Albany, NY – In response to Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie reaching an agreement on the 2021-22 state budget, Citizen Action of New York President Ivette Alfonso released the following statement:
“As a parent and educator, I have been fighting for resolution to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity for 20 years, since before my daughter was born. At long last, I am thrilled that our children will have a significant down payment on what they need to succeed. State leaders have agreed to fully fund Foundation Aid, bringing a total of $4 billion to public schools over the next several years.
“Other budget victories we’re celebrating today include the $2.4 billion in rental assistance to help tenants cover the back rent and utility bills accumulated since last year. This will help about 1.5 million New Yorkers who are at risk for eviction—many of whom were already rent-burdened before COVID. We’re also celebrating the $2.1 billion excluded workers fund, which will provide unemployment benefits to New Yorkers who were excluded from relief due to their immigration status.
“As millions of New Yorkers found themselves struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, billionaires sought refuge in their vacation homes in the Hamptons and elsewhere as conditions in New York worsened. Instead of turning to his constituents, the Governor stood by his rich friends and refused to raise their taxes. But in their one-house budgets, the Senate and Assembly recognized the urgency of raising taxes on the rich to prioritize the needs of everyday New Yorkers. While we are disappointed to not have seen the full Invest in Our New York Act—a proposal to raise $50 billion in new, progressive revenue—be enacted in this budget, the increase in taxes on people making more than $1 million is a move in the right direction.
“Our state is in a prime position to begin chipping away at the deep racial and economic inequality created by decades of cuts and underfunding. The Invest in Our New York Act proposed raising money in new progressive revenue by taxing the wealthiest New Yorkers. This would ensure robust budgets and would enable legislators to begin to resolve societal challenges without having to pit one issue against the other. We are proud to see a historic budget passed today, and we will continue fighting for a New York that works for all of us.”