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Union activists protest governor's budget plan

Local union activists and community organizers are hoping to send a message to state lawmakers about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget: they don’t like it. And they suggest it will increase the income gap between the rich and the poor.

On a snowy day in Syracuse, union activities and community organizers gathered to rally at the state office building in Syracuse against the governor's budget plan

There are two things that really bother Rick Noreault of Syracuse about the spending plan. The first is the proposal to tie a government’s ability to keep its tax levy down to government consolation. Noreault, a member of the CSEA, says the governor’s plan doesn’t do anything to lower an actual tax bill.

“Because it’s on the levy. It’s not on your or my bill. The freeze is not on our bill. I live here in Syracuse and Onondaga County. Our taxes weren’t raised. Our county executive and our mayor talked about the fact they didn’t raise our taxes. But I got my new tax bills, and guess what, my tax bill went up,” said Noreault.

He says that while the levy didn’t go up, the assessment it’s based on did.

Noreault also believes forced government consolidation is a bad move as well, and will mean fewer services and jobs in the end.

Noreault and others at the also are opposed to proposed changes in the estate tax, that would raise the exclusion amount from $1 million to over $5 million, and lower the maximum rate from 16 percent to 10 percent.  Activists believe that only adds to the bank accounts of the wealthiest New Yorkers.

“I mean seriously, with everything that’s going on, we’re going to talk again about giving more money and more breaks to the top one percent, and meanwhile, we’re cutting all our services, and everybody’s getting hurt,”  said Noreault.


Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.