Off the Markey - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the September 2008 Juniper Berry Magazine

Off the Markey

Assemblywoman Marge Markey voted to repeal the commuter tax in 1999.

As you consider your vote in the NY State Assembly District 30 (Marge Markey, current incumbent), remember this: On May 17th, 1999 ‒ almost 10 years ago) Marge Markey voted to raise the taxes of all New York City residents. She did this by her vote to repeal the Commuter Tax paid by out-of-city residents who earned their living within New York City.

This Commuter Tax was originally instituted to have these daily city workers pay their fair share of New York City services ‒ Fire, Police, Water, Street, and other infrastructure that served these users.

When Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver decided to betray his own Lower East Side constituents, he convinced 91 other assembly members to betray their constituents' interests too. Former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern writes that Silver's decision was based on personal animus toward then-mayor Giuliani who held the Speaker in ill-concealed contempt.

Then why did Marge Markey vote to have taxpaying residents in the 30th Assembly District pay for services for people who came here to work and then went home to Long Island or upstate? Her decision to support Silver's betrayal has cost New York City Taxpayers ‒ including taxpayers in the 30th AD ‒ at least $300 Million a year, but probably $500 Million annually ‒ now, over the years as much as $5 Billion.

Look at that $5 Billion again. That's the budget shortfall spoken of by Mayor Bloomberg. He will look to city taxpayers to pay that bill.

Why ever vote for any representative who will vote to betray you just to keep in favor with Sheldon Silver?

The betrayed Lower East Side primary voters picked Silver again with 68% of the vote. That tells me something about the self-respect of the voters in that district. Can the taxpaying voters in the 30th AD show more spine than that?

Marge Markey also sponsored a bill to extend the statute of limitations for sexually abused youngsters up to 50 years. It is probably impossible for any institution to fairly defend itself in a suit by an individual claiming abuse 50 years ago. Likely, the accused abuser is no longer even alive. But, further, in a July 5th Brooklyn Diocesan newspaper, the Tablet, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio wrote: ... the bill seems to distinguish between those abused in private and public institutions. This provision seems to strike at the heart of equity. Children abused whether in public schools or private schools are equally victims. The harm that they experienced is profound and in some cases may never be healed. If there is going to be legislation to address this tragic situation, it seems clear that victims of abuse in public schools ought to be entitled to the same redress. Why then does Marge Markey's legislation allow for civil suits going back decades against the Church but not include the necessary statutory amendments to permit victims abused in public schools to bring a similar claim unless they do so only a few days after the crime?

How to explain this vast difference except an animosity against the Catholic Church and some pandering to those who hold that same animosity?

A year earlier, the Brooklyn Tablet, in its March 17th 2007 issue reported a distressing meeting that Marge Markey had with 10 students from Christ the King High School. The students had traveled to Albany to participate in the New York State Catholic Conference's Public Policy Day. The issues that most voters advocated were the tuition tax credits for parochial schools and opposition to taxpayer funding for human cloning and embryo research.

Carol Bronnenkant, a teacher at Christ the King R.H.S., Middle Village, brought her senior Justice and Peace class. Many had attended January's March for Life held in Washington, D.C. I think if kids do not learn to make use of their influence now, then they never will. This is an opportunity for them to learn that they can make a difference and be involved, she said.

Joanna Kurylo, a student at Christ the King and a recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award, added, It interests me how policy works and

public interest can change.

As Kurylo and her fellow students met with their district Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Christina Piecora, a senior, asked for Markey's support in enacting tax credits for her parents and many others who choose to send their children to Catholic schools.

Markey told the room of 10 students she wished she could, because she knows how hard it is for parents to afford Catholic education. But, I can't, because it is a matter of separation of Church and state, she claimed.

When another student told her that they did not agree with the $100 million that was going to be taken from taxpayer money for embryonic stem-cell research upon the governor's budget approval, Markey said, There are things in the budget that I don't like, but do I vote the whole thing down? No.

When another constituent in the room asked How do you justify separation of Church and state when it comes to tax credits for parochial schools, but then take taxpayers' money who disagree with embryonic stem-cell research due to religious beliefs? Shouldn't that be a matter of separation of Church and state?

Markey said she did not have time to answer that question, and hurried out for a meeting. Many of the students from Christ the King found their assemblywoman indirect, and avoided every question with a different story.

These young people should be very proud of themselves. They asked the serious questions of the assemblywoman, who preferred to flee rather than answer seriously.

We adults need to demand answers to these and all the questions we have. But, expect little in the form of complete and honest responses. Marge Markey has not faced any challenge in her incumbency. She has demonstrated evasiveness and dishonesty. And, an apparent deep animosity towards the catholic church.

I believe it's time for fresh air; for a representative who will be out among the community, fighting for and representing their interests. Even the best interests of Marge Markey. She would do far better than having to dance on the end of Silver's strings.