Organizers from DSA chapters across New York joined with socialist electeds and other allies in the legislature to demand a budget that puts people over profit.
For Immediate Release: February 13th, 2023
Contact: Harrison Carpenter-Neuhaus, email@example.com
ALBANY, NEW YORK – On February 13th, organizers with Democratic Socialists of America chapters across New York convened in Albany to meet with state legislators and rally with supporters in the campaign to #TaxTheRich. At a moment of skyrocketing costs of living, New York remains the wealthiest state in the country. The working class built New York, and it is long past time to put the state’s wealth back where it belongs: in the public goods that empower every New Yorker to thrive and seize their future.
“Working class New Yorkers are the backbone of our economy, yet the social services that working families rely on are severely underfunded due to the inequitable tax structure in our state,” said State Senator Julia Salazar. “Taxing the rich is a common sense solution to fund the services we need, from housing security to mass transit, and I’m eager to fight for a state budget that reflects these priorities and supports our pursuit for economic justice for all New Yorkers.”
“If Governor Hochul wants to continue tax breaks for corporations and multi-millionaires while working-class New Yorkers suffer the consequences, it’s the legislature’s duty to stand up to her,” said State Senator Jabari Brisport.
New York is the wealthiest state in the country and the tenth largest economy in the world. But despite our enormous wealth, we’re the most unequal state in the nation. Last year the state’s GDP was $1.5 trillion — bigger than Canada, Russia, and South Korea. We have a higher per capita GDP than countries with robust, world-class social safety nets like Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. But that wealth isn’t benefiting New Yorkers. From the pandemic recession to the ongoing cost of living crisis, working class people are struggling more than ever. We rank second nationally for highest cost of living, second in homelessness rate, 29th in economic well-being of children, and 49th in state and local education funding equity.
“From housing to healthcare, from childcare to higher education, New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet. Even worse, studies show that working and middle-class families are leaving our state because they cannot afford to live here,” said State Senator Kristen Gonzalez. “Taxing the wealthiest New Yorkers and large corporations to fund social services and lower the cost of living is not a radical idea; it is a popular policy proposal. The time is now to tax the rich and fully invest in the services that New Yorkers rely on.”
“Our state is the most unequal in the nation. Making working-class New Yorkers pay more for essential public goods like the MTA doesn’t bring us towards Governor Hochul’s vision for an “affordable, more livable and safer” New York State — it does the opposite,” said State Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani. “Instead of regressive policies that raise costs and make it harder for working-class New Yorkers to make ends meet, we must make the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share so we can invest in our collective future: for universal childcare, a New Deal for CUNY, Free SUNY, and a more reliable, affordable, and accessible MTA.”
There is no excuse for this state of affairs. But it’s no accident: it’s because the ultra-rich have used their disproportionate influence to rig our politics and our economy against working people to keep even more of the wealth we produce concentrated in private hands. It’s why the last decades have been defined by disinvestment in public goods, attacks on labor, service cuts, and tax giveaways.
Enough is enough. We need a state that serves all New Yorkers instead of its donor class, and makes the ultra-wealthy pay what they owe.
“If New York was a country, it’d be the 10th wealthiest in the world. So let’s be clear: There is more than enough money in New York to fund exceptional public schools for every child. There is more than enough to provide free college tuition for every student. There is more than enough to ensure every family can have a home to rest their heads, can see a doctor when they are sick, and have access to high-quality childcare,” said State Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest. “The ultra-wealthy have taken over our state. Time to take it back.”
When we #TaxTheRich, we can raise $40 billion in revenue that can fund the public luxuries that will empower New Yorkers to thrive, raise families, and shape their futures instead of worrying about how they’ll make ends meet. We can build a New York where every working parent can rely on quality childcare. Where every student gets the education they need, debt-free. Where new, state-of-the-art housing is affordable and easily accessible throughout the state. Where we build the clean energy we need to transition away from fossil fuels, shrink utility bills, and make our future beautiful and equitable for all. And we can do it all without costing the working class a dime, once the ultra-wealthy pay what they owe. That’s why 84% of New Yorkers agree — it’s time to #TaxTheRich.
“To build a future of care, well-being, and dignity, we need to circulate our collective wealth by taxing the rich, because corporate profits and the ultra-rich are holding hostage everything that New Yorkers deserve,” said State Assemblymember Sarahana Shrestha. “Low- and moderate-income households are not getting the quality services they should be getting in return for their share of taxes, and that’s because the rich aren’t paying enough of theirs. Not only do we want to make them pay and generate revenues, we also want to make sure those revenues go into smart programs that have the most positive impact on the lives of New Yorkers. I’m proud to carry the Corporate Tax bill with Assemblymember Kelles and Senator Hoylman-Sigal. This bill will get us the $9 billion in corporate profits that’s owed to us.”
“President Biden said it himself at the State of the Union: our tax system is unfair and rigged for the wealthy. Fixing it is not only necessary to build the society we deserve, it’s also overwhelmingly popular,” said State Assemblymember Emily Gallagher. “There is no reason New Yorkers have to tolerate fare hikes and poor service on the MTA, unaffordable childcare and higher education, and profound social inequality. We can seize our future—and the wealth we all produce—if we tax the rich in this year’s budget.”
“In order to better the lives of New Yorkers in need, we must strive for budget justice. This means making sure the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, as they currently pay less than everyone else,” said State Senator Robert Jackson. “This will provide the resources necessary for all essential services in New York. This isn’t a handout. It’s smart, and it’s justice. We can no longer accept the unjust tax system that puts the burden on those at the bottom of the ladder. It is time to Invest in Our New York!”
“New York has the highest income inequality in the United States. Our tax system has not kept pace with changes in the economy, leaving billionaires in this state undertaxed,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. “The Invest In Our New York campaign seeks to undo this unjust trend, and I am proud that our Corporate Tax bill would help do just that. Our legislation would generate increased tax revenue for New York State by addressing the federal under-taxation of corporate profits and pass-through business income. This session, let’s pass it and the bills under the IONY campaign!”
“New York City has the most billionaires than any other city in the world, while New York State has the second highest number of billionaires in the country. There’s enough money here to fund the MTA, fund Complete Streets, fully fund a New Deal For CUNY, and invest in a New York that works for everyone,” said State Assemblymember Juan Ardila. “It’s time we take back New York from the billionaire class, so we can return to being a state that’s affordable, accessible and equitable to all.”
“Our communities here in New York State are experiencing a historic amount of economic difficulties and challenges — with consistent issues pertaining around housing security, access to needed healthcare, efficient public transit, public safety, and more. We must work towards a New York that we all deserve”, said State Assemblymember Steven Raga. “For the bold investments and legislation that working-class New Yorkers need, we must impose fair taxation on the extremely wealthy and big corporations. It is time to invest in our state!”
“The last two years and the pandemic have shaken up the world economy and caused great economic imbalances. According to Forbes, American billionaires saw their wealth grow by 62% between March 2020 and March 2022. At the same time, workers’ wages have risen 10%, from $28.79 in March 2020 to $31.73 in March 2022, according to average hourly earnings data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Leaked tax data has shown the lengths billionaires will go through to pay a shockingly small percentage of their newly-added wealth in income taxes or pay no income tax at all,” said State Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson. “It makes no sense for a greedy few to control a majority of wealth and don’t contribute their fair share. With a billionaires’ tax, New York can fund housing, universal childcare, a New Deal for CUNY & Free SUNY, a Green New Deal for New York, and better mass public transit.”
“As a social worker I remember many near homeless patients whose struggles would have been greatly alleviated by a program like the Homeless Access Voucher Program (HAVP). This is a no-nonsense bill that will keep our folks off the streets,” said Illapa Sairitupac, Tenant Organizer at Cooper Square Committee. “I also have loved ones who are low-income renters not fully housing-secure, for whom HAVP would give them the security they deserve. It’s absurd that in a wealthy state like New York, which on its own is the 10th largest economy in the world, we have some of the highest homelessness rates in the country. Housing is a human right. New York should tax the rich and pass Good Cause and HAVP so that all New Yorkers can stay in their homes.”
From the streets to Albany, DSA organizers and our allies will continue fighting to build a budget — and a state — that finally puts people over profit.
ABOUT NYC-DSA: New York City Democratic Socialists is the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America—the largest socialist organization in the United States with over 85,000 members. NYC-DSA is run by its 5,000+ members and activists who are working together to build a democratic socialist organization in the five boroughs.