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Progressive Groups Rally In Albany Against Federal Tax Bill

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

Progressive groups opposing the federal tax overhaul plan rallied Friday at the State Capitol, chanting “kill the bill,” and saying the measure is bad for New York and the nation.

Karen Scharff with Citizen Action said Congress has its priorities backward and should reject the tax overhaul bill. She said 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 than they think it is to protect children who need health insurance,” Scharff said.

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

The Rev. 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, Cook 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,” he said. “And to give a big tax cut to the rich, and expand the deficit.”

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