Crain's Op-Ed: A 2019 To-Do List for Cuomo | The New York Community Trust
January 15, 2019   |   By The New York Community Trust
Crain’s Op-Ed: A 2019 To-Do List for Cuomo
View of The Battery.

View of The Battery. Photo by Ian Douglas

The following letter from our president, Lorie A. Slutsky appeared on the website of Crain’s New York Business on January 9, 2019.

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to roll out his agenda for the state’s legislative session, New York has a rare opportunity.

At a time when our federal government is taking steps to divide us, New York is uniquely positioned to show what’s possible when government advances policies that ensure all of us—regardless of our race, gender, background, religion or neighborhood—are treated equitably and have a fair shot at success.

With the swearing in of a new state Assembly and Senate and with Cuomo’s ambitious agenda, we are optimistic that our representatives in Albany are ready to lock arms and enact policies on important issues like immigration, climate, school funding, and the social safety net with an eye toward improving opportunities to those who are too often left behind.

The task in front of us is great, especially as the gap between rich and poor New Yorkers continues to grow. Albany should move quickly to close this gap and create an environment that allows all of our neighbors the opportunity to prosper.

To do that, we must make drivers’ licenses available to all eligible New Yorkers, including immigrants, so people can get to work and school safely without constant fear of deportation. We must preserve and expand affordable housing by renewing the rent-stabilization system and strengthening laws that protect tenants. We must take steps to ensure affordable health care is a reality for every New Yorker.

We must finance more equitable clean energy by imposing fees on polluters’ greenhouse gas emissions. And the state should finally, after more than a decade, make good on its commitment to distribute state education funding equitably consistent with the Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007 and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

These are among the key issues affecting New York City, Westchester, and Long Island—and as the downstate region’s community foundation, we strategically fund effective nonprofits to drive change. But we cannot achieve large-scale change alone. We also need support from our state government in the form of laws and policies that benefit everyone—not just those who have the money or power to sway politicians.

The moment is now to take action. A fair New York is a stronger New York, and taking bold steps to improve equity will show the rest of the country what’s possible when government acts in the interests of everyone, including those most in need.

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