En Español Know Your Rights
Source: United Federation of Teachers
Subject: Education Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Strong Economy for All Coalition presses for continuing the millionaire’s tax

Union leaders and community groups [including Make the Road New York] join to launch the Coalition for a Strong Economy, calling for a “millionaire’s tax” to help avoid layoffs.


The Strong Economy for All Coalition used its first public event on March 8 to press for continuing the “millionaire’s tax,” a surcharge on the state’s highest-income residents that was put in place in 2009, rather than lay off teachers or cut more services for poor and working New Yorkers.“I am very proud to be here,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told a crowd of union members, housing activists and advocates for the homeless, gathered in the auditorium of SEIU 1199 in Manhattan. “You see public and private unions and community groups all standing together saying we want a strong economy for all.”

Ending the millionaire’s tax, as the mayor and the governor favor, would reduce this year’s budget gap by $1 billion and next year’s by as much as $5 billion, independent financial watchdogs say. Labor leaders in the coalition, representing home healthcare workers, communications workers, janitors and maintenance workers, called on Albany to extend the tax to make the state’s richest residents pay a fair share.

“With shelters at the breaking point and emergency homeless services on the chopping block, this is not the time to be giving millionaires another tax break,” said Mary Brosnahan, the executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless. “The billions that this giveaway to the rich will cost New York will mean even more cuts to the services that every working family depends on. That is not shared sacrifice.”

“The key word here is ‘fair,’” 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East President George Gresham said. “We’re not going to put any increased tax burden on anyone. We want them to prosper, but not to prosper on the backs of our children or working people.”

Mulgrew and other speakers denounced the mounting disparity in income between rich and poor in the nation that has angered many middle-class voters as the battles over state budgets and the attack on union benefits has unfolded across the country. The gap between rich and poor in New York State is the most extreme in the nation.

“We want this to be a great city and state for all,” Mulgrew said. “We live in the income-disparity capital of the country. We want to say in five years that we live in the prosperity capital of the country.”

The Strong Economy for All Coalition includes the Coalition for the Homeless, the Alliance for Quality Education, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, Citizen Action, the Municipal Labor Committee, NYS AFL-CIO, SEIU 32BJ, SEIU 1199, Communications Workers of America, the UFT and NYSUT.

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