Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Progressive Plan to Reverse Economic Decline

Don Barber for State Senate
September 4, 2008

Speaking in Cortland today, State Senate candidate Don Barber (D-Caroline) presented his vision for a new upstate economy built on alternative energy industries and a small business revival. Barber hit hard at Sen. Jim Seward's policy of giving tax breaks to big businesses that take taxpayer dollars and fail to produce jobs.

Barber is optimistic that his plan will turn back decades of economic decline. The six-term Town of Caroline Supervisor sees opportunities for an economic comeback in upstate New York if the region builds on its agricultural base and develops solar, wind and biomass industries. A proponent of the "buy local" movement, he also advocates rolling back unfunded mandates to lower property taxes. Driving down property taxes will help residents and small businesses thrive, Barber said.

"A new, vibrant economy is within our grasp. We must buy local and innovate to build the new economy. The real economy isn't a bunch of graphs and numbers. It's our quality of life. It's families and our children," Barber said.

Barber decried Sen. Seward's failed policies, charging the 22-year incumbent is "too cozy with big business." Referring to Sen. Seward's corporate giveaways, Barber added, "Just this year, he and the Republican leadership rejected a proposal to require companies that get tax breaks and then outsource jobs to return that money. It's our hard-earned dollars that he gave away without demanding accountability."

The sky-rocketing cost of health insurance is also depressing the local economy, Barber argued, laying the blame squarely at Sen. Seward's feet. "Jim Seward heads up the Senate Insurance Committee. Since 2001 he has blocked a bill to cap HMO premium increases at 5%. The result? HMO premiums have risen 79% and insurance company profits increased a stunning 93%. The lack of affordable health care is the main reason that small businesses can't start up and farmers are forced to find jobs off the farm."

"Jim Seward's out of touch," Barber's Campaign Manager Tarah Rowse said. "Gas prices are crushing working families, and he gives the insurance companies a big present, pushing through a bill that lets them raise rates on auto insurance up to 5% a year without any oversight. At the worst possible time, Seward made driving more expensive. Permanently."

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