SYRACUSE, N.Y. – About 15 people from local unions and the Green Party protested in Syracuse today against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $142.1 billion budget, which they said includes too many tax cuts for businesses and puts government services at risk.
“It’s not going to do anything to provide any relief for our communities,” said Rick Noreault, a regional representative of the Civil Service Employees Association, the largest union for state workers. “The citizens of our state deserve the services they have come to love and appreciate.”
The group, called “Strong Communities Work,” protested outside the State Office Building on Washington Street for about 15 minutes. They railed against proposed changes to the state tax code, which they say would benefit wealthy New Yorkers and businesses and short-change lower income families.
So what would the protesters do instead?
Howie Hawkins, who is running for governor on the Green Party line, says the state should return to income tax brackets used 40 years ago.
Back then, Hawkins said, the lowest earners in New York paid 2 percent in income taxes while the highest earners paid closer to 15 percent.
The tax burden has switched, Hawkins said. Now, the lowest earners pay 4 percent of their income in taxes, and the richest pay 8.82 percent.
“Those of us at the bottom are paying twice the rates back in those days,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins, of Syracuse, also wants to revive the stock transfer tax, a fee on investment trades that been rebated to financial institutions for years. With the extra money, he would increase school aid, create affordable housing, invest in renewable energy and create a job-guarantee program to match unemployed workers with government jobs.