The New York state budget comes during the Christian holy week, an observance of the week Jesus entered into Jerusalem, cast the profiteers out of the temple, and went to the cross. In New York state, where upstate cities endure a 50 percent childhood poverty rate, the state Legislature just passed a budget that includes a tax break on private yachts and airplanes. Clearly, New York has its own profiteers.
It's been a dramatic week here in Albany. Charges filed against the Assembly Speaker and investigations of other officials are fueling important conversations about the need for ethics reforms at the Capitol. In the midst of this, we and our faith and community partners are committed to calling attention to the effects of a political and economic system set up to serve wealthy interests: New York State continues to have the highest income inequality in the nation and more than 3 million New Yorkers live in poverty. Communities across our state are affected. Buffalo is the fourth poorest city in the nation. In rural Montgomery County, more than 1 in 5 live in poverty, and in Rochester, over half of the city's children are poor.
This post comes from Rev. Dr. Paula Gravelle, Executive Director of NYS Council of Churches; these are the words she shared on Moral Monday, March 31st.
Faith, community members, labor and allies have been busy advocating for a moral budget this month. Please find the media hits to-date below:
The annual statewide 40-Hour Fast begins Tuesday at 8 pm and lasts until 12 pm on Thursday March 20th.
This year, the Fast will highlight the immorality of a state budget that favors the wealthy while leaving the rest struggling to meet basic needs. Across New York State, communities are taking action to win a moral budget that prioritizes human need over the narrow interests of the wealthy.