Albany, NY – In response to Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State Address, Jess Wisneski, Co-Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York issued the following statement:

“During Governor Hochul’s State of the State address earlier today, the Governor said that she wants New Yorkers to believe in government again. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are reeling from the effects of the pandemic and decades of austerity measures, from struggling to meet child care needs to making up for lost income and facing imminent eviction. We needed Governor Hochul to go bold and meet this moment with historic investments in housing, health care, childcare and climate infrastructure to ensure each and every neighborhood in our state doesn’t just recover but is also prepared to meet the next crisis. That’s not what we heard in her speech today. If the Governor truly wishes to achieve her goal of restoring faith in our state’s government, she must start by implementing the full scope of Citizen Action’s 2022 Our Justice agenda.

“In her address, Governor Hochul prioritized protecting businesses, but she has failed to match it with a sweeping plan on how she will address the struggles of working-class New Yorkers. The Governor has made inadequate proposals to provide more funding for housing and childcare. While she acknowledges the need exists, her childcare proposal only helps a fraction of those that need assistance and leaves an overwhelming majority of families stuck on waiting lists of up to 2-3 years as they await access to this crucial service. Any plan to address the needs of New York families must be matched with large-scale investments. New York State deserves more than half-measures, we need the Governor to advance key legislation that would give New York families Universal Child Care and Good Cause Eviction protections. The 4 million tenants in this state who are at imminent risk of displacement and homelessness deserve nothing less. A 5-year plan for 100,000 units of housing will not come close to meeting this need.

New York State must move forward with bold progressive ideas that commit funding to our communities rather than the same old pay-for-play politics that provide subsidies for corporations that have continued to exploit everyday New Yorkers. The Governor must enact a budget that will make our communities safer by providing them with more resources, as decades of disinvestment in Black and brown communities has led to further disenfranchisement and over-policed neighborhoods that continue to be preyed on by our current criminal legal system.”

Governor Hochul is right, we do need to restore faith in our government. A JCOPE overhaul is necessary, and the legislature and governor must take the time this session to hear from the public and experts and get it right. Voting rights reforms are essential, but as important is full funding and implementation of New York’s new public campaign finance program that will go into effect in December of 2022 for the following election cycle. Without it, New Yorkers can never fully trust that elected officials are putting their needs over the large, corporate donors of Wall Street and real estate developers that still fund too many election campaigns in New York.

New Yorkers deserve a more just and equitable state, and we need a commitment from our elected leaders in Albany to enact Our 2022 Justice agenda to give our communities the resources that they deserve.”