Ron Deutsch, Fiscal Policy Institute, (518) 469-6769

Michael Kink, Strong Economy for All,  (518) 527-2787


Health Care Cuts and Higher Taxes Put Millions of New Yorkers At Risk

New Data Anticipates Loss of Health Coverage and Rising Taxes for Poor and Middle-Income New Yorkers

Albany, NY – Leaders from community and worker’ rights organizations held a press conference on Friday to protest the tax reform plan that could emerge from the House and Senate conference within the next week.

In their latest analysis, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that both the House and Senate bills would raise taxes on low and middle-income families, while extending over 40% of its tax cuts to the wealthiest 5% of New Yorkers..

The tax plan will also have a grave impact on front-line health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, with the number of uninsured people in New York swelling to an estimated 843,000 people by 2025.

“Despite some differences between the House and Senate bills a couple of things are crystal clear. Both bills favor the wealthy and corporations over working class taxpayers and both bills are terrible for New York,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute. “Any of our members of Congress that support tax increases for our poorest residents while at the same time stripping nearly 1 million New Yorkers of their healthcare benefits will have a lot to answer for. Now is the time to put people over party and reject this destructive tax bill.”

“Let us be very clear here. Voting yes on this tax bill is a vote to raise taxes on poor and middle class New Yorkers in order to pay for a massive tax cut for the very rich. Speaker Ryan made it clear on Wednesday he now wants to cut benefits like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and many social programs in order to pay for the massive deficit this tax bill will create. Churches fought hard for progressive taxation and social programs to care for our communities. We cannot allow Congress to destroy what millions of Americans have worked so hard to create,” said Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches.

The coalition did not mince words when it came to their disappointment in their Members of Congress, specifically Reps. Claudia Tenney, John Katko, Chris Collins, and Tom Reed, all of whom voted in support of the House tax bill.

“The GOP tax scam raises taxes on regular New Yorkers, takes away health care coverage, and sets up trillion dollar cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Any member of Congress who votes for this bill is voting to hurt their own constituents to pay off the billionaires and bankers on Wall Street who fund their campaigns. It’s corrupt, it’s disgusting, and it’s wrong,” said Michael Kink, Executive Director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition.

“Everyone deserves the security of health insurance coverage. The House and Senate tax bills would significantly threaten the Medicaid program, endangering the health and wellbeing of millions of New Yorkers who rely on Medicaid. Medicaid provides needed health care services, supports people to live independently in their homes, and saves money overall. The tax overhaul being negotiated in Washington is senseless and cruel and it must be defeated,” said Lara Kassel, State Coordinator for Medicaid Matters NY.

“Beyond the staggering inequality promulgated in the tax bill, the Human Services Council is deeply concerned about the devastating impact the bill will have on critical services in our state. The deficit this bill creates will ultimately send human services programs to the chopping block. When Medicaid and federal aid to states are slashed, the outcome will be a loss of programs that provide opportunity to millions in New York. To build strong communities, we cannot implement a tax bill that rewards special interests and does little for the individuals and families across the nation,” said Allison Sesso, Executive Director, Human Services Council.

“The absolute disdain for the poor, elderly and the infirm is on full display in these proposed tax bills,” said Susan Zimet, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network. “Goodbye SNAP, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid as we know it.”

“The Republican politicians’ fat promises of a year ago have been cast into the trash. Very wealthy donors, corporations, hedge fund partners, and zealots have bought and paid for a customized tax bill that has no principles, discipline, or credible economic basis. Next in line for this theft are cuts to Social Security, Medicare, VA benefits, Medicare, education, the CDC, and national parks. They will all be cut to close the deficits the tax scam creates. Why does the GOP want to make our rich, stable country poor and unstable?” said Peter Greenough, member of Oblong Valley Indivisible.

Jasmine Gripper, Legislative Director for the Alliance for Quality Education, raised concerns about the financial impact on New York State’s public schools: “All children should have access to a quality public education. But the House and Senate tax bills will most harm our public school students, even though 90% of children attend public schools. The proposed changes in state and local tax deductions in both bills could restrict local governments’ efforts to finance public schools. This puts New York State at risk of losing over $5 billion and thirty thousand educators. We need New York’s Congressional delegates to reject the devastating Trump/DeVos agenda and put the needs of local children ahead of their wealthy campaign donors.”

“This terrible piece of legislation is a direct attack on the working people and their families of New York. The students of New York deserve so much better than this. Losing the SALT deduction will force an already stressed educational budget to fall apart. Teachers are currently funding their own classrooms out of their own pockets. Union members are no longer allowed to deduct their union dues. All of these losses are a direct hit on the pocketbooks of the working class. We are calling on our representatives across NY State to stand up and do the right thing for all New Yorkers,” said Melissa Servant, teacher at Wallkill Senior High School.

“This scam of a bill is a blatant giveaway to corporations and billionaires at the expense of women, children, seniors, working families, sick people, small businesses, the environment, and so much more. If it is signed into law, this bill could collapse the American healthcare market as we know it. It will add $1.4 trillion dollars to the deficit, which will force deep cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security down the road,” said Alan Stern, Leader of Greenwich Indivisible New York.

Groups participating in the press event included New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), Citizen Action of New York, Strong Economy for All Coalition, NYS Council of Churches, Hunger Action Network of New York State, Indivisible, Communication Workers of America (CWA), New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), and the Fiscal Policy Institute.

Read the Fiscal Policy Institute’s full report here: