There was a bit of a stir at last night’s banquet reception for the Association of Black and Latino Legislators in Albany, where New York City Councilmember Charles Barron, his wife Inez, and some allies interrupted a speech by Gov. Andrew Cuomo with chants of “Stop the cuts, tax the rich,” and, “Shame on you.”
Today, Barron said that Cuomo had no right to enjoy himself at the dinner, considering the impact that his budget will have on poor and working class families.
“I don’t think we should sit back and give him a pass, let him eat dinner and drink and tell some jokes, when he is devastating working class families in this state with his budget cuts,” he said. “If we allow him to get a pass then he is going to get the wrong signal that he can get by on this budget.”
Barron said that Cuomo should look to balance the budget by restoring the surcharge on the state’s highest income earners and closing corporate tax loopholes, especially, he said, in light of the Wall Street bailouts of 2008.
“It’s the most unbalanced approach to budget balancing in the history of the state,” he said.
Cuomo has said higher taxes would cause more people to leave the state, which would result in a net loss of revenue.
Barron defended the timing of the protest, even though some legislators found the outburst to be inappropriate.
“You couldn’t have picked a better time to do it,” Barron said. “For him to come before the Latino and black caucus when our communities are going to be more devastated than most–not on my watch. The least we can do is make him uncomfortable. We poor and working class people are going to be discomfited for the rest of our lives if this budget passes.”
And Barron pledged to continue to hound Cuomo at his public appearances.
“Whereever he shows his faced people need to confront him,” Barron said. “I am an elected activist. I don’t thnk we should throw out anything from our arsenal to get some improvement in the lives of the working people of this state.”