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Letter To The Editor: Speak Out At Dutchess County Budget Hearing

Joel Tyner
Joel Tyner Photo Credit: File

Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To send a letter, e-mail northwestdutchess@dailyvoice.com.

Dear Editor:

Speak out at the county budget hearing Monday December 4th and next County Legislature meeting Thursday December 7th (both at 7 pm) for a People's Budget for Dutchess County on the sixth floor of our County Office Building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie for these five reasons (email countylegislators@dutchessny.gov):

1. Our county's fund balance (budget surplus) is $59.6 million (literally triple what it was from 1996 through 2012) because of the cruel change five years ago in our county's sales tax revenue-sharing formula stealing millions from local municipalities-- this should be reversed.

2. County Executive Molinaro has practically doubled the size of his department's own budget in just last two years (from $490,860 to $947,000)-- while he's refused to restore a five-day week to our county senior centers and our county's Office of Consumer Affairs remains history-- this is unacceptable.

3. Last year the Culinary Institute of America got $39 million in tax-exempt bonds through our county Local Development Corporation-- then laid off 17 hard-working employees who had been working decades. Health Quest got $378 million in tax-exempt bonds through our county's taxpayer-financed LDC-- but hasn't done right by its workers at VBMC/NDH (and has also allowed senior citizens at Wells Manor, its housing complex in Rhinebeck, to be mistreated there).

4. It still also costs Dutchess taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually to pay for government benefits for workers paid poverty wages by large corporations, according to Jobs with Justice/University of Connecticut report-- 40% of Dutchess households working yet in poverty; poor wages = home healthcare worker shortage-- time for new economy instead ( http://www.DemocracyCollaborative.org ; http://www.ILSR.org ).

5. For the second year in a row, Molinaro has also proposed $5 million in overtime at our jail-- while there are over thirty nonviolent drug addicts in our jail (charged only with "criminal possession of a controlled substance" not dealing or violent behavior)-- and Dutchess still has an unfair cash bail system (unlike Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey, who have smartly reformed theirs).

Joel Tyner

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