The New York State budget was finally released this week, more than a month late. Much to the dismay of advocates across the state, the 2023 budget prioritizes the desires and profits of the wealthy and ignores the realities faced on the ground by poor and low-income New Yorkers. Once again, Governor Hochul managed to roll back New York State’s landmark 2019 bail reforms, putting Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor New Yorkers at higher risk of incarceration; she also failed to make good on her promises to address the housing crisis and backtracked on commitments she made last year to expand health care access for immigrants and raise the minimum wage for home care workers. While this budget may be hugely disappointing, it doesn’t come as a surprise from a Governor that has continuously pandered to conservatives throughout her tenure, whether by fanning the flames of an imagined public safety crisis or refusing to tax the rich, despite New York’s status as the most unequal state in the country. Though we are saddened by the State’s refusal to include the needs of the nearly 8.6 million poor or low-income New Yorkers in the budget, we remain committed to our fight for economic, racial, and social justice in New York State, and look forward to continuing that work through the rest of this year’s legislative session. In solidarity, Rev. E. West McNeill Executive Director
The Moral Fusion Leadership Awards are just THREE WEEKS Away! You’re invited to the Labor-Religion Coalition’s annual Moral Fusion Leadership Awards on Wednesday, May 24th! Join us as we gather to celebrate the movement-building work we’ve done over the last year, as well as to honor amazing leaders and campaigns from across New York State, all of whom are making immense contributions to the struggle for economic, racial, and social justice! In 2023, we’re proud to celebrate the following honorees: St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church, Rabbi Matt Cutler, Starbucks Workers United, and the Fair Pay for Home Care Campaign. You can begin to celebrate these incredible honorees, and support the ongoing work of the Labor-Religion Coalition, by purchasing a sponsorship or tickets TODAY! If you can’t make it to the dinner in Albany on May 24th, you can still join us in the celebration by purchasing a sponsorship or virtual ticket, or making a donation in solidarity. Thank you, as always, for your support—we can’t wait to see and celebrate with you all!
Join LRC, faith leaders, and patients from across New York State on May 10th for a rally and petition delivery in support of the campaign to #EndMedicalDebt No New Yorker should have to make a choice between accessing life-saving care and taking on a crushing amount of medical debt. Since last year, LRC has been advocating to #EndMedicalDebt in New York State to help low-income and poor New Yorkers access the medical care they deserve. This year, the End Medical Debt Campaign is calling on the legislature to pass two other critical bills: the Ounce of Prevention Act, which will help prevent medical debt by making hospital financial assistance more accessible, and the Fair Medical Debt Reporting Act, which would prohibit the reporting of medical bills to credit reporting agencies. For the last several months, LRC has been organizing with faith leaders from across the state to get them to support this critical legislation. We authored an open letter to the legislature, gathered the support of nearly 200 faith leaders, and it's finally time to take action in Albany! Join us on May 10th for a rally in support of the campaign, the delivery of the letter to our lawmakers, and a discussion of the next steps for this campaign and the broader fight for healthcare justice in New York State! Can you join us at the state Capitol next week? RSVP here!
LRC and NYSPPC embark on the Freedom School Van Tour, deliver Poor People’s State of the State report and petition to Governor Hochul This past weekend, members of the New York State Poor People’s Campaign traveled across the North Country of New York State on the Freedom School Van Tour. The tour included four days of organizing and political education, a Poor People’s State of the State in Potsdam, and visits with members of the Mohawk Nation in their territory at Akwesasne and the John Brown Farm in North Elba. The tour concluded on Monday, in Albany, with a Strike Poverty rally and the delivery of the Poor People’s State of the State report and petition to Governor Hochul. Joe Paparone—LRC Lead Organizer and Tri-Chair of the New York State Poor People’s Campaign—shared the following: “Every year the Governor gives a ‘State of the State’ speech – but it’s really a ‘State of the Rich’ – this year’s speech, just like every year before, demonstrates a priority to the desires and profits of the wealthy. She didn’t mention ‘poor’ or ‘poverty’ once, and when we’re in an eviction crisis, when we don’t have universal healthcare, amidst so many other things poor people in our state are struggling with, we need more. Poor people know what we need, and we will organize and build power together until we win a just society for all.”
LRC joins 1199SEIU, faith leaders from across the state to demand a moral budget that invests in healthcare! On April 12th, LRC joined Bishop William Barber II, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the members of 1199SEIU, and other faith leaders from across the state at a rally in support of a budget that invests in the healthcare all New Yorkers deserve. As budget negotiations continued into the middle of April, many New Yorkers’ ability to access healthcare hung in the balance. Nearly 1 million New Yorkers already lack health insurance—and that number is likely to double now that the COVID public health emergency has officially ended. LRC joined with our healthcare justice partners to advocate for solutions to the many healthcare crises our state currently faces, including Coverage for All, Fair Pay for Home Care, Funding for Medicaid and Safety Net Hospitals, and the Ounce of Prevention Act, all of which would alleviate the burdens poor and low-income New Yorkers face when trying to access life-saving care. Though none of these initiatives were included in Gov. Hochul’s budget, we know the reality that New Yorkers are facing on the ground: without these policies, more and more New Yorkers will continue to go without the care they need. As we move into the next phase of the legislative session, we plan to continue the fights to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to quality healthcare regardless of immigration status, home care workers are paid the wage they deserve and prevent medical debt by making hospital financial assistance more accessible and ensuring that money allocated to hospitals for charity care is used for that purpose.