As Prepared for Delivery
When it comes to standing up for our public employees and for all hardworking families, I am proud to share the stage with you.
Members of AFSCME, it's great to see you.
On behalf of Assemblyman Peter Abbate, our Governmental Employees Chair, Assemblyman Keith Wright, our Labor Chair, and all of your friends in the Assembly Majority, I welcome you to Albany.
And I thank you for taking the time to come here and to speak for the thousands of public employees across this state who are working hard right now and therefore cannot be here to speak for themselves.
In 2008, when the world's economy tanked, government leaders at every level - me included - called for "shared sacrifice."
Now, it wasn't the public employees taking those terrible gambles that sank our economy.
AFSCME members were not running the show at AIG.
AFSCME members did not wipe out Lehman Brothers.
AFSCME members did not undermine Bear Stearns.
Still, you took on your share of the sacrifice.
If no one has said it to you before, I'll say it: THANK YOU.
Thank you for doing your part.
Thank you for helping New York get through this rough patch.
I find it very disturbing, the lack of respect being shown to public employees in states all around our nation.
Here in New York, we appreciate that it is AFSCME that makes New York go.
It's AFSCME that makes New York happen.
You make our quality of life here in New York the envy of the nation.
You are the heart and soul, the muscle and the "know-how" of our government.
You are the finest public workforce in the country.
I know that. All New Yorkers know that.
After years of talking about "shared sacrifice," I and my Assembly Majority colleagues decided it was time to address the issue of "fairness."
Last year, working with the Governor, we succeeded in our quest to make millionaires pick up a fairer share of the tax burden.
We succeeded in delivering a tax cut for middle-class families.
We succeeded in increasing the state's investment in public education and health care.
This year, we're striving to rebuild the ladder to middle-class financial security.
We're fighting for an increase in the minimum wage.
We're fighting to reduce the tax burden on the working poor.
We're fighting to increase the state's investment in our community colleges so that New Yorkers can afford the education and job training they need to obtain better jobs and better pay.
Let me assure you, the Assembly Majority continues to embrace the spirit of the Taylor Law.
We support pay equity.
We oppose the privatization of public services.
As we go forward in this legislative session, as we examine the various proposals to reduce the cost of government, you can be assured that protecting every worker's right to a well-earned, secure retirement is of the highest priority in the Assembly. We will not allow this right to be jeopardized.
On behalf of the members of the Assembly Majority, we look forward to working with AFSCME to achieve fairness and equity, and to give New Yorkers the better government they deserve.
Thank you for being here and make this the best AFSCME Advocacy Day ever!