New York state lawmakers have approved a $132.5 billion budget that will cut more than $2 billion in healthcare and education spending, while granting millionaires a tax break. Despite a budget shortfall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo opposed extending a tax surcharge on New Yorkers with personal earnings of more than $200,000 year. The new budget has drawn criticism from advocates of increased education aid, who say the cuts will disproportionately impact students in low-income and middle-class districts. The budget was approved after a raucous day of protests from hundreds of activists who converged on the Capitol from across the state. Karen Scharff of the group Citizen Action of New York spoke out at the protest.
Karen Scharff: "We’re here today because the budget that the Governor has proposed, that the legislature is passing, is giving $5 billion away in tax cuts to millionaires, $5 billion that we need for our schools, for K-12 education, for early childhood education, for our universities, and for basic public services that low-income and middle-class New Yorkers need. But instead of funding those services, we’re throwing $5 billion out the window in a tax cut for millionaires, who don’t need it and haven’t asked for it. It’s not only irrational, but it’s immoral. This immoral budget cannot stand."