ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New York City councilman and other protesters chanting “Tax the rich” disrupted a speech by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sunday night.
Cuomo was speaking at the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators annual dinner when Democratic Councilman Charles Barron walked to the front of the Albany Convention center, shouting “Shame on you” and “Stop the cuts” at the governor.
“How are you tonight, Charles?” Cuomo asked before resuming the speech Sunday evening. “I can’t see who it is, but I know who it is.”
“I think he was uncomfortable,” Barron told 1010 WINS of Cuomo’s cheeky response to the outburst. “It was unexpected and he had an awkward response cause he’s not accustomed to being confronted by assertive black people.”
A small group in the audience of about 500 took up the chant with Barron decrying Cuomo’s proposed cuts in state education and health care spending and his opposition to tax increases.
“I was outraged that he would try to come to the Black-Latino caucus weekend with the kind of budget he’s proposing that will devastate families,” Barron said.
With New York $10 billion in the red, Gov. Cuomo’s budget calls for steep cuts to education and Medicaid, a possible 9,800 worker layoff, the need to close prisons and even $100 million slashed from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Cuomo said he believes tax increases would end up hurting New York’s economy by driving more people out of the state, ultimately resulting in less tax revenue.
Barron said he objects to Cuomo’s decision to allow the so-called “millionaire’s tax” to expire at the end of the year.
“He should allow for the millionaire’s tax to extend and even consider a stock transfer tax and other revenue raising ideas from those who have it,” Barron said. “Don’t balance the budget off the have-not, balance the budget off the have.”
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