The Brooklyn Young Republicans Public Policy Agenda was drafted by Marco Castillo, PhD, Policy Committee Chair on August 17th, 2009. The Policy was crafted by input from Club Members and insight from the Club’s academics.
You can download the PDF version of the Policy Agenda here.
We, the members of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, recognize that sound ideas are the foundation for good and effective public policies that can improve the everyday lives of New Yorkers.
While we realize that public officials must remain flexible to deal with the changing issues of the day, we also hold that that our government’s actions must be guided by sound ideas and principles that reflect the enduring values of our city and nation. This is more than just a principled position; it is also eminently pragmatic.
We emphasize that there is ample evidence that sound conservative public policies, rooted in Republican ideas and values, work well for our city and should be chosen over their liberal counterparts.
Over the past several decades, we have seen sharp differences in the results of both liberal and conservative public policies as implemented in the City of New York. The policies implemented by prior liberal administrations resulted in decades of increasing levels of crime and poverty. Failure in public education was the norm, shattering the dreams of future generations. Welfare dependency destroyed inner city neighborhoods, and the general sense of malaise and chaos across New York deterred investment in our city.
In 1994, Rudolph Giuliani became Mayor of New York City, ushering in an age of Republican governance. The results of the policies ushered in by his administration were immediate and effective. Crime rates plunged to historic lows due to quality-of-life policing strategies, making New York the safest big city in America. As a result, private sector investment in businesses and neighborhoods increased throughout the five boroughs, leading to economic expansion. We recognize Republican public policies as the direct cause of New York City’s renaissance.
Therefore, we emphatically hold that public policies centered upon recognized Republican principles are the key to the continued growth and success of our city. While a steady hand and a continuation of prior successful policies are important, we believe that reforms are still needed to keep us on the right path. Therefore, we the members of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, propose the following policies as important elements for the continued growth and improvement of our City:
1. Public Safety
We recognize that the primary responsibility of any government is the protection of its citizens. Therefore, we continue to urge our elected officials to remain ever vigilant in the fight against crime. Ensuring safe streets is not only a moral obligation, but also encourages private sector investment in our communities, serving as the foundation for future economic growth.
- We strongly support continued, and if necessary, increased funding for the Operation Impact program, which has been credited with the continued reduction in crime rates across the city. Funding for this program should be prioritized in the city’s budget and appropriated according to need, despite current fiscal pressures.
Today’s cities cannot reach their full potential without providing a high quality education to their children. Therefore, we urge our elected officials to continue their efforts in education reform. We support the efforts of the current administration to reform our city’s education system and urge all our elected officials to continue developing policies that encourage competition, innovation, and accountability in our public schools.
- Specifically, we support the continued expansion of charter schools, the use of pay-for-performance systems for teachers and administrators, additional support for home-schooling alternatives, and the development of a flexible school voucher or tax credit program to further promote competition, innovation, and choice in education.
- We also recognize the importance of agenda-free instruction in our public schools and ask that the Department of Education protect students and families from bias and indoctrination in the learning process, particularly with respect to subjects such as history and social studies. Policies should be enacted to ensure that these subjects are addressed in a balanced fashion and in a way that promotes a healthy respect for the American way in our children.
3. The Economy
We the members of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club recognize that a strong economy can only be built upon a foundation of private sector entrepreneurship, competition, and innovation. Only a strong and robust private sector economy can create the jobs we need for the 21st century. Therefore, we promote the following polices to help invigorate our economy:
- As a general principle, we believe that taxes should always be kept at the lowest levels possible. Therefore, we urge our public officials to remain vigilant with respect to higher taxes in whatever form they may take. We particularly oppose the latest slew of taxes and fees proposed by our elected officials, including tolls on the East and Harlem River bridges, congestion pricing, parking taxes concealed as user fees, the plastic bag tax, and any increases to sales or property taxes.
- We also support policies that simplify and streamline the regulations that our small businesses face, and we oppose increases in state marginal income tax rates that punish success and force families to leave our city and state.
- We believe that just as households can always find places to cut spending, so too can our various city departments and agencies. We urge our elected officials to press for the thorough independent auditing of all city departments and agencies, particularly within discretionary or “member item” funds, followed by targeted cuts in their budgets. New York City should also continue to seek the privatization of city services wherever prudent and possible.
By reducing the tax burden on both businesses and individuals, we can create and enhance the conditions in which our economy can flourish and jobs are created.
While we value progress and economic growth, we are concerned about government intrusion into property rights in the processes of community development. Therefore:
- We urge our elected officials to protect the Constitutional rights of property owners and remain vigilant with respect to eminent domain abuse in community development projects.
- We also believe that tax incentives, rather than burdensome government mandates and sanctions, are the best path towards the advancement of socially desirable outcomes such as environmental sustainability in community development projects.
4. Social Policy
While we recognize that government must play a role in protecting the health and welfare of our citizens, we realize that governments often harm more than help their citizens when imposing well-intentioned, yet poorly constructed, social welfare policies. Therefore:
- We promote the continuation of welfare reform policies. Poorly crafted welfare programs that seek nothing from recipients deprive those recipients of the skills, habits, and self-esteem necessary for independent success and dignity in the modern economy. Our public officials must continue to emphasize “work first” in New York City’s welfare policies and resist current efforts by the federal government to turn back the clock on welfare reform.
The aforementioned policy priorities would be for naught without resting upon the foundations of our democratic republic, the most sacred of our nation’s values. We believe that the following reforms would promote greater participation in the public arena, and ensure greater choice for voters on Election Day.
- Defend term limits by amending the City Charter and New York State Municipal Home Rule Law to require that any future changes to the term limits law be done through an initiative or referendum process.
- Abolish gerrymandering, where incumbent politicians choose their voters rather than voters choosing their representatives, through the use of independent redistricting commissions.
- Promote equality with regard to the petitioning process by simplifying the petitioning process and making signature requirements strictly proportional to party enrollment in districts.
- Cut red tape for candidates who do not participate in the city’s campaign finance matching funds program.
Such reforms would put electoral power back into the hands of the people, resulting in more competitive elections and higher quality representation. These common sense proposals are rooted in the recognized core values of our party – individualism, economic freedom, personal responsibility, respect for our founding documents and the rule of law. These values have served as a recipe for the success of our city and nation. We would be wise to embrace them as our city continues on its path into the 21st Century.
Acknowledgements & Special Note:
Tremendous thanks to Policy Committee Chair Marco Castillo, Ph.D, and committee members Russell Gallo, Boris Noble, Pedro Monge, and Karl Williams for their tireless efforts since February 2009 in collaborating with each other and the membership to make this a comprehensive and inclusive document. We also thank our members for their ideas and support in working towards the creation of this document.
As the official policy of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, this document stands as a reflection of the views and priorities of the membership at the time of its adoption. Subsequently, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club encourages all young Republicans and young Brooklynites who wish to have a greater voice in the public policy discourse to join our club in order to shape and promote the influence of Republican principles in government.