Sue Serino has been flooding our mailboxes and TV sets with lies to benefit the downstate interests that are bankrolling her campaign. I am proud of the fact that I have been able to secure much needed additional funds for our schools, despite the fact that the Senate Republican majority has sought to shift our limited resources to private downstate charter schools. Advocating on behalf of the parents, students, educators and taxpayers of Dutchess and Putnam counties has been my top priority. I will continue my efforts to ensure the residents of the Hudson Valley receive the school funding and state resources they deserve.”

Background:

Upstate School Funding:
Setting the Record Straight

Alliance for Quality Education and Citizen Action of New York
Release Analysis of State Republican Claims on School Aid

ALBANY (October 7, 2014) – With the 2014 electoral campaign in full swing, the Alliance for Quality Education and Citizen Action New York want to set the record straight as to which candidates are fighting for education.

Republican candidates are accusing upstate Democrats of “underfunding” upstate schools and delivering “fewer education dollars for our schools.”

But an examination of the budget proposal tells different story.

During the 2014 budget season, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed $608 million for schools. The Senate Republican-led majority proposed only $204 million more than the Governor for schools throughout the state. The Senate Democratic conference rejected the plan as inadequate. They fought to increase it by two and one half times to $512 million. Of the additional $308 million they won, $146 million went to schools in Upstate New York.

As a consequence, school funding totaled $1.12 billion, almost twice as much as the governor originally proposed.

“This report clears up any misrepresentations made by political campaigns about who actually fought for the most school aid in this year’s budget and who voted to shortchange our kids,” said Billy Easton, executive director of AQE. “The five upstate Senate Democrats who held out for more funding deserve credit for more than doubling what the Senate Republicans proposed. Their strength was essential to saving vital programs like Kindergarten, art and music.”

“Thanks to the Senate Democrats, our kids’ guidance counselors, libraries, arts and AP classes, and so many other programs were saved from the chopping block,” said Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of New York. “It’s important for people to know the facts about education funding, and unfortunately the Senate Republicans have decided to intentionally mislead New Yorkers about their record.”

A Schenectady parent Jamaica Miles pointed out the impacts of the Senate Democrats’ advocacy on behalf of upstate schools.

“Thanks to the Senate Democrats fighting for more funding than the Senate Republican Majority proposed we were able to save kindergarten in Schenectady,” she said. “It is terrible that the Senate Republicans were prepared to shortchange five year olds, it may be even worse that they are distorting their record to the voters.”

For the full report, click here.

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Details on the money that has flooded into Sue Serino’s campaign from downstate special interests is available here: Crains New York

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A Senate Republican spokesman was caught saying: “Sen. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) is the leader of the Senate right now, and he’s from Long Island. That’s significant. You’re talking about a party that sets the agenda toward Long Island when dividing resources.” The Island Now 

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The 2014 Senate Budget Resolution, drafted by the Senate Republicans, included over $200 million in state aid for downstate districts and nothing for Mid-Hudson and Upstate interests: 2014 GOP Budget Resolution

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Kathy Hochul visits, rallying for Women’s Equality.

October 4, 2014
Kathy Hochul visits, rallying for Women’s Equality.

Sen. Terry Gipson, and Assembly Members Didi Barrett and Frank Skartados joined New York’s Lieutenant Governor Candidate Kathy Hochul at Vassar College to rally in support of the full 10-point Women’s Equality Act, whose passage was blocked by Senate Republicans in this last term.

Terry said this to those in attendance demanding the act be passed in it’s entirety in 2015: “Every single one of you grab every single person you can when it comes time to vote on November 4 and get them out because if we do not succeed, if all of us up here on this stage do not succeed in November, this Women’s Equality Act is in great danger of not getting done and we just can’t take that risk,” Gipson says. “So we’re counting on you. We’ve got to get this done. Thank you for your support.”

Didi writes: “As a lifetime advocate for women and girls, I was also delighted to welcome Lieutenant Governor Candidate Kathy Hochul to the Hudson Valley today and join colleagues Senator Terry Gipson and Assemblymember Frank Skartados, students and community leaders for a rally at Vassar College to reaffirm our commitment to Women’s Equality in New York State. Later, Hyde Park Town Supervisor Aileen Rohr and I took (Kathy) for a quick tour of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s home Val-Kill, showcasing our region’s rich history of strong women leaders.”