This week, New York State’s elected officials proved they are paying attention to public support for fair share taxes and the demand for economic justice as embodied by the protests of the Occupy movement. Returning to the state Capitol in Albany for a special session, the Legislature and the Governor reached an agreement that will cut taxes for the middle class, create jobs, and for the first time in decades begin to restructure the tax code toward a more equitable system.
1199SEIU President George Gresham said in a statement, “We applaud Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Skelos and Assembly Speaker Silver for their bold leadership during this critical time. While we, and our allies in the labor movement and community have long called for the rich to pay their fair share, just weeks ago, progressive tax reform and a bi-partisan resolution seemed out of reach even as the jobs and economic crisis continued to bear its weight on working families. We credit the audacity and determination of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which changed the national dialogue on income inequality and awakened ordinary citizens in New York and around the world that change is needed.”
The agreement is not perfect, as the surcharge on personal income for wealthy New Yorkers will be allowed to expire on December 31, and the Legislature still must confront a revenue gap when they return in January 2012. However, this week’s action will help to mitigate cuts to the social safety net, ensure funding for health care and education, and create desperately needed jobs in the state.
President Gresham said, “We thank our elected leaders for forging this innovative plan and we hope Washington can take a page from New York for the sake of working people across the country.”