Cuomo's Budget Keeps NY the Leader in Income Inequality

Cuomo's Budget Keeps NY the Leader in Income Inequality

Cuomo's budget shows he cares more about providing tax benefits and giveaways to those who donated $40,000 to his campaign than he does about meeting the needs of families struggling on $40,000 a year.

Hawkins Says Cuomo's Budget Keeps NY the Leader in Income Inequality

Statement by Howie Hawkins

The Governor's proposed budget will do nothing to change New York's status as the nation's leader in income inequality. Unemployment, poverty, and hunger will remain high.

Cuomo's budget shows his priorities in real numbers. He cares more about providing tax benefits and giveaways to those who donated $40,000 to his campaign than he does about meeting the needs of families struggling on $40,000 a year.

Those making less than $40,000 will not even qualify for Cuomo's $350 “vote for me” tax rebate check that those earning between $40,000 and $350,000 will receive on October 15, three weeks before gubernatorial election.

Cuomo's 4 percent increase in school aid enables him to say he is increasing school spending when in fact that amount is more than a billion dollars short of what the Foundation Aid Formula enacted in 2007 was to provide for fiscal equity in school funding. Cuomo's school aid proposal will force many school districts, particularly in inner city and rural areas, to hike regressive property taxes and cut staffing and programs.

Cuomo's budget keeps revenue sharing with local governments flat at a time when scores of local governments and school districts are headed for insolvency and a state takeover by Financial and Educational Control Boards. Rather than progressive tax reform and revenue sharing, Cuomo's tax cuts for the rich will be paid for by working people as cuts to their local schools and municipal services.

Cuomo plans to cut taxes by $2 billion over three years when the state budget office projects a $3 billion deficit over three years. The only way Cuomo can balance the state budget is to shortchange state spending on human services and needed investments in sewage and water infrastructure, roads and bridges, mass transit, affordable housing, environmental protection, and clean energy.

A revitalized public sector and public investments in housing, energy, and transportation infrastructure are the fastest and cheapest ways to create good jobs for the 1.5 million New Yorkers who are unemployed or working part-time involuntarily. Instead, Cuomo offers tax cuts for the rich, which are supposed to stimulate new productive investment and jobs. Decades of this trickle-down economic policy in New York has not produced new jobs, as Cuomo should know from a study done for his first tax reform commission.

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