GMHC Joins 100 Grassroots, Labor, and Community Organizations in Calling for Passage of “Invest in Our New York Act”

Over 100 grassroots, labor, and community organizations today joined dozens of elected officials, advocates, and community members in supporting the Invest In Our New York Act  — a historic state legislative package to rebuild New York’s economy and end tax breaks for the wealthiest New Yorkers. If passed, the Invest In Our New York Act would represent the single largest measure taken to close New York’s inequality gap in decades, marking a massive reversal from years of austerity budgets that have decimated public schools, affordable housing, healthcare, immigrant workers, and localities, while providing tax breaks to the wealthiest New Yorkers.

Representatives from many of the 100 organizations joined dozens of state elected officials today outside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office to launch the campaign. The campaign additionally released a new report — “Invest In Our New York: Plan to Fund Our Future” — outlining the state’s decade of economic mismanagement and underfunded public services, leading to the economic crisis New York faces today — and the legislative path to recovery. Campaign launches are being held across New York State this week, with public events in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Long Island.

The Invest In Our New York campaign is led by Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action, Empire State Indivisible, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, New York Working Families Party, NYC-DSA, Strong Economy for All, VOCAL-NY, New York Communities for Change, and Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance/Housing Justice for All. These statewide organizations steering the campaign are joined by over 100 grassroots, labor and community organizations from every corner of the state.

“Funding for food, health, employment and housing programs is essential to fighting the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics. Yet, while millions of families are struggling, New York billionaires saw their wealth grow, and New York State is on the verge of a funding crisis.” said Senior Managing Director of GMHC Jason Cianciotto. “GMHC urges the passage of revenue-raising legislation so that the health and safety of New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV and AIDS will not be sacrificed to protect billionaires.

“For too long, working people from across the State have suffered from budgets that prioritize the needs of the rich rather than our most vulnerable,” said Executive Director of District Council 37 Henry Garrido. “Rebuilding our economy will require all of us to pitch in; it is past time for the wealthy to pay their fair share.”

“Public transit riders need reliable and accessible subways, buses, and paratransit — not a regressive fare hike,” said Riders Alliance Policy & Communications Director Danny Pearlstein. “Governor Cuomo needs to find progressive funding sources to maintain and upgrade our shared infrastructure, not try and balance the MTA budget on riders and workers’ backs. For an equitable recovery in transit and across New York, riders support the Invest in Our New York Act.”

“While New Yorkers are losing jobs, income, health insurance, and their lives in the middle of the pandemic, private insurance companies are reporting record profits. It’s time for the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay their fair share in order to guarantee every resident and worker in New York access to high quality care regardless of employment, income, age, race, or immigration status,” said YuLing Koh Hsu and Ursula Rozum, co-directors of the Campaign for New York Health. “We have the resources in New York for the best universal healthcare system in the world — one that could actually cost less for the vast majority of New Yorkers! But we can’t get there unless we make the billionaires pay. The time is now!”

“This Pandemic has shown that essential workers who are often excluded from federal aid are vital to keep this city running and to sustain the economy. Right now, we are struggling to pay our bills, keep our homes, and feed our families. Taxing the super-wealthy is an urgent solution to providing the support we need to survive,” said Kenya Williams, domestic worker and Member of the Carroll Gardens Association.

Since March, unemployment in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in New York has grown over 7000% and food insecurity has skyrocketed, while funding for healthcare and critical social services that support these community members have been slashed, building on a decade of underfunding our most important public services. Meanwhile, the wealthiest New Yorkers have only grown their wealth,” said Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) Carlyn Cowen. “The only path to a just recovery is through taxing those who have the most, and raising revenues to fund our communities’ needs. The Invest in Our New York Act is urgent, it is lifesaving, and it is just.”

“The Community Service Society of New York is proud to join the Invest in Our New York Coalition to fight for a just economic recovery for New York State,” said Community Service Society Vice President for Policy, Research and Advocacy Emerita Torres. “Wealth inequality has been on the rise in New York and across the country for decades; the COVID-19 pandemic has vividly exposed and exacerbated its effects, especially for low-income New Yorkers. The Governor and legislature must focus on reforming the inequities inherent in the tax system to avoid massive, painful austerity measures and address the continued rise in inequality.”

“The path to economic recovery is through helping all communities thrive, not just the affluent ones,” said Tasha Williams of Greater NYC for Change. “While millions of Empire State residents worried about job loss or struggled to pay rent and put food on the table, 118 billionaires grew richer here by $77 billion in just the first four months of the pandemic. Greater NYC for Change calls upon state policymakers to fortify the safety nets for working-class New Yorkers by making the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.”

“Indivisible Mohawk Valley stands ready to fight for the Invest In Our New York Act,” said Jen DeWeerth of the IMV Steering Committee. “Investing New York’s vast wealth in all our communities — urban, suburban, and our struggling rural hospitals, schools, and family farms — is how we build a strong and healthy future for all New Yorkers.”

“New Yorkers are facing hunger, housing insecurity, and a global pandemic. Meanwhile, billionaires are getting richer in our state. JFREJ stands with the Invest in Our New York state-wide coalition to demand economic justice and budgetary accountability,” said member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) Moira Harris. “We need to invest in our communities, our neighbors, our families, and our workers. New York State must tax the rich

“The Literacy Assistance Center stands with the many other organizations and communities fighting for budget justice through the Invest in Our New York Act,” said Ira Yankwitt, Executive Director of the Literacy Assistance Center. “New York State is home to some of the richest individuals on the planet. Yet there are currently over 3.5 million adult New Yorkers who lack English language proficiency or a high school diploma. Many of these New Yorkers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic – as grocery workers, delivery workers, home care workers, and parents. Others are service workers and domestic workers who have lost their jobs and incomes and face a harsh reality with little or no safety net. We are counting on the legislature and governor to do the right thing – to have the wealthy pay their fair share so that every New Yorker can be assured the education, health care, housing, and services that they need and deserve.”

“New York’s Medicaid program has been a lifeline for millions of people since the pandemic arrived nearly a year ago, and our state’s leaders need to fully fund it during this budget year and next,” said Mark Hannay, Director of Metro New York Health Care for All.  “The only way that can happen is to raise the revenue that’s needed by ending unwarranted tax breaks for the ultra-rich that have been in place for far too long.  Cutting health care programs in the middle of a worsening pandemic is not an option.”

“For too many years now, wealthy New Yorkers have been given more and more tax breaks by the state and Federal government in hopes they will revitalize our economy. This economic approach has been based on a failed trickle-down supply side economic theory that if you give more money to rich people, they will help everyone else. It has not worked out that way. Working New Yorkers have seen their taxes as a percent of income going up while wages have remained flat. At the same time, billionaires pay less tax and have seen their wealth grow, including 81 billion during the pandemic. All the while, the state has imposed an austere 2% spending cap on the state budget which has caused us to disinvest in our economy while depriving our residents of needed childcare, higher wages, housing, and quality health care and education. More than ever, we need to reverse course and invest in our people and economy rather than extracting money from the economy with austerity measures while giving counterproductive tax breaks to the rich,” said The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches. “We must embrace an old economic idea that if we invest in our people and economy, we will together create a more just New York where all can thrive.”

“For far too long immigrants, BIPOC, and working class New Yorkers have paid more than their fair share to make sure that our state prospered during good times. And during bad times, like during this pandemic, these same New Yorkers have remained the driving force in our communities ensuring our economy could keep running, while many of us worked remotely. Our healthcare workers, grocery store workers, delivery workers, transit workers and all other frontline workers have helped maintain our way of life while paying the ultimate price of disproportionate deaths due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, many wealthy New Yorkers continued to flourish,”  said Director of Local Policy and Legislation at the New York Immigration Coalition Theodore A. Moore. “It’s time that they honor all frontline workers by helping New York bounce back from this current economic crisis and usher in an equitable recovery — a recovery that will allow every New Yorker to thrive.”

“New York deserves a fair and equal tax system that does not overly burden the working and the middle class,” said Executive Committee member of the New York Progressive Action Network Joe Sackman. “It is time for the ultra-wealthy, who have made billions during the pandemic to pay their fair share. We call on Governor Cuomo, Senate Leader Stewart Cousins, and Speaker Heastie to step up and do what is right for all of New York.”

“We’re proud to join with partners around the state to demand $50-$70 billion in new revenue from taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers,” said Jonathan Bix, Executive Director, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson. “Our elected officials need to be bold and prioritize a New York that works for all of us instead of just the greedy few.”

“New York lawmakers have spent years prioritizing the bank accounts of the state’s wealthiest residents at the expense of everyone else. Their unwillingness to tax the rich is now even more indefensible in the midst of a devastating pandemic and economic crisis. It’s far past time for New York to tax the rich,” said Morris Pearl, Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires. 

“PEER strongly supports the sensible initiatives outlined in the Invest in Our New York Act, which will help ALL New Yorkers navigate at this time of great need,” said Kathryn Szoka, co-chair of Progressive East End Reformers (PEER). “New York does not need an austerity budget, especially now. Abundant resources exist in our state to help the many who are struggling. As Governor Coumo said in the early days of the pandemic, we are New York Strong and we work together for the betterment of ALL New Yorkers. Raising revenues with sensible legislation to keep teachers in jobs, workers in housing, the sick with necessary health care is what New York does. Let’s take care of each other and make New York a model for our country.”

“The Rochester City School District experienced the loss of over 800 educators, 4 schools, and 3 education programs for at-risk youth in the last year. One in ten of our students is homeless. 90% of our students are eligible for free or reduced cost lunches,” said member of RTA/RORE and ENL teacher Claire Labrosa. “Our students deserve to thrive with fully funded schools, enough educators to meet their needs, and programs that enrich their lives. This is why we support the campaign to Invest in Our New York.”

“VID stands by the ideology of a New York for ALL New Yorkers. As such, we support the goals that the Invest in Our New York Act attempts to achieve,” said Co-Presidents of Village Independent Democrats Cameron Krause and Mar Fitzgerald. “Time and again, New Yorkers stand up in the face of immense adversity. We overcome unthinkable challenges, with unity and graceful grittiness. In our darkest hours, we need our Government to stand up for those of us who truly need it.”

New York Organizations Supporting the Invest in Our New York Act

  • African Communities Together
  • African Services Committee
  • Bowen Public Affairs Consulting, Inc.
  • Campaign for New York Health
  • CDPAANYS
  • Center for Community Alternatives
  • Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC)
  • CUFFH
  • CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
  • District Council 37
  • Doctors Council SEIU (Service Employees International Union)
  • Flatbush Tenant Coalition
  • GMHC
  • Greater NYC for Change (GNYCfC)
  • Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
  • Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness  and Housing
  • Literacy Assistance Center
  • Long Island Activists
  • Long Island Progressive Coalition
  • Met Council on Housing
  • Metro New York Health Care for All
  • New Hour for Women & Children lI
  • New York Immigration Coalition
  • New York Progressive Action Network
  • North Forkers for the Common Good
  • Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition
  • PEER/NYPAN: Progressive East End Reformers
  • RENA (Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association)
  • Riders Alliance
  • Struggling to Reunite Our New Generation
  • Tenants Political Action Committee
  • The #HALTsolitary Campaign
  • Youth Alliance for Housing (YAH)
  • Second Chance Reentry, Inc.
  • Teens Take Charge
  • Portside
  • Tompkins County Progressives
  • City-Wide Tenant Union of Roch
  • City-Wide Tenant Union of Rochester
  • Queens United Independent Progressives
  • Resource Generation NYC
  • Freelancers Union
  • Brandworkers
  • Commission on the public’s health system
  • Patriotic Millionaires
  • Young Long Island for Justice
  • Queens Climate Project
  • Housing Works, Inc.
  • Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association
  • Cooper Square Committee
  • Fourth Universalist Society
  • Buffalo Democratic Socialists of America
  • Human.nyc
  • Grassroots Action NY
  • Neighbors Together
  • Carroll Gardens Association (CGA)
  • Rockaway Youth Task Force
  • CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities
  • Housing Rights Initiative (HRI)
  • Professional Staff Congress/CUNY
  • Village Independent Democrats
  • Inwood Indivisible
  • MORE-UFT (Movement of Rank and File Educators of the United Federation of Teachers)
  • NYS-UE (New York State United Educators)
  • 89th Street Tenants Unidos Association
  • DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving
  • RTU
  • Social Service Workers Uprising Now (SSWUN)
  • Show Up LI
  • Music Workers Alliance
  • Indivisible Harlem
  • Indivisible Mohawk Valley
  • New York Youth Climate Leaders
  • Indivisible Nassau County
  • Movement for a People’s Party
  • Rise and Resist
  • NYPAN Greene
  • Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
  • PNHP NY Metro
  • Manhattan Young Democrats
  • Downtown Women for Change
  • Concerned Citizens For Change
  • New York People’s Party
  • Street Vendor Project, Urban Justice Center
  • Bethlehem Morning Voice Huddle
  • Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow
  • Persist Brooklyn
  • Community Service Society of New York
  • Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
  • Black Lives Matter Brooklyn
  • Staten Island Women Who March
  • Indivisible Long Beach
  • Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow
  • Riders 4 Rights
  • Morningside Heights Resistance
  • Truth Pharm Inc.
  • Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Long Island
  • Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Riverdale
  • Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW)
  • Young Invincibles
  • In The Fight North Brooklyn
  • Make the Road NY
  • New York Communities for Change
  • Strong Economy for All
  • NY Working Families Party
  • Citizen Action
  • DSA-NYC
  • Empire Indivisible
  • Alliance for Quality Education
  • VOCAL-NY
  • Housing Justice for All

About the Invest In Our New York Campaign: The Invest in Our New York Campaign is a legislative effort to pass the Invest In Our New York Act: a package of six state bills that raises more than $50 billion to ensure we can take care of each other and rebuild our economy by ending tax breaks for the richest New Yorkers. The campaign is led by Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action, Empire State Indivisible, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, New York Working Families Party, NYC-DSA, Strong Economy for All, VOCAL-NY, New York Communities for Change, and Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance/Housing Justice for All. This historic coalition is prioritizing revenue-raising as the single top priority for the 2021 legislative session through a statewide campaign including town halls, lobby days, phone banking, canvassing and more.

Photo caption: A GMHC representative joined coalition members on Jan. 5, 2021, in a protest outside the office of New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in calling for passage of the “Invest in Our New York Act.”

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