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Decades of disinvestment in New York led to the worst inequality of any state in the country. As our state government paid for less and less, counties and municipalities have been forced to cut services while scrambling to cover what they can through local property, sales, and other taxes that put the heaviest burden on working families and the poor.


And COVID19 made it all worse for everyone but the wealthiest. Working-class and poor, Black and brown people, people with disabilities and immigrants bore the brunt of the sickness and job loss: Over 1.4 million New Yorkers were left to face eviction, 60% of New Yorkers lost income, 1.2 million New Yorkers became uninsured, and 25% of NYC residents faced food insecurity.


While most New Yorkers were enduring this pain, New York's wealthiest have grown richer. New York’s billionaires grew $87.7 billion richer during the pandemic — to a total net worth well over $600 billion.


Governor Cuomo cut taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers, corporations, banks, multi-millionaires’ estates, yachts and private jets over the past decade. But in 2021, we fought back! New York State’s legislature started to reverse the decades of austerity by stopping budget cuts and protecting the future of New York by partially ending tax breaks for the wealthiest New Yorkers and investing in our New York.


After a year of COVID-era campaigning by hundreds of allied organizations, New York state lawmakers enacted a budget with $4.3 billion in new, progressive, annual revenue that taxes the rich and big corporations to invest in communities. These funds will pay for a long-sought multi-year commitment to provide court-ordered funding for Black and Brown public school students; billions in new investments for health care and rental assistance for low income New Yorkers; and a first-in-the-nation two-billion-dollar excluded workers fund to provide equitable pandemic relief to excluded workers left out of federal COVID aid programs due to immigration status.


But this is only just the beginning. After decades of austerity, we're working at the state and federal levels to win economic, social and racial justice in tax policies and public budgets. We’re working on a fuller report on the New York effort and the lessons learned, and we’re bringing this experience to other regions across the country as state lawmakers finalize budgets due this summer. Our New York wins are a powerful example of what our communities can and will accomplish with your support.


Empire State Indivisible was proud to be a part of the work that built a strong, effective campaign that brought together over 200 organizations — including the NY Working Families Party, NYC DSA, Strong Economy for All, the Housing Justice 4 All Coalition, Make The Road New York, New York Communities for Change, VOCAL New York, Alliance for Quality Education, and Citizen Action — to fight for an equitable state budget that would meet the needs of all New Yorkers, especially communities of color that suffered decades of disinvestment and a disproportionate impact from the COVID crisis.


And we are proud to support this important work going into the 2022 budget cycle.


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