Recently, Assemblyman Kevin Byrne reported on his first legislative session in Albany. We commend him for the measures he proposed and co-sponsored in the state Assembly, which were passed with the support of Democrats—bipartisanship gets things done! Assemblyman Byrne said that he is, “committed to our values,” but we were disappointed that he failed to support three measures proposed by Democrats that represent our core values as Americans.
We were disappointed that Assemblyman Byrne did not support the Democratic proposal to slightly raise the tax on millionaires. A person making $80,000 has a state tax rate of 6.65 percent, while a person making $1 million has a rate of only 6.85 percent. In our view, millionaires are not paying their fair share.
We were disappointed that Assemblyman Byrne did not support the Democratic proposal to protect immigrants. We don’t have an immigrant problem in the 94th district. The New York Liberty Act, which he voted against, would have protected our law-abiding immigrant neighbors, many of whom have been here for years, who make significant contributions to our local economy.
We were disappointed that Assemblyman Byrne did not support the Democratic proposal to provide affordable health care to all New Yorkers. As the healthcare debate in Washington illustrates, Americans expect affordable healthcare. Assemblyman Byrne, what is your proposal to provide affordable health care for all New Yorkers?
The World Health Organization ranks the United States as having the fifth-highest child under-5 mortality rate (at 6.5 per 1,000 live births) of 34 developed countries in the world. This is more than three times higher than that of the countries with the lowest rates. Why should infants and babies die in New York because of lack of healthcare? In our view, we should have universal healthcare, not just because we are the richest country on earth, but because we should also be the world leader modeling the values of fairness, social justice and compassion for all.
Larry and Mary Jane Kilian are co-chairs of the Issues and Resolutions Committee of the Yorktown Democratic Committee.