Progressive and Fair Revenue Must be a Priority in the Budget

By Mario Cilento | March 29, 2021

The fight for fair and progressive taxes in our state is about a structural realignment of our tax system. Just like when you are building a house, if the foundation is sound, the structure of that house is secure for years to come.

If we have a strong sensible tax infrastructure, our economic infrastructure in this state will be secure for the long term. Because let’s not forget, even when the economy was strong last year before the pandemic hit, and the stock market was rising to record levels, we still had to deal with proposed cuts to Medicaid and other public services.

The federal aid coming into New York will help us deal with the budget gap this year, but it does nothing to address our faulty tax structure. There are steep deficits already built into our state budget for years to come. It would be irresponsible to not address this now.

That is why the labor movement supports having millionaires and multi-millionaires pay their fair share, so that not only are we able to withstand any future downturns or unexpected catastrophes, but just as important, we will ensure that our state can provide the vital public services we all rely upon, in good times as well as bad.

This is about having the peace of mind that these services exist, as well as a better tangible quality of life that these services provide. We need to educate our children no matter the economic climate. We need to provide health care for all New Yorkers every single day. We need to provide transportation to our jobs and doctor appointments and to see our families. We need to provide sanitation services so that we don’t live in filth. We must ensure our roads, bridges, and tunnels don’t crumble as we’re using them. We all need to feel safe and have law enforcement protect us.

We need to have fire departments and EMS services ready at a moment’s notice. And we need these things without the thought or dread, that they may not exist to the extent we need them, from year to year.

That is the New York we all want to live in. That is the New York we all deserve to live in.

Mario Cilento is President of the New York State AFL-CIO. For more information please visit