PR: City Council Resolution - Tax Wall Street Transactions


ElizabethNew York City –  Council Members Jumaane Williams and Stephen Levin announced today introduction of a resolution calling on support for a National Financial Transaction Tax as proposed in the Inclusive Prosperity Act, “In these continued difficult economic times when city and state budgets and cutting back on vital services, this tax (sometimes referred to as a Robin Hood Tax) would raise an estimated $350 Billion annually,” the resolution states.  The Inclusive Prosperity Act, H.R. 1579, was reintroduced in Congress this month by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).

“I am proud to support the Robin Hood Tax to expand opportunity for low-and middle-income Americans, strengthen our social safety net, and invest in our future. It’s clear who was responsible for the economic crisis that wreaked havoc on New York City and our nation. Wall Street should help clean up the mess they created, and that is why I am proud to stand with Council Member Williams and VOCAL-NY in support of this resolution,” announced Council Member Levin.

At a press conference this morning in front of City Hall, flanked by labor unions and community organizations, council members announced  support for the Ellison legislation, which would create a Wall Street sales tax, providing hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue a year at a time of great need in New York City and other communities across the country, fund HIV/AIDS research and treatment, address climate change and allow the join the rest of world in a growing system of financial transaction taxes.   The Ellison bill embodies the principles and goals of the Robin Hood Tax, with the support of more than 150 organizations representing millions of members nationally.

Council Member Levin was joined this morning by other supporters, including Caring Across Generations, Citizen Action of New York, Community Voices Heard, Health GAP, New York Communities for Change, New York State Nurses Association, Student Global AIDS Campaign, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project and VOCAL-NY.  Other Council Members support the Robin Hood Tax.

“The Inclusive Prosperity Act is exactly what we need as we face growing income inequality and cuts to vital services at all levels of government,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito separately. “This tax would not only raise $350 billion each year, but it could also limit the financial speculation that has wreaked havoc on our economy. In our nation’s most unequal city, we are taking a strong stand in support of the Inclusive Prosperity Act and urge the Congress and the President to move this legislation forward. I thank Council Members Levin and Williams for spearheading this resolution..”

“People with disabilities, seniors, veterans and other Americans are being scapegoated for the revenue and jobs crisis that began on Wall Street and spread to Main Street,” said Bobby Tolbert, a leader and Board member with the grassroots social justice group VOCAL-NY. “Why are all the solutions on the table focused on cutting from the most vulnerable in order to protect Wall Street from paying their fair share to fix the problems they created? With a tiny tax on Big Banks, we can invest in our future by creating jobs, protecting healthcare and solving crises like the HIV/AIDS epidemic and climate change.”

“The primary reason Americans are now suffering under cutbacks to federal services such as air traffic control and cancer treatment, which result from the ever-tightening budget sequester, is that conservatives in Congress refuse to rebalance our tax system so that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share into the collective pot,” said Mark Hannay, Director of the Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign, and a coordinator of the No Bad Grand Bargain campaign.  “A modest financial transaction tax on investment trades is one step toward restoring tax fairness, thereby avoiding proposed deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which is something that New Yorkers by large majorities across all political persuasions do support.”

“The Robin Hood Tax is an idea whose time has come,” said Jesse Laymon, Campaigns Manager for Citizen Action of New York. “Not only will this generate vitally needed revenue for starved social programs, but it will actually improve the health and stability of our financial sector and economy as a whole by discouraging reckless speculation.”

“Communities like mine in Bed-Stuy have suffered needlessly from cuts over the past decade, losing essential services in our school, child-care, and transportation systems while the big banks on Wall St continue to reap record profits,” said Skipp Roseboro, member of NY Communities for Change. “The Robin Hood Tax Bill is an opportunity to responsibly undo much of this damage, and I am proud to stand with the NYC Council’s Progressive Caucus in supporting this measure.”

Contact: Alyssa Aguilera 917 200-1446 or  Carl Ginsburg  917 405-1060

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