State Senator Robert Jackson & Assemblymember Demond Meeks Join Grassroots Organizations in Launching the Invest In Our New York Act

Last week, State Senator Robert Jackson & Assemblymember Demond Meeks joined other statewide elected officials; grassroots organizations advocate to launch the Invest In Our New York Act in New York City, Long Island, Albany, and Rochester. A legislative package of 6 state bills to recover from the economic crisis, close budget deficit & rebuild New York by raising at least $50 billion. This historic state legislative package will rebuild New York’s economy and end tax breaks for the wealthiest New Yorkers. If passed, the Invest In Our New York Act would represent the single largest measure taken to close New York’s inequality gap in decades, marking a massive reversal from years of austerity budgets. 

The campaign is led by Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action, Empire State Indivisible, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, New York Working Families Party, NYC-DSA, Strong Economy for All, VOCAL-NY, New York Communities for Change, and Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance/Housing Justice for All. This historic coalition is prioritizing revenue-raising as the single top priority for the 2021 legislative session through a statewide campaign including town halls, lobby days, phone banking, canvassing and more. 

Senator Jackson and Assemblymember Meeks are sponsoring the Personal Income Tax legislation that creates a tax system where New Yorkers pay a significantly higher rate if they earn significantly more money. It will raise $12–18 billion and put New York on solid progressive footing among states with progressive income taxes, righting the regressive tax pyramid the state currently has. 

“I’m ready to raise revenue so that NYS can provide for all those who are struggling during the current crisis. As New York faces an unprecedented budget deficit of $60 billion over the next four years, we need to turn away from the failed austerity lens that plagues our failing economy. Instead, we need to seek budget justice as the only solution to save our state,” said State Senator Robert Jackson, lead sponsor of the Progressive Income Tax.

“IMAGINE the opportunity to provide the youth of Rochester with a quality education taught by teachers who are not anticipating the next round of layoffs and budget cuts but are able to provide each student with a textbook they can take home,” said Assemblymember Demond Meeks, the lead sponsor of the Progressive Income Tax in the State Assembly. “The opportunity to gain access to resources that will help curb the issues of food insecurity and eliminate food deserts in our city. The opportunity for the city to be able to provide affordable housing in Rochester’s ongoing battle of homelessness and housing insecurity. As we know, these systems work in tandem. When one system begins to affect a life, it is usually accompanied by a ripple effect in the other systems. This leads to financial devastation and hardship, which falls on the backs of Black, Brown, and other marginalized communities. This systemic ripple effect often goes unaddressed, furthering harm and inequity. The Progressive Income Tax Bill has the potential to be a catalyst for real systemic change. Creating a better Rochester and a better New York for all.”

“Budgets are about choices and Governor Cuomo continues to protect billionaires over children. We must raise taxes on the ultra-rich so we can ensure all children have access to high quality public schools in their neighborhood.If we have learned anything during this pandemic it's that, systemic inequity and racism plagues education in New York. It's time to stop balancing the state's budget on the backs of Black, Brown and low-income children. Let's tax the ultra-rich and finally fully fund our schools,” said Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director, Alliance for Quality Education. 

“This pandemic has seen millions of New Yorkers lose their jobs, struggle to pay rent, and go hungry. Instead of responding with relief, the Governor has threatened cuts to schools, hospitals, and housing while New York’s billionaires have seen their net worth increase by $77 billion to more than $600 billion. In this new year, we can reverse not only the failed policies of 2020, but the past decade of Governor Cuomo’s giveaways to the rich,” said New York Working Families Party State Director Sochie Nnaemeka. “We know our economy will only recover when we invest in the people who actually drive our economy and make New York State the New York we love. To recover from this crisis, we must rebuild our schools and subways, support struggling small businesses, and protect immigrants, renters, and students. Let’s end tax breaks for the richest New Yorkers and raise $50 billion to Invest in Our New York. The Working Families Party is all in.” 

“I’m excited to join this historic state-wide campaign to rebuild our economy and end tax breaks for the wealthiest New Yorkers. Countless New Yorkers not only need help to survive this crisis – they’re also ready to fight for a vision that allows us to thrive,” said Invest In Our New York Campaign Manager Rebecca Bailin.