The halls of the Capitol were filled to maximum capacity this week. Groups flocked to the legislature to try and lobby their members before the one house budgets are finalized. The League got in on the action and we spent the majority of our Monday trying to pull members off the floor to make one final plea against the inclusion of the Education Tax Credit in the Assembly one house budget. We were extremely relieved Wednesday when we read in Politico that Speaker Heastie will not include the tax credit in the Assembly budget proposal.
On Tuesday we held a press conference with NYPIRG and Citizen’s Union on ethics and transparency. The League along with our good government allies have called on Governor Cuomo to do more to improve ethics. Specifically, we have asked for a series of leaders’ meetings to publicly discuss and negotiate ethics reforms. Our full joint press release can be found here . After the press conference, Governor Cuomo responded by accusing non-profit groups of being “shadow lobbyists” with hidden agendas. We have defended our position as a non-partisan, member funded organization, and we will continue to lobby for issues that directly impact all New Yorkers. Our full statement can be read here.
Tuesday evening the League attended an event celebrating International Women’s Day. We set up a voter registration table at Sage College’s Opalka Gallery where we met with many interesting women from all over the world and helped some new citizens register to vote.
On Wednesday the League attended the Senate majority’s press conference on their budget priorities for 2016. We live tweeted most of the event. We were surprised over Senator Flanagan’s ambitious plan which will allegedly cut middle class taxes by 25%. There was no mention of the Education Tax Credit but the Senate did focus on the need for more tax incentives for the aging. Many New Yorkers move to other more pension friendly states after they retire, and the Senate believes that reducing the tax burden on seniors and private pensions will entice more people to stay in New York after retirement. Unfortunately, there was no proposal to make New York State’s climate more temperate.