For Immediate Release: May 2nd, 2023
NYC-DSA Denounces Hochul’s Billionaire Budget
This year’s budget shows who really pulls the strings in Albany, and why we must build a working-class movement to take back our power.
ALBANY, NY—Today, New York State legislators passed a $229 billion budget defined by the racist repeal of bail reform laws, the continued privatization of education, and no real response to the housing and cost of living crises in our state. Instead, billionaire-backed Governor Kathy Hochul used this year’s budget to wage an assault on the working class of New York. While we won some glimmers of hope — like the start of a Green New Deal in New York — we refuse to accept Hochul’s assault on our civil rights and public goods. The final budget is a moral catastrophe. But it also shows the growing strength of our working class movement fighting for what Hochul claims she’s building: “a more affordable, more livable, and safer” New York.
New York is in crisis. Every day we, as working people, face cost-of-living and housing emergencies. Hochul’s budget fails to deliver relief for working New Yorkers, let alone a future we can look forward to. In the last year, we’ve seen skyrocketing rents, homelessness levels not seen since the Great Depression, and record deaths in jails. New York’s unemployment is among the worst in the country, and Black New Yorkers are experiencing unemployment at more than triple the national average. Instead of raising the minimum wage to genuinely meet this crisis, Hochul chose to further criminalize poverty—to throw more Black and brown people in jail pre-trial by removing the least restrictive standard and expanding the scope of cash bail. Instead of taxing the rich and fully funding the public goods we need to thrive, she continued the assault on public education by funneling our money to privately-run charter schools.
Instead of addressing the struggles of working people in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul and establishment politicians made a choice to use our FY 2023-24 $229 billion state budget to reward her corporate donors.
This abysmal budget was delayed by a month because we didn’t let it pass without a fight. Our organization of volunteer working-class people and socialist legislators, along with other progressive forces, won important concessions against regressive attacks on New York’s public goods: mitigating the proposed MTA fare hike, maintaining the current in-state tuition for CUNY/SUNY, and preventing a charter cap expansion. Together, all eight of NYC-DSA’s endorsed socialist electeds stood strong against the worst of the budget and notched important wins. Their advocacy and a four year, hard fought, socialist-led campaign won New Yorkers union-built publicly-owned renewable energy with the Build Public Renewables Act. The #FixTheMTA campaign won significantly increased subway frequency and five newly-free bus lines that will ease the burden of transit costs on commuters. New York will decarbonize and electrify its buildings through the All-Electric Buildings Act. Although these victories are nowhere near what we need, they offer a glimpse of what our New York could look like—and show how we can get there, with socialists in office and a working class movement on the ground.
Throughout this budget cycle, New Yorkers have been overwhelmingly clear: we need Good Cause Eviction, social housing, universal childcare, a New Deal for CUNY & SUNY, fully-funded and reliable public transit, and a state that guarantees everyone the resources they need to reach their full potential. We will keep fighting to pass legislation by and for the working class even as this right-wing governor tries to stop us. We know what we need to win — a mass movement of working-class people. This is a lifelong fight for the world we deserve, and we won’t settle for anything less.
ABOUT NYC-DSA: New York City Democratic Socialists is the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America—the largest socialist organization in the United States with over 85,000 members. NYC-DSA is run by its 6,000+ members and activists who are working together to build a democratic socialist organization in the five boroughs.