This Week in Albany

Week ending February 28, 2014

Headlines include:

  • Inequity of Corporate Subsidies Highlighted
  • Which New York Does Governor Cuomo Care About?
  • Week Ahead

Continue reading…


This Week in Albany

Week ending February 28, 2014

Inequity of Corporate Subsidies Highlighted

The group Good Jobs First released a report this week showing that big businesses nationwide disproportionately benefit from government handouts, with Fortune 500 companies receiving $63 billion in subsidies.

Things are no different in New York, where the state spends $7 billion annually on “economic development” that provides huge companies with millions or even billions of dollars in subsidies with no accountability for job creation.

Earlier this month, CSEA members joined with local groups to protest IBM’s plan to lay off hundreds of workers in Dutchess County. IBM has received over $1 billion in subsidies and tax benefits from the state. After this grassroots action raised attention, Governor Cuomo announced an agreement he claimed would keep IBM jobs in New York. Despite the agreement, which calls for a new $55 million technology center with IBM as the tenant, IBM moved forward with 13,000 layoffs company-wide on Friday, including in New York.

Which New York Does Governor Cuomo Care About?

Governor Cuomo’s budget clearly reflects his priorities. While inequality continues to rise and local governments and school districts are struggling to provide services with shrinking workforces, the Governor has proposed a budget that would give handouts to the wealthy, banks, and big businesses.

Even worse, the Governor is attempting to force local governments to consolidate or share services in order for residents to receive a property tax “freeze.” There is no guarantee that taxpayers will see their tax bill go down under this plan. If the Governor’s tax “freeze” gimmick goes into law, important services our communities depend on will disappear.

Fight back against Governor Cuomo’s empty promises that will hurt our communities. Call your State Senator and Assembly member at 1-877-255-9417 and tell them to say NO to Governor Cuomo’s tax freeze gimmick.

Week Ahead

CSEA/AFSCME lobby day will be held on Tuesday, March 4th.

Coalition addresses NY inequality

NYInequalityCampaignKickoffNewburgh_2.27.14

Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Westchester County) addresses points in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget that will further widen inequality in New York State. Partners in the #NYInequality coalition gathered for a news conference at Newburgh City Hall.

CSEA teamed up with NY Inequality coalition partners Feb. 27 for a kick-off press conference in the City of Newburgh, where speakers highlighted how parts of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget give more rewards to the wealthiest New Yorkers while failing to help people and communities.

Speakers includng Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Westchester County), Orange County Legislator Shannon Wong (D-Goshen) and Newburgh City Councilwoman Gay Lee (D) agreed that the proposed budget hurts average New Yorkers and that amendments must be made to assist struggling municipalities, not force them into consolidation or other cuts.

Other organizations on hand for the event included the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation, Citizen Action, Community Voices Heard and the Working Families Party.

Get on the Bus! AFSCME Lobby Day 2014

COME JOIN YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS

FOR CSEA/AFSCME LOBBY DAY IN ALBANY

WHEN: Tuesday, March 4th  

Buses Will Be Leaving at 7:15 AM Sharp!!

WHERE: Region 2 Headquarters, 125 Maiden Lane, 5th Floor

If You Are Interested in Signing Up You Must Contanct

Matthew D’Amico, Political Action Coordinator

@ 212-406-2156 or matt.damico@cseainc.org

Area Community, Labor, Faith Organizations Join Statewide Effort To Oppose More Tax Breaks for the Super-Wealthy

 NY’s Worst-in the-Nation Income Inequality

Should Signal Community Investment, Not Tax Benefits for the Rich

On Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the Mt. Hope Community Center (55 East 175th St) in The Bronx, area leaders will join a statewide coalition of labor, faith and community organizations to push back against Governor Cuomo’s proposed tax breaks for the wealthy and well-connected.

The groups are calling on local legislators to oppose billions in tax cuts that would benefit the wealthiest New Yorkers, which the Governor included in his 2014-15 budget proposal.

Highlighting the stories of area residents who have been directly impacted by past budget cuts, the groups expect to be able to persuade local lawmakers to fight back against giving the wealthiest another tax windfall, especially while New York ranks first in the nation for income inequality. Already, communities have suffered cuts to schools, first responders and other essential services.

WHAT:          Area leaders, statewide coalition of labor, faith and community groups join to push back against Gov. Cuomo’s tax cuts for the rich

WHEN:          Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm            

WHERE:        Mt. Hope Community Center, 55 East 175th Street Bronx, NY

Community coalitions demand better budget solutions

Capital Region:

The Rev. Valerie Faust (pictured, along with CSEA Capitol Region President Kathy Garrison) was among a number of local labor, faith and community organizations to speak out today at a rally against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed tax breaks for the wealthy and well connected. Garrison addressed the impact of bad budget choices on communities.

The Rev. Valerie Faust (pictured, along with CSEA Capitol Region President Kathy Garrison) was among a number of local labor, faith and community organizations to speak out today at a rally against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed tax breaks for the wealthy and well connected. Garrison addressed the impact of bad budget choices on communities.

CSEA was among a number of local labor, faith and community organizations that spoke out today against Gov. Cuomo’s proposed tax breaks for the wealthy and well connected at a noontime rally at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Downtown Albany.
Speakers included CSEA Capital Region President Kathy Garrison, who addressed the impact of bad budget choices on communities, as well as, Assembly members Pat Fahy and Phil Steck. The rally, which received considerable press coverage, was one of many held as part of a statewide effort aimed at getting local legislators to oppose billions in tax cuts that would undermine people, services and communities while benefiting the wealthiest New Yorkers.
New York ranks first in the nation for income inequality and the Governor’s proposal will only widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

Central Region:
NYInequalitySyrPresser1Members of the NY Inequality Coalition held a press conference this afternoon in Syracuse to announce the formation of the coalition and speak out against the governor’s budget. Speakers included: Will Cason from Citizen Action, Slulami Zak Wulah, a Syracuse School District worker, Sharleen Starks, a student advocate, Gerry Lotierzo from NYSUT & the Greater Syracuse Labor Council, Mike King of the Strong Economy for All Coalition, and Joan Mandle from Democracy Matters. All spoke about the need for a budget that works for our communities instead of the wealthy.

Western Region:buffalo-scw-rally
CSEA and PEF members braved single-digit temperatures protesting the governor’s failed OMH, OPWDD, and tax policies outside of Buffalo this afternoon.

This Week in Albany

Week ending February 21, 2014

Headlines include:

  • Legislative Update
  • Budget Issue in Focus – Taxes
  • Look Ahead

Continue reading…


This Week in Albany

Week ending February 21, 2014

Legislative Update

The legislature has been in recess for the past week and will return on Tuesday. Budget negotiations will now begin to heat up and we must continue to apply pressure on the legislature to ensure that our communities are not put at risk by this budget.

Budget Issue in Focus – Taxes

The Executive Budget would raise the exclusion amount for the Estate Tax from $1 million to $5.25 million and lower the maximum rate from 16% to 10%. These changes would benefit only the wealthiest New Yorkers while taking away billions of dollars in state revenues that could be used to help our communities and the middle class.

Furthermore, Governor Cuomo is selling a proposal that he claims will freeze property taxes, but taking a closer look at the proposal reveals that property taxes can still go up under the Governor’s plan. Even worse, the Governor proposes tying the “freeze” to the consolidation of services. This gimmick will lead to layoffs in municipalities and school districts that are already struggling under the weight of reduced state aid coupled with the tax cap.

Visit our website for more information on the tax proposals included in the Executive Budget proposal. Then call your State Senator and Assembly member at 1-877-255-9417 and tell them to say NO to Governor Cuomo’s tax gimmicks that will hurt our communities.

Look Ahead

The Senate and Assembly will be releasing their one-house budgets in three weeks and the final budget agreement is due by April 1.

CSEA/AFSCME lobby day will be held on Tuesday, March 4th. Call your region coordinator to sign up:

Long Island Region 1: Gretchen Penn – 631-462-0030
Metropolitan Region 2: Matthew D’Amico – 212-406-2156
Southern Region 3: Chris Ludlow – 845-831-1000
Capital Region 4: Bryan Miller – 518-782-4400
Central Region 5: Rick Noreault – 315-433-0050
Western Region 6: Chris Rackl – 716-691-6555

Article Highlights Testimony of CSEA Members

Testimony given by CSEA members to the state legislature made front page news last week. The testimony, given by members Abraham Benjamin, Kathy Button, Ron Briggs and Glen Tuifel, highlighted the impact Governor Cuomo’s policies have had and will continue to have on critical services in our communities.

The four public workers, all members of the Civil Service Employees Association, spoke at a joint hearing of the State Assembly and State Senate on February 11, describing how they feel Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget would hurt people who depend on services provided or funded by the state.

“Sound bites like ‘tax freeze’ are wonderful, but they do not make effective policy,” Mr. Briggs said.

Click here to visit The Chief’s website to read the article in its entirety.


State changes course on Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center

On the heels of a vocal demonstration last Friday involving grassroots activists, CSEA and members of the Long Island legislative delegation, New York state has changed its original plan to close Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center (SCPC) at the end of June 2014. OMH still plans to continue downsizing inpatient bed capacity.

The rally drew New York State Assemblymembers Fred Thiele, Andrew Raia and Al Graf as well as State Senators Lee Zeldin, Phil Boyle and John Flanagan to speak in support of keeping the facility open, as did CSEA Long Island Region President Nick LaMorte and Long Island Federation of Labor President Roger Clayman.

Efforts will continue to press for a better plan for children’s mental health services on Long Island including a future for Sagamore.