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Transcript from the June 9th hearing.

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1

2 CITY COUNCIL

3
CITY OF NEW YORK
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-------------------------------x
5
THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE MINUTES
6
of the
7
COMMITTEE ON STATE And FEDERAL
8 LEGISLATION

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10

11 June 9, 2005
Start: 1:35 p.m.
12 Recess: 2:55 p.m.

13 City Hall
Council Chambers
14 New York, New York

15
B E F O R E:
16
JOEL RIVERA
17 Chairperson,

18
COUNCIL MEMBERS: Joseph Addabbo
19 Erik Dilan
Hiram Monserrate
20 Helen Sears
Vincent Gentile
21 Bill Perkins

22

23

24 LEGAL-EASE COURT REPORTING SERVICES, INC.
17 Battery Place - Suite 1308
25 New York, New York 10004
(800) 756-3410




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1

2 A P P E A R A N C E S

3
Forest Montgomery
4
Marian C. Franz
5 Executive Director
National Campaign For A Peace Tax Fund
6 Peace Tax Foundation

7 Bishop Michael Banks
New York Council of Mennonite Churches
8
Walter Fields
9 Community Service Society

10 Frida Berrigan
Senior Research Associate
11 World Policy Institute

12 Angela Boatright
The Fellowship of Reconciliation
13
G. Simon Harak, S.J.
14
Anti-Militarism Coordinator
15 War Resisters League

16 Ruth Wenger
New York City Council of Mennonite Churches
17
Colleen Kelly
18 September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

19 Jocelyn Selene Perry
Middle Collegiate Church
20
Jacqueline Mason-Francis
21
Frederick R. Dettmer
22 Religious Society of Friends

23 Tom Siracuse
Veterans For Peace
24
Reverend Osagyefo Sekou
25 Clergy & Laity Concerned About Iraq





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1

2 A P P E A R A N C E S (CONTINUED)

3
Reverend Monroe J. Yoder
4 Mennonite Church

5 Carl Lundgren
Green Party
6 Bronx Greens

7 Archdeacon Michael S. Kendall
Council of Churches New York City and State
8
Linda Chidsey
9
Ruth Benn
10 National War Tax Resistance

11 Linda Chidsey
New York Yearly Meeting
12 Religious Society of Friends

13 Renee Noelle Felice

14 Rosa Packard
Conscience and Peace Tax International
15
Ted Henderson
16 Riverside Church NYC

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

3 much, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming

4 down to City Hall. I am Joel Rivera, the Chair of

5 the Committee on State and Federal Legislation.

6 Before I begin my opening statement, let me

7 introduce the members who are here with me. We have

8 Council Member Vincent Gentile. We have Council

9 Member Bill Perkins and myself.

10 Thank you very much for braving the

11 heat, coming down to City Hall. It is a great sunny

12 day outside for a very important resolution. And

13 Council Member Monserrate, we have a very important

14 resolution being debated today and we are grateful

15 for your participation.

16 Today we will be hearing testimony on

17 Resolution 367-A, which calls upon Congress to pass

18 the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill.

19 The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund

20 Bill is a bill that would allow those who are who

21 are opposed to participation in the war, based on

22 religious, moral or ethical principles, to have

23 their taxes used for non-military purposes only.

24 Taxpayers would not be excused from

25 paying taxes, rather the US Treasury would be





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 directed to spend from the tax money of

3 conscientious objection only on non-military

4 governmental programs.

5 The grassroots campaign that has

6 formed around this idea is intended to spark a

7 national dialogue about federal spending priorities

8 and military accountability.

9 Given the ongoing war in Iraq, this

10 is an issue of central importance to all of us.

11 Before we begin today's hearing, I'd

12 like to turn the mic over to my colleague, Deputy

13 Majority Leader Bill Perkins for a statement on his

14 behalf. He has done a phenomenal job at bringing

15 this to the floor today.

16 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you

17 very much, Mr. Chairman.

18 I just want to be brief, in the

19 interest of the fact that there are so many

20 outstanding individuals here who want to testify on

21 this matter.

22 Let me begin by paying my respects to

23 Marian Franz, and the National Campaign for the

24 Peace Tax Fund that for many years spearheaded this

25 movement to bring attention to the notion of





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2 conscientious objection in the manner in which

3 people pay their taxes and to recognize that there

4 are more peaceful ways in which our tax dollars can

5 be used.

6 I also want to give recognition to

7 the local movement spearheaded by Nina Daas who gets

8 great credit for the fact that we're here at all

9 today. And in fact, but for her, I doubt if I would

10 have sponsored this resolution and had the

11 opportunity to be so well invested in this very,

12 very important movement, which I think is catalytic

13 towards an understanding, not only for New Yorkers

14 but for our nation as a whole, as to the notion of

15 conscientious objection and how important it is to

16 so many Americans, as well as the understanding

17 about how our tax dollars are being spent, or one

18 might say misspent.

19 As I said earlier, this is a very

20 appropriate time for this Council to be discussing

21 this resolution because it's taking place at a time,

22 my colleagues, when we are negotiating our budget.

23 And even though we may at a particular moment think

24 we have a surplus in our budget, just think about

25 how much of a surplus we would have if, in fact, so





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2 many of our tax dollars were not being spent in Iraq

3 and for other military purposes instead of for

4 purposes that you and I know our communities

5 prioritize. Purposes like health care, purposes like

6 affordable housing. Imagine if we had more money to

7 fix up our schools, imagine if we had more money so

8 that our public transportation system was a better

9 system than it is now.

10 So, this reminds us that as we

11 negotiate what might be an historic budget in the

12 City Council, it is not quite what it could be

13 because of certain situations that are taking place

14 on a national level, and in particular because of

15 the great investment that's taking place in the Iraq

16 war.

17 So, with that in mind, you know, I

18 just want to say, we must invest in the right

19 priorities to create opportunities for all New

20 Yorkers.

21 Current policy is undermining both

22 the safety of our country and the promise of

23 America.

24 It is estimated that more than 7

25 billion in New York taxpayers' money is going to war





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2 spending. We need this money to help our children

3 get a better education, to provide accessible health

4 care and better service for our seniors to create

5 affordable housing and for so many other underfunded

6 projects that truly meet the public's interest.

7 Mr. Chairman, let me thank you so

8 much for your Committee taking on this issue, and

9 having this hearing today, again, at such a timely

10 point in this Council when we are negotiating our

11 budget, it kind of helps us put things in

12 perspective.

13 Thank you so much.

14 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Anytime.

15 We're going to be limiting each

16 person testifying to the two-minute time clock. We

17 do have a substantial amount of people that want to

18 testify and get their voices heard, so we're going

19 to try to make sure everybody has maple time to give

20 their testimony.

21 We also have budget hearings

22 immediately after, so we have to also handle two

23 things at one time.

24 So, the first panel will consist of

25 Marian Franz, the Executive Director for the





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2 National Campaign For A Peace Tax Fund. With her

3 will be Bishop Michael Banks, New York City

4 Mennonite Council. Also with them will be Walter

5 Fields, Director of Political Development, Community

6 Services Society, and on that panel will also be

7 Frida Berrigan, the Senior Research Associate of the

8 World Policy Institute.

9 Again, we're going to have a

10 two-minute time clock for each individual

11 testifying.

12 And you may decide the order, if you

13 want to go in any order, Marian Bishop, Walter and

14 Frida, that you choose.

15 By any chance, are you using the

16 computer for the screen, the projector screen in the

17 back or no? Is anybody using the projector screen?

18 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: So, maybe we

19 should just disconnect it, number one.

20 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Okay, so you may

21 begin.

22 I guess, Marian, you will be first.

23 MS. FRANZ: My name is Miriam Franz. I

24 am Director of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax

25 Fund and also the Peace Tax Foundation, and





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2 currently chair, Conscience and Peace Tax

3 International, which is made up of Peace Tax

4 Campaigns in a number of other countries.

5 I want to make four points. First of

6 all, the history of the organization. Since 1972,

7 efforts have been underway in Congress to establish

8 the right for taxpayers who are on religious ground

9 cannot participate in funding for war.

10 Ten members of the House of

11 Representatives introduced the Peace Tax Bill in

12 1972. Among these were Ron Dellums, past chair of

13 the House Armed Services Committee; Charles Rangel,

14 current ranking member of the House Ways & Means

15 Committee. And in 1975, Senator Mark Hatfield, past

16 chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee,

17 introduced a companion bill in the Senate. An

18 improved version has been introduced in every

19 Congress since then.

20 We are trying to reconcile the duties

21 of citizenship with the demands of conscience.

22 Second, to define who conscientious

23 objectors are, I'm going to quote from a letter that

24 came across my desk.

25 Dear Congressman:





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2 To continue freely participating with

3 my tax dollars in the suicidal armaments race is

4 clearly for me a sin on at least four counts. First,

5 the sin of suicide against my own person. Second,

6 the sin of premeditated murder against my brothers

7 and sisters. Third, the sin of injustice against

8 over 2/3 of earth's people who are homeless, ragged,

9 and hungry through no fault of their own. And

10 fourth, the sin of idolatry for trusting in

11 armaments. I remain my country's good servant, but

12 God's first.

13 Also defining the conscience Roger

14 Sherman said, it is well known, he is one of our

15 founding fathers, it is well known that those who

16 are religiously scrupulous of bearing arms are

17 equally scrupulous of getting substitutes or paying

18 for an equivalent. Many of them would rather die

19 than do either one or the other.

20 The bill also refers to the double

21 violence of military spending. We have named some of

22 our weapons the names of Gods. Titan and Poseidon,

23 the "devil gods." And so we need to ask the

24 question, since 30,000 children die every day from

25 malnutrition and lack of clean water and medicine,





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 we must ask, are we sacrificing the children to the

3 Gods.

4 The Gods have no feeling for their

5 victims. We, Conscience, does.

6 Now, to the right, the third point,

7 the right of congressional authority. Does this

8 tamper with the appropriations process? No. The bill

9 creates a mechanism under which the full amount of

10 funds are available for appropriated purposes.

11 Congress will not lose control of its authority.

12 Will there be a hemorrhage on US

13 Treasury? No. The bill excuses no taxpayers from

14 paying their full tax liability. Will the treasury

15 gain revenue as a result? Yes, according to the

16 congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, which has

17 declared the Peace Fund Tax Bill would not only

18 cause the Treasury to Break even, but would gain

19 revenue because of increased voluntary compliance.

20 In addition, the government would

21 save the cost of prosecution, and force collection

22 is very time consuming and expensive.

23 Fourth, I want to say something about

24 the supporters of the bill. There were, first of

25 all, the historic peace churches, Quakers,





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2 Mennonite, Church of the Brethren. Then larger

3 denominations came alongside. The 3 million-member

4 Presbyterian Church, the 10 million-member United

5 Methodist Church, added their official support.

6 Among the organizations are Catholic,

7 Muslim, Jewish groups, the Buddhist Peace

8 Fellowship, Unitarians, Humanitarians International

9 and Veterans for Peace, and so forth. One woman

10 testifying at a hearing before Congress said she is

11 an Episcopalian, my denomination supports its

12 conscientious objectors and it supports its

13 soldiers.

14 It is up to us to decide which we

15 are.

16 She testified before Congress, if my

17 denomination says my action is faithful, why then

18 does my government punish me for it.

19 I will be happy to answer any other

20 questions at some time. And may I please insert that

21 because Mr. Montgomery has to leave to catch a

22 train, that is it okay with you if he goes next?

23 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Yes.

24 MS. FRANZ: Okay.

25 Forest Montgomery is a lifelong --





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2 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Let him

3 introduce himself.

4 All the panelists will introduce

5 themselves and their organization or affiliation as

6 they wish.

7 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: And then we'll

8 ask questions after the whole entire panel is done

9 speaking.

10 You may begin, sir.

11 MR. MONTGOMERY: Thank you very much

12 for this opportunity to be here today.

13 I don't want to fly on any false

14 colors. I saw the press packet and it had me

15 affiliated with the Evangelicals for Social Action.

16 I am that not nor ever was.

17 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Sorry to

18 interrupt you.

19 If you may introduce yourself for the

20 record so we have it documented.

21 MR. MONTGOMERY: Well, it's in my

22 written statement that I had submitted.

23 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: No, you have to

24 say it for the record on the mic. Because everything

25 gets recorded so you have to say your name for the





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2 record.

3 MR. MONTGOMERY: Oh, I am sorry.

4 I'm old enough, I think I can

5 remember it.

6 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: You're young

7 enough.

8 MR. MONTGOMERY: Thank you.

9 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: We've also been

10 joined by Council Member Helen Sears, and I saw Erik

11 Dilan enter into the room as well.

12 MR. MONTGOMERY: Okay. My name is

13 Forest Montgomery. I worked for the Internal Revenue

14 Service for nine years, was in the military before

15 that, went to college on the GI bill. I left IRS to

16 take a position at main treasury, leaving there

17 after 25 years of government service as counselor to

18 the General Counsel.

19 I then went to work for the National

20 Association of Evangelicals. I lay no claim to being

21 a constitutional scholar, however, 20 years in the

22 trenches imbued me with the familiarity with and

23 respect for the religious liberty clauses of the

24 First Amendment.

25 In 2001, shortly after that tragic





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2 incident here on September 11th, the Freedom Forum

3 presented me its First Amendment Outstanding Service

4 Award for Championing the Cause of Religious

5 Liberty. That's why I am here today.

6 I greatly admire the perseverance of

7 these wonderful people who continue to press for

8 enactment of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund

9 Bill. Although I am myself not a pacifist, that is

10 beside the point. They are entitled to their

11 religious beliefs.

12 It is tragic that Congress numerous

13 times has accommodated matters of conscience of

14 literally millions of Americans, but when these

15 people come to the halls of congress, they are met

16 with little but indifference.

17 I believe the furthest the bill has

18 ever gotten was a hearing in a House no bill has

19 reached before.

20 I'm trying to be brief. I have in my

21 written statement various examples to back up what I

22 said about Congress.

23 Now, on this matter of a lack of

24 concern for doing something about this needed

25 legislation, I suspect, without knowing, that there





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2 persists a latent bias against conscientious

3 objectors who appeared as refusing to fight for

4 their country, yet they are as American and as

5 patriotic as anyone else.

6 Now, this is despite the fact that

7 they served during times of war in non-combatant

8 capacities, and as I have indicated, love their

9 country as much as anyone else.

10 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: If you could

11 summarize, sir? The time clock has ended. We

12 apologize.

13 MR. MONTGOMERY: Okay. I'll give you

14 my nugget here that I think you might find of

15 interest.

16 Your friends across the river,

17 somewhat long time ago, in the East Province of New

18 Jersey which then was politically controlled, or at

19 least there was a power block of Quakers, they

20 passed a law, and I'd like to very briefly, if I can

21 find it -- well, it's in the statement, but the gist

22 of the law was essentially precisely what this law

23 would do. It said that any man who was against the

24 bearing of arms would not have to be forced to, nor

25 could he be forced to pay charges, taxes, to support





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2 the government. But if he did refuse to bear arms,

3 then he would pay something equivalent for

4 alternative service for the support of the general

5 government.

6 It's interesting that I think the

7 past has something to teach us, because that's

8 precisely what this legislation would do.

9 I urge enactment that you adopt your

10 fine resolution.

11 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

12 much.

13 MR. MONTGOMERY: Thank you.

14 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Next, and, again,

15 I'm going to ask everyone to please confine their

16 remarks to two minutes since we do have a

17 substantial amount of people that want to testify

18 and a limited time frame to hear those testimonies.

19 Sir, you're next.

20 REVEREND BANKS: Thank you. I will be

21 brief and make sure that my colleagues have ample

22 time.

23 My name is Reverend Michael Banks,

24 and I serve as one of the Bishops of the New York

25 City Council of Mennonite Churches, the Lancaster





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2 Conference under the auspices of the Mennonite

3 Church, USA.

4 In addition to that, I represent the

5 King of Glory Tabernacle, a multi-ethnic urban savvy

6 congregation of first generation committed peace

7 makers located in the Bronx.

8 This is exciting news to the

9 committee. It should be. What's happening in the

10 Bronx? Young people, multi-ethnic groups are

11 gathering because they believe in peace. What does

12 this bill do? It gives them hope. I am here to

13 represent the future. I am here to represent the

14 future. What does that mean for us?

15 The Mennonite Church from its

16 inception have been part of the historic peace

17 church tradition. It's our understanding of what it

18 means to be faithful witnesses to Christ, as the

19 prince of peace that motivates us, demonstrate

20 peace-making as a viable option in all arenas of

21 life. This bill then allows young people to have

22 hope in a democratic process which they now can see

23 accommodates their religious conscience.

24 This is exciting news. I want to

25 conclude with this idea. Biblical peace-making or





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2 peace is not just a Biblical concept, but rather

3 gentleman and lady. It is a necessity of evolution.

4 This will open the door for our humanity to grow

5 through the process of our democracy.

6 Thank you.

7 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

8 much for your powerful testimony.

9 Next. You may begin.

10 MR. FIELDS: Chairman Rivera, good

11 afternoon. My name is Walter Fields, and I am Vice

12 President of Political Development for the Community

13 Service Society whose President, CEO is David R.

14 Jones.

15 Most recently we issued two reports

16 that called attention to the crises in New York

17 City's labor market, the first detailed the extent

18 of joblessness among black males, and the second

19 revealing the large numbers of disconnected youth,

20 those who are out of school and out of work in our

21 City.

22 The findings of both reports prompted

23 action by the City Council to appropriate $10

24 million targeting job training and development and

25 moved Mayor Bloomberg to create the Mayor's





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2 Commission on Construction Opportunity.

3 Today I want to briefly comment on

4 Council Resolution 367 in support of HR 2037

5 creating the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund. At

6 this time, CSS takes no particular position on

7 federal expenditures for military purposes, but

8 recognizes that some individuals, due to their

9 religious beliefs, may object to the use of their

10 tax dollars for warfare.

11 HR2037 raises the possibility of

12 those taxpayers having the right to object to such

13 uses and instead designate their tax dollars be used

14 for life-affirming purposes. It's an intriguing

15 proposition and raises hope that at a minimum, the

16 introduction of this bill in Congress will stir

17 debate over the spending priorities of the federal

18 government.

19 Clearly our interest at CSS is in any

20 movement in this nation for the recognition of human

21 service needs and a responsibility to collective

22 concern and action.

23 We are invited to share our thoughts

24 on what the targeting of life-affirming needs as

25 specified in the language of the federal bill could





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2 mean as it relates to the social needs of residents

3 of New York City.

4 Clearly, we would welcome any

5 additional resources that would address the City's

6 most vulnerable. And sadly, despite some signs of

7 economic recovery, the poor of our City, many of

8 whom are people of color and new immigrants,

9 continue to suffer conditions that places them

10 outside the mainstream of opportunity and upward

11 mobility.

12 Our research on black male

13 joblessness and disconnected youth suggest the need

14 for a focused infusion of resources towards new

15 opportunities for employment and improving skills

16 for meeting the needs of a new technology-driven

17 economy.

18 At a minimum, a threshold for

19 defining life-affirming needs in our City should be

20 directing aid to those most in distress.

21 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: If you could

22 summarize?

23 MR. FIELDS: Sure.

24 CSS research suggest two subgroups in

25 our City that meet the definition, are black men and





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2 young people between the age of 60 and 24, and the

3 focus must be on employment opportunities.

4 At a very basic level, this

5 discussion could force a reevaluation of our

6 spending priorities on the State and Local level by

7 shadowing where those federal dollars would be

8 targeted.

9 The Community Service Society stands

10 ready to work with the Council in creating

11 conditions in our City so that all New Yorkers can

12 share in the promise of opportunity and prosperity

13 that are synonymous with our City.

14 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Time is up, if

15 you could wrap up.

16 MR. FIELDS: I appreciate the

17 invitation to share our thoughts with you today.

18 Thank you.

19 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you.

20 And just to make note to everyone,

21 just because you summarize your statement, if you

22 have prepared written statements, they will be put

23 into the record directly so you have no fear of

24 losing your statements from being put into the

25 record. So, you can summarize without losing that





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2 voice.

3 We're going to take questions on

4 behalf of the Committee for you. So, the first will

5 come from Bill Perkins.

6 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: I'll just ask

7 some quick questions.

8 Mr. Fields, I'm going to ask you a

9 question because you're a sort of local

10 grassroots-oriented policy group that understands

11 the importance of these dollars, and the kinds of

12 needs that realistically New Yorkers have that will

13 best be addressed if we could get more dollars into

14 our budget.

15 Is it safe to say that you would

16 agree that such a resolution, the related bill in

17 Congress is a good bill, is a good move on behalf of

18 our nation?

19 MR. FIELDS: Without a doubt. I think

20 any effort to redirect aid towards people,

21 particularly people who need it most, is a good

22 thing.

23 So, we certainly look at this

24 resolution favorably, as well as the bill. As I said

25 in our testimony, we don't take any position on





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2 federal expenditures for military, but certainly the

3 notion that people who object to use of their taxes,

4 based upon their religious beliefs should have the

5 right to determine where those dollars are directed.

6 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: And Ms.

7 Franz, let me just ask you one quick question. The

8 status of the bill right now is that it has been

9 reintroduced; would you kindly give us a description

10 of the kind of support that it's getting in terms of

11 its diversity, and how you see such an effort as is

12 taking place in New York City today, having a

13 bearing on the future of the legislation, ultimately

14 not only from the perspective of New York City, but

15 do you anticipate similar efforts being made in

16 other localities throughout the country?

17 MS. FRANZ: Yes, indeed. The status of

18 the bill, the bill was reintroduced May 25 with 34

19 additional members of Congress signing on with John

20 Lewis, we've never had that many members at

21 introduction. And we will continue to add to those.

22 Among those are three Republicans, Jim Leach of

23 Iowa, Jerry Moran of Kansas, and Ron Paul of Texas.

24 We have four members of New York

25 City, members of Congress, who are on this bill, and





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2 who have sent letters to you to support this bill

3 coming into effect.

4 The fact that you're doing this here

5 in New York City means that it's given inspiration

6 to a lot of people, and this is going to spin off a

7 lot of City and maybe State resolutions on support

8 for the Peace Tax Fund Bill. The biggest I know

9 coming up is starting immediately for the State of

10 Rhode Island.

11 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: I should also

12 let you know, I just got back from the State of

13 Washington about a week ago launching a new, what

14 they call Cities For Progress. Cities For Progress

15 is a Coalition of local elected officials, members

16 of City Councils for the most part, that are all

17 planning on submitting resolutions in support of the

18 Peace Tax, and it's on the website for that new

19 organization called CitiesForProgress.org, so you

20 can feel somewhat encouraged that your movement is

21 beginning to take a route in the grassroots

22 legislative bodies that are in touch with the people

23 of the City throughout our country.

24 MS. FRANZ: And that is what will make

25 the difference.





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2 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you.

3 MS. FRANZ: When members of Congress

4 hear from their folks.

5 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Any other

6 questions? Seeing none, thank you very much, ladies

7 and gentlemen.

8 We've also been joined by Council

9 Member Joe Addabbo. And next on the panel will be

10 Frida Berrigan, again, Berrigan; Forest Montgomery

11 -- we already did him already. And Angela Boatright

12 for Ibrahim Ramey, and G. Simon Harak.

13 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: If you have

14 testimony to hand out, give it to the

15 Sergeant-At-Arms and they'll take care of it for

16 you.

17 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: And also Colleen

18 Kelly. Ruth Wenger.

19 Actually, give it to the

20 Sergeant-At-Arms and he will pass it up.

21 Okay, you may begin. And again, we're

22 going to be limited to a two-minute time clock.

23 MS. BERRIGAN: Good afternoon,

24 Chairman, and honorable members of the City Council.

25 My name is Frida Berrigan. I'm a Senior Research





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2 Associate at the New School University's World

3 Policy Institute.

4 My written statement is on World

5 Policy Institute letterhead.

6 I have been asked to talk briefly

7 about US military expenditures. I will start out

8 just with a little bit of the basics.

9 As you can see from this, not a

10 center bar graph, United States spends more money on

11 the military than any other country in the world,

12 and in fact, a new report finds that we spend what

13 the next 32 nations combined spend on the military.

14 The consensus among many military

15 experts is that more spending on the military

16 doesn't equal more security, and just one brief

17 example of that is how much we spend on National

18 Missile Defense. This year we'll spend $9 billion on

19 National Missile Defense, a system that is

20 technologically impossible, strategically

21 unnecessary, and politically detrimental.

22 Just New York State's contribution to

23 national missile defense is enough to train, outfit

24 and support more than 12,000 port security

25 inspectors. And as you all know, the 9/11 focused on





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 port security as one aspect of American security

3 that is not being funded enough.

4 So, focusing on that as just one

5 example would do much more for US security for New

6 York security than a techno fantasy like national

7 missile defense.

8 And I know we don't have a lot of

9 time here, but I just want to turn your attention to

10 the pie chart and how much of discretionary spending

11 goes into the military.

12 This year we'll spend $420 billion on

13 the military in this country, and that's not

14 including the $230 billion that we've allocated

15 towards spending on military operations in Iraq and

16 Afghanistan. There's more detailed in my written

17 statement and I look forward to any questions from

18 you.

19 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

20 much. Next on the panel you may begin. And, again,

21 we're going to be adhering to a two-minute time

22 clock.

23 MS. BOATRIGHT: Peace to all of you.

24 My name is Angela Boatright. I'm a Priest in the

25 Episcopal Diocese of New York. I'm here on behalf of





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 my colleague, Ibrahim Ramey, at The Fellowship of

3 Reconciliation. Ibrahim is in the Sudan today and he

4 asked to read this statement on his behalf.

5 My organization, the Fellowship of

6 Reconciliation, was established in the United States

7 in 1915. We are the oldest and largest interfaith

8 peace organization in the USA, and for that matter,

9 the world.

10 Our credo is this: We believe that

11 warfare of any kind is wrong, and an abomination in

12 the eyes of God. We do not, and will not,

13 participate in campaigns and actions that take the

14 lives of other human beings. We take this position

15 recognizing that we will be called cowardly,

16 unpatriotic, or even traitorous.

17 The resolution before you seeks to

18 establish, as a right of personal moral conscience,

19 legislation that would allow conscientious objectors

20 to war to pay our taxes but for exclusively

21 nonmilitary use.

22 This provision would, of course, not

23 result in the disappearance of the US military, or

24 immediately impede the ability of the United States

25 to wage war. We would certainly welcome any





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 transformation of the war system into a global peace

3 system, to be sure. The Peace Tax Fund would allow

4 taxpayers and citizens who oppose war, not to be

5 forced to pay for it, or to withhold taxes that

6 currently support military spending, and

7 consequently, the killing of other human beings.

8 You have all heard the scriptural

9 injunction, "Thou shalt not kill." Well, that would

10 also imply to the peace and pacifist community, that

11 "thou shalt not provide implements for others to

12 engage in killing."

13 Who among you would give $500 to a

14 person whom you knew would use the money to buy a

15 gun and kill another person with it? That is the

16 essential morality and logic of our position. For

17 us, participation in any form --

18 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: If you can

19 summarize.

20 MS. BOATRIGHT: Certainly.

21 -- Participation in any form of war

22 is immoral.

23 Our commitment is to be living

24 witnesses to the power of nonviolence. It compels us

25 to seek redress in the form of accommodation for





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 true nonviolence with our national system of

3 taxation and appropriation.

4 Our faith in the ultimate rightness

5 and in the success of nonviolence is the grounding

6 of our work over the last 90 years.

7 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: If you can wrap

8 it up.

9 MS. BOATRIGHT: In conclusion, the

10 Fellowship of Reconciliation urges the City Council

11 of New York City to affirm this resolution, and in

12 doing so, to take a huge step in the affirmation of

13 our human right, to not only oppose war, but to

14 descent from paying for it.

15 Thank you.

16 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

17 much.

18 Next, and again I'm going to ask

19 everyone to please adhere to the two-minute time

20 clock. You can summarize without losing your

21 testimony being given on the record.

22 You are next. You may begin.

23 MR. HARAK: Good afternoon. My name is

24 Simon Harak. I am the Anti-Militarism Coordinator of

25 the War Resisters League. I'm also a Jesuit priest.





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 I had to teach ethics in the

3 University, and I have got a real good grasp of

4 numbers all the time. So, I asked a friend of mine

5 to explain to me the military budget, and this is

6 what he said.

7 If we were here talking for a million

8 seconds about these important issues, we would be

9 here for 11 days. What if we were here talking for a

10 billion seconds about these important issues? We

11 would be here for about 31 years.

12 That's the difference between a

13 million and a billion. One letter, but it's an

14 enormously different number.

15 Now, I know you know this because

16 you're dealing with a $50 billion budget here in New

17 York City. But our military budget, as Ms. Berrigan

18 pointed out, is $420 billion, billion for this

19 single year, add to it an extra hundred billion

20 dollars per year for the wars that we're doing, and

21 you come up with something like $500 billion in the

22 single year spent on, well, let's face it, killing

23 people, and on destroying the earth and on ruining

24 what's left of our resources.

25 It works out, if you take a





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 calculation, to about $16,000 a second on killing

3 people.

4 Well, that's the point. The point is

5 that every budget is a moral document. It tells us

6 where and how we allocate our money and shows us in

7 concrete terms where our values are. Shows us right

8 there on the tally sheet where we wish to spend or

9 squander our time, our talents or our treasure.

10 And that's why I'm asking you in the

11 name of all of these people, we want to be able to

12 spend our tax money, not on Halliburton but on

13 housing, not on mass killing but on mass transit,

14 not on bombing hospitals, but on building them.

15 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

16 much. And I appreciate your adhering to the time.

17 Next, you may begin.

18 MS. WENGER: My name is Ruth Wenger.

19 I'm Pastor of North Bronx Mennonite Church, a very

20 diverse neighborhood in the Bronx, and I'm also

21 Chair of the New York City Council of Mennonite

22 Churches.

23 The Mennonite Church is historically

24 a church that has chosen not to participate in

25 military service.





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 Some of my ancestors were actually

3 tortured because they did not participate in

4 military service in the US.

5 In 1940 the Congress passed

6 legislation granting CO status to people who did not

7 want to join the army and to participate in killing.

8 We're asking in this bill for CO

9 status for our dollars. The young men who did not

10 choose to fight in the military did offer two years

11 of service, voluntary service, working in mental

12 hospitals and in other settings where they were

13 contributing to life-affirming activities. It's not

14 a way of saying we will not participate. We are

15 saying we want to use our dollars, our bodies, to

16 heal and not to kill.

17 I'm grateful for the legislation that

18 was passed in 1940 granting CO status to young men

19 and women. I also trust that this will pass granting

20 CO status for alternative service for our dollars.

21 Thank you.

22 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

23 much.

24 Next.

25 MS. KELLY: Hello. My name is Colleen





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 Kelly, and I am co-director of the September 11th

3 families for peaceful tomorrows. I'm not here as an

4 expert on tax law or conscientious objection, nor do

5 I pretend to be a scholar of military budgets. I am

6 here as the sister of William H. Kelly, Jr., killed

7 on September 11th, 2001, here in this great City at

8 the World Trade Center.

9 I am here as a concerned and

10 thoughtful citizen who loved her brother deeply and

11 can't understand the war on terror that has been

12 unleashed in Bill's name and the nearly 3,000 others

13 that died that day.

14 Perhaps no one wants justice served

15 to the perpetrators of this international crime, and

16 those who aided and abetted in the 9/11 families.

17 And no one should doubt that justice is often slow

18 and a costly process.

19 Almost four years later we are still

20 waiting, with little to show for all of our

21 financial and militaristic efforts.

22 If I go to a store to buy a vacuum

23 cleaner, I expect that vacuum cleaner to work. I

24 should be assured that when I take the vacuum home,

25 it will clean floors effectively. And the sum of all





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 of its parts will function properly and that the

3 company that sold me this product will be

4 accountable for any malfunction or failure within

5 reason.

6 I expect the same of my government

7 and its use of my tax dollars. In my assessment,

8 after three and a half years, the militaristic

9 response to 9/11 has been largely ineffectual. We

10 still don't have bin Ladin or Zukowi or others, and

11 incidents of terror around the world in fact have

12 markedly increased. The doctrine of preemptive war

13 has left Pandoras once morally locked box, and the

14 greatest cost of all, more than 1,650 US service

15 people killed, and over 100,000 civilians dead.

16 I stand in good and informed

17 conscience and say my money is not being well spent.

18 I, therefore fully support the

19 religious Freedom Tax Fund bill, and also ask you to

20 support it. Thank you.

21 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

22 much.

23 Any questions on behalf of the

24 Committee?

25 Seeing none, thank you very much,





38


1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 ladies and gentlemen.

3 The next panel will consist Reverend

4 Sekou, Tom Siracuse, Frederick R. Dettmer, Jocelyn

5 Selene Perry. And we're going to adhere to the

6 two-minute time clock. I apologize if we have to cut

7 you off, but we also have budget negotiating taking

8 place and that is why you see members going back and

9 forth.

10 You may begin, and we have a

11 two-minute time clock.

12 Ladies first. You may begin.

13 MS. PERRY: Good afternoon, ladies and

14 gentlemen. My name is Jocelyn Selene Perry. I'm

15 Deacon at Middle Collegiate Church, located in the

16 East Village.

17 Middle Collegiate Church is among one

18 of the oldest Protestant Churches in North America.

19 We were founded in 1628. We are one of the founding

20 congregations here in New York City and we are

21 concerned for New York City.

22 We believe that New York City is in

23 an affordable housing crisis, and these are one of

24 the areas which the City needs to pay attention to.

25 We fully support Resolution 367,





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 which urges us as people of faith to be

3 conscientious objectors in paying our taxes for

4 military spending.

5 We believe that these tax dollars can

6 go much better toward the crisis which is here in

7 New York City in affordable housing.

8 I have also traveled in Iraq

9 extensively, and have seen the evil face of mass

10 destruction and indiscriminate death, which New York

11 City has also suffered during September 11th.

12 Middle Collegiate Church is educating

13 our own 600-member congregation about the national

14 peace tax effort.

15 We are educating our members to

16 support the National Campaign for the Peace Tax

17 Fund.

18 Dr. King believes that war was

19 immoral and unjust. We at Collegiate Church also

20 believe war is immoral and unjust but defies reason,

21 and so we also call for an accounting of the funds

22 that are already being spent in Iraq.

23 We believe that the war is fiscally

24 irresponsible, and that billions of dollars have

25 already been wasted in indiscriminate killing and





40


1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 maiming of individuals.

3 Thank you.

4 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

5 much.

6 MS. MASON-FRANCIS: My name is

7 Jacqueline Mason-Francis. I am a community organizer

8 for Action for Community Empowerment.

9 I have been serving the Central

10 Harlem Community for the past ten years.

11 First, I would like to thank

12 Councilman Perkins for introducing Resolution 367. I

13 want to thank you, and also, I'm sorry, I wanted to

14 thank Joel Rivera for holding this hearing today.

15 It's really unprecedented and really important.

16 And I really think that it is

17 important because in my estimation, Resolution 67

18 represents an opportunity to fortify the progressive

19 power of marginal and low-income people, so that

20 their priorities for their communities and lives can

21 truly be weighted in the decisions made.

22 In my work, and in everything I do, I

23 am motivated by my faith, which informs my sense of

24 stewardship from my fellow citizenry, our

25 communities, our society and the people of the





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 world.

3 Yet, everything I do and others like

4 myself do to build up society is undermined by the

5 fact that half of the great treasure of taxes that

6 God has blessed us with is going to killing and

7 preparing for war.

8 In our work with families and youth

9 over the past two years, we see that most of the

10 parents we serve cannot afford to send their

11 children to a decent public school, let alone

12 college.

13 Most of them work, or did work, until

14 their employment was ravished by downsizing and job

15 elimination. The young people are not nurtured as

16 they should be, and our community society has

17 nothing to offer our children, other than arms

18 service or military or jail.

19 Central Harlem has the highest youth

20 incarceration rate in New York City.

21 In the summer of 2000, the Federal

22 Workforce Investment Act completely cut the budget

23 for the Summer Youth Employment Program. Meanwhile,

24 the Pentagon has spent 100 billion on Star Wars

25 Program without producing one weapon that works.





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 With all the tax money that the

3 federal government collects from New York City,

4 can't we have some of that money back to help build

5 our communities and our lives?

6 At a time when our military expending

7 exceeds that of all other nations combined,

8 supporting the right of conscientious -- conscience

9 for taxpayers is an active justice. And I applaud

10 the City Council for being the first in the nation

11 to hear out the voice of conscientious objectors.

12 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you.

13 MS. MASON-FRANCIS: Thank you.

14 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Next. You may

15 begin.

16 MR. SIRACUSE: Hello. My name is Tom

17 Siracuse, and I'm a member of the New York Chapter

18 of Veterans For Peace. I was asked by Peter Bronson,

19 the Chairperson who cannot attend, to testify on his

20 behalf.

21 Funding for the Veterans

22 Administration is tied up into the overall military

23 budget. First priority has been given to weaponry,

24 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

25 Funding for VA programs and other





43


1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 social programs are getting shortchanged, while

3 military spending keeps increasing.

4 VA hospitals and programs have been

5 cut back. Veterans have been turned away whose

6 claims range from the effects of Agent Orange in the

7 Vietnam War to depleted uranium in the Gulf Wars.

8 Approximately 33 percent of homeless men are

9 veterans, although veterans comprise of only 23

10 percent of the adult male population.

11 The VAs enrolled populations surged

12 over 230 percent from 1996 to 2003, but appropriated

13 funding for medical care only increased 44 percent.

14 We could accept these sacrifices if

15 the Administration's policies were leading to the

16 protection of our country against a tax from

17 terrorism, but we believe that the opposite is the

18 case.

19 The reasons given to invade and

20 occupy Iraq have all proven false.

21 The National President of the

22 Veterans For Peace has issued a call to Congress to

23 impeach President Bush and Vice President Chaney.

24 We believe they have violated our

25 constitution and federal laws which they have sworn





44


1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 to uphold. Almost 1,700 American soldiers have been

3 killed, thousands more physically and

4 psychologically maimed and 100,000 Iraqis have died

5 in this war.

6 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: If you could

7 summarize, sir?

8 MR. SIRACUSE: Extraordinary measures

9 are needed to change this disastrous policy, and

10 that is why this organization supports House Bill

11 2631 in Congress and City Council resolution 367.

12 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

13 much.

14 Next. You may begin.

15 MR. DETTMER: Good afternoon. My name

16 is Frederick Dettmer. I'm an attorney involved in

17 private practice, a sole private practice.

18 I'm a member of the Religious Society

19 of Friends, and I engage in war tax witness. I have,

20 in addition to my written statement, I would like to

21 submit a minute adopted by the Friends Committee on

22 National Legislation on Conscientious Objection to

23 War, which endorses the Peace Tax Fund Bill.

24 I wish and strive to be a responsible

25 citizen. I pay my State income taxes, my municipal





45


1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 taxes and county taxes, my real estate taxes, my

3 sales taxes, telephone, gasoline and other excise

4 taxes. And I pay my federal taxes, only I pay them

5 into an escrow account maintained for this purpose

6 by a Quaker organization. When I file my federal tax

7 returns, I advise the Internal Revenue Service in

8 writing that my religious faith and conscience do

9 not permit me to contribute to the machinery of war.

10 So, I have deposited my taxes into escrow pending

11 the national government's commitment to allocate

12 those funds solely to peaceful governmental

13 activities.

14 The federal government, of course,

15 currently will not make that commitment. Instead,

16 the IRS seeks ways to capture my earnings and assets

17 to collect the taxes and additional interest in

18 penalties, because I maintain a sole or legal

19 practice, I have no employer who issues regular

20 paychecks, which the IRS may find modestly

21 frustrating, but I do referee soccer games, youth

22 soccer games, and the IRS has been seizing those

23 earnings for the last two years, I've also begun

24 refereeing public high school soccer games, and I

25 assume the IRS will start seizing those earnings as





46


1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 soon as they know about it, that is next year.

3 Echoing the injunction of Isaiah and

4 Micah, to beat our swords into plowshares and our

5 spears into pruning hooks, former President and

6 General Dwight D. Eisenhower counseled that "every

7 gun that is made, every warship launched, every

8 rocket fired signifies in the final sense..." --

9 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: If you could wrap

10 it up.

11 MR. DETTMER:"... A theft from those

12 who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and

13 not clothed." Until we truly grasp and act in the

14 light of his counsel, we can never approach, much

15 less attain, true peace and security. The Religious

16 Peace Tax Fund Act is a means to approach that goal.

17 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Okay.

18 MR. DETTMER: Thank you.

19 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you.

20 Next.

21 REVEREND SEKOU: My name is Reverend

22 Osagyefo Sekou. I am the National Coordinator of

23 Clergy and Laity Concerned About Iraq, a program of

24 United for Peace and Justice, the largest anti-war

25 coalition in the nation.





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 I am proud to lend the support of our

3 150 faith-based religious institutions around this

4 country in support of the Religious Freedom Peace

5 Tax Fund Bill.

6 It is not enough to rebel against the

7 lack of justice, but we must also rebel against the

8 lack of imagination. These words shall frame the few

9 remarks that I shall make. The religious Freedom Tax

10 Fund Bill creates an imaginative discourse in the

11 way in which we can imagine ourselves using our

12 resources in such a way to keep track of the best of

13 the democratic tradition.

14 In the past, the passage of voting

15 rights and public accommodations were essential to

16 the establishment of justice public discourse and

17 policy.

18 These legislative mandates were born

19 from the crucible or more conscientious activism and

20 social justice.

21 The current and occupation Iraq

22 represents, another moment of great social concern,

23 and requires citizenry to pause and reflect upon the

24 nature of war.

25 Given the current crisis that our





48


1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 cities face and our nation, given the current crisis

3 of unemployment in this great city, one would be

4 remiss not to look critically at our fiscal

5 priorities in our nation.

6 Moreover, the psychic and spiritual

7 destruction that war breeds, hinders the positive

8 creativity of imagination and impedes the vitality

9 of the soul. Is this how we imagine our democracy?

10 The passage of the religious freedom

11 tax fund bill will demonstrate that our government

12 is committed to creating and maintaining its space

13 for a peace witness and public life and policy.

14 Finally, we would like to extend our

15 gratitude to the New York Campaign for a Peace Tax

16 Fund, and New York City Council for this historic

17 gathering.

18 It is the intention of Clergy And

19 Laity Concerned About Iraq to replicate this hearing

20 in City Council, church basements and street corners

21 around this nation because democracy, history and

22 Heaven mandate it.

23 Thank you.

24 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

25 much, sir.





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 Any questions?

3 No questions. Thank you very much.

4 The next panel will consist of

5 Reverend Monroe Yoder. Archdeacon Michael S.

6 Kendall. Carl Lundgren. Jacqueline Mason-Francis,

7 and Linda Chidsey and Ruth Benn.

8 Is there anybody else that wants to

9 testify today, because I only have six more people,

10 and I know Councilman Perkins stated that there was

11 other people who wanted to testify.

12 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: If you

13 haven't filled out a form, then you're not listed,

14 you're not going to be able to testify.

15 If you haven't filled out the form,

16 raise your hand. Oh, okay, you have filled it out

17 but we didn't get it. All right, great. Thank you.

18 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Okay, gentlemen

19 and ladies, you may begin. You may choose the order.

20 MS. BENN: Okay. My name is Ruth Benn.

21 I live in Brooklyn and I work with the National War

22 Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, which was

23 founded in 1982 by a coalition of groups as a

24 resource center for people who cannot in good

25 conscience pay for war.





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 Some of our affiliates are here in

3 New York City, and many of our activists work for

4 the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill.

5 When you reach a point where you know

6 if asked you would refuse to fight in a war, the

7 dilemma for paying for it could hit you square in

8 the face.

9 This is not a new issue. The most

10 famous case of War Tax Resistance in the US is that

11 of Henry David Throw who spent a night in jail

12 because he would not pay a $1 pull tax levy to fund

13 the Mexican War.

14 If a specific war tax were levied

15 today to pay for the war in Iraq, many more people

16 would face a direct choice. But the government was

17 smart to mingle all the monies into a general fund

18 to obfuscate how our money is being used. An

19 important aspect of Resolution 367 asks our City

20 Council and Congress people to report military

21 expenditures for the people of New York.

22 Trade-offs are being made every day.

23 This resolution can help people better understand

24 these choices.

25 Like myself, there are hundreds of





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 others in New York City who feel that we must break

3 the law and not give our tax dollars to the IRS.

4 Some put the money aside in case of collection,

5 others pay their taxes to groups who work for peace

6 and take care of people. When threatening collection

7 letters come from the IRS, I often ask myself why am

8 I doing this? To find the answer I have only to

9 think about Iraq, Afghanistan and the trillions

10 spent on building the largest collection of WMDs on

11 earth or the unmet needs here at home.

12 Resolution 367 before the New York

13 City Council acknowledges how the current tax system

14 forces thousands of people to choose between their

15 conscience and the law. It recognizes that decisions

16 made in Washington affect us deeply here in New York

17 City.

18 On behalf of National War Tax

19 Resistance, I hope that this resolution will gain

20 the support of this Committee.

21 Thank you.

22 MR. LUNDGREN: Thank you for the

23 opportunity to speak before you today.

24 My name is Carl Lundgren. I'm a

25 member, I'm the Chair of Bronx Greens, a local of





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 the Green Party of New York State. I'm also the

3 State Committee rep to the State Green Party from

4 the 82nd Assembly District in the Bronx. And I'm

5 also representing a Bronx group called Bronx Peace,

6 and the Lamont Chapter of the Human Society of

7 Metropolitan New York.

8 I had not intended to speak here

9 today, but I ran into our mayoral candidate on the

10 Green Party Line who urged me to speak because he

11 couldn't stay.

12 We do want to express our gratitude

13 to the City Council for supporting this bill, and

14 putting forth this resolution. As the only party

15 that advocates for peace and nonviolence, we find it

16 very gratifying to know that there are others that

17 share our vision.

18 From a personal point of view, I

19 remember when I was a student in high school, during

20 the Vietnam War, and I had to go to selective

21 service to get my draft card, I was a conscientious

22 objector at the time too, and I talked to guidance

23 counselors in school and said, look, I don't want to

24 hurt anybody. I have never wanted to hurt anybody. I

25 don't believe in this. I can't do this. They said,





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 well, go to your church and get an affidavit from

3 them stating you're a conscience objector. By the

4 way, what church are you from? I said I'm a

5 Lutheran. Oh, Lutherans are not recognized as

6 pacifists. So, I honestly don't know what I would

7 have done at the time. I am glad that we have made

8 strides now that people can put forth the idea that

9 they're conscientious objectors.

10 We still believe that there's a long

11 way to go. At some point we hope that no one will

12 have to pay taxes to support wars, but until that

13 time we think this resolution is a step in the right

14 direction, and we wholeheartedly support it.

15 I will be putting forth a proposal to

16 the State Green Party at our next State committee

17 meeting for the Green Party of New York State to

18 also endorse this. And I would also like to say in

19 my remaining seconds, that all of our candidates in

20 running this year will be in support of this

21 resolution.

22 MR. YODER: To you, honorable

23 servants, and those that you represent, I am Monroe

24 Yoder, resident of New York City and Pastor in New

25 York City, Mennonite pastor in New York City.





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 I'm concerned about what is happening

3 for our reduced community services. I was, am

4 presently serving as the Chair of our Head Start

5 Board, and that is just on example of what is

6 happening to some of our programs that are dependent

7 upon the federal dollars. And, so, it really

8 consciously drives it home, and draws me into this

9 in a way that makes it real how our money, how our

10 federal money is being spent.

11 And then when I see, and the housing

12 needs, the community services, the health services

13 and all of that that goes down on that record, I beg

14 you to support and to pass this resolution.

15 As a young man in 1958, I made the

16 conscious decision to be a conscientious objector,

17 based on my religious training and my understanding

18 of the command of Jesus. And what that did for me,

19 my alternate service, what that did for me, to

20 build, instead of destroy, is still a part of my

21 life and part of my service.

22 So, I am saying, let's send a message

23 to United States. Let's develop a true, true, true

24 culture of life, not one that selectively destroys

25 and kills.





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1 STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION

2 MR. KENDALL: I am Michael Kendall. I

3 am the Archdeacon for the Episcopal Diocese of New

4 York. I'm the Vice Chair of the New York City

5 Council of Churches, and I chair a public policy

6 committee for the New York State Council of

7 Churches.

8 We live in a time of greed and

9 violence. We live under an Administration which is

10 perpetuating greed and violence. The charts behind

11 us show that. What is happening right now when there

12 is such a gap between rich and poor is that there

13 are tax cuts for the rich that are being structured

14 in by law, and at the same time, that's the greed,

15 at the same time we are dramatically increasing our

16 military spending which is the violence.

17 The other violence is what's

18 happening to social service programs that are

19 mandated by the government.

20 We are cutting services to children,

21 to the elderly, to the poor, in New York City.

22 Almost every religious institution is trying in some

23 way to respond to poverty and homelessness, and it

24 is way beyond what we can do. Government is cutting

25 back.





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2 So, it is time that we reverse what

3 is going on, and we use our money to help, to care,

4 to become a compassionate society, not a violent

5 society.

6 And I might say in making this

7 testimony that the New York State Council of

8 Churches, New York City Council of Churches and the

9 Episcopal Peace Fellowship, have all gone on record

10 supporting this peace tax.

11 And finally, conscientious objection

12 goes back to the American Revolution, and as we

13 heard earlier, even before. It is part of the

14 tradition of this country, people came here to

15 escape violence from other places and they came here

16 for a refuge. Just as many of our immigrants are

17 coming now for a refuge, and we are cutting back on

18 their services and we are producing a very violent

19 society.

20 Let me end by thanking Councilman

21 Perkins and New York City Council for taking this

22 historic step. We appreciate what you're doing, and

23 we pray that we may become a nation of compassion.

24 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you.

25 MS. CHIDSEY: I'm Linda Chidsey. I'm





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2 presiding Clerk of New York Yearly Meeting of the

3 Religious Society of Friends Quakers. I also serve

4 as representative to the governing body of the New

5 York State Council of Churches, and I begin this

6 testimony by saying both New York Yearly Meeting and

7 the New York State Council of Churches have endorsed

8 Resolution 367.

9 For over 30 years, New York Yearly

10 Meeting has adopted minutes supporting versions of

11 the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Bill, and has

12 provided ways of assisting employees and members,

13 who for reasons of conscience cannot pay military

14 taxes.

15 Since the beginnings of our religious

16 societies, we've understood our role as followers of

17 Christ to be one of helping establish the peaceable

18 kingdom on earth. We believe in the sanctity of

19 life, the oneness of humanity and that each person

20 carries within him or herself a measure of the

21 Divine light.

22 We take seriously the life and

23 teachings of Jesus, we hear "thou shalt not kill,"

24 and "resist not evil with evil" as words to live by.

25 Many are familiar with Friends





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2 through our testimonies, in the Society of Friends

3 there were testimony describes a corporate witness

4 to truth that's revealed deep within the human

5 heart, and this truth is meant to be lived out every

6 day, at all times in all places and all of our

7 relationships.

8 And our historic peace testimony was

9 first articulated in 1660 by George Fox and other

10 founders of Quakerism.

11 Briefly, we do utterly deny all

12 outward war and strife for any end or any pretense

13 whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole

14 world.

15 The spirit of Christ which leads us

16 into all truth would never move us to fight in war

17 against any man with outward weapons neither for the

18 Kingdom of Christ or the Kingdom of this World.

19 Today in New York Yearly Meeting,

20 conduct is guided by what we call "Advices and

21 Theories" in our Book of Discipline. And our 14th

22 advice reads: "Friends are cautioned against the

23 taking of arms against any person. Friends should be

24 aware of supporting preparations for war even

25 indirectly and should examine in this light matters





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2 as noncombatant military service, cooperation with

3 conscription, employment or investment in war

4 industries and voluntary payment of taxes.

5 So, this is the stock from which

6 friends come.

7 So, what relevance do these beliefs

8 and testimonies of a historic peace church have for

9 the life of an individual? How do they inform our

10 thoughts and actions following events such as took

11 place here in this City on September 11th, 2001. For

12 myself, I struggled for days. I struggled for days

13 with a question of whether this historic peace

14 testimony was anything more than a lofty ideal,

15 impossible to live out in a world where such

16 horrific events take place.

17 Then in early October of that year, a

18 friend and I went to Ground Zero, where praying and

19 weeping we saw what had happened. And several days

20 after that a transformative insight came to me, a

21 kind of in-the-bone knowing that this was it. That

22 each one of us has a part to play in the

23 reconciliation and redemption of that horrendous

24 event and all others like it.

25 There are a number of friends in New





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2 York Yearly Meeting who conscientiously withhold

3 their taxes, they observe the radical teachings of

4 Jesus, and they witness to the peace of Christ

5 through their conscientious objection, and the

6 Yearly Meeting supports and upholds them in their

7 faithfulness.

8 In conclusion, as I testify today, I

9 am deeply moved that out of a City that suffered

10 such pain and loss on September 11th comes a

11 resolution which offers hope and lifts up the

12 possibility of healing through peaceful means. So,

13 I'm grateful to this Council, and I urge on behalf

14 of the yearly meeting, as a private citizen and a

15 representative of the New York State Council of

16 Churches, to vote for this resolution.

17 Thank you.

18 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you all

19 for your testimony.

20 There are no questions at this time,

21 but even as your testimony has been abbreviated, it

22 will all be included as you have submitted it, for

23 the official record. So, thank you, again, for the

24 work you do, and the testimony you just gave.

25 Our next and last panel, Ted





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2 Henderson, Riverside Church of New York City. Renee

3 Noelle Felice. Is that how you say your name? Oh,

4 Renee Noell Felice. Simple.

5 And last, but not least, Rosa

6 Packard, Conscience and Peace Tax International.

7 Please give it to the

8 Sergeant-At-Arms. He'll take it.

9 You may begin as you wish, you'll

10 decide who goes first and so forth.

11 MS. FELICE: Okay. My name is Renee

12 Noell Felice. I was born in New York City and have

13 lived here almost all my life, and I've been a

14 conscientious tax resister for over 20 years.

15 When we were out on the steps, an

16 incident reminded me of a story. We, in back of the

17 speakers, could not hear them. That reminded me of

18 the minister who was accustomed to getting into the

19 pulpit at every Sunday and saying "peace be with

20 you," and the congregation would reply, "and also

21 with you." And one morning he got up to the

22 microphone and he said, this microphone is broken.

23 And the congregation, of course, couldn't hear him,

24 and they said, "and also with you." There's

25 something wrong with this microphone he said. And





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2 they said, "and also with you."

3 Well, something is broken, and a lot

4 of it has to do with language.

5 If I were to tell you that I am

6 pro-life, you would assume that I am anti-abortion.

7 And if I were to tell you that I am pro-choice, you

8 would assume that I am for abortion. In fact, I am

9 both pro-life and both pro-choice. I choose.

10 I choose not -- I'm sorry. I choose

11 to -- I do choose life. I choose not to vote 50

12 percent of each tax dollar to military spending.

13 I choose adding $20 million or more

14 to the federal budget for developing sustainable

15 energy sources and not as President Bush has done

16 subtracting that amount.

17 I choose Red Woods over the

18 decimation of oceans and other waterways.

19 I choose dolphins over the rape and

20 destruction of the waterways.

21 I choose raising up community

22 gardens, that's raising with an i-s, raising them

23 with an r-a-z.

24 I choose reinstating or increasing

25 health benefits to military personnel, as opposed to





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2 giving $15,000 bonuses to new draftees.

3 I choose the right to exercise my

4 religion regarding pacifism, as opposed to being

5 persecuted financially by the government for doing

6 so.

7 I choose long-term planning, as

8 opposed to massive accumulation of wealth by a

9 handful of people.

10 People, few people do tax resistance.

11 Some are afraid of losing their property, their

12 income, their savings. Many have never thought about

13 it. And some are afraid to break the law, but the

14 law with a capital t and a capital l is broken. We

15 are about as close to a democracy as we are to

16 getting on a shuttle to Washington and ending up on

17 the moon.

18 This resolution is a first step, a

19 gigantic, wonderful, exciting, scary first step

20 towards fixing the law.

21 Thank you.

22 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you.

23 MS. PACKARD: My name is Rosa Packard.

24 I'm a non-governmental representative at the United

25 Nations for Conscience and Peace Tax International,





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2 which has consulted its status there.

3 Conscience and Peace Tax

4 International's base is in Brussels, and its board

5 members come from other countries besides ours,

6 where citizens are working to obtain legal

7 recognition of the human right of conscientious

8 objection to military taxes.

9 I'm also a board member of the

10 National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund and Peace Tax

11 Foundation in this country who work with Conscience

12 and Peace Tax International.

13 Tax witness has been important to me

14 for 25 years. I place my taxes in an escrow account

15 for the US government until it respects

16 conscientious objection and provides a way for my

17 taxes to go for non-military purposes.

18 Local Quakers manage the escrow

19 account I use, and when I fill out and mail my tax

20 form to the IRS I write a letter explaining my

21 position.

22 Every year the Government destroys my

23 letter and ignores the escrow account by seizing the

24 money from my personal checking account.

25 My bank knows what I do and why I do





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2 and is sympathetic towards me when they respond to

3 the government's levy for the amount of my taxes, as

4 current law requires them to do.

5 I tell you that nitty-gritty because

6 it really isn't terrifying to do, if you're clear

7 that it's important to do.

8 Several years ago I sued the US

9 government, hoping that under the provisions of the

10 Religious Freedom Restoration Act my conscientious

11 objection to military taxation would be respected.

12 New York Yearly Meeting wrote an

13 eloquent amicus brief for my appeal to the second

14 circuit into the Supreme Court.

15 The brief gave us the 350-year long

16 history of Quakers and it's posted on the Conscience

17 and Peace Tax International Web Page.

18 Two other Quakers from two other

19 Quaker yearly meetings had related cases at the same

20 time. Not only did the US judges dismiss these three

21 Quaker cases, they ignored the issues raised by

22 them.

23 That is why this legislation is so

24 very important for this issue which is to some of us

25 very important.





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2 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Please

3 summarize.

4 Oh, thank you so much. Great summary.

5 MR. HENDERSON: Yes, good afternoon.

6 My name is Ted Henderson, and I don't have any fancy

7 titles, I'm just a concerned citizen, and I came

8 across this initiative as a member of Riverside

9 Church, and the mens' group there. And the way I

10 came across it was I was meeting with some folks,

11 and I work on behalf of an organization called the

12 Children's Hunger Fund. So, my interest is really

13 children, hungry and needy children. And I saw the

14 connection immediately with the ability to folks who

15 are both concerned about aggressive international

16 military actions, to be able to divert some of those

17 resources to other things such as caring for

18 children, both abroad and here.

19 And having worked very closely and

20 been to countries like Uganda and worked in the

21 areas and ate the same food that was available, and

22 cared for small children and orphaned children with

23 distended belly that it no longer is something that

24 you see on TV, but something that's real and

25 personal.





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2 So, with that, I thought that the

3 Peace Tax Fund was something that not only is

4 Riverside as a church supporting, but I thought it

5 would be very important as a citizen to come down,

6 and to voice my support for it. And, so, that's

7 really why I'm here, not only to support the

8 international initiatives whether it's in Uganda or

9 South America or Sunami Relief, which the Children's

10 Hunger Fund does, and Riverside Church does, but

11 also right here in the US and New York City.

12 When you have 25 percent of the

13 children that are eligible for the meals not getting

14 meals in school, both breakfast and lunch, that's a

15 concern.

16 Any time you have an environment

17 where children are not benefitting by the resources

18 that are available, it's an unstable environment. It

19 becomes an unstable future because those are the

20 ones that are going to replace us.

21 So, that is why I'm supporting the

22 initiative. I want to be part of creating that kind

23 of work. Thank you.

24 COUNCIL MEMBER PERKINS: Thank you all

25 very much.





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2 And your timing could not have been

3 more perfect, as my colleagues hover at the back

4 ready to go forward with our budget negotiations.

5 So, let me say, on behalf of the

6 Council, that, first, thank you to our Chair Joel

7 Rivera, and the Committee on State and Federal

8 Legislation. This was a historic hearing on Reso

9 367-A, sponsored by Council Members Perkins,

10 Martinez, Barron, Lopez, Foster, Reed, Brewer,

11 Jackson, Monserrate and James. And this resolution

12 was in support of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax

13 Fund Act, known as HR2631, to affirm the rights of

14 taxpayers who are conscientiously opposed to

15 participation in war, by providing that the income,

16 estate or gift tax payments of such taxpayers be

17 used for non-military purposes.

18 We're so proud to have begun a

19 grassroots movement with regard to this very, very

20 important piece of federal legislation.

21 Today the Committee on State and

22 Federal Legislation held a hearing on the proposed

23 resolution and supported the religious Freedom Peace

24 Tax Fund, and let me say on behalf of my colleagues,

25 peace be with you.





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2 CHAIRPERSON RIVERA: Thank you very

3 much.

4 The meeting is adjourned, if

5 everybody could please clear the room.

6 (Hearing concluded at 2:55 p.m.)

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2 CERTIFICATION

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5 STATE OF NEW YORK )

6 COUNTY OF NEW YORK )

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9 I, CINDY MILLELOT, a Certified

10 Shorthand Reporter and Notary Public in and for the

11 State of New York, do hereby certify that the

12 foregoing is a true and accurate transcript of the

13 within proceeding.

14 I further certify that I am not

15 related to any of the parties to this action by

16 blood or marriage, and that I am in no way

17 interested in the outcome of this matter.

18 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto

19 set my hand this 9th day of June 2005.

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25 CINDY MILLELOT, CSR.





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9 I, CINDY MILLELOT, a Certified Shorthand

10 Reporter and a Notary Public in and for the State of

11 New York, do hereby certify the aforesaid to be a

12 true and accurate copy of the transcription of the

13 audio tapes of this hearing.

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CINDY MILLELOT, CSR.
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New York City Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund
Phone: 212-866-3244
Fax: 212-543-0240
Address: 253 Lenox Ave., 2, NY, NY 10027
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