NEW YORK STATE LAWMAKERS PLEDGE TO FUND OUR STATE

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES FOR FISCAL & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS & BEYOND

Two million New Yorkers have already lost their jobs because of the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and layoffs of CUNY faculty and staff, school teachers, health care workers, and local government workers have already begun. New York State and City workers will be next on the chopping block.

Hundreds of thousands of additional job cuts will further devastate our economy and our ability to provide essential services in a time of need.

Working people, poor people and people of color have been hardest hit by the pandemic. They are getting sick and dying in disproportionate numbers, and layoffs have fallen most heavily on lower-wage and precarious workers. Meanwhile, the wealth of billionaires and ultra-millionaires has been largely protected — and in many instances has grown significantly.

A new paper by the Public Accountability Initiative documents this growth in inequality in great detail: “While pre-existing structural inequities have caused the disease and its side effects to devastate New York’s working-class communities and communities of color, the state’s billionaires have increased their wealth substantially over the course of the pandemic.”

Even before COVID-19, New Yorkers urgently needed major increased public investment in health care, public education from pre-k through higher education, housing, mass transportation and many other fundamental services. That means new revenue raised by taxes on high wealth.

Washington has the responsibility and fiscal resources to aid the states to respond to the unprecedented huge costs and losses brought on by the pandemic. Whatever we do in New York must not be seen as implying that the federal government is in any way relieved of its responsibility. But we must be prepared to deal with federal failures to respond.

The overwhelming majority of New Yorkers will not be affected by our proposals to raise taxes on high wealth. Working and poor New Yorkers rely heavily on public services to help them survive day-to-day. They are over-taxed and under-served because our tax system does not demand enough from ultra-wealthy New Yorkers. 

Times like these require shared sacrifice. In every economic downturn for the last 90 years, our state government has asked the wealthiest to pay more in taxes in order to meet the needs of all the people.

We must do so again, relying on these basic principles of fairness:

  • New York State must do everything possible to minimize devastating budget cuts that will increase suffering, especially among poor and working people, place more burdens on strapped municipalities, and stall recovery.
  • We must fight to maximize federal aid to fill New York’s gaping budget gap, but we must also be prepared to raise needed revenue from those who can afford to contribute to our recovery. To get through this crisis, we are going to need both massive federal aid and a significant contribution from New York’s most well-heeled residents.
  • We must invest in recovery and come back stronger.

During the current crisis, New York’s leadership has confronted the pandemic with an approach rooted in honesty and compassion. As we deal with the economic crisis engendered by the pandemic— and the great public needs that long preceded the pandemic — these same values must come to the forefront. And we must remember our progressive roots as a state unafraid to do what’s right — even if that’s a politically tough choice — for its citizens.

Ultra-millionaires and billionaires should not be the only constituency held harmless in this crisis. We are all in this together, and sacrifice must be shared.

We the undersigned are clear: We will not allow state budget cuts without raising revenue from those who can most afford to pay more.

STATEMENT SIGNERS

Assemblymember
Peter J. Abbate Jr.

Assemblymember
Tom Abinanti

Assemblymember
Jeffrion Aubry

Assemblymember
Brian Barnwell

Assemblymember
Didi Barrett

Assemblymember
Charles Barron

Assemblymember
Michael Benedetto

Assemblymember
Edward Braunstein

Assemblymember
Harry B. Bronson

Assemblymember
David Buchwald

Assemblymember
Pat Burke

Assemblymember
Robert Carroll

Assemblymember
Bill Colton

Assemblymember
Catalina Cruz

Assemblymember
Taylor Darling

Assemblymember
Maritza Davila

Assemblymember
Michael DenDekker

Assemblymember
Carmen De La Rosa

Assemblymember
Joe DeStefano

Assemblymember
Inez E. Dickens

Assemblymember
Jeffrey Dinowitz

Assemblymember
Steve Englebright

Assemblymember
Harvey Epstein

Assemblymember
Patricia Fahy

Assemblymember
Nathalia Fernandez

Assemblymember
Mathylde Frontus

Assemblymember
Deborah J. Glick

Assemblymember
Richard Gottfried

Assemblymember
Aileen Gunther

Assemblymember
Andrew Hevesi

Assemblymember
Pamela Hunter

Assemblymember
Alicia Hyndman

Assemblymember
Jonathan Jacobson

Assemblymember
Ellen Jaffee

Assemblymember
Kimberly Jean-Pierre

Assemblymember
Latoya Joyner

Assemblymember
Ron Kim

Assemblymember
Charles David Lavine

Assemblymember
Joe Lentol

Assemblymember
Barbara Lifton

Assemblymember
Donna Lupardo

Assemblymember
John T. McDonald III

Assemblymember
Michael Miller

Assemblymember
Walter Mosley

Assemblymember
Yuh-Line Niou

Assemblymember
Cathy Nolan

Assemblymember
Danny O’Donnell

Assemblymember
Felix Ortiz

Assemblymember
Steve Otis

Assemblymember
Amy Paulin

Assemblymember
Nick Perry

Assemblymember
Victor Pichardo

Assemblymember
Dan Quart

Assemblymember
Phil Ramos

Assemblymember
Karines Reyes

Assemblymember
Diana Richardson

Assemblymember
Robert Rodriguez

Assemblymember
Daniel Rosenthal

Assemblymember
Linda B. Rosenthal

Assemblymember
Nily Rozic

Assemblymember
Sean Ryan

Assemblymember
Rebecca Seawright

Assemblymember
Jo Anne Simon

Assemblymember
Aravella Simotas

Assemblymember
Michaelle Solages

Assemblymember
Phil Steck

Assemblymember
Al Taylor

Assemblymember
Fred Thiele

Assemblymember
Monica Wallace

Assemblymember
David Weprin

Assemblymember
Jaime R. Williams

Assemblymember
Tremaine Wright

Assemblymember
Kenneth P. Zebrowski

Senator
Brian Benjamin

Senator
Alessandra Biaggi

Senator
Phil Boyle

Senator
Neil Breslin

Senator
John Brooks

Senator
David Carlucci

Senator
James Gaughran

Senator
Michael Gianaris

Senator
Andrew Gounardes

Senator
Pete Harckham

Senator
Brad Hoylman

Senator
Robert Jackson

Senator
Todd Kaminsky

Senator
Anna Kaplan

Senator
Brian Kavanaugh

Senator
Tim Kennedy

Senator
Liz Krueger

Senator
John Liu

Senator
Monica Martinez

Senator
Rachel May

Senator
Shelley Mayer

Senator
Jen Metzger

Senator
Zellnor Myrie

Senator
Kevin Parker

Senator
Roxanne Persaud

Senator
Jessica Ramos

Senator
Gustavo Rivera

Senator
Julia Salazar

Senator
James Sanders Jr.

Senator
Diane Savino

Senator
Jose Serrano, Jr.

Senator
James Skoufis

Senator
Toby Ann Stavisky

Senator
Kevin Thomas


Does your lawmaker support asking our state's ultrawealthy to pay their fair share?