March 07, 2017

COMMITTEE OF 100: NYSUT activists to press for greater state investment, new revenue

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. March 7, 2017 – Hundreds of public education activists from New York State United Teachers are set to flood the Capitol Tuesday to press for a far greater state investment in public schools and colleges – and for the wealthy to do their fair share to pay for it.

Nearly 600 classroom teachers; college faculty and professionals; and other educators will fan out beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday for meetings with their local legislators. The volunteer lobbyists will press for a $2.1 billion increase in school aid, the same level of funding called for by the Regents; a strong, multi-year investment in SUNY, CUNY and the state’s community colleges; and restoration in state subsidies to SUNY hospitals, among other union priorities.

To fund these essential programs that benefit students and help grow the state’s economy, NYSUT is calling for the extension – and expansion – of the so-called millionaire’s tax to bring in about $5.6 billion in new state revenue. In addition, NYSUT activists are calling on Albany to close the “carried-interest loophole” that solely benefits hedge-fund managers and private equity partners, while costing taxpayers some $3.5 billion a year in tax revenue that could be used to expand programs that support students and middle-class families.

The NYSUT activists will join other New Yorkers interested in tax fairness at a news conference and rally at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on the Capitol’s Million Dollar Staircase.

“There’s a choice to be made this year – providing tax breaks to millionaires or funding public education and supporting middle-class families,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. “By extending and expanding the surcharge on the state’s highest earners and closing the carried interest loophole, the state can gain billions of dollars in new revenue to fund public education and health care. We believe that’s the right choice for New York State – and that New Yorkers agree with us.”

“Wall Street financiers shouldn’t get preferential treatment on their taxes,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta. “Their income should be taxed the same as income earned by retail clerks, nurses and elementary school teachers. For too long, the wealthy elite have exploited the carried interest loophole to avoid paying their fair share in taxes, and that has deprived public schools and colleges of the funding they need. This year, Albany must act to close this loophole and make our tax system fairer and more progressive.”

In addition to school aid, Pallotta said, the union’s volunteer activists would also press lawmakers to maintain and fully phase in the Foundation Formula, while again highlighting the negative impact of the state’s tax cap on schools. NYSUT’s lobbying agenda for Tuesday, Pallotta said, also includes calling on the Legislature to repeal the state’s receivership law and, instead, invest more in community schools; fix the state’s broken system of testing and teacher evaluations; and fully fund Teacher Centers.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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