Hundreds of community members and local leaders gathered in Melville on Friday, March 6th with handmade signs to urge Governor Paterson to meet New York’s budget shortfall by raising state income taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers instead of slashing health care, education and other vital services.
The Governor has proposed to close a record state budget deficit by making more than $9 billion in devastating cuts to institutions and services that working families depend on – schools and colleges, hospitals and nursing homes, and organizations serving the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Citizens across the state are pushing bank by calling for Fair Share Tax Reform, a plan to raise $6 billion to offset the deepest cuts by adding more progressive state income tax brackets for individuals earning $250,000 per year or more.
At the rally, Wilkens Young of Patchogue highlighted the impact of the Governor’s cut on one particularly vulnerable group, homeless veterans. “Programs that provide housing for homeless veterans and other displaced people could see a 25% cut under this budget,” Smith said. “The Governor is asking these men and women who have given so much to sacrifice even more so that the well-off don’t have to sacrifice at all. Those just aren’t the right priorities.”
Amparo Sadler, a Central Islip education advocate with the Long Island Progressive Coalition, spoke about the impact the cuts would have on working families and students. “The budget cuts would have a drastic impact on the quality of education in our local schools and weaken so many other organizations and services in our community. The Governor is asking everyone to sacrifice, except the New Yorkers who can most afford it. We’re rallying on Long Island to remind Governor Paterson that shared sacrifice means everyone.”
“As everyone here today knows, we are facing very challenging financial times,” said Suffolk County Legislator DuWayne Gregory, who represents the 15th Legislative District. “We can no longer afford the income tax cuts that have allowed the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay the same rate as a nurse or librarian who makes $20,000 a year. If we’re going to preserve health care and education for our most vulnerable and the next generation, we need Fair Share Tax Reform now.”
Today’s rally is one of many across the state highlighting the local human impact of the Governor’s proposed cuts and advocating Fair Share Tax Reform as a way to alleviate the worst of the cutbacks, while achieving truly shared sacrifice.
Related website: www.fairesharereform.com