Editorial: A Fair Share

by Yale Daily News Editorial Board, May 5, 2021

On March 1, Mayor Justin Elicker unveiled two possible budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, representing two vastly different visions for the future of New Haven and its relationship with Yale. One of Elicker’s proposals is a “Crisis Budget” that would raise taxes on the city’s residents and gut critical city services. The other — a “For-ward Together” budget — would leave in place baseline funding for schools, libraries and public safety. Maintaining these crucial city social services is possible, but only if Yale finally steps up and respects New Haven.

Enabling Elicker’s “Forward Together” budget will require a combined increased contribution of $53 million to the city before the Board of Alders’ June 1st budget deadline.
Thankfully, there is some hope on the horizon. New Haven has been in talks with the Connecticut General Assembly to fund and rework the state’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes program — also known as PILOT, the system that reim-burses Connecticut cities home to tax-exempt entities like Yale with a portion of the lost revenue. If the talks are successful, New Haven could see an estimated $49 million windfall, allowing the city to avoid the worst of the “Crisis Budget” cuts.

But if this is a partial solution to the budget crisis, it is one in spite of any corrective action on Yale’s part. Yale and the Yale New Haven Hospital own over half of the city’s tax-exempt property. Increased PILOT payments would be, in essence, a state of Connecticut solution to a Yale-caused problem. This is unacceptable. As New Haven residents have long pointed out, New Haven cannot afford to continue subsidizing Yale’s existence. Yale is able to bunker down and weather financial storms — the size of the endowment certainly allows for that — but the same is not true for the city. If the University is serious about challenging systemic injustice and inequality, it can start at home: Yale must dramatically increase its contribution to New Haven.

At the very least, this means ensuring that the Elm City can maintain its baseline level of services under the “For-ward Together” budget — an increase potentially as small as $4 million if the PILOT program is fully funded. But the University’s parasitic relationship with New Haven long predates the current year’s budget crisis, and remedying Yale’s centuries of harm requires substantial and long-term investment.

Elicker has previously called for a $50 million annual contribution. Local organizers with New Haven Rising demand $157 million — the amount Yale would pay if fully taxed. The mayor and President Peter Salovey have both expressed optimism about their private negotiations, which is a positive step forward.

For his part, Salovey recognized in a February interview with the News that New Haven’s budget problems are “structural and deep.” But he missed the central point: The structural problem is Yale. When the University deigns to respond to community demands, it does not engage with their ideas. Instead, Yale uses the same canned statements and circumlocutions to defend itself from the pleas of the city. For example, the University enjoys parading the statistic of spending “over $700 million annually directly on New Haven.” What it conveniently slides to the back end … is that “over $675 million” of this figure is direct compensation to New Haven residents for their labor. That is to say, Yale highly depends on local, essential labor — dining hall workers, custodians, office administrators, gardeners and more — but shows its gratitude by turning around and instrumentalizing this labor as a bargaining chip in debates with the city.

Take another example: Yale’s yearly “voluntary contribution” to New Haven is an important, smugly advertised part of the University’s public relations with the city. The amount paid itself, however, is not so unusual. While Yale likes to tout its payment as the largest of any university to its home city, Yale’s payment as a percentage of the home city’s budget … is much smaller than that of peer institutions like Dartmouth and Princeton. The more unusual part is the name — the phrase “voluntary contribution” brings to mind apparent generosity, charity and goodwill.

But New Haven does not need charity. The city is merely asking for their fair share. They’re asking for money for libraries, after-school programs, college counselors, parks and recreation, affordable housing. They ask for enough decency to recognize that Yale’s tax-exempt status is a legal shield, not an ethical one. And what does Yale give in return? Condescension. A lack of engagement. The “we do enough” response.

Yale cannot pack its bags, … and relocate to another city. The University, like it or not, is in New Haven to stay. But it is also clear that the current trajectory is not a sustainable one. How much longer can Yale continue running huge operating surpluses while the city hemorrhages more money … each year? How much longer can we bury our heads in the sand instead of listening to those voices right at home and closest to us?

The budget debate is an opportunity for real change in Yale-New Haven relations. By increasing its contribution to the city, Yale could signal that it sees New Haven as more than a partner by chance, entities glued together only by history and circumstance. New Haven is and can be so much more to us. Let us make our relationship willful and intentional. Let us march on, forward together.

Yale Daily News Editorial Board 

We Need Your Help – Can You Take 1 Minute to Email Your Legislators?

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

Connecticut leads the nation in racial and economic inequality, with gaps between the wealthiest and poorest residents. These gaps create tremendous disparities in public education funding, access to healthcare, labor conditions, and housing.

Connecticut’s tax code disproportionately burdens low- and middle-income families. They pay almost three times the percentage of their income in taxes than those who earn more than $600,000 per year. It’s not fair. But it can be changed.

The Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee is considering two bills, HB 6187 and SB 821, that would add fairness to the tax code. These bills would also generate the resources that we need, like healthcare for immigrants and DOL protections. Thank you!

Students Rally For Green Jobs, Climate Justice

Courtney Luciana, NH Independent, Dec. 16, 2020

High school climate-change activists called on the city Wednesday afternoon to create a $1 million New Haven Climate Justice and Green Jobs Fund.

Courtney Luciana Photo
Climate Health Education Project (CHEP) high school interns.

The activists, interns with the Climate Health Education Project (CHEP), made that call in a press event held on the steps of the Elm Street courthouse.

The fund would hire staffers for clean-energy jobs, energy-efficiency education campaigns, “support neighborhood resiliency and greening programs,” and “fund increased climate justice education.”

“Connecticut is already being affected by climate change. The sea level in Connecticut is rising and the storms are becoming more severe,” Hopkins School sophomore Natalie Card (at right in above photo) said at the rally. “Extremely heavy storms have increased sea level by 70 percent since 1958 and will continue to keep rising.”

Students at the rally read aloud both personal and online posts from all around the world about climate change.

Read the whole article at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/sstudent_climate_change_rally

People’s World Amistad Awards: Rise Up — Unite 2020, Nov. 8, People’s Center

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. at New Haven City Hall Atrium, 165 Church Street — site of the Amistad statue symbolizing solidarity and courage in the ongoing freedom struggle. The theme is “Rise Up – Unite 2020. People & Planet before Profits.”

We invite you to place an ad in the greeting book and take a bloc of tickets to honor the awardees and the occasion. The ad deadline is November 20, 2019. For greeting book and ticket information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

This year’s awardees are:

Rochelle Palache, Political Director of 32 BJ SEIU, a fierce warrior for workers’ and immigrant rights and a leader in the fight that won $15 minimum wage and paid family leave in Connecticut.

Ken Suzuki, Secretary-Treasurer of Unite Here Local 34 and a leader in the ongoing fight for job pipelines for Black and Latino neighborhood residents to full-time union jobs at Yale University.

John Humphries, Executive Director of the CT Roundtable for Climate and Jobs, is in the forefront of the movement for a just transition for workers and people of color in the climate crisis.

The Awards event leads into the 2020 elections and is held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. Special recognition will be given to Joelle Fishman for 50 years of leadership. To mark this special year, all former awardees will be called forward in a tribute to their continued contributions and unity building. The Movement Band and Brian Jarawa Gray and Friends will perform.

Learn about the New Haven Promise Saturday, Oct. 5 at 10:30 a.m

Learn about the New Haven Promise: FREE money for college! At the Mitchell Branch Library, Saturday, Oct. 5 at 10:30 a.m.

If you are a New Haven Public School Student, you can receive free college tuition from the New Haven Promise scholarship that covers up to full tuition, and tuition only, at a Connecticut public 2- or 4-year college or university, or up to $2,500 at an in-state private institution. Register as early as 7th grade.

Learn about the requirements for the Promise Scholarship and hear from Promise staff, New Haven Promise Scholarship recipients and very happy parents!

Mitchell Branch Library
37 Harrison St.

For more information, call: (203) 946-8117, mitchellbranchlibrary@gmail.com.

Sept. 20 Strike for the Climate

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

We are in a desperate situation, with awful climate news coming nearly every week and with just a decade or so to drastically cut exhausts of carbon in the air. At the same time, climate science deniers are at the helm in the U.S. and other major governments. City and state governments are trying, but it’s not nearly enough.

In May, millions of students took part in a school strike for the climate. Friday, Sept. 20 will hopefully be a renewal of that kind of action along with strikes and other kinds of action from other sectors in the global society.

We are learning from Puerto Rico and Hong Kong that mass mobilizations are the way to get things done. In Connecticut, the Connecticut Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) is organizing a week of actions starting Sept 20. There will be a demonstration in Hartford 12-3 p.m. at the Capitol Building, 210 Capitol Ave. More info at actionnetwork.org/events/ct-climate-strike. The best way to reach C3M is by email: C3Mobilization@gmail.com. Also see the site www.350ct.org.

The New Haven Climate Network is organizing an event later in the day, 3 p.m. on the New Haven Green, 250 Temple St. Look for them on Facebook (New Haven Climate Movement).

Trade unions worldwide are taking action in support of Sept. 20. See pepeace.org/climate-and-nature-work for details and the website of Connecticut Roundtable on Cli-mate and Jobs at ctclimateandjobs.org. If your union is planning anything bring it up with union officers or at a union meeting.

Visit the tables of Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP) and the Sierra Club at the CT Folk Festival/Green Expo, noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Edgerton Park in New Haven. Entrance to the festival is free.

PEP will be talking about its bold new calls for:
1) worker/community takeovers of fossil fuel industries, and
2) planning the economy for a smokestack-free future.

Read about it at www.PEPeace.org.

Energy Fund Raids Have Stopped, But Industry Says The Damage Has Been Done

by Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, July 30, 2019

The General Assembly adjourned this year without restoring $67.5 million to clean energy funds that had been swept as part of the budget in 2017.

The $67.5 million was part of a larger $145 million in energy fund sweeps the General Assembly approved under former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to close a budget deficit.

Environmentalists and energy-efficiency businesses pointed out that the legislature and Gov. Ned Lamont could have used the budget surplus to restore some of the funds, but they decided against it and failed to restore them before the session adjourned June 5.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Monday that he doesn’t know how to measure how much more progress his city could have made in improving its rankings on a clean energy scorecard if those funds had been available.

For more on this story, visit: Energy Fund Raids Have Stopped, But Industry Says The Damage Has Been Done | CT News Junkie

 

Where Your Tax Money Goes…

information from a leaflet from New Haven Sunday Vigil

April 15 was the deadline for filing federal and state taxes for 2018. The oft-quoted or misquoted phrase linking “death and taxes” is apropos in a way its originator(s) did not intend. A huge percentage of our tax dollars goes to fund death-dealing in the form of endless war throughout the world, and to subsidize big corporations and 1% of the wealthiest individuals. A much, much smaller percentage goes to fund the things we all care about and desperately need — healthcare, education, housing, infrastructure, a clean environment, good jobs and good wages for everyone.

Imagine if the percentages were reversed

Imagine, in fact, a tax code where we each paid our fair share according to our income, with the wealthiest paying the most. Imagine that these taxes funded a system which produced and improved upon the things we all require to sustain our lives, instead of one which exports endless war and rewards corporate greed. Imagine what we could do for ourselves, each other, and our planet. Imagine. Act.

Resist this Endless War! Join the conversation every Sunday at the intersection of Broadway, Park and Elm streets from noon till 1 p.m. The website for more information is newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com.

Tweed New Haven Airport Redux

[Extracts from Yale Daily News article 4/23/19 by Natalie Bussemaker and Siddsrth Shankar]

For years, city and state residents and officials have debated whether or not to expand Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport. But despite numerous pleas from local city government, no substantial progress has been made on the issue due to state and local laws that prevent the expansion of the airport’s runway from 5,600 feet.

In January, Mayor Toni Harp unilaterally terminated New Haven’s 2009 Memorandum of Agreement with East Haven, which limited the runway length, arguing that the restriction was illegal. And last month, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee passed a bill that would end the state’s legal restriction on Tweed’s runway length. Still, the bill needs to be approved by the full Connecticut House of Representatives and Connecticut Senate and signed by Gov. Ned Lamont SOM ’80 to become law. According to state Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, the chances that the bill will make it into law this legislative session — which closes in just over a month — are slim….

Looney said a “necessary precursor” for him to support any legislation that would repeal the statute restricting Tweed’s runway length is the development of a “community benefits plan.” According to Looney, the plan would address soundproofing, noise concerns and traffic reconfiguration, as well as mitigate the environmental impact of the changes to Tweed.

“There’s a number of environmental advocates in the neighborhood who are raising issues about what the environmental impact of airport development would be given the predictions of rising sea levels over the next 20 years, concerns about wetlands [and] concerns about flooding,” Looney said. “All of that would have to be addressed in any plan.”

Expansion proponents note that New Haven is one of the most underserved air travel markets in the nation and that a longer runway will open the door to flights to major cities.

Currently, Tweed only offers daily service to Philadelphia and once-a-week service to Charlotte, N.C. According to a Yale press release supporting Tweed’s expansion, expanding the runway would add 1,000 jobs in the region, generate $122 million in revenue and increase the state and local tax base by $4.5 million. According to Kevin Rocco, the chief executive officer of BioRez, Inc. — a medical device start-up in the city — the stalled progress on Tweed enhancements has come at the expense of efficiency and growth for businesses in the region….

“The responsibility is going to be with [Lamont] to help move a plan forward with a commitment of state resources and broad-based inclusion of community input, because the city’s had an opportunity to do so for several years and has not,” Looney said.

[For more about the environmental hazards of Tweed Airport expansion, see our March 2019 issue, par-newhaven.org/2019/02/26/tweed-airport-and-climate-change-the-environment-is-both-local-and-global]

Is Your PAR Subscription About to Run Out?

by PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter publishes from September through June. Subscriptions from many of our readers will expire with the June issue.

We hope you enjoy your subscription and value the PAR newsletter as a community resource. To see if your subscription is due for renewal, please look at your address label. If “201906” is printed on the label to the right of your name, your subscription ends next month. Please send in $13 for 10 issues (Sept. 2019-June 2020) so that you can continue to read about what local organizations are doing and you can submit articles about your own organization.

The Progressive Action Roundtable was started in January 1993. After several months, this community Newsletter became the main activity of PAR, giving New Haven area organizations an opportunity for networking and for advertising their activities.

We hope to hear from you.

Stand Up for Climate Action, Energy Equity April 14

by Efficiency For All

Come to the State Capitol in Hartford on Sunday, April 14, 1-4 p.m. We are standing up for climate & energy equity! This is part of our collaborative call for policy which supports responsible energy policies as they relate to our economy, environment, health, climate, public transportation, and local jobs.

We want to reduce energy waste and increase clean energy production.

We are calling on our elected leaders to:

Stop the diversion of the Energy Efficiency (EE) and Clean Energy (CE) programs.
Lower energy waste, lower pollution, close the affordability gap and invest in our clean energy future. Expand all programs that reduce waste and lower carbon emissions including: efficiency, conservation, renewable energy, and clean public transportation.

We call on community leaders & advocates to join us in the fight for our future.

Desired actions:

  • Restore & expand our efficiency programs and renewable energy programs and create a path for increased energy equity!
  • Ensure programs have an equity lens, including transportation.
  • Include underrepresented communities at the table and empower them with information.

Efficiency. Environment. Economy. Employment. Equity. Education. Reliable, Resilient, & Safe Energy for All!

“There is room for everyone at the table and everyone should get a plate.”

Educate. Motivate. Unite. Take Action. The Time is Now!

www.facebook.com/events/1635681326534913

Sponsored by Efficiency For All, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action Connecticut, 350 Connecticut, Chispa Connecticut, Connecticut Chapter Sierra Club.

Job Openings with the U.S. Census Bureau

Register for an information session at any library branch. Flexible hours, office jobs or work from home, earn $17-23 per hour. Experience with technology, computers, smart phones needed. Bilingual candidates in all languages needed. Paid training, no previous experience required.

  • Thursday, Feb. 7 & 14 from 6-8 p.m. Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. (203) 946-8115
  • Monday, Feb. 4 & 11 from 2-4 p.m. Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison St. (203) 946-8117
  • Tuesday, Feb. 5 & 26 from 10 a.m.-noon. Stetson Library, 200 Dixwell Ave. (203)  946-8119
  • Wednesday, Feb. 6 & 13 from 10 a.m.-noon. Wilson Library 303 Washington Ave. (203) 946-2228
  • Monday, Feb. 11 & 25 from 10 a.m.-noon. Ives Main Library, 133 Elm St. (203) 946-7431

Info: NHFP Library, 133 Elm St. (203) 946-8130.

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