2017 Syracuse Election Results -- What Happened?

On the positive side, the Green policy platform and candidates received great reviews during the campaign and unprecedented post-election praise from community leaders, the media, and the mayor-elect himself. The expectation is that the new mayor and council will take up some of the policies the Greens advocated. That gives the Greens leverage going forward.

On the negative side, the Green vote was down from every local election since before its 2009 campaign.

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Letter to the editor on Progressive City Income Tax

November 5, 2017

To the editor:

Your editorial (“Ben Walsh for Mayor,” Nov. 5) claims that my proposal for a progressive city income tax "would be a disaster, driving employers who could move or expand elsewhere to do so.”

I am not proposing a business income tax. I am proposing a personal tax on individuals who earn income in the city, whether they are residents or commuters.

Personal income taxes do not appear on a business’s profit and loss statement. The do not affect a business’s bottom line.

The published studies on taxation and business location find no correlation between personal income taxes and business location at the municipal or state level.

4,943 jurisdictions in 17 states, covering over 23 million residents, have local income taxes. If your claim of driving employers away was correct, why aren’t businesses in the booming economy of New York City, with a city income tax averaging 3 percent, moving to cities like Syracuse with no income tax.

I am proposing a progressively graduated income tax averaging 1 percent. That would generate $28 million from the city’s $2.8 billion payroll. It would more than cover the city’s recurring $15-20 million structural deficit. With reserves down to $20-30 million at the end of the current fiscal year, the next mayor’s first budget may be their last without more deep cuts to city services or significant new revenues.

If not progressive income taxes – in the form of increased state revenue sharing of our state income taxes and/or a local income tax — where does the editorial board propose to find the revenues to avert city bankruptcy and a state-imposed financial control board?

The editorial suggests efficiencies (i.e., more cuts), shared services with the county (not nearly enough savings to cover the deficit), and “to think creatively.” That is not a realistic plan.

Howie Hawkins

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Statement on Gun Safety

For Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

by Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for Mayor of Syracuse, www.howiehawkins.org

In regard to gun safety laws at the state and national levels, I will speak up as mayor in support of closing the loopholes for gun shows and background checks and in opposition to the proposals before congress to impose concealed carry reciprocity between states and to remove restrictions on gun silencers.

In regard to what we should do to reduce gun violence at the city level, all categories of crime have been going down in Syracuse since the 1990s and in the last few years — except shootings, most of them by youth unattached to jobs or education. In fact, an AP study reported on the cover of USA Today on September 8 this year found that Syracuse ranked 6th in the nation among all cities of 50,000 people or more for teenagers wounded or killed by gunfire.

I will take a two-pronged approach to address this crisis in our city.

First, I will hire 30 youth outreach workers to help the active shooters and other at-risk youth get on a positive path in life. The outreach workers would connect with these youth and help them to access jobs, education, job training, counseling, and/or drug treatment, depending on the individual’s needs.

Second, I will implement community policing where all officers are assigned to walking beats, where we get to know them and they get to know us. Their mission is to build relationships with the neighbors and businesses on their beat and focus on solving problems and de-escalating conflicts before they get out of hand.

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Progressive Democrats Have Little Power Without an Independent Left

In January 2017, Stephanie Luce, published an article on Medium assessing the role of the Working Families Party—along with grassroots mobilizations—in moving Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York to the left. Solidarity asked her permission to republish and also invited Howie Hawkins to comment. We are pleased to publish these two thoughtful pieces. 

How to Make a Corporate Democrat Govern as a Progressive (at least some of the time): Andrew Cuomo, Zephyr Teachout, Bernie Sanders and the Working Families Party by Stephanie Luce 

Progressive Democrats Have Little Power Without an Independent Left by Howie Hawkins

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Help Greens Win in Syracuse


We can elect Greens to mayor and three city council seats in Syracuse, New York in this year’s November 7 elections. We ask for your help.

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Metro Government for Desegregation and Land Use Planning

Metropolitan Government for Desegregation and Land Use Planning

by Howie Hawkins 

This statement is a 3-minute talk I gave at the Manlius Chamber of Commerce’s candidates forum on August 8, 2017. I’ve added a few sentences on school desegregation in this version to drive home that point.

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For a Sustainable Syracuse

Declaration of Candidacy by Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for Mayor of Syracuse

May 4, 2017

Sustainable Syracuse Vision Maps and Drawings

A mayoral candidate ought to provide voters with a Strategic Vision for where he or she wants Syracuse to move during his or her administration and an Action Plan for getting there.

Strategic Vision

Sustainable Syracuse is strategic vision for making our city sustainable fiscally, economically, and ecologically. I want to focus city resources and policies on uplifting poor and working-class people. That will reduce the crime and school problems that come with concentrated poverty. With lower crime and improved schools, Syracuse will retain and attract middle-class people and businesses. That is how we can build a sustainable prosperity for all of us.

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Metropolitan Government Needs Federalism and Proportional Representation

by Howie Hawkins

This op-ed was submitted to the Syracuse Post-Standard on February 13, 2017 but not published.

The Green Party believes that our region needs a metropolitan government in order to effectively address segregation, poverty, economic stagnation, sprawl, and civic disengagement. Unfortunately, we cannot support the Consensus Commission's partial metro government as proposed.

The Commission's proposal disempowers city residents. They lose their local government, while the towns retain theirs. City residents are stripped of their local planning, zoning, and code enforcement powers, while the towns retain theirs. Debt is not consolidated. The city is reduced to special tax district to pay on its debts and underfunded schools. Schools and public housing remain segregated from the rest of the county, which has the the most “concentrated” (i.e., segregated) poverty of any metro region in the nation. This is the consolidation of segregation.

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A Federated Model for Metropolitan Government

Only a metropolitan government can overcome existing municipal and school district borderlines that – intentionally or not – enforce race and class segregation in housing, schools, and job and business opportunities. But that kind of metro government requires a metropolitan school district and metro-wide policies to enforce fair housing, inclusionary zoning, and equal employment and business opportunities.

The Green Party's federated model for metro government would make both local and metro government more democratic by introducing citizen assemblies, revenue sharing and participatory budgeting, and proportional representation in the metropolitan legislature.


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State aid is the once and future solution to Syracuse's fiscal crisis


The City of Syracuse is moving ever closer to bankruptcy. By the end of next fiscal year, we face a Detroit-like takeover of our elected city government by a state-appointed Financial Control Board.

The once and future solution to the city's fiscal crisis is state revenue sharing, funded by progressive taxation. Revenue sharing is not a bailout. We already pay for revenue sharing with our state income and sales taxes. It is a fiscal responsibility the state took on to fund the services it mandates that municipalities provide.

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Howie Hawkins is the 2017 Green candidate for Syracuse Mayor
Hawkins for Mayor