Progressive activists have joined forces with faith leaders to advocate for a New Hope budget for New York.

The Reverend Peter Cook of the New York State Council of Churches held a news conference and town hall meeting at Catholic Charities of Broome County last week.

Cook and other speakers want the Governor to abandon his self-imposed 2% cap on spending increases in the budget so that the state can spend more money on social welfare programs.

Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, says it’s time for the rich to pay more. “In New York State, the wealthiest 1% get about a third of all the income in this state.  They have seen 87% of the income gains in the last 30 years.  So, while we talk about extending the existing millionaires tax, what we really need to be talking about is expanding the current millionaire’s tax.”

The activists also spoke in favor of Fair Elections Reform, an effort to introduce publicly financed matching funds for candidates.

They say this would allow more regular people to run for public office and would reduce the influence of big money interests.