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Anti-Federal Tax Overhaul Rally Held In Albany

The Reverend Peter Cook, executive director of the New York State council of Churches, speaks against the federal tax overhaul measure at a rally at the State Capitol Friday.
Karen DeWitt
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The Reverend Peter Cook, executive director of the New York State council of Churches, speaks against the federal tax overhaul measure at a rally at the State Capitol Friday.

Groups opposing the federal tax overhaul plan held a demonstration at the New York state Capitol Friday, chanting “kill the bill”, and saying the measure is bad for New York and the nation.

Karen Scharff, with Citizen Action, says Congress has its priorities backward and should reject the tax overhaul bill. She says the cost of eliminating the estate tax alone is equal to the entire price of the Child Health Plus program, which provides health insurance for poor children. Congress let Child Health Plus expire in September. In New York 130,000 children are at risk. 

“Unfortunately, Republican members of Congress think it’s more important to protect the heirs of billionaires,” said Scharff. “Then they think it is to protect children who need health insurance.”  

She says no member of Congress from New York should even consider voting for the measure.  

The Reverend Peter Cook, with the New York State Council of Churches, was one of dozens arrested at the nation’s Capital earlier this week for protesting outside the doors of New York House representatives who voted for the tax bill. Speaking outside the State Senate chamber in Albany, he said the measure would take from the poor and give to the rich, and is immoral and “sinful”. 

“What this bill is a tax increase, a cut in benefits for the poor and middle class,” said Cook. “And to give a big tax cut to the rich, and expand the deficit." 

Cook says he fears that the projected $1 trillion gap that the tax overhaul would create will be used by some GOP in Congress as an excuse to cut mainstay social benefits like Social Security and Medicare.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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