Assemblymember Taylor: In the Face of Rising Inequality, We Must Recommit to the War on Poverty

On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty during his first State of the Union address, highlighting a national crisis and human rights issue that affected millions of Americans. A host of transformative programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and the Food Stamp Program, sprang from this bold declaration. However, despite the success of these programs, the cycle of poverty and rampant income inequality continues to burden countless families across the nation.

In New York alone, nearly three million people live in poverty, including over 900,000 children.[1] This is simply an unacceptable tragedy. Now more than ever, we are dedicated to increasing opportunity and empowering individuals and communities to lift themselves up and ensure that no one is left behind. Therefore, the Assembly Majority has continued its bold Families First Agenda, which includes increasing funding for our schools, access to affordable health care and housing, and ensuring a living wage for all New Yorkers. We are also working to overhaul our state’s cash bail system because locking people up based on their inability to pay undermines the very principles of our criminal justice system.

Our progressive policies, like those championed by President Johnson 55 years ago, are grounded in the idea that we cannot simply treat the symptoms of poverty, we must do everything we can to prevent it. I am working each and every day to ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunities they need to thrive and live secure and dignified lives.