January 10, 2024 (Albany, NY) – For the last 40 years, Citizen Action of New York has been steadfastly committed to transforming New York into a just and equitable place where everyone can thrive. Following Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State address, Citizen Action Executive Director Rosemary Rivera had the following to say:
“Governor Hochul’s vision for New York disappointingly skewed in favor of the wealthy and not everyday New Yorkers. While admitting that her constituents are struggling day to day, she continues to refuse to raise taxes on the ultra-rich — ignoring the fact that working-class New Yorkers overwhelmingly want corporations and the ultra-wealthy to pay what they owe to the public they profit from.
With a $4 Billion deficit, the only solution to keep New York working is to raise revenue — not go after petty retail theft while corporate greed runs rampant. New Yorkers have long felt the consequences of billionaire greed while threats to social safety nets loom in the financial capital of the world. Homes and jobs have been lost, small businesses have shuttered, and migrants seeking refuge are turned away daily. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many students, and each day brings further evidence that our planet is fragile and ill.
Now more than ever, New Yorkers are looking to Governor Hochul to move the needle on the reforms needed for us all to thrive and to end a decades-long course of underinvestment in our communities and overinvestment into the pockets of the ultra-rich. While increasing disability benefits, highlighting the need to better support mothers and infants, and condemning medical debt is a step in the right direction, it pales in comparison to all of what many New Yorkers are truly anxious about.
The housing crisis has reached a fever pitch, and while it is evident that the Governor recognizes this truth, she fails to address the solutions we need — like balancing the need for new housing and increased tenant protections — to drive real change. New Yorkers continue to call for the critical components of a housing plan that works: Good Cause tenant protections from eviction, housing vouchers to help tenants keep up with skyrocketing rising rents, and more robust rights for tenants when the properties in which they live are put up for sale. These must be on the agenda in 2024.
In addition, 2024 is an election year, and the need to prioritize protecting our democracy and expanding voting rights is more critical than ever. The Governor missed an opportunity to express a commitment to fair and safe elections and instead perpetuated an exaggerated correlation between mental health and violence. True safety for New Yorkers means a deep investment in housing, mental health, and jobs with living wages.
Across New York, Citizen Action members stand ready to organize, during this legislative session and beyond, to work with partners in and out of state government who are committed to a people-powered plan to invest in healthcare, education, affordable housing, and all else that is necessary to create a New York state where everyone can thrive.”
Citizen Action of New York is a grassroots membership organization with seven chapters and affiliates across New York State. We work on issues important to our communities, including fair elections, equitable school funding, housing for all, environmental justice, and possibility not punishment.