People’s State of the State Calls Out New York’s Income Inequality

ALBANY, N.Y. — Through song and prayer, the 27th annual People’s State of the State called on lawmakers to remember who activists called New Yorker’s in crisis.

“Nothing is in a silo. If someone’s homeless, they’re probably hungry. If someone’s hungry, they’re probably close to being homeless,” said Susan Zimet, Hunger Action Network of NYS executive director.

The 2017 address, held outside the Capitol Building in Albany, focused on a “Preparedness Checklist” which included housing, healthcare access, a living wage and tax fairness.

“Not only do we have to extend the Millionaires’ Tax and not allow it to expire, but we need to expand the Millionaires’ Tax to ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more,” said activist Ron Deutsch.

The group would like to see all of New York State with a $15 minimum wage. Right now, only New York City is on track for that by the end of 2018.

The group praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his free college tuition plan announced Tuesday, but said more funding is needed for New York public schools.

“We want free college for our students but we want them to be college ready when they graduate high school and they can’t be college ready if we don’t fund our schools,” said Jasmine Gripper, Alliance for Quality Education Legislative Director.

Their main message to lawmakers before returning to session Wednesday was to remember those who they were elected to serve.

“Our priorities are wrong, we need to get our priorities right, this is crazy. We’re here, we’re not going away, we’re only getting stronger because the fight is getting that much more difficult,” Zimet added.

The group made light of the fact the rally will likely be the only State of the State address held at the Capitol this year. Gov. Cuomo is taking his yearly remarks on the road this year and his Albany location remains unannounced.