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Bayside group aims to bring voice to 99%

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Downtown Manhattan can seem as if it is worlds away, in more ways than one, from Bayside. David Yale said that in the nearly 25 years he has lived in the neighborhood, he cannot remember seeing a lot of political demonstrations.

“Bayside is a comfortable, middle-class neighborhood. People are pretty well-off and, up until recently, haven’t had much to complain about,” he said. “But with the crashing economy, everyone feels it.”

With the Occupy Wall Street demonstration nearing the one month mark, Yale and the northeast Queens members of moveon.org, a progressive policy group, will try to drum up support from neighbors for passage of a federal bill that would use revenue raised by taxing speculative traders to rebuild infrastructure and reduce the national deficit.

“We’re asking our neighbors here in northeast Queens to support passage of Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act,” he said. “Only the top percent will pay this tax. The first $100,000 of trades each year, as well as mutual funds, pensions and IRAs would be exempt.”

The bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) in December 2009, but has not left the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

“A tiny .25 percent tax on stock trades, and .02 percent on futures, options and credit default swaps will raise $100 billion per year in revenue and help stop some of the more outrageous speculative practices,” he said.

Yale said a financial speculation tax would make speculation less profitable and less profitable, thus encouraging Wall Street to make investments that create jobs.

He has planned a rally at the Bayside Long Island Rail Road station the morning of Oct. 13, where he and what he expects to be a modest showing will reach out and inform their neighbors of the bill and encourage them to contact their elected officials and urge them to vote for the bill.

“We’re not expecting a large number of people. This is Bayside, not Manhattan,” explained Yale, who said he marched across the Brooklyn Bridge and from Foley Square to Zuccotti Park with the Occupy Wall Street protestors.

In April, Yale and MoveOn.org held a protest outside Bayside’s Citibank branch on the corner of Bell Boulevard and 39th Avenue to call attention to what they deemed to be unfair corporate tax practices that allow millionaires and corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes by taking advantage of tax loopholes.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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