Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY — A hydrofracking moratorium, a higher minimum wage, stronger abortion protections and public financing of campaigns would top the agenda for Senate Democrats if they win a majority in November.
The decision late Wednesday by a five-member Senate Independent Democratic Conference to rejoin with Senate Democrats would have an major impact on New York policy. And it set off a war of words Thursday between Republicans and Democrats — a precursor to a bitter election fight over the next four months.
Democrats, if they win control, would push for other issues that have stalled: providing tuition assistance to immigrants in the country illegally, called the Dream Act; and allowing local governments to set their own minimum wages, up to about $13 an hour. They also want to decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana.
ON HEEL’S OF SEATTLE’S $15 / HOUR MINIMUM WAGE DEAL, FAST FOOD WORKERS URGE ALBANY TO PASS RAISE UP NY
Across the Nation, Momentum Continues to Grow for Raising Wages at the Local Level as Cities Stand up to McDonald’s & Walmart
New York—Citing Seattle’s historic deal to move to a $15 / hour minimum wage, fast food workers today urged Albany lawmakers to let cities raise the state’s unlivable $8 / hour minimum wage by passing RaiseUpNY (S.6516 Stewart-Cousins/ A.9036 Camara).
“The momentum is there. The need is there. It’s time for Albany to get off the sidelines and to start standing up for the 3 million low-wage New Yorkers who are working hard, playing by the rules, and still living in poverty,” said KFC worker Naquasia LeGrand.
“Otherwise, they’re just allowing the most profitable corporations on the planet, like Walmart and McDonald’s, to pay their workers as little as possible. Our economy will never get back on track that way—and women and people of color, the majority of folks in these jobs, will never have an honest shot at the middle class.”
Cities and counties around the country including California, Arizona and Washington State have already instituted higher minimum wages and the results have been hugely positive. In each case, there was opposition, but the sky didn’t fall. Instead, workers have more money in their pockets, poverty has been reduced and economies have gotten stronger. Even better—citywide increases didn’t hamstring efforts to raise the statewide minimum. In each case, the local initiatives helped build momentum for broader wage hikes.
73% of New Yorkers –including 2/3 of voters in every region of state – support this measure, as does the Black and Latino Caucus, and more than 125 prominent women leaders, including NAACP NYS President Hazel Dukes, President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York Andrea Miller, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Citizen Action Executive Director Karen Scharff, Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner, NYS League of Women Voters Executive Director Barbara Bartoletti, NYS Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D- Yonkers), NYS Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester), NYS Assembly Member Shelley Mayer (D-Yonkers), NYS Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo), NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) and NYS State Assembly Member Michaelle Solages (D-Long Island).
Likelihood of Success
President Obama, the Pope, Billionaire Conservative Ron Unz, striking fast food workers, and 73% of New Yorkers agree we need to raise the minimum wage to jumpstart the economy. The tide is turning, momentum is on our side, and the bottom line is that even Albany isn’t immune to the will of voters.
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“The tax provisions in this budget provide the biggest benefits to the wealthy and to Wall Street — they’ll make our worst-in-the-nation income inequality even worse”, said Michael Kink, Executive Director of the Strong Economy For All Coalition.
“Wall Street in New York is like oil & gas in Texas — their lobbyists usually get what they ask for. What they got in this budget is a $350 million per year Albany bailout they don’t need and don’t deserve.”
CALL LAWMAKERS TODAY
Today’s the day to stop the Albany bailout for Wall Street – call your representatives TODAY, MONDAY MARCH 10 and tell them to reject Cuomo’s new tax break for big banks.
Cuomo’s proposal to eliminate the Bank Tax and lower rates of taxation will cost between $250 and $350 million per year – and the Governor admits that this new giveaway will be paid for with new austerity cuts elsewhere in the state budget.
CALL YOUR ASSEMBLYMEMBER: (888) 701-0493
CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR: (888) 701-7499
“Senator Skelos should let democracy work. New York City deserves a vote on its home rule power to tax its own millionaires to pay for universal pre-k for its own children– the same as every other county in the state. Its not right for Senator Skelos and his legislative minority to block families and children from a shot at a brighter future.”
Governor Cuomo’s effort to improve public trust in government will damaged by his proposal to give a billion dollars a year in new tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires and Wall Street.
New Yorkers care about both process and substance when it comes to state government — and they’re demanding action that will address the income inequality crisis that’s killing our economy.
These unfair & unneeded tax breaks will make inequality worse.
The Legislature should put that billion dollars to better use reducing inequality, creating more jobs with higher wages, expanding opportunities in education and higher education and fighting record-high levels of poverty and homelessness.
“By including public financing of state elections in his budget proposal, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated national leadership in the effort to reinvigorate our democracy and restore public trust in government.
New Yorkers need to know that state government can work for all of us. Governor Cuomo is taking a big step towards ensuring that the voices of everyday New Yorkers can be heard above the din of big money — we urge the Legislature to support him and pass this proposal into law.”
“We applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for listening to advocates and homeowners, and for standing up for New Yorkers by ensuring there will be significant money available to help working families stay in their homes.