Citizen Action Reacts to This Year’s State Budget

by | Apr 22, 2024 | Press Releases

(Albany, NY) In response to the impact of this year’s final state budget on Citizen Action members across the state, Rosemary Rivera, Executive Director for Citizen Action of New York, had the following to say:

“It’s crystal clear that Governor Kathy Hochul—who heavily favors policies that line the pockets of her donors and consistently make it harder for everyday people to thrive as they should—controls our state’s budget process. Just look at the biggest winners of this budget: the wealthiest few and real estate developers.

“Due to the tireless work of Citizen Action’s membership, the full funding of public financing of elections is a crucial victory in this budget, one that empowers us to support genuine candidates who will fight for common sense policies delineated in Our Justice Agenda and deliver on issues like climate justice, education, childcare, housing, and reforms that do not perpetuate the criminalization of our communities. The inclusion of rules to govern the use of AI in campaign communications is also critical as a key component of fair and democratic elections. Another significant success for Citizen Action’s members is the passage of Ounce of Prevention, which will require hospitals to use allocated funding specifically for patients in financial need.

“However, this budget comes on the heels of 5 years and over $16 million spent by the real estate industry to influence decision-makers. It will line the pockets of the Real Estate Board of New York members, who will receive incentives and subsidies and push for higher rents. Thanks to our allies in the legislature who fought tirelessly on behalf of tenants, we will see some renters who have new protections against rent increases and evictions. However, make no mistake: Governor Hochul’s loyalty to the wealthiest special interests has been on display in every step of the budget process, and it is felt most devastating in this final housing plan.

“Governor Hochul manufactured a crisis in education where none should have existed—she does not get to claim credit for addressing a self-made problem. Hochul’s victory lap is a slap in the face to the parents, teachers, and union members who fought tirelessly to secure a long-term commitment to funding education. Moreover, amid an undeniable climate and affordability crisis, this enacted budget includes no meaningful funding or policy to further the transition off of fossil fuels and ensure that our next generation has an inhabitable planet.

“We’re looking forward to this year’s elections as a chance to support candidates for State Senate and Assembly who will urgently prioritize the crises New Yorkers are facing, including the skyrocketing costs of basic needs, from housing and health care to childcare and energy bills and beyond.”