Rally Outside Governor Cuomo's State of the State

VOCAL-NY members travelled to Albany on January 5th to send a message that low-income New Yorkers affected by drug use, HIV/AIDS and incarceration are not special interests to be ignored or demonized during the recession. We highlighted three campaigns around health, housing and civil rights, while pushing for progressive taxation to address New York’s historic revenue crisis. We joined our allies from the New York Stimulus Alliance (including GOLES and PUSH Buffalo) to push for public investment in job creation and preserve the safety net.

Media coverage included:

“We can’t afford to pay for tax cuts for the rich by shutting down hospitals and eliminating social services, but that’s what letting the fair share tax expire would do,” said Robert Tolbert, a leader in VOCAL New York (formerly the New York City AIDS Housing Network). “Wall Street caused the financial crisis and needs to help fix it. Balancing the budget on the backs of working and disabled New Yorkers while giving a free pass to Wall Street Banks will just make our state’s economy worse. We can’t cut our way out of this crisis – Albany should be asking everyone pay their fair share.”

Campaign issues we highlighted:

  • Housing: 30% rent cap affordable housing protection to prevent homelessness for thousands low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
  • Health: Preventing fatal drug overdoses through passage of a Good Samaritan law protecting witnesses who call 911 from criminal prosecution.
  • Civil Rights: Restoring voting rights for New Yorkers who have completed their prison sentence are currently on parole.
  • Progressive Revenue: Extending the “fair share tax” for the richest New Yorkers, enacting a Banker’s Bonus Tax, and reducing the Stock Transfer Tax rebate in order to eliminate the revenue shortfall in the State FY12 budget and avoid harmful cuts to healthcare and social services.

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