Michaelangelo Pomarico
(845) 728 4005

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 — While New Yorkers secured important victories and stopped some of Governor Hochul’s most dangerous proposals, the State Fiscal Year 2023-24 Enacted Budget demonstrates exactly why we must continue to grow our movement, building power in Albany and in our communities to put the working class in control. Corporate interests and billionaires fought tooth and nail to dominate New York State’s budget. We must organize to fight back for a truly “more affordable, more livable, and safer” New York.  

Like Cuomo before her, Kathy Hochul has found power in advancing a right-wing agenda despite the state legislature having a Democratic majority. It’s why she fought at the last minute to ram through a destructive right-wing agenda to roll back bail reform locking up more Black and brown New Yorkers without trial, funnel more public money to privately-run charter schools, and hike MTA fares and tuition for CUNY and SUNY students. In one of the wealthiest states in the country, there is no excuse for a budget that wages war on the working class — and it shows who our leaders really serve. 

For months Mid-Hudson Valley DSA, DSA chapters across the state, and working-class New Yorkers have been tirelessly fighting for a vision to #TaxTheRich and fund the public goods our State needs. We went up against the wealthiest and most entrenched powers in the heart of global capital and we were able to hit back hard. Our movement built enormous pressure to block some of Kathy Hochul’s most harmful proposals. With this power, we won the Build Public Renewables Act and increased funding for MTA service and a free bus line in every borough — important steps towards equitable transit and an energy system that serves New Yorkers, not shareholders. While Hochul tried her hardest to cut the BPRA’s powerful union labor protections, ecosocialists and labor stood their ground, fought back, and won back the key provisions that will guarantee we decarbonize New York with strong union labor. 

Last year Mid-Hudson Valley DSA led a winning, historic socialist campaign to send Sarahana Shrestha to the State Assembly. Sarahana and many of our members got their start in DSA fighting for public power and to pass the Build Public Renewables Act. Climate crisis and the energy affordability crisis were at the heart of our race last year. Here in the Hudson Valley, DSA has built tremendous power and organized the working class to make history. When people said a climate organizer who had never held public office couldn’t beat a 27 year incumbent, we proved them wrong. When corporations and the fossil fuel industry fought against building public renewables, we built a statewide movement and passed legislation that will shape history. 

Despite these important silver linings, this budget is a dismal failure for working-class New Yorkers. New York’s billionaires and corporate lobbyists saw the threat our movement poses to their control of our state’s future. They know our undemocratic budget process is rigged in favor of a Governor who is far out of touch with the vast majority of New Yorker’s needs. That’s why billionaires like Mike Bloomberg swooped in, dropping tens of millions of dollars in lobbying and advertising efforts to maintain their influence in Albany along with their ultimate asset: Kathy Hochul. 

We should have had a budget that met working-class needs and made our state stronger. Instead, Kathy Hochul refused to pass any of the #TaxTheRich revenue bills that could have raised tens of billions of dollars to fund life-changing investments because it would mean marginally raising taxes on her billionaire donors. Despite her talk of New York’s housing crisis, Governor Hochul fought against renters’ housing security by blocking Good Cause Eviction protections, the Housing Access Voucher Program, and the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. Despite her talk of New York’s affordability crisis, Governor Hochul fought against a $21.25 minimum wage, instead ensuring that NYers continue to struggle with poverty wages. Based on this budget, our region will not hit $17 an hour until 2028. While publicly positioning herself as a champion for child care, Governor Hochul actively negotiated against child care investments behind closed doors. Despite her rhetoric about working-class families, Governor Hochul rejected the policies that would most support them.

Throughout this fight, 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, living wages, and a state where everyone has the resources they need to reach their full potential. The struggle is not over. We will keep fighting for the vital bills we already brought to the brink of passing in sessions where our right-wing corporate Governor has much less power to block New Yorkers’ demands. And we will keep organizing outside of Albany to build working-class power and create the future we deserve. We won’t settle for anything less. 

About Mid-Hudson Valley DSA

Mid-Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists is a local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America—the largest socialist organization in the United States with over 85,000 members. Mid-Hudson Valley DSA is run by its 350+ members and activists who are working together to build a democratic socialist organization in Orange, Dutchess, and Ulster County.