For Immediate Release: March 16th, 2023
NEW YORK, NY—On Wednesday, the New York State Assembly and Senate released their “One-House” budgets. Because working-class New Yorkers stood up and demanded their government do something in the midst of an affordability crisis, the legislature has made some promises: to tax the rich, to build public power, and to protect tenants. The fact that politicians are making these types of promises is only due to the massive pressure our movement and socialists in office have brought to bear. As the legislature goes toe-to-toe with the governor, we have to make sure these promises are kept—and fight on for more.
Kathy Hochul’s intentions are clear and dangerous, but we—working class New Yorkers and people’s coalitions across the state—got the Assembly and Senate to say they’ll reject the most poisonous parts of her neoliberal Executive Budget. We got them to say no to lifting the charter cap, rolling back bail reform, and raising CUNY tuition. We got them to put forward a plan to tax big corporations to fix the MTA and pilot a free bus program. We got them to call for raising income taxes on the very wealthiest. We got them to go around Governor Hochul’s toothless energy plans in favor of both the mandate to build and the gold standard labor protections of the Build Public Renewables Act. We got them to put unprecedented language around Good Cause Eviction in the budget. And we won’t stop pushing the politicians until this agenda gets passed.
But plans are just words—we need action. The governor is being pressured by her corporate donors to hold fast to her plans to squeeze ordinary New Yorkers and to fill their pockets. There is a possible future where, in the next two weeks, New Yorkers see their trains funded by corporate taxes, not fare hikes; where they get publicly-owned renewable energy built by union workers; where they get a higher minimum wage; where they get an end to arbitrary evictions. Now we have to get on the phone and get in the streets and demand what we deserve! The way we beat billionaire lobbyists is to build our force so that all our future budgets contend with the power of tenants, workers, ecosocialists, and working-class people across the state.
There are still crucial areas of uncertainty in these budgets that we won’t accept. We won’t accept watered-down tenant protections—we need Good Cause Eviction. We won’t accept vague language around the minimum wage—we need the Raise the Wage Act. We won’t accept any tuition hikes—we need a New Deal for CUNY and SUNY. We won’t accept a weak knockoff of our clean energy vision—we need the democratic empowerment of the full Build Public Renewables Act.
And while these proposals show our power to get our demands heard, they’re still far from everything New Yorkers need. We need to permanently restructure our tax system, to end insane inequality, and to build the public goods that can transform the lives of working New Yorkers. We can meet the cost of living crisis and make a good life for ordinary people, with free college education, free healthcare, guaranteed housing, free childcare, a union job, and a liveable planet. Through years of organizing, New York City’s Democratic Socialists have built and continue to grow working-class power outside of Albany. We’re changing the balance of power for the long-term, so the working class sets the agenda for our state—a New York for the many, not the few.
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.