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NAN Co-Sponsors Rally to Demand Progressive & Fair New York State Budget

Mar 29

Contact: Becky Stern, becky@pythiapublic.com516.581.5707

Fern Whyland, Fern.Whyland@ppesacts.com315-436-0558

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NYS Advocates Turn Out to Demand a State Budget that Works for New Yorkers

 

Invest in Our Future by Budgeting Today for Our Health and Well-being

 

(Albany, NY) Activists from a diverse array of state and national advocacy organizations gathered in Albany today to demand a responsive state budget that meets the diverse needs of all New Yorkers. This grassroots action was prompted by the need for a budget that works for us, not against us.

 

Activists shared the common concern that when our representative democracy is not strong we all lose, resulting in New Yorkers cut out of the budget. Our equality, health, rights, education, safety, economic security and well-being should never be up for negotiation.

 

Participating organizations included:

Citizen Action of NY, Common Cause, Coalition to Pass the Child Victims Act,Fiscal Policy Institute, InterFaith Impact, League of Women Voters NYS, Let NY Vote, National Action Network, National Institute for Reproductive Health, New York State Council of Churches, New York Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, Reform Jewish Voice of NYS, Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice, Strong Economy for All, and JustLeadershipUSA

Statements:

 

Statement from Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of New York and Albany Parent:

“As a parent of an Albany public school student, I see first hand the impact on our kids of the state’s failure to fund the Foundation Aid that is owed to our public schools. Without this funding, many low-income students of color will continue to be denied access to counselors, enrichment programs, and resources vital to a quality education. We could fully fund our schools by finally making CEOs and hedge fund managers pay their fair share in taxes, yet this budget sides with wealthy elites instead of fighting for our children.”

 

Statement from Robb Smith, Lay Community Minister, Interfaith Impact of NYS:

“We believe that the law should apply equally to everyone, but cash bail discriminates. Its burden falls brutally on backs of the poor. This year, we have an opportunity to right that wrong and eliminate cash bail. We also have an opportunity to create fair and equitable taxation, which is part of our creed as Americans. We recognize that the wealthy receive great benefits from our society and have a proportionate obligation to provide for the common good. We ask those at the budget-making table to cut a fair deal for all New Yorkers.”

 

Statement from Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute:

“We can no longer continue to pass budgets that put the needs of the few over the needs of the many.  We live in a state with the worst income inequality in the nation. A state with unacceptably high child poverty rates and over 89,000 homeless residents on our streets.  We can no longer sit idly by while our elected officials craft budgets that dont address these issues head on.  The time for change is today.”

 

Statement from Robin Chappelle Golston, President and CEO, Empire State Acts:

“With the federal government determined to turn back the clock on our health care and reproductive rights, the Women’s Agenda is a simple solution that advances our health, empowers our future and safeguards our rights. Cutting New York State’s women and girls out of the budget is a short-sighted ploy that tarnishes our progressive legacy and leaves us all at risk. There is no excuse for failing to advance the health, safety, economic security and equity of New York’s women and girls.”

 

Reform Jewish Voice statement:

“Reform Jewish Voice of New York State (RJV) is deeply disappointed that the negotiated budget agreement does not include Early Voting and other necessary election reforms, bail reform and other criminal justice reforms, women’s health, and other human services and civil rights issues that need to be dealt with to create a fairer, more equitable world for so many New York residents. We are committed to continue fighting to repair the world.”

 

Statement from Rev. Al Sharpton, President & Founder, National Action Network:

“April 4 marks 50 years since Dr. King’s Assassination. In his seminal Dream speech, he talked about the government writing us a “bad check.” On April 1, 3 days before the anniversary of Dr. King’s death, the New York State leaders must pass a budget. The proposed NYS budget is yet another bad check written out to marginalized communities. NY State leaders are shortchanging Dr. King’s Dream. All of our leaders’ promises to fight injustice and civil rights are nowhere to be found and we are calling for answers. This budget fails to deal with inequality, racial justice, and democracy. Advocates all over the state are frustrated and left empty-handed in this closed room process. We are calling on our leaders to include Early Voting and fair and real progressive criminal justice reform in the budget. These initiatives need more than legislation; they need funding, and I am a New Yorker and civil rights leader refusing yet another bad check.”

 

Statement from Renata Pumarol, Deputy Director at New York Communities for Change and core leader of  FREEnewyork:

“Governor Cuomo continues to side with billionaires and corporate interests, while he continues to sell out black and brown families across the state who are struggling to stay in their apartments, stuck in underfunded schools or caged in our jails because they can’t afford to pay bail. New Yorkers need our leaders to strengthen the rent laws and expand tenant protections across the state, so the working poor are not a paycheck away from becoming homeless. We also need our leaders to deliver REAL bail and discovery reform so that our people don’t languish in jails just because they can’t afford bail.”

 

Statement from Kat Sullivan, Survivor of Child Sex Abuse

“If lawmakers fail to include the Child Victims Act in this year’s budget they’ll be protecting abusers over the one in four girls and one in six boys who are sexually abused before the age of 18 every year. This isn’t truly about false claims, which are the purview of the courts and should not be preempted by the Legislature. It’s about protecting a political ally which perpetuated the abuse of countless children. Survivors are sick and tired of powerful interests standing in the way of justice. Majority Leader Flanagan should just put the Child Victims Act on the floor and let his members vote their conscience. We deserve a vote.”

 

Statement from the Let NY Vote coalition:

“Voting is the one truly non-partisan issue; no matter what else we’re working toward, our issues all travel through the vote,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY and a core leader of Let NY Vote. “67% of New Yorkers support early voting. In a year when the Governor, the Assembly, Senate Democrats and the IDC all agree publicly that we need to fund Early Voting and voting reform, we shouldn’t be struggling to include it in the final budget. New Yorkers are demanding systematic change at the ballot box, in the criminal justice space, and beyond. The Legislature’s ongoing refusal to respond to the will of the voters is itself a crisis of democracy.”

 

Statement from the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice:

“I was detained on Rikers for over six weeks while my mom was trying to gather the funds from family members to pay my $2,500 bail,” said Michael M., a member of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. “It’s more than just the money. People are getting hurt on a daily basis in these jails. There are seven other forms of bail under New York law that can actually help, but those aren’t being used by judges, and that’s not right. We need the legislature and the Governor to act now to reform the bail practices in New York State!”

 

Statement from the National Institute for Reproductive Health:

“With a president and federal government that are increasingly hostile to women, the Governor and both houses of the legislature have an obligation to safeguard our access to reproductive healthcare. Failure to use the budget process to pass simple, common sense solutions like the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act, updating our nearly 50-year-old abortion law, and the creations of a Maternal Mortality Review Board is more than just inaction, it is a failure of leadership.  New Yorkers should not have to wait another day for their elected representatives to take real steps to preserve and expand  our reproductive rights.”– Danielle Castaldi-Micca, Director of Political and Government Affairs

 

Statement from JustLeadershipUSA & the #FREEnewyork Campaign:

“The #FREEnewyork campaign, led by directly impacted voices, has made clear to our elected leaders that the solution to New York’s jail crisis is BOLD overhaul of our pretrial justice system – yet the proposals brought to the negotiating table of the budget fall short. To end New York’s jail crisis we need REAL bail, discovery and speedy trial reform – and healthy resourced communities. We are working toward a future where race and wealth-based discrimination and private business interests are not embedded in the pre-trial process or anywhere in the budget from education to health and housing. We expect people, not politics, to drive the solutions. The BOLD voices of people most impacted by New York’s inequities, will continue to lead this work . And we will win.” – Erin L. George, #FREEnewyork Campaign Coordinator, JustLeadershipUSA

 

Statement from the New York Civil Liberties Union:

“New York lawmakers should seize the promise of this budget to deliver reforms that are a priority for New Yorkers — including a fairer criminal justice system, modernized elections, and fundamental protections for reproductive rights,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “And as the Trump administration threatens to militarize and defund our public schools, Albany must also stand up for the needs of the youngest New Yorkers. That means not dropping the people’s priorities from budget talks to focus instead on backdoor schemes that could funnel taxpayer money into private and religious education, or turn our schools into militarized zones. Albany is racing to pass an on-time budget, but our representatives still have a chance to take our state forward. As politicians in D.C. work to take the country backward, Albany cannot let this moment pass and leave the people’s priorities behind.”

 

Statement from The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches:

“It is deeply disturbing to faith leaders in every part of New York that our elected leaders in Albany will not embrace common sense proposals to tax the very rich who overwhelmingly and disproportionately benefited from the Federal tax law while the poor, disenfranchised and middle class see their taxes increase and their services cut.  It’s immoral. We need our lawmakers to stand up to the very rich and have them pay their fair share so that we can fund the services we need and not have to increase property taxes to pay for them because the state won’t assume their responsibility.”

 

Follow #StandUpNY on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

 

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