October 7, 2013
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento testified on October 4th at a joint hearing on existing tax policy and reform initiatives held by the New York State Senate Committee on Finance and the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations. In the wake of burgeoning income inequality and in the face of a state projected budget deficit, Cilento warned that further cuts in services including education, public health care, infrastructure and public safety would harm New York’s families.
“We must approach tax policy from the perspective of New York State’s workers, rather than from the perspective of corporations and the wealthy,” said Cilento. “This fundamental shift will enable us to create new ladders to the middle class and restore some semblance of basic economic fairness in our society.
“To accomplish this, we must focus on the relationship between taxes and services, ensure accountability in economic development tax breaks, and eliminate loopholes that put hardworking New Yorkers at a disadvantage.”
Cilento later added, “Given that we have had to endure and fight against cuts to education, aid to local governments, state operations and we are fighting health care cuts and closures of hospitals like SUNY Downstate or mental health facilities, we need to start talking about how we sustain services that people need, before we consider tax cuts. And in doing so, we need to consider the current and future needs of the state.”