|State Senator Gustavo Rivera|
State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a freshman legislator from the Bronx, credits the #OccupyWallStreet protests as having a positive effect on politics and hints that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s consideration of tax-code changes may be a result of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
“I believe Occupy Wall Street changed the national dialogue,” said Sen. Gustavo Rivera. “The conversations we were having 6 months ago got no traction. But things have changed because of what the folks at Zuccotti Park started.”
There’s certainly is traction now, because not only is Cuomo moving toward real tax reform and fairness, New York Republicans are starting to line up in behind him. GOP State Senators Mark Grisanti, Greg Ball, and John Bonacic are getting the message from their respective constituencies and are willing to talk about reestablishing an equitable and progressive tax code in New York.
This is good news for progressive legislators in New York, who have battled for years with their Republican colleagues, especially in the State Senate. New York’s legislature was once famously known as one of the most dysfunctional in the United States. Now it appears that they’ve passed the baton over to the US Congress and Senate.
Budget talks between the governor and key members of New York’s legislature will begin in January. And it’s good news for New Yorkers, not only that their legislators are finally acting like adults, but that Republicans might actually be agreeable to a fair state tax system.
“Ive always believed we need a more progressive tax system,” said Rivera. “I’m glad to hear the Cuomo administration seems to be open to it. We have the greatest economic disparity in New York. The economic gap is as bad as it was was in the depression.”
Although being a freshman Senator, Rivera has long served in New York State politics. He was a campaign manager for deceased New York City Councilman Philip Reed, and State Senators Jose M. Serrano and Andrea Stewart-Cousins. After serving as Director of Outreach under United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, he ran for the 33rd State Senate seat in 2010, defeating scandal-tarred incumbent Pedro Espada, Jr..