In response to the release of the New York State Senate and Assembly draft “one house budgets”, Citizen Action of New York’s Legislative Director, Rebecca Garrard, had the following to say:
“Citizen Action of New York is committed to achieving a society rooted in dignity, safety and opportunity for all. We are pleased to see that our legislators in Albany are listening to the people’s needs, and the draft one-house budgets reflect that.
The one house budgets include housing policies that prioritize everyday New Yorkers, not wealthy real estate special interests–Good Cause tenant protections, the Housing Access Voucher Program, and mechanisms to increase community ownership and low-cost, high quality housing stock.
“Both the Senate and Assembly rejected Governor Hochul’s disastrous proposal to open as many as 100 new and untested charter schools in New York, as well as her proposal to rollback the bail reform law that the people of New York fought so hard to pass. We are also pleased to see policies to meaningfully address the climate crisis, crucial investment in child care for both parents and caregivers, support for progressive revenue, and funding for public financing of elections.
“There was a key issue not reflected that we hope to see in the enacted budget: ending medical debt. No one should have to choose between getting the health care they need or keeping a roof over their heads. Every year, our state government distributes over a billion dollars to hospitals for patient financial assistance, but hospitals are not passing that on to the patients who need it. Citizen Action and many other groups across New York State are united in calling on our legislators to pass legislation mandating hospitals to distribute the public money given to them for patient financial assistance.
“We are confident that the Senate and Assembly will continue to listen to and prioritize the voices of the people as they enter negotiations to finalize the state budget. With crucial investments of public money in education, housing, child care, health care and climate, everyday people in New York State are better able to thrive.”