Ecosocialist Green New Deal
Universal Public Health Care
Quality Public Education for All
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Justice
Economic Democracy and Ecological Socialism
Public Energy System
Social Wealth Fund
End Public Corruption
Public Campaign Finance
End the War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration
Criminal Justice Reform
Civil Rights and Racial Justice
Gun Rights and Public Safety
We are fighting for an open multi-party democracy in New York State.
The new ballot access law adopted in 2020 aimed at excluding minor parties, plus the long-standing exclusionary nature of single-member-district, winner-take-all elections, makes a mockery of New York State’s pretenses to being a democracy.
Most legislative districts are one-party districts created by partisan gerrymandering. Everyone knows which party’s candidate will win. Why bother voting when the result of foreordained? What a farce of democracy!
We face a democracy crisis in out nation. Republicans in some 20 states are passing state laws to restrict voter access to the ballot and take control of election administration in order to steal elections. Meanwhile, the Democrats have failed to lift the U.S. Senate filibuster in order to pass federal voting rights and election protection legislation that would pre-empt these anti-democratic state laws.
In adddition, the Democrats are engaged in their own form of voter suppression. They are passing more onerous ballot access laws in the states in order to keep the Green Party off the ballot, the worst being the new New York ballot access requirements passed in 2020.
The Green Party brings out voters who do not believe Democrats or Republicans represent them. Exit polls in 2016 showed that 61% of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s voters would not have voted if she was not on the ballot.
Party suppression is a form of voter suppression. It is what authoritarian governments do. It is what the Democrats have done in New York State.
We are campaigning for the following reforms of elections to create an open, multi-party democracy in New York State:
Restore Fair Ballot Access: Return to the ballot access standard for statewide candidates that was in effect before 2020:
- Change the signatures required from 45,000 back to 15,000.
- Change the signatures required in half of the congressional districts from 500 back to 100.
- Change votes from required from 130,000 or 2%, whichever is greater, back to 50,000.
- Change the frequency with which the ballot access requirements must be met from every 2 years for president and governor back to every 4 years for governor.
Instant Runoff Voting for Executive Offices: Elect statewide offices (Governor/Lt. Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General, U.S. Senator, President) by ranked choice voting. Voters rank candidate in order of preference: 1, 2, 3, etc. If nobody wins over 50% in the first count, the last place candidate is eliminated and that candidate's first choice ballots are distributed to their second choice. This instant runoff process continues until a candidate receives over a majority of votes. Under winner take all elections, voters have the incentive to vote for a lesser evil rather than their most favored candidate because they are afraid it would help the candidate the like the least. Instant runoff voting enables voters to vote for their first choice without fear of helping the candidate they most oppose.
Proportional Representation in the State Legislature: Create proportional representation in the state legislature through ranked choice voting from multi-member districts: 15 10-member Assembly districts and 7 9-member Senate districts.
Proportional representation will replace the two-party system of corporate rule with multi-party democracy. The single-member-district, winner-take-all system that creates one-party districts and a two-party legislature. Proportional representation for the state Assembly and Senate will give every party legislative representation in proportion to the vote it receives.
The current single-member-district, winner-take-all election system elects the candidate with the plurality vote and gives minority voters no representation at all. Proportional representation from multi-member districts elects each party's candidates for the legislative chambers in proportion to the votes that each party's candidates receive. Because the districts are multi-member and the results proportional, partisan gerrymandering is eliminated.
Public Campaign Financing: Full public campaign financing with equal and adequate public grants and no private money, not partial public campaign finance through matching funds added on top of the old private campaign finance system.
Free Public TV Time for Candidates: Direct statements from candidates, as well as candidate forums, debates, and other interactive programming, for all ballot-qualified statewide, state legislative, and congressional candidates who opt into public campaign financing on a New York State C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) and on Public, Educational, and Governmental Access (PEG) channels included as part of local cable franchise agreements.
Ballot Reform: One page for each office or ballot proposition. Random ordering of candidates on each page. Aggregated Fusion: One ballot line for each candidate with all party endorsements on that line.
Voter Guide: A voter guide mailed to all registered voters, including sample ballots and statements from each political party and each candidate.
Eliminate “Opportunity To Ballot” Primaries: The state election law provides for Opportunity To Ballot petitions to create write-in primaries where a candidate from another party can steal a ballot position from a party that chooses not to run a candidate in a particular race. This provision in the state election law is an infringement on a party's right to internal democracy and independence from other parties. The Opportunity To Ballot provisions of the election law should be eliminated.
Same-Day Registration: Allow eligible voters to register to vote and cast their ballots on the same day.
Election Day Holidays: Make election days state holidays to enable more people to vote.
No-Excuse Absentee Voting: Allow early mail-in balloting for a designated period before election days to enable more people to vote.
No to Mandatory Open Primaries: Parties have the option of having open primaries in New York. Open primaries should be optional, not mandatory, for parties. Parties should retain the right to have only their own members vote on their nominations.
No to Top-Two, Top-Four, or Top-Five Primaries: Reject elite initiatives to change to open all-parties primary system in which only the top two, four, or five finishers stay on the ballot for the general election, even if they are from the same party. The top-two primary is an anti-democratic system that is designed to render parties irrelevant in the nomination process and eliminate candidates outside the bipartisan consensus of the two-party-system of corporate rule in general elections.
ECOSOCIALIST GREEN NEW DEAL
The theme of an Ecosocialist Green New Deal summarizes our approach to achieving social, racial, economic, and environmental justice.
The Green Party’s Green New Deal, which has been its signature program for over a decade, is an ecosocialist program for meeting everyone’s basic needs (An Economic Bill of Rights) within ecological limits (A Rapid Transition to 100% Clean Energy and Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions).
The public sector must be the central driver of solutions to the twin crises of climate and economic insecurity. To address the World War II emergency, the federal government took control of a quarter of US manufacturing capacity in order to turn industry on a dime into what FDR called the Arsenal of Democracy to arm the Allies to defeat the fascist powers. We need to to do nothing less through the public sector to defeat climate change and end poverty.
Some progressive Democrats have taken up the Green New Deal slogan, but they have watered it down into a corporate welfare program of tax breaks, loan guarantees, and subsidy grants to incentivize corporations to build clean energy systems and expand the economy to benefit poor and working people. The problem with this approach is that it still leaves decision-making power in the hands of the big corporations that created the climate and inequality crises. It hopes that separate self-interested decisions of hundreds of corporations will result in a coordinated transition to clean energy and a trickling-down of economic benefits to working people and disadvantaged communities. We believe history shows that this kind economic transformation and fairer distribution of economic benefits will not happen of profit-oriented corporations remain in charge.
Our ecosocialist approach emphasized public ownership and democratic planning to make sure the transition to clean energy is coordinated and the benefits of this economic activity are equitably shared. We need this public planning in order to make the rapid transformation to clean energy that the climate crisis demands in a way that reduces the extreme economic inequality in our society. It is time for government to do much more direct employment of people to provide the goods and services we need through public enterprises.
New York alone cannot plan the global transition that we need. But with an economy that would rank it among the largest of the world’s nations ahead of 11th place Russia, New York can set an example for the nation and the world to follow.
To put our approach in more specific policy terms, we will:
Revitalize the Public Sector: Fully fund public services and invest more in infrastructure, including clean energy, mass transit, public housing, broadband, education, health care, and environmental protection. Public utilities and services are the public avenues for private commerce. Revitalizing the public sector will do much more for the economy and the business climate across the board than tax breaks and subsidies for special interests. Public provision of infrastructure and services that operate at cost and not for profit will lower the costs of living and doing business in New York.
End Supply-Side, Trickle-Down Economic Policies: The state already engages in economic planning through its many economic development programs. This planning has focused on a supply-side, trickle-down policy of subsidies, grants, and tax breaks for the rich and corporations. But the benefits have not trickled down to working people or depressed cities, towns, and neighborhoods. This policy has fed a pay-to-play culture of corruption where economic favors flow to big campaign contributors. When it is not an illegal quid-pro-quo bribe, it is still legalized bribery.
Enact Demand-Side, Bottom-up Economic Plans: Enact demand-side, bottom-up economic planning to raise income and living standards for working people and economically-depressed communities. This policy will increase effective demand and stimulate business expansion and jobs to meet the demand.
100% Clean Energy and Zero Emissions in 10 Years
Plan the Rapid Transition to Clean Energy and Zero Emissions: We support a stronger climate program than the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) adopted in 2019 provides. We support a program like that proposed in 2019 in the New York Off Fossil Fuels Act (NY OFF Act, A.5105/S. 5908), which to required New York State to plan and implement a program for 100% clean energy and zero emissions within a decade. Compared to the CLCPA, NY OFF provided for faster timelines to clean energy and emissions reduction goals; a clear definition of clean energy (no fracked-gas power plants, biofuels, garbage incinerators, or nuclear power); more democratic, accountable, and coordinated community and state planning of the energy transformation; and a Just Transition program to guarantee comparable jobs and wages to workers displaced, and reimbursement to local governments for revenues lost, by the closure of fossil fuel and nuclear power plants.
Municipal Public Power: Promote the expansion of publicly-owned power utilities.
Community Choice Aggregation: Promote municipal energy buying from clean energy sources.
Public Renewable Energy: Remove statutory limits that prohibit the NY Power Authority from building and owning renewable power generators, offering the full array of energy-related services, and expanding its customer base beyond the current statutory limits.
Public Energy System: Restructure the NY Power Authority as a democratic federation of local/regional public power utilities, with exclusive responsibility for the production and distribution of electricity and the procurement and distribution of fossil fuels (gasoline, diesel, natural gas, coal) with the earnings from fossil fuel sales reinvested in clean energy. For model legislation, see
Carbon Tax Act: We support the Carbon Tax Act (A77/S3336) that provides for a tax of $35/ton of carbon emissions that increases annually by $15 for 10 years up to $185. 60% of the revenues are rebated to low- and moderate income people and 40% devoted to clean energy investments. Because upper income people tend to have a higher carbon footprint, the carbon tax will encourage less fossil fuel usage by the affluent while the rebate program for low- and moderate-income people will have a progressive impact on income distribution.
We support the Carbon Tax Act over the weaker carbon tax provided for in the proposed Climate and Community Investment Act (A6967/S4264), which proposes a lower and slower rising carbon tax of $55 to about $66 over 10 years, which means far lower revenues and weaker economic incentives for converting to clean energy and a smaller rebate to low- and moderate-income people making it less progressive in its impact on income.
No Gasoline Tax Suspension: We favor a carbon tax over suspension of the gas tax. The gas tax suspension in regressive in its impact on income distribution because people who don’t have cars, who tend to be lower income, get no relief and because the gas tax suspension encourages more gasoline consumption, the wrong incentive when we must fight greenhouse gas emissions. A carbon tax provides more cost relief from rising fuel costs to the people who need it most.
Build Out a 100% Clean Renewable Energy System
Clean Energy Production from distributed solar, wind, wave, tidal, hydro, and geothermal energy production, where every home, office, and factory is retrofitted to be a solar power producer.
Energy Storage from electrolytic “green” hydrogen, battery, potential, and thermal energy.
Electrified Transportation through electrified vehicles on rails and roads. Require all new vehicles in the state to be zero emission by 2025.
Clean Heating and Cooling by electric-powered air- and ground-source heat pumps, heat exchangers, and backup electric resistance heaters.
Clean Cooking efficiently and electrically provided by convection ovens and induction stoves.
Smart Grid: An interactive smart grid to match energy supply and demand and sales and purchases of distributed energy producers and consumers.
Net Metering: Restore net metering for community solar projects.
Offshore Wind: Enact a state power purchase agreement for 5,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2025 and 10,000 megawatts by 2030.
Require all new buildings to have zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Retrofit all existing buildings for zero greenhouse gas emissions, with the NY Power Authority and Public Bank financing of solar power, ground-source (geothermal) and air-source heat pumps for heating and cooling, and other renewable energy systems for existing buildings, with no upfront costs to building owners and costs recovered over time though savings from lower electric costs compared to fossil fuel costs.
We support these bills as steps toward a 100% electrification of building heating, cooling, and cooking in place of gas and oil:
- All-Electric Building Act (S6843B/A8341)
- Improved Building, Appliance, & Equipment Standards Act (S7176/A8143)
- Gas Transition & Affordable Energy Act (S8198/A9329)
- Energy Efficiency Equity & Jobs Act (S3126B/A3996B)
Financial Incentives: Enact financial incentives for farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester atmospheric carbon in the land by regenerating soil ecosystems.
Food Recovery and Recycling Act: Enact this bill to provide surplus food to hungry people, convert organic waste into compost, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by diverting organic material from landfills.
No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
- Ban Fracking Waste Imports
- No New Gas Pipelines
- No New Gas Power Plants
- No Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Export Facilities
- No Bomb Trains: No railway tank cars, tank trucks, or liquid cargo barges carrying Bakken fracked shale oil or Alberta tar sands bitumen through New York State.
Stop the $8 Billion Nuclear Bailout: We can replace these three economically failing upstate nukes' power production with energy efficiency and clean energy, while providing worker retraining and wage support and property tax replacement for municipalities at lower cost than subsidizing their continued operation. Stop throwing good money after bad.
A Safe and Just Shut Down of All New York Nuclear Power Plants
Just Transition for Nuclear Workers: All of the current workers should be retained by the company owning the nuke. These workers are familiar with the plant and it's processes and should be the ones in charge of the 15 year process to safely close the plants. Any workers that have not reached retirement age by the end of that process should have their income and benefits maintained for up to five years while they transition to other jobs.
Just Transition for Nuclear Communities: The local and county governments and school districts should receive state aid to cover the loss of property taxes and receive Federal 'host community' payments for storing the onsite nuclear waste material since there is no national repository for nuclear waste.
Plant Owners Responsible for Decommissioning: Nuclear plant owners should not be allowed to sell a plant to another company for decommissioning. They should be held responsible for decommissioning safely.
A Superfund for Workers: Establish a state superfund for workers who lose jobs due to the transition to clean energy so they receive full income and benefits as they make the transition to alternative work.
A Superfund for Communities: The superfund should also assist local governments that lose tax revenues from the closure of power plants in the transition to clean energy with superfund payments cover the loss.
UNIVERSAL PUBLIC HEALTH CARE
New York Health Act
Enact to provide all medically necessary services to all New Yorkers at lower cost through a single public payer.
The Green Party of NY is a member of the Campaign For NY Health Coalition, which is organizing grassroots and legislative support for the NY Health Act. From their website:
The New York Health Act will provide comprehensive, universal health coverage for every New Yorker and would replace private insurance coverage. You and your health care providers work to keep you healthy. New York Health pays the bill.
How New Yorkers will benefit:
- Comprehensive coverage. All residents, regardless of immigration status, will be covered for: primary, preventive, and specialty care; hospitalization; mental health; substance abuse treatment; reproductive health; dental, vision, and hearing; and prescription drugs and medical supplies. Within two years of passage, long-term care will be covered. It will be more comprehensive than commercial health plans.
- Freedom to choose. No network restrictions. Patients will choose the nurses and doctors they want and make healthcare decisions with them, not with insurance companies.
- Fair funding. No more premiums, deductibles, or co-pays. Universal coverage funded through a graduated tax on income, based on ability to pay. Healthcare costs will be cheaper for 98% of New Yorkers. Most business healthcare costs will also be reduced. Public hospitals and clinics in New York will receive fair payment for the patients they serve.
- Equality of Care. It is well documented that there are different standards of care based on whether you are uninsured, have Medicaid, or private insurance. With the New York Health Act, everyone will be treated equally and covered for the same high quality care.
- Decreased administrative costs. No more paying insurance companies’ administrative costs and profits. No more time spent by doctors, hospitals, employers, and patients completing forms and negotiating with insurance companies. The total savings is estimated to be $45 billion. Healthcare will be accountable to the public’s health, not to insurance company stockholders.
- Reduced cost of drugs and devices. Direct negotiation with pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers will bring prices down by as much as 40%.
Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act: Enact to set safe nurse-to-patient ratios in New York healthcare facilities.
Defend Public Hospitals: Protect public hospitals from closures and privatizations.
Community-Controlled State Health Service: Expand the state health insurance program – New York Health – into a Community-Controlled State Health Service where all hospitals and clinics are publicly-owned and democratically-controlled. For democratic control and cost control, we should go beyond socialized health insurance to a fully socialized health care system
For more information on the health service concept, see:
"Medicare for All as a Community-Controlled Health Service" by Margaret Flowers and Howie Hawkins, July 2019.
"Medicare for All Is Not Enough: Communities, not corporations, should own our most vital health care assets," by David U. Himmelstein, Steffie Woolhandler, Adam Gaffney, Don McCanne and John Geyman, The Nation, March 31, 2022.
QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR ALL
Gifted-Quality and Vocational Education for All: Provide access to gifted-quality and vocational curricula without tracking for all students in all public schools.
Full Funding: Fully fund public schools with an equitable state aid formula.
Reduce Class Sizes and case loads in public schools.
Desegregate Public Schools: Take affirmative action to desegregate public schools by race and class, the only policy that has worked to radically close achievement gaps and improve the education of all students.
Controlled Choice Among Public Schools: Controlled choice replaces student assignment based solely on the attendance zones with families ranking their choices of schools from across the district. Students are then assigned to schools based on their preferences and a formula that ensures a relatively even distribution of students by socioeconomic status across all schools.
Consolidate Segregated School Districts: State legal support and funding incentives for creating metro school districts with desegregation plans.
End High-Stakes Testing:
- Opt Out of high-stakes testing that dumbs down the curriculum to teaching to the test and punishes students, teachers, and schools in high-poverty school districts simply for being poor.
- Opt Out of the use of high-stakes testing to rationalize the privatization of high-poverty public schools into privately-managed charter schools.
- Opt Out of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) that relies on high-stakes testing to evaluate teachers and principals.
- Opt In to standards, curricula, and diagnostic tests written by professional teachers in the schools, not by outside corporate contractors.
- Opt In to teacher and school evaluations based on collaboration.
Stop Charter School Privatization:
- Stop the Expansion of Charter Schools and the Privatization of Education: Privately-managed charter school chains drain resources from public schools. These nominally "non-profit" schools are profit centers for for-profit management, school supply, and real estate contractors and Wall Street hedge fund investors. Charter schools have increased race and class segregation. They often cherry-pick "profitable" students who do well on standardized tests and expel students who need more help back to the real public schools.
- Local Control of Charter School Authorization: Amend the state law on charter schools so that only local school boards, not the State Board of Regents and the SUNY Board of Trustees, have the sole power to approve new or renewed authorizations for charter schools in their school districts.
- Don't Raise the Cap on Charter Schools: Reject proposals to raise the cap on the number of charter schools in the state.
- Repeal the New Markets Tax Credit: The New Markets Tax Credit gives hedge funds a 39% tax credit on charter school investments plus interest payments on the money they invest, enabling them to double their money in 7 years. New York State should demand that the federal government repeal this tax giveaway to charter schools and fund public schools instead.
Universal Pre-K and Kindergarten: Fully-funded, full-day, and developmentally-appropriate Pre-K and Kindergarten with certified and unionized educators available to all children.
Increase Staffing in the State Education Department: The gross understaffing of the Education Department creates bureaucratic delays and undue burdens on local school districts for everything from school repairs and upgrades in classroom technology to student testing and teacher job evaluations.
Tuition-Free Public University and Technical Education:
- Make CUNY, SUNY, and Community Colleges tuition-free and accessible for all who want to attend as far as their needs, interests, and abilities take them.
- The Excelsior Scholarship is not enough. It is a selective scholarship program that poorer students cannot afford to use, not a program for free universal access.
- Provide a minimum livable income for post-secondary education for up to four years.
Guaranteed Minimum Income: Establish a guaranteed minimum income above poverty built into the progressive state income tax, with tax credit payments to those below the minimum paid monthly.
Raise the Minimum Wage – $20 by 2025 and $30 by 2030 – Indexed to Inflation and Productivity: Accelerate and increase the scheduled rise in the minimum wage so that by 2030 it reaches the equivalent of $30 an hour in today's dollars with adjustments to increases in productivity through 2030. It should reach $20 an hour by 2025. If the inflation-adjusted minimum wage of 50 years ago in 1968 had kept pace with the 249% increase in productivity (real output per hour of work), the minimum wage would be $29.43 today. Meanwhile, the share of all income going to the top 1% from 1980 to 2014 increased from 12% to 30% in New York State and from 12% to 39% in New York City. All workers should be paid living wages.
Raise Welfare and Disability Grants: Immediately raise welfare and disability benefits above the poverty line.
Raise the State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 30% of the federal EITC to 40%.
Public Jobs for the Unemployed: Enact a public jobs program paying living wages and benefits in public works and public services to meet community-defined needs – state-funded, locally-planned, and prioritizing disadvantaged communities.
Target economic development resources to developing worker cooperatives in disadvantaged communities. Worker cooperatives raise worker income by distributing value added according to labor contribution, not capital ownership.
Establish a state public bank with local branches to help plan, develop, and finance worker cooperatives.
With a more progressive system of taxation and revenue sharing, the state can fully fund schools and public services, rebuild infrastructure, and cut the state’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes outside of New York City.
Invest In Our New York Act: We support the package of measures proposed for an Invest In Our New York Act that would increase state revenues by $50 billion a year to help pay for a Green New Deal and an Economic Bill of Rights.
The proposed reforms include:
- More Progressive Personal Income Taxes
- A Capital Gains Tax that taxes unearned investment income at the same rate as earned wage income.
- A more Progressive Estate Tax with higher rates on the top 1% of inheritances worth over $250,000.
- A Progressive Wealth Tax on billionaires.
- More Progressive Corporate Income Taxes by capturing the Trump corporate tax cuts on corporate profits for state revenue.
- Financial Transactions Tax on trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives.
Increase State Revenue Sharing with Local Governments: Use state revenue sharing to pay for unfunded state mandates in order to restore the fiscal health of local governments, fully fund public services and schools, and cut regressive sales and property taxes.
Full State Funding of Medicaid: Take this unfunded state mandate off the local property and sales tax.
Eliminate the State Cap on Local Property Taxes: Let local governments set their own priorities among schools, services, and relief from regressive local sales and property taxes.
More Progressive State Income Taxes: Restore the more progressive personal and business income tax structure of the 1970s.
Cut Income Taxes for Working People: Cut the lowest bracket from 4% to 2% of income, as it was in the 1970s. Adjust the brackets for middle income earners to ease the tax burden on earned income from work.
Multi-Millionaires Tax: Update the income tax brackets to reflect today’s income distribution in the millionaire class so that the income tax is progressively graduated as income goes from a few million to tens of millions.
Stock Transfer Tax: Stop rebating the Stock Transfer Tax to Wall Street traders.
Cut Corporate Welfare
Unincorporated Business Tax: Enact a state surtax on high-dollar pass-through income from LLCs and other business vehicles in order to recapture some of the 20 percent deduction granted by new federal tax cuts to pass-through business income.
Claw-Back Tax on Unproductive Federal Corporate Tax Cuts: Enact a “claw-back tax” on publicly traded companies that receive tax breaks under the new federal tax law but do not create jobs or raise pay of workers. Exempt small businesses and start-ups.
Close the Carried Interest Loophole: Tax income earned by hedge fund managers, private equity investors, venture capitalists and certain real estate investors – known as carried interest – as ordinary income, instead of at a lower rate as capital gains.
Circuit Breakers on Property Taxes and Rents: Refundable tax credits paid by the state to prevent low-income households from being overloaded with property tax or rent burdens.
Phase Out the Condo Tax Break: Condos are currently assessed at their rental value, while other homes and commercial properties are assessed at their resale value, resulting in an average 36% tax break for condos that shifts the property tax burden unfairly onto other property taxpayers. This condo tax break distorts the property tax, which is intended to fund local governments based on the value of property as a fair, proportional measure of each citizen’s ability to contribute. This tax break for condos, including single-family homes in condo associations, is inequitable and should be phased out.
Home Rule on Local Income Taxes: Give local governments the right to enact local income taxes – as New York City and Yonkers have been permitted to do – in order to diversity their funding sources and make the overall tax burden progressive.
Progressive Carbon Tax: Enact a progressive state carbon tax with rebates to low- and moderate-income households. The carbon tax will make polluters pay for their damages and make private investments in clean energy pay off.
Land Value Taxation (LVT): Enact state LVT, which taxes rental value of land and levies no tax on improvements on the land like buildings. The revenues from a state LVT should be largely returned to local governments by an equitable formula, with a portion retained by the state for public investments and programs that benefit all communities. LVT is a fairer property tax because it returns to the public treasury the windfall of unearned value added to the price and rental value of a piece of land by social investments and improvements (such as transportation, water, and sewage infrastructure; nearby businesses, housing, schools, parks, and community gardens; and land-use planning decisions). These improvements are paid for by others – public and private investors – not the landowner. LVT make land speculation, where landowners leave land unimproved and bet on its increased future value, unprofitable. LVT thereby encourages compact urban development and discourages sprawl. State LVT should include a refundable tax credit "circuit breaker" to limit the tax burden on low-income, owner-occupied homes and farms.
The land value of New York City is now bigger that New York State's GDP, which would rank the state 11th among the world's nations. The big increases in land values in New York City have resulted in huge increases in unearned income for the top 1%. Their incomes have exploded as the increased rental value of land has been collateralized into bank loans and flowed through the financial, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector as rent, interest, and capital gains to the top 1%. The share of all income going to the top 1% grew from 12% in 1980 in both New York State and New York City to 30% in the state and 41% in the city by 2014. LVT returns this unearned income to the community for its public use.
Public and Social Housing
- Expand Public and Social Housing: Expand high-quality, mixed-income, affordable housing through a state Social Housing Authority to increase the supply of affordable housing and end the housing affordability crisis facing over half of all renters in New York State.
- Repair and Upgrade Existing Public Housing
- Fund Public Housing Authorities: Increase state funding for underfunded municipal public housing authorities.
- End 421a Subsidies to private developers of affordable units because they are a far more costly way to build affordable housing than direct public housing.
- Home Rule on Rent Regulation: Repeal the Urstadt Law. New York City and other local governments should not have to get state approval for rent regulations in their local jurisdictions.
- Statewide Rent Regulation Authority: Expand rent regulation authorization to all local government jurisdictions for buildings with six or more units statewide.
- Cap Rents at 30% of Income: Enact a state income tax credit for renters that caps rent at 30% of income.
- Good Cause Eviction Law: Enact legislation to protect tenants from evictions without justifiable cause.
- Public Housing Democracy: Election of municipal housing authority boards by tenants and staff.
- Legal Representation: A statewide right of tenants to have publicly-provided counsel in housing courts.
- Enforce Tenants Rights and Housing Codes: Increased funding to the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal to support the enforcement of tenants rights and housing codes.
- Outlaw Tenant Blacklists that discourage tenants from exercising their rights.
- Lead-Safe Housing: Require landlords to remove lead and receive lead-safe certification for a unit before renting.
Protect Owner-Occupied Homes
- Cap Property Taxes at 10% of Income: Enact state income property tax circuit breaker for homeowners that caps property tax at 10% of income.
- Moratorium on Home Foreclosures: Require banks to refinance mortgages at homes' current market values.
- Regulate Absentee-Owned Properties: Increase registration, inspections, enforcement, and penalties for code and tax delinquency violations by bank- and investor-owned properties.
- Homes: Build enough affordable housing units to meet the need.
- Services: Fund the public services and benefits low-income people need to make ends meet, including welfare benefits, housing vouchers, SNAP, education, jobs, public transportation, child care, health care, mental and behavioral health care, substance abuse treatment, and case management.
- Social Inclusion: Provide homes and services in a way that actively promotes social inclusion and human connections for beneficiaries and counteracts any stigmatization of them as poor, homeless, addicted, or mentally ill, which can lead to another bout of homelessness for isolated people.
- Prevention: Provide public services and benefits to people in need before they are rendered homeless.
Desegregate Housing by Race and Class
- Fair Housing: Strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws.
- Mixed-Income Public and Social Housing: Expand high-quality, mixed-income public and social housing across metropolitan regions to reduce housing segregation.
- End Source of Income Discrimination: Enact a law prohibiting discrimination against renters with any lawful, verifiable source of income, including Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veteran's benefits, Family Assistance, Safety Net Assistance, child support, alimony, unemployment insurance, pensions, and wages.
- Inclusionary Zoning: Prohibit exclusionary zoning ordinances that prevent the development of low- and moderate-income housing in local jurisdictions and mandate inclusionary zoning to require a mix low-income, moderate-income, and market rate units in new or substantially rehabilitated housing developments appropriate to the housing needs of each metropolitan and rural region.
Rebuild and Expand MTA Infrastructure: The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) needs to increase and accelerate in vestments over the next decade in order to repair and upgrade tracks, stations, signals, and cars; expand transit services to underserved areas in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island; and maximize the contribution of mass transit to fighting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Free or Reduced Fares to encourage the use of mass transit.
Electrify Transportation: Build an electrified rail and road transportation system across the state that includes recharging stations for electric vehicles, convenient and affordable intra-urban mass transit, inter-urban rail for intermediate distances, and high-speed rail for long distances.
Fund Public Transportation in New York City and throughout the state with:
- Progressive Carbon Tax that uses part of the revenues to protect low- and middle-income households and part for investments in public transportation and clean energy
- New York City Land Value Tax: Recapture for the city treasury the unearned increase in land values and rents due to social investments in transportation, infrastructure, housing, and business development.
- Tax the Rich: More progressive income, wealth, estate, and financial transactions taxation
- Stock Transfer Tax: Stop rebating 100% of revenues to stock traders.
- Public Bank: Low-cost loans from a state-owned public bank
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND FOOD JUSTICE
Food is a necessity and a fundamental human right. All people have a right to sufficient, safe, and nutritional food. Those who produce it have a right to a fair return for their labor. Food should be produced in an ecologically sustainable manner.
Support Family Farms
- Guarantee a Living Income for Working Famers: Commit to ensuring that every working farmer gets a fair return on the their labor and earns a living income.
- Empower Family Farmers in Marketing and Processing Agricultural Products: Enact reforms to enable farmers to collectively bargain with firms that market and process agricultural product, including reforms of agricultural cooperative laws to enable democratic farmer control of marketing and processing cooperatives.
- Tax Relief for Farmers: Increase state revenue sharing of more progressive personal and business income taxes, with business tax loopholes eliminated, in order to reduce local property and sales taxes, which are regressive taxes that hit farmers especially hard. Property taxes should only pay for local property-related services (local police, fire, garbage, snow plowing). Schools and other public works and services should be paid for mainly by progressively graduated personal and business income taxes.
- Phase Out CAFOs: Corporate factory farming in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFPs) is driving family farms off the land. CAFOs undermine small, diversified, farms where free-range poultry and livestock are part of a sustainable farm ecosystem producing for local consumers. CAFOs are negative for the environment, food safety, public health, the ethical treatment of animals, nearby property values, and rural economic prosperity.
- End Corporate Farming: Prohibit non-farm corporations from owning and controlling farms.
- New Farmer Training: Establish a new farmer training program supported by departments of Labor and Education that compensates existing farmers as mentors and teachers.
- Land and Financing for New Famers: Establish a program to enable new farmers to affordably finance and purchase land and equipment to start new farms, including urban farms.
- Farmland Protection Fund: Increase funding for the New York State Farmland Protection Fund. Fully payback Farmland Protection Funds "swept" into the general fund in previous years. The Farmland Protection Fund pays farmers by purchasing development rights in order to permanently protect their land for agriculture. Farmers reinvest these funds into their farms. The program is needed to protect farmland from development on the edge of urban areas. Urban sprawl is reducing New York farmland at a rate of about 10% per decade.
- Environmental Protection Fund: Increase funding for the Environmental Protection Fund. EPF funds programs like the Farmland Protection Program, Conservation Partnership Program, and the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Program that help farmers protect their land from real estate development and enhance water quality.
Expand and Improve Markets for Farm Products
- Collective Bargaining by Farmers: Support farm associations to bargain collectively with large buyers (public and corporate) for fair contracts for their products.
- State Procurement of Local Farm Products: Require state and state-funded institutions to buy more food grown on New York farms, including schools, hospitals, prisons, senior and child care centers
- Regional Food Processing and Distribution Cooperatives: Increase state financing for regional food processing and distribution facilities owned as cooperatives by farmers.
- Expand Green Manufacturing: Promote green manufacturing that relies on locally produced biodegradable food, fuel, and fiber.
Increase Consumer Access to Healthy Food
- Public School Food Education: Mandate and fund a food, agriculture, and nutrition curriculum for K-12 public school students, including a home economics curriculum that includes the knowledge and skills to purchase and prepare fresh foods and access to some form of agriculture: a school or community garden, or urban or rural farm.
- New York Healthy Food and Health Communities Fund: Increase funding to support the development of healthy food markets and cooperatives in underserved communities.
- Soda Tax: Enact a sugary beverage tax, with revenues used to fund nutrition, food, health and agriculture programs.
- Urban Farms: Establish a program to support the expansion organic food production by urban farms and community gardens.
Transition to Organic Agriculture
- Ban Neonicotinoids: Ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that are contributing to the Colony Collapse Disorder die-off of bees, which are necessary for crop pollination.
- Ban Antibiotics in Animal Feed: Antibiotics should only be used to treat illness and injury. Overuse of antibiotics is creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that endanger human and non-human animal health.
- Organic Agriculture Transition Plan: Develop a plan to encourage and help farmers transition to organic farming, including research, training, subsidies and incentives to support farmers' transition to organic agriculture while natural systems of soil fertility and pest control are being restored. Organic agriculture should be promoted to protect the environment and the health of food producers and consumers, and to fight climate change by sequestering carbon in revitalized soil ecosystems.
- Agriculture School Support: Direct SUNY agricultural schools and Cornell, New York State's Land Grant University, to focus education and research on organic food production by family farms and community gardens.
- State Procurement: Use state purchasing power to provide markets for organic farms.
- Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program: Increase funding to fund and support food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters in New York State.
- Increase SNAP Benefits: Use the USDA's Low-Cost Food Plan, rather than the Thrifty Food Plan, as the basis for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), which will increase their purchasing power by about 30 percent.
- Raise the Maximum SNAP Shelter Deduction: Adjust SNAP benefits to variable regional housing costs.
- Increase Child Nutrition Funding: Increase supplemental funding for the various federal child nutrition programs, including Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and school meals.
- Increase Funding for Meals on Wheels for Senior Citizens
End Child Lead Poisoning
- Lead-Safe Certification: Enact a state law requiring lead-safe certification before units are rented out.
- Improve Lead Abatement Certification: Incorporate federal standards for lead abatement practices and certification into New York state standards.
- School Drinking Water Lead Testing: Test public school water taps for lead annually.
- State Funding for Lead Remediation: State funding to local governments to support lead inspections and abatement.
Increase Funding and Staffing for the Department of Environmental Conservation: DEC is down about 900 positions since Governor Pataki took office and 1000 since its high point. The number of responsibilities (statutory and regulatory) have significantly increased during that period. Restore DEC staffing to at least its high point and perhaps higher in order for it to meet its responsibilities. Stop contracting out DEC operations to private, for-profit firms. Outsourcing reduces accountability and quality, thus raising costs for the state, the environment, and public health.
Citizen Enforcement of Environmental Laws: Enact the Private Environmental Law Enforcement Act to amend the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) so broader categories of citizens and environmental groups are able to bring litigation to enforce environmental regulations.
End Solid Waste Incineration: Garbage incineration is a financial drain as well as a source of dangerous environmental pollution. Rapidly phase out and ban waste incineration.
Protect Wetlands: Enact legislation to provide regulatory protection of all wetlands. Direct DEC staff to update state wetland maps to reflect those wetlands that were not identified when the first state maps were created with old 1980s technology.
A Zero Waste Solid Waste Policy: Enforce existing laws related to solid waste and recycling. Promote reuse and reduction. Oppose incineration and landfills. Require packaging to be reusable if possible, or at least recyclable. Require waste manufacturers to be legally and financially responsible for waste disposal. Adopt Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation (also known as product stewardship) to engage manufacturers and importers in the design of products and packaging to reduce waste and toxicity and remove the burden from government and taxpayers. Provide state technical assistance and financing for the collection and marketing of recyclables, including the construction and operation of Material Recovery Facilities. Promote volume-based fees for garbage collection, with recycling for free. Ban waste haulers and municipalities from sending recyclable materials for disposal and instead require recyclables to be source separated and transported to recycling processing facilities. Establish a secure funding stream to fund sustainable solid waste programs for the long term, create new jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emission reductions. Licensing fees, facility permit fees and surcharges on disposal should all be used to provide dedicated funding. The state should provide technical and financial assistance to enable communities to implement curbside pickup of compostable materials.
Protection from Toxic Chemicals: Almost 80,000 chemicals are sold in the United States. We are exposed to many of them on a daily basis in household cleaning agents, personal care products, cosmetics, pesticides, building materials, and packaging. Most remain unexamined and unregulated. The odds are certain that some of these chemicals are very harmful. Require manufacturers to provide information regarding the chemicals contained in consumer products. Expand research into the impacts of chemicals used in producing goods on the environment and public health. Apply the Precautionary Principle to these chemicals – don't use until proven safe – instead of the current safe until proven otherwise practice. New York State can set an example and begin this research. But the problem is so massive that the federal government must support it. New York State should lobby for comprehensive federal action.
ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY AND ECOLOGICAL SOCIALISM
Public Energy System
Social Wealth Fund
We will never reverse pending planetary environmental collapse as long as we have a capitalist economy where competition for profits drives the blind, relentless growth that is consuming our environment.
We will never reverse extreme and growing economic inequality as long as workers get a fixed wage and capitalists take the rest of the value that labor creates as profit.
We need systemic change toward an ecological democratic socialism that provides everyone a decent standard of living within the boundaries of environmental sustainability.
We need to move to an ecological democratic socialist economy featuring:
- Worker Cooperatives where the wealth we create is distributed equitably according to our labor contribution, not capital ownership.
- Consumer Cooperatives that provide goods and services economically at cost to members, not for cost plus private profits.
- Democratic Public Enterprises for infrastructure, natural monopolies, and large-scale businesses that operate at cost for public benefit instead of maximizing private profits. Such public utilities will lower the costs of living and doing business and provide the public avenues for private commerce.
- Social Wealth Fund: A state-owned Social Wealth Fund to progressively use a portion of tax proceeds and expenditures to buy a portfolio of stocks, bonds, and real estate, progressively socialize productive wealth, and share the returns across the population.
- Planning for Ecological Sustainability: Develop plans to produce enough to provide everyone with a decent standard of living within the boundaries of ecological sustainability, starting with planning a rapid transition to 100% clean energy and regenerative agriculture that sequesters carbon in living soil.
- Database of Deals: Publish annually a list of state subsidies to specific businesses to make state economic planning more transparent.
- Elected Planning Boards: Replace state planning decisions by appointed agency heads with a democratic planning system composed of locally elected planning boards that in turn elect a state planning board.
- Planning and Markets: Planning should focus on the macroeconomic budget, investment, and technology policies for the state's economy, as well as providing public goods and services that ought to be provided free by the public budgets, such as roads, schools, and health care. Markets should determine demand and prices for other goods and services.
- Create a state-owned bank, with local branches, to finance public projects, private businesses, and consumer loans at lower cost than private banks.
- Govern the public banks through publicly-elected economic planning boards.
- Capitalize the public bank with the deposits of state tax revenues, interest on the banks's loans, and deposits by private individuals and businesses as well as private and public pension funds that want to invest in the future of New York.
- Finance infrastructure projects and businesses in partnership with local community banks and credit unions.
- Refinance the mortgages of homes facing foreclosure on the affordable basis of principal aligned with current market value, fixed rates, and long terms.
- Worker Co-ops: Develop worker cooperatives where the net income ("profit") is distributed equitably according to labor contribution, not capital ownership.
- Consumer Co-ops: Develop consumer cooperatives that where the net income is rebated to members in proportion to their purchases through the co-op
- Union Co-ops: Partner with labor unions to develop union co-ops where worker or consumer ownership is combined with collective bargaining to protect workers rights.
- Public Bank Technical Assistance: Establish an entrepreneurial technical assistance department in the public banking system to provide business planning, technical assistance, and mentoring for the development worker and consumer cooperatives.
Public Energy System
- Socialize investor-owned utility companies, large-scale power providers, and fossil fuel distributors under the New York Power Authority, with net metering for home-, farm- and business-based wind and solar power generation.
- The mission of the democratic public energy system will be to convert to a clean renewable energy system for the least cost as rapidly as possible.
- The revenues from fossil fuel power and fuel sales during the transition will be reinvested in renewable energy production, energy efficiency, and a just transition of income and benefit support and retraining for workers displaced by the phase out of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
- Restructure the New York Power Authority (NYPA) as a democratically-managed system of local public power utilities and a statewide fuel company that are federated at the state level for statewide planning.
- Local power utility boards to be elected by the public (2/3) and their workers (1/3).
- The NYPA state board to be elected by the local utility boards.
- Digital Democracy: Establish a public broadband service as a not-for-profit public utility in New York State in order to provide universal access to a high-speed platform at reduced costs with net neutrality
- Universal Access: High-speed Internet service – also known as broadband – is basic infrastructure like electricity, water, and transportation infrastructure that should be publicly owned and democratically managed for universal access and digital democracy.
- Democratic Management: Public Broadband should be structured as a federation of elected local public broadband utility boards that in turn elect the state board.
- Municipal Broadband: The state's Public Broadband utility should provide financing and technical assistance to help local governments build municipally-owned high-speed fiber-optic networks and free public Wi-Fi networks that provide affordable Internet, TV, and phone service for all with Net Neutrality.
- Open Spectrum Commons: New York State should urge the FCC to expand the high-quality open spectrum of public airwaves that are available for unlicensed, public use, which will make affordable public Wi-Fi possible, spurring innovation, unleashing the mobile Web, bridging the digital divide, and providing universal, affordable Internet access for all.
- Net Neutrality: New York State should urge Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to restore Net Neutrality by designating broadband as a common-carrier telecommunications service under the law. This designation is the only way to establish the FCC's right to regulate the Internet and protect Net Neutrality. In the meantime, New York should adopt state net neutrality legislation along the lines that California adopted in 2018.
Social Wealth Fund
Capital income is concentrating income at the top along with capital ownership in New York, making it the most unequal state in the nation by income and wealth. A state-owned Social Wealth Fund would socialize productive wealth and share the returns – rent, interest, profit – across the population. Over time, the Social Wealth Fund would progressively transform private wealth, which is very unevenly distributed, into public wealth in which every New Yorker would own an equal share.
Establish a government-owned portfolio of stocks, bonds, and real estate.
Each New York resident would receive one non-transferable share and receive a social dividend payment annually as long as they maintained New York residency.
The state government would own 50% of the shares, with annual dividend payments to a state-owned public bank.
Build up the fund with proceeds from:
- A percentage of the state stock transfer tax or a broader financial transactions tax.
- A percentage of state corporate income tax paid as shares in the corporation.
- A percentage of the state estate tax.
- A percentage of a state land value tax.
- Economic development grants converted to shares. If the state is going to share the risks of these investments, it should also share the rewards like private investors do.
END PUBLIC CORRUPTION
Independent Ethics Oversight: Establish a truly independent ethics commission with comprehensive responsibility for ethics enforcement. Give it the resources necessary to vigorously investigate and punish ethics rules violations by members of both the executive and legislative branches. Operate it under the following rules:
- No elected officials on its governing board.
- A five-year revolving door restriction for recent politicians or their staff members to serve as board or staff for the Ethics Commission.
- Apply Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Laws to the Ethics Commission.
Full-Time Legislature: Limit income from outside work while serving in office, similar to limitations on Representatives in Congress. Legislators should be public servants, not politicians getting rich from the work (show or no-show) they secure because they are legislators who influence legislation.
Term Limits: 2 four-year terms for executive officers, 6 two-year terms for legislators.
PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCE
Full Public Campaign Financing: End the pay-to-play legalized bribery of private campaign financing with public campaign financing. The new partial matching funds public campaign financing system will only make a system dominated by private money look like it was reformed when it was not. We need a full public campaign finance system like Arizona and Maine have in place. Every candidate who opts into this kind of full public finance system and qualifies by raising a reasonable number of $5 donations along with their petition signatures receives an equal public campaign grant sufficient to reach the voters of their district with their message. A condition of receiving the grant must be participation in a series of publicly-sponsored debates. Full public campaign financing levels the playing field.
Ban Campaign Contributions from Lobbyists: Campaign contributions by individuals and firms registered as lobbyists should be prohibited. The appearance, if not the reality, of this legalized bribery undermines the people's trust in government.
Prohibit Legislative Staff from Working on Political Campaigns: Legislative staff are hired with taxpayers' money to work on legislation and constituent services. Public financing of election campaigns should be available to all candidates, not just incumbents who can deploy legislative staff on political campaigns.
End the Corporate Personhood and Money-Is-Speech Doctrines: Lobby the U.S. Congress to support House Joint Resolution 48, the We The People Amendment, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to establish that only natural human beings, not artificial corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights and that money is property, not protected speech. This amendment would repeal the Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United v. FEC, and McCutcheon v. FEC decisions and enable we the people through our elected representatives to publicly and fully regulate and finance public elections.
END THE WAR ON DRUGS AND MASS INCARCERATION
Treat drug abuse as a health problem, not a criminal problem.
Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission: Appoint to address the impact of the war on drugs and mass incarceration, particularly on communities of color, and recommend policies to repair the damages.
Decriminalize Hard Drugs: Adapt the successful drug decriminalization policy of Portugal to New York. Eliminate criminal penalties for low-level possession and consumption of all illicit drugs and treat these activities as violations. A person found in possession of personal-use amounts of hard drugs will no longer arrested, but ordered to appear before a local "dissuasion commission" – comprised of one legal official and two health and social service officials – who take a health-centered approach. They will determine whether and to what extent the person is addicted and refer that person to a voluntary treatment program or order payment of a fine or other administrative sanctions. Drug trafficking offenses should remain illegal and processed through the criminal justice system.
Free Drug War Prisoners: Freedom and amnesty for all drug war prisoners who been convicted for non-violent drug offenses with the savings from reduced incarceration invested into re-entry support for former prisoners and reparations for the communities most damaged by mass incarceration.
Drug Abuse Treatment on Demand: Drug treatment should be covered by a universal public health care program, which should invest in drug treatment clinics sufficient to meet the need.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
End Qualified Immunity: End the qualified immunity for police officers and other public officials that shields them from prosecution when they violate our constitutional rights or violate us in other illegal ways.
Defend Bail Abolition: No bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
Statewide Public Defenders Office: Full funding for a statewide public defenders office, administered by an independent public defense commission, to guarantee the right to quality counsel.
Equal Pay for Public Defenders and Prosecutors: Raise the pay of public defenders to the same level as public prosecutors.
Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform: No asset forfeitures without proceedings after a conviction is obtained.
Educational Opportunities for All Prisoners: Provide educational opportunities for all incarcerated individuals, from basic literacy and numeracy to GED to college courses and vocational courses. Re-establish Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) eligibility for prisoners and include prisoners in free tuition at SUNY, CUNY, and community colleges.
Voting Rights for Felons: End the loss of voting rights for felons and parolees and make participation in civic affairs can part of rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
Right to a Trial by a Jury of Peers: Change state law so that defendants in cities have the same right as defendants in towns to a jury of their peers from the same municipal jurisdiction.
Ban Warrantless Drone Surveillance: Prohibit warrantless drone surveillance in New York airspace that violates our Fourth Amendment rights to privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Alternatives to Incarceration: Probation or work release for paying fines, victim restitution, and community service. Work release and education release for prisoners preparing for re-entry into society.
CIVIL RIGHTS AND RACIAL JUSTICE
New York State is the most segregated state in the nation in housing and schools and by race and by class. The Greens call for two major civil rights initiatives in New York State to end discrimination and desegregate housing and schools.
Civil Rights Department: Establish a cabinet level Civil Rights Department within the executive branch constituted as a law enforcement agency with sufficient resources to carry out its mission of enforcing anti-discrimination laws and desegregation initiatives. It should be given an authoritative legal mandate, an independent funding source, the power to streamline procedures and cut across government agency jurisdictions, and the responsibility to recommend programs reduce race and class segregation and disparities in employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and other areas. In education, it should immediately address racial and class bias in school attendance zones within school districts and support programs for race and class desegregation across existing school district boundaries.
New Public and Social Housing for Desegregation: Enact a new state public or social housing program to guarantee everyone has an affordable housing option and to help desegregate residential patterns and complement strong enforcement of fair housing laws. Unlike the old large-scale projects that concentrated poverty and minorities in poor communities of color, the new public housing should be built in the cities and the suburbs as humanly-scaled, scatter-site, high-quality projects that are mixed income and ethnicity. They should also be green, producing more clean energy than they use through solar and wind power and heat pumps for heating and cooling and carbon negative through carbon-sequestering building materials and living roofs and walls. This new public housing program will be a jobs program, an affordable housing program, and a clean energy program as well as a desegregation program. Its projects will improve the quality of life in every community in which they are built.
Fight Wage Theft: Pass the SWEAT (Securing Wages Earned Against Theft) bill, which would enable workers owed previously earned wages to file a wage lien against the assets of their employer
Card Check: Extend the right to majority sign-up or card-check recognition of union bargaining status to all New York workers, with the right of new unions to submit a first contract to binding arbitration at the request of the union.
Just Cause: Enact a Wrongful Discharge From Employment Act that protects employees from at-will discharges by providing that after a probationary period an employee can be terminated only for just cause defined as failure to satisfactorily perform job duties, disruption of operations, or other legitimate business reasons.
Wage Board Sectoral Bargaining: Expand the use of wage boards to that bring together unions, businesses, and government to bargain for fair wages, benefits, and working conditions for employees across a specific industries, especially in low-wage sectors as home health care, retailing, and farm work, as was done in recent years for fast food workers and tipped workers in New York.
Prohibit 24-Hour Workdays and Unpaid Labor on 24-Hour Shifts: Replace 24-Hour shifts in the home care industry with split shifts. Repeal the NYS Department of Labor regulation allowing no pay for 11 hours of 24-hour shifts by home care workers. Following three state appellate court rulings in 2016 and 2017 requiring healthcare agencies to pay home care workers for all their hours on 24-hour shifts, the Department of Labor issued “emergency regulations” consistent with contrary federal court rulings allowing payment for only 13 hours. Repeal this regulation. Unpaid labor is slavery.
Repeal the No Strike Provision to the Taylor Law: Restore the right of public employees to strike by repealing Section 210 of the Public Employees Fair Employment Act (Taylor Law). This amendment should be made without diminishing any of organized labor’s existing legal protections, including the Triborough Amendment the Taylor Law.
Defend the Triborough Amendment: Oppose proposals to repeal the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law. The 1967 Taylor Law (Public Employees Fair Employment Act) permits public employees to organize unions, but denies them the right to strike. Management had little incentive to bargain in good faith with public employee unions that had no right to strike until the 1982 Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law. The Triborough Amendment rebalanced the power between management and public employees by providing that when there is an impasse in negotiations when a contact expires, the terms of the previous contract continue. Arbitration (binding for police and fire, advisory for others) is employed to help resolve the dispute. If the Triborough Amendment were repealed, management would have no incentive to negotiate a fair contract because it could then change the contract as it saw fit, leaving the workers and their unions with no legal recourse.
Guaranteed Retirement Accounts: Expand the new voluntary New York State Secure Choice Savings Program into a system of Guaranteed Retirement Accounts that provide a retirement income source for New York workers. It should provide a return of at least 3 percent above inflation guaranteed by the state government, with workers and employers each contributing 2.5 percent of income by payroll deduction and, upon retirement, with a monthly annuity check indexed to inflation.
Child Care and Elder Care: Subsidized, high quality child care and elder care for all who need it.
Labor Law Protections for Prisoners: Enact legislation to end the super-exploitation of prison labor at pennies per hour, which undercuts the wages of workers and earnings of businesses outside the prison system. The prison labor system as it exists now is akin to slavery and the prison labor camps in other authoritarian countries. Work done by prisoners can be part of rehabilitation and enable prisoners to acquire job skills, support their families, and have savings upon release. Work done by prisoners for private contractors and for public services should be paid prevailing wages. Prison workers should have all the protections of labor law, including the right to organize unions.
Protect the Scaffold Safety Law: Construction work in New York State is made safer by the Scaffold Safety Law, which holds employers accountable when workers are injured or killed because employers cut corners on the safety of people working at heights.
Worker-Inspectors to Enforce Workplace Health and Safety: Enact state legislation to establish the right of workers to enforce safety and health regulations in a program that trains and certifies workers to be on-the-job inspectors in every workplace. OSHA is too underfunded and understaffed by the federal government to adequately protect workers and communities. Because workers know their work sites, worker-inspectors would be better able to protect the workforce and the community from industrial hazards and accidents. Worker-inspectors would be protected from employer reprisals and have the power to:
- Shut down hazardous operations.
- Enforce the right of every worker to refuse unsafe work.
- Investigate incidents to uncover their root causes and to force the implementation of their findings,
- Block the introduction of new chemicals untested for their impacts on human health and the environment.
Just Transition: Establish a Just Transition Income Support Program to compensate all workers whose jobs are eliminated by steps taken to protect the environment. Displaced workers would receive full income and benefits as they make the transition to alternative work.
Expand the Liberty Defense Project: Increase funding to provide all immigrants who need it with legal services and process.
Sanctuary State: We support Sanctuary State policies for New York State, including:
- prohibiting state agencies and officers from inquiring about or disclosing an individual's immigration status unless required by law or necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or service.
- prohibiting law enforcement officers from inquiring about immigration status unless investigating illegal criminal activity, including, but not limited to, when an individual approaches a law enforcement officer seeking assistance, is the victim of a crime, or is witness to a crime.
We support the Attorney General's Civil Rights Bureau guidance for local law enforcement to limit their participation in federal immigration enforcement activities, including:
- refusing to enforce non-judicial civil immigration warrants issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP),
- protecting New Yorkers' Fourth Amendment rights by denying federal requests to hold uncharged individuals in custody more than 48 hours,
- limiting access of ICE and CBP agents to individuals currently in custody,
- limiting information gathering and reporting that will be used exclusively for federal immigration enforcement,
- prohibiting delayed release of an incarcerated individual who has completed his or her criminal sentence, or who has posted bail, until immigration authorities have arrived to the facility to effect a civil immigration arrest, and
- prohibiting extended detention of a vehicle’s occupants following a roadside car stop until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrive to question and/or arrest the occupants.
Reproductive Health Act: We support the Reproductive Health Act of 2019 that decriminalized abortion in the New York penal code and codified the constitutional protections of Roe v. Wade into state law.
Equal Rights Amendment: We support an expansive Equal Rights Amendment to our state Constitution to end discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
End the Feminization of Poverty: A program to provide economic security for working mothers, women, and all New Yorkers should include:
- Jobs for all willing and able to work, with public jobs for the unemployed in public works and public services to meet community-defined needs.
- A state $20/hour minimum wage, indexed to productivity.
- Elimination of the tip credit that lets employers pay a wage less than the minimum wage.
- A guaranteed adequate income above poverty for all who cannot or should not work.
- Education in lieu of work requirements for people participating in TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families).
- Exempting women from TANF work requirements if they have children under five.
- Quality, affordable childcare for all who need it.
GENDA: We support the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act of 2018 that ensures tht transgender and gender non-conforming people have equal protections in education, employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations (including banks, bus stations, court rooms, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, libraries).
GUN RIGHTS AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Gun Rights: We deefend the individual right of law-abiding citizens to own pistols, rifles, and shotguns for self-defense, hunting, and sport shooting.
Gun Safety: We also defend the public's right to regulate the ownership and operation of guns in the interests of public safety.
Gun Safety Policies we support:
- Ban the sale of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks.
- Universal background checks for gun and ammunition buyers, including closing the loophole for private sales and sales at gun shows, with records maintained in a central registry, not destroyed after 24 hours as under current law.
- Require all gun owners to pass a gun safety test, a visual test, and be licensed by a government agency, similar to the requirements for obtaining a driver license.
- Institute a 28-day waiting period after license application before firearms can be possessed.
- Expand the prohibition on the purchase and possession of guns by people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes to include people convicted of menacing, assault, or unlawful imprisonment.
- Allow government research into the health impacts of gun violence, including high rates of suicides from handguns.
- Divest state pension funds from owning shares in gun manufacturers.
- Stop the acquisition of surplus military grade equipment by police.
- Support citizen review boards and community control of the police.
- Support police tactical training in de-escalation and conflict resolution.
- Monitor the enforcement of gun safety laws to ensure equal treatment of all social groups by law enforcement.
Attack the Root Causes of Gun Violence in Social Inequalities and Militarism: Gun safety laws are not enough. Inequality kills. The high rates of murder and the increasing number of mass shootings in America is indicative of a society engulfed in fears fueled by racism, xenophobia, misogyny, militarism, and growing inequalities in income, wealth, and power. Economic inequality is strongest correlate with rates of murder and gun violence among the nations of the world. The culture of militarism, which inculcates fears of other types of people and glorifies the military, police, wars, and violence as the answer to those fears, promotes civilian gun violence. We need broad egalitarian social reform as well as gun safety laws to radically reduce the extremely high rate of gun violence in America.