Here in Albany, negotiations over the New York State budget are in full swing.
The question is, who are the governor and lawmakers listening to as they make vital decisions about economic development, wages, public schools, taxes, and social services?
A report released last week shows that 570 top hedge fund managers and executives have donated more than $39.6 million to New York State politicians since 2000. All those donations seem to be paying off in preferential tax treatment that increases their wealth, while the rest of us pay higher tax rates and get fewer public services.
This isn't right - especially when over 3 million New Yorkers are living in poverty. We need our state to invest in our communities through a commitment to fully funded schools, fair taxation, living wages, and a strong social safety net. New York has the resources to do so - but we need a budget that prioritizes the people of New York, not the profit margins of hedge fund managers and multinational corporations.
On this Moral Monday we encourage you to take action for a moral state budget. Here are ways you can make your voice heard:
- If you're in Albany today, join faith, labor and community leaders for a Moral Mondays vigil at 5pm at the State Capitol to stop the billionaire's budget.
If you're in NYC, join a Moral Mondays action to put planet over profits.
- Sign this open letter for full and fair funding of public education and ask clergy in your community to add their names, too.
- Sign this petition to include the New York State DREAM Act in the budget, giving undocumented high school graduates access to higher education.
- Tell Gov. Cuomo and state legislators to end the $1.1 billion 421a tax subsidy for luxury real estate developers.
There are just a few weeks left before this year's budget process comes to a close. Let's make sure our governor and our legislators hear from us - and not just their wealthy backers.