Coalition Urges NY State Senate and Assembly Leaders To Reject Governor’s Proposal For Unilateral Control Over Rolling Budget Changes

March 29th, 2020

Dear Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie:

We are New Yorkers committed to a vision of New York where all can live, thrive and prosper. We are united in our goals to uplift and expand our democracy, to support and protect our most vulnerable communities, and to tackle the underlying inequality that drives multiple crises in our state.

These crises existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the impact of the virus has exacerbated the urgent need for raising new revenue to fully fund our public schools as well as to ensure sufficient funding for healthcare, housing, and much more.

It could not be more clear: New York can not fight off the COVID-19 pandemic and provide the necessary safety net for our communities without more revenue to fully fund our urgent needs.

  • We write to urge you once again to include new revenue drivers in the FY 2021 state budget by taxing the rich.
  • We also urge you to reject any proposal to grant Governor Cuomo and his budget office extraordinary power to make unilateral changes to the budget.

The Governor already wields too much power in our incredibly opaque budget process. The Legislature must continue to carry out its full constitutional responsibilities on budget making: anything less will weaken our democracy and likely result in unnecessary cuts to services New Yorkers will need more than ever before. To grant the Governor additional extra-constitutional powers would abandon the constituents you and your conferences represent.

The Governor’s ten-year austerity approach to New York’s budget has led to crippling inequality. It has led directly to the lack of preparedness in our social safety net, specifically in our hospital, school, housing, and criminal justice systems as we now face the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is critical that as leaders of the Assembly and Senate and representatives of all New Yorkers, you exert your full powers and ensure the democratically elected legislature retains their role in our state’s fiscal decisions and protects vital programs.

While many in our coalition and the public appreciate the Governor’s decisiveness in this crisis, we offer our faithful critique of his budget priorities and transparency so that no New Yorker is left behind. Attention to the facts and numbers is very important. You and your conferences must fully represent your constituents, prioritize transparency and the most vulnerable, and shift the burden of our budget onto those that can afford it the most.

Signed,

Albany Social Justice Center

Alliance for Quality Education

American Baptist Churches — Rochester Genesee Region

Bronx Progressives

Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC)

Campaign for New York Health

CCoHOPE Indivisible

CD17 Indivisible

Center for the Independence of the Disabled, NY

Chinese-American Planning Council

Churches United for Fair Housing

Citizen Action of New York

Coalition for Asian American Children and Families

Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State

Doctors Council

Downtown Women for Change

East Bronx Indivisible

Empire State Indivisible

Episcopal Diocese of Western NY

Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition

Greater NYC for Change

Greater Syracuse Tenants Network

Green Party of Nassau County

Housing Justice For All Coalition

Fiscal Policy Institute

Food and Water Watch

Incarcerated Nation Network INC

Indivisible Activate NYC

Indivisible Binghamton

Indivisible Brooklyn

Indivisible Harlem

Indivisible Mohawk Valley

Indivisible Nation BK

Indivisible Sunnyside

Indivisible Upper East Side

Inwood Indivisible

Long Island Activists

LPS/LIFE Progressive Services Group Inc

Make The Road New York

Metro New York Health Care for All

Morningside Heights Resistance

New Economy Project

New York Association on Independent Living

New York Communities for Change

New York Immigration Coalition

New York State Council of Churches

New York State Poor People’s Campaign

New York State Nurses Association

New York Working Families Party

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson

Not One More Block

NY Indivisible

NY Progressive Action Network

One Queens Indivisible

Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan

Rise & Resist

Rochester Monthly Meeting of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Rockland Citizens Action Network

Rockland United

SELF

Show Up LI

Sisters of St. Joseph, Albany Province

Strong Economy For All Coalition

Sunrise NYC

Tenants Political Action Committee

True Blue New York

Upper West Side MoveOn/Indivisible Action Group

Village Independent Democrats

VOCAL NY

Westchester For Change

West Center Congregational Church

We use the Indivisible Guide to defend New York against the Trump administration and those in our state government that enable its harmful policies.