Welcome to 2024! Like many of you, the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State has begun this new year with renewed energy and commitment to our goals for the coming year. We’ve been hard at work planning a series of community breakfasts in the next few weeks, coordinating actions for the next few months with the New York State Poor People’s Campaign, and meeting with coalition and campaign partners in preparation for the 2024 legislative session—it’s shaping up to be quite the year for LRC!
It’s also shaping up to be quite the year for New York State. Earlier this week, Gov. Hochul opened the 2024 legislative session by giving her annual State of the State address, reflecting on the successes (as she sees them) of the last year and outlining her agenda for the coming year. More details will come out in the governor’s budget next week, but for now, her address Tuesday and her statements over the last few months indicate she will push an austerity budget, skimping on the programs and services that everyday New Yorkers rely on while refusing to raise revenue from the wealthy elite and corporations.
While some positive proposals were mentioned, namely around healthcare access and medical debt, piecemeal solutions like these are inadequate to address the ongoing crises in our state that exist as the result of long-term disinvestment in our communities. We, too, are concerned about her focus on the imagined rise in crime across the state, and her emphasis on addressing low-level crime, which only stands to further criminalize poor and low-income New Yorkers, and New Yorkers of color.
This is unacceptable. In 2024, New York remains the most unequal state in the nation. We know from decades of austerity politics in our state and country that disinvestment in public programs and services is bad economics, worsens inequality, and hurts poor and working-class communities first and worst. The Governor, and the rest of our State’s leadership, must prioritize the needs and wants of the majority of New Yorkers, and not just their wealthiest constituents. As always, the Labor-Religion Coalition remains committed to lifting the voices of poor and low-income New Yorkers and will continue to advocate for policies that invest in our communities and ensure that every New Yorker has the resources they need.
Rev. West McNeill
A huge thank you from the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State.
With our end-of-year fundraising campaign finally closed, we want to extend a huge thank you to all of our supporters and community members who were able to make a gift to the Labor-Religion Coalition this holiday season! With your help, we were able to raise $9,782! Though we were just short of our goal of $10,000, this money will go a long way in helping to keep LRC at the frontlines of the fight for economic, racial, and social justice in New York State. Please know that we are so grateful for all of your generous contributions and that none of this work would be possible without the support of our community.
Join the Labor-Religion Coalition for a Clergy & Community Breakfast to discuss the 2024 legislative session!
In just a few weeks, the NYS legislature will be back in session and negotiations will begin on the New York State budget. The final budget is going to have a profound impact on our congregations and communities, especially among poor and working-class people.
While Gov. Hochul has been signaling that cuts to services for the most vulnerable are imminent and unavoidable, we disagree. We know there are alternatives.
Join us for a series of breakfast conversations in January to learn just what’s at stake and how congregations and religious leaders can get involved in winning a just and moral budget for all.
If you can't make it to either of the in-person breakfasts, we'll also be holding a virtual teach-in on January 31st. RSVP here.
Join LRC and the New York State Poor People’s Campaign in Albany on March 2nd!
On Saturday, March 2nd, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will march and rally in state capitals across the country, bringing the demands of poor and low-wealth people for living wages, healthcare, housing, education, environmental justice, and voting rights directly to our lawmakers. From Texas to Maine and California to the Carolinas, thousands of poor and impacted people, clergy, and advocates will call for an end to poverty in the richest nation on earth.
In Albany, the Labor-Religion Coalition, the Poor People’s Campaign, and our partners will rally amid a critical New York State budget fight. Gov. Hochul is expected to propose an austerity budget—which would mean cuts to public services and missed opportunities to address ongoing crises in healthcare, housing, education, and the climate. Join us in Albany on March 2nd to say, Stop The Cuts To Life-Saving Services! Fully Invest in Our Communities! Make The Rich Pay Their Fair Share! Click here to RSVP.
Add your name to the 2024 Poor People's State of the State Petition!
New York is the most unequal state in the nation. A 2023 report from the Fiscal Policy Institute shows that ultra-rich New Yorkers (those with wealth over $30 million) hold a staggering $6.7 trillion in wealth. Meanwhile, 8.2 million New Yorkers are poor and low-income.
This year, facing a budget deficit, Gov. Hochul has indicated that she will refuse to increase taxes on the wealthiest in our state and will keep funding levels for essential public services effectively flat.
In response to the threat of an austerity budget, the NYS Poor People’s Campaign has launched its 2024 petition, based on the belief that all New Yorkers have the right to healthcare, housing, a clean, safe, and sustainable environment, high-quality public education, and good public infrastructure.
You can read more about and sign the petition here.