February 21, 2018. The New Hope Budget coalition is a group of advocates across the state calling on lawmakers to adopt a “morally responsible” state budget that addresses the ever-widening gap between the “haves and have-nots.” The coalition calls for taxing the wealthy, raising the two percent state spending cap, reducing local property taxes, and campaign finance reform among other socioeconomic issues.
The coalition is currently on a 13-stop statewide tour, meeting with community members and state legislatures. This week, the group was in Saratoga Springs, Port Jervis, and Binghamton.
Saratoga Springs – February 19, 2019
Ron Deutsch, executive director of the Latham-based Fiscal Policy Institute, said Saratoga County has the third highest income disparity in the state, evidenced by increased demand for luxury condominiums in the Spa City, and numerous mobile home parks in outlying communities.
“We have almost 90,000 New Yorkers who are homeless,” said Deutsch, a Greenfield resident. “We have child poverty rates that hover around 50 percent in cities like Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, Utica and Schenectady. We should be ashamed of ourselves. If 50 percent of the kids in one of those communities all had a cold at one time we would be calling the Centers for Disease Control, declaring an epidemic and emergency.
“But when half the kids live in poverty in a given community we basically sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist.”
Find the article about the stop in Saratoga Springs at the Saratogian.
Port Jervis – February 20, 2019.
“We need to redefine the economic development model,” added Ron Deutsch. “The $3 billion that New York offered Amazon was just a couch cushion for them. What they wanted was infrastructure and skilled workers.”
Although he does budget forums annually after budget briefing breakfasts, this year, he predicted, “The emboldened progressive legislature will push back against the state spending cap.”
Find more about the stop in the Port Jervis at the Times Herald-Record.
Binghamton – February 20, 2019.
The forum, hosted by Citizen Action of New York and held at Catholic Charities of Broome County, aimed to bring light to problems of wealth and equality that affect New Yorkers.
Peter Cook, executive director of the New York State Council of Churches, represents around 7,000 congregations around the state, and said he and several others have embarked on a 14-stop statewide tour to discuss the issues, teaming up with local organizations along the way. He works with Ron Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, and the Reverend Dustin Wright, president of the New York State Council of Churches, to encourage citizens to push for funding human services and education. To do so, the team advocates for higher taxes on upper-class individuals and property tax relief for counties and municipalities.
Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, says it’s time for the rich to pay more. “In New York State, the wealthiest 1% get about a third of all the income in this state. They have seen 87% of the income gains in the last 30 years. So, while we talk about extending the existing millionaires tax, what we really need to be talking about is expanding the current millionaire’s tax.”
For more information about the next tour stops, check out the NYSOC’s website.