GRASSROOTS STATEMENT ON NYS BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 21, 2019

60+ GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS FROM ACROSS THE STATE CALL ON LEADER STEWART-COUSINS AND SPEAKER HEASTIE TO FUND CRUCIAL BUDGET PRIORITIES WITH REVENUE FROM ULTRA-RICH

March 21st, New York, New York — With just 10 days to go before the final New York State budget is due, 60+ grassroots organizations across the state are calling on Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to follow through on their respective conferences’ commitment to critical funding priorities for everyday New Yorkers by ensuring that proposed new revenue drivers such as a “pied-a-terre tax” on luxury condos owned by non-NY residents and an “ultra-millionaires tax” on those earning $5 million-plus are in the final budget.

Since the election, these organizations, many of whom played instrumental roles in electing a historic Democratic majority in 2018, have harnessed their organizing power into issue-based advocacy, with a focus on getting money out of politics and back into their communities.

In separate letters sent to Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie, the groups called out two of their most critical priorities:

  • A system of public campaign financing that, by matching small donations 6-to-1, would allow qualified candidates to mount viable campaigns without relying on corporate donations, and thus would significantly reduce the impact of big money on our elections.
  • Equitable and sufficient funding of our public schools, specifically the well overdue and needed $1.6BN increase in school aid funding, driven by a $1.2BN increase in Foundation Aid — the first step in fulfilling a court-mandated move toward the fiscal equity that New York public schools have been starved of for years.

They also applauded the efforts of both conferences to restore, sustain, and create funding for critical services including transportation; health care; clean water; and home stability support for residents who would otherwise be at risk of homelessness.

But without additional revenue, they argue, critical funding measures will inevitably be on the chopping block.

In response to concerns that increasing taxes on the ultra-rich will threaten Democrats’ hold on majority control in the next election cycle, the groups offer a sharp rebuke. Insisting that the ultra-rich pay their fair share of a burden that has for too long been shouldered by the poor, the middle class, and the upper middle class will in fact be answering to the will of the people. It will allow all the members of the Democratic conferences in both the Assembly and the Senate to deliver on the promises that galvanized voters to elect such a strong majority in the first place — and will inspire them to do so again.

Press Contacts:

Ricky Silver, Empire State Indivisible, ricky@empirestateindivisible.org | 610–220–6110

Mia Pearlman, True Blue NY, miapearlman@gmail.com | 917–992–5423

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

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