NIAGARA FALLS — Economic equality is on the minds of the members of Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH). Earlier this month, they took to the streets in New York City in solidarity with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement to urge millionaires to pay their fair share.
NOAH’s annual public meeting is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday and will focus on three issues, including the extension of the Millionaire’s Tax, local jobs and hiring, and the threat of PCBs and hazardous waste in the towns of Lewiston and Porter. The meeting will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Niagara Falls, 311 First St.
Public officials have been personally invited to this event and NOAH members said they will hold them accountable for the decisions they make concerning these issues. NOAH will contend that the tax cuts the public has been convinced to vote for and support have gone largely to the wealthiest Americans, while the middle class pays more than their fair share. According to a 2011 report released by the Fiscal Policy Institute, under the current tax structure the lowest wage earners in the U.S. paid 9.6 percent of their income in NYS income tax while the top 1 percent paid 7 percent and those in the middle paid 11 percent.
The Millionaire’s Tax generates $5 billion annually and if it is allowed to expire, NOAH contends an additional financial burden will fall on the middle class. Cuts to education, healthcare, infrastructure, and other public services will follow.
Since its inception, NOAH has maintained jobs and local hiring as their No. 2 priority. NOAH has been successful in pushing county leaders to adopt local hiring ordinances in Lockport, Wheatfield and North Tonawanda. The focus is now on the city of Niagara Falls to pass a similar ordinance requiring contractors to write local hiring quotas into requests for proposals.
NOAH will allocate for local hiring on the new Amtrak Station, among other projects.
The third issue will be presented by Residents for Responsible Government (RRG), who are dedicated to informing residents in the towns of Porter and Lewiston about the threats of PCBs and hazardous waste in the community.
RRG seeks to minimize the potential for disastrous results from the wastes buried in these towns near the Great Lakes, Niagara River, and Lewiston-Porter schools, and to prevent more hazardous waste imports.
The public meeting will not be all work and no play. The children's choir from Chloe's Angels Mission and African drums will be featured before the meeting at 3 p.m. During the meeting, there will be a short worship service.
This story originally appeared in the Niagara Gazette on October 21, 2011 and is available here: http://niagara-gazette.com/local/x250781460/NOAH-says-pay-your-fair-share