January 6, 2020

As the New York State legislative session begins with the state facing a multi-billion-dollar state budget deficit, the question is clear—what kind of New York do we want and how will we get there? The Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) urges Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie to choose sound economic and social policies that promote growth and development for the many rather than the few so that all New Yorkers have an equal chance at opportunity. FPI knows that we can craft a state budget that works for all New Yorkers and shares recommendations in “Vision 2020: Building a Better New York.”  

Statement from Ron Deutsch, Executive Director 

“The future is in our hands—we can do nothing and continue to let inequity increase, let basic needs go unanswered and try to balance the budget on the backs of those who are already struggling or we can take the steps necessary to build a better future for all New Yorkers. The burden must be fairly shared. Our taxes fund essential services, including our schools, infrastructure, and the programs relied on by our seniors, children, and people with disabilities – principally, all the things that make a vibrant, healthy community where people wish to live.” 

New York State has a robust economy but leads the nation in income inequality. Poverty, homelessness, hunger and food insecurity continue to plague far too many New Yorkers.  After a decade of austerity under the state’s self-imposed two percent spending cap, New York government is not living up to its promise, and the greatest impact of tight budgets continues to fall on people who are already the most disadvantaged, reinforcing a legacy of bias, discrimination, and unequal opportunity. 

Statement from Jonas Shaende, Chief Economist: 

Any structural deficit is going to require either spending cuts or revenue raisers. Now is not the time for spending cuts but rather the time to carefully consider where and how our state can raise revenues.  We can take the necessary steps forward by realizing how austerity spending (2% spending cap) has hamstrung services statewide, embracing an equitable tax structure where everyone shoulders the burden fairly, reforming and reimagining economic development programs that are currently based on corporate whim or high-stakes competition and rejecting creative accounting. The worst thing we could do is to start believing that we can’t make a difference because we can. 

FPI urges Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to implement responsible tax policies such as strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit and Empire State Child Credit; closing tax loopholes and rethinking the tax rate for the top 1 percent;  investing in all residents, and preparing for the future with adequately funded child-care, K-12 education and higher education programs.     

Statement from David Dyssegaard KallickDirector, Immigration Research Initiative 

We all win when every community member is valued and supported. Affordable housing, access to quality education, healthcare, and adequate income are non-negotiable necessities for every resident regardless of race, immigration status, ethnicity, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, income or zip code. Our state’s strength lies in our diversity.  

If you have any questions about any budget or economic policy issues, please reach out to our media director at (315) 436-0558 or by email at whyland@fiscalpolicy.org. For more information on FPI and its work, and for copies of all of FPI’s publications, please visit our website at www.fiscalpolicy.org. 

Read the recommendations.   

The Fiscal Policy Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all.