Assembly Member-Elect Forrest: “Tax The Rich to Fund NY’s Recovery” + State Dems Bolster Supermajority

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Local News

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York will get 170,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on December 15. These initial doses will go to nursing home residents and staff, with subsequent doses going to other healthcare professionals. 
  • Mayor Bill De Blasio’s administration is making a late push for universal broadband internet, a goal it originally announced in 2014.
  • The MTA is speculating that implementation of congestion pricing, which would bring in much-needed revenue for the agency, could be delayed until 2023.
  • Despite a commitment to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030, New York City’s emissions increased between 2017 and 2019.
  • City & State NY offered a primer on NYC-DSA, given the “seismic shift” the group has caused in New York politics. 
  • A CNBC profile of incoming State Assembly Member Phara Souffrant Forrest (District 57, Central Brooklyn) emphasized the growing power of the tenants’ movement in the City. 
  • New York parole boards are issuing denials at a slightly higher rate than a year ago, even as COVID-19 makes reducing the prison population a public health priority.
  • Sections of Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Gowanus, Red Hook, Marine Park, Canarsie, and all of northern Brooklyn’s coastline will flood at least once a year by 2050 because of rising sea levels, a new study finds. 
  • Without massive federal funding, mass transit systems across the U.S. face severe service cuts. Denser cities like New York will be disproportionately impacted.


  • City residents cast a record-breaking number of absentee ballots in this year’s presidential election, but overall turnout remained roughly similar to 2016 turnout at about 55 percent.
  • With the City’s votes finally counted, results show President Trump made small gains in the five boroughs, even as he lost ground relative to 2016 across the State as a whole. The Working Families Party also made significant gains.
  • Democratic State Senator John Mannion (District 50, Syracuse) declared victory over his opponent after absentee counts pulled him ahead, likely giving Democrats a final total of 43 members in the State Senate, one more than the number needed for a supermajority.
  • Bklner interviewed DSA-endorsed City Council candidate Brandon West about his run in District 39 (Park Slope).
  • Annie Levin explored the campaign for a socialist caucus in the City Council for In These Times. 
  • Former Wall Street executive Ray McGuire announced his campaign for Mayor in a video narrated by filmmaker Spike Lee.
  • The City’s Board of Elections is still looking for a private firm whose software can implement ranked-choice voting in next year’s primary elections. The first ranked-choice election, the special election in Queens to fill Donovan Richards’s seat in the Council, is less than two months away.

Op-Ed: How Taxing the Rich Can Fund New York’s Recovery

By Assembly Member-Elect Phara Souffrant Forrest (District 57, Central Brooklyn)

I will join the rest of the DSA for the Many slate in Albany this January at a time when millions of our fellow New Yorkers face eviction, unemployment, and food insecurity. But instead of raising taxes on the rich to pay for essential social services and keep people in their homes, Governor Cuomo plans to cut vital public services to balance the books. Make no mistake: this is class warfare.

We must fight back in the next legislative session to raise taxes on the richest New Yorkers in order to save our state and fund a just future for everyone.

First and foremost, we need to fight for a budget that will secure New York’s basic public services. But to truly save our economy we must do far more than that. For the past 50 years working-class people have worked harder and harder only to see nearly all the economic growth they’ve produced go to rich elites. Whenever we face economic crises, our government bails out the financial sector while the working class suffers.

This situation must change. We need to redistribute money from the bank accounts of the ultra-rich and use it to cancel rent, establish a free universal single-payer healthcare system, fund a Green New Deal, and start a massive investment in social housing.

This fight to take control of our future through New York State’s budget starts in January when the NYC-DSA slate, our progressive allies, and I plan to support a platform of common-sense and long overdue proposals to fix our tax code and add over $50 billion in new annual services to our budget. We will raise this money from new taxes on the wealthiest five percent of New Yorkers.

First, we will fight for new income taxes on the richest New Yorkers to end our regressive tax system. Working people should not pay proportionately more of their income in taxes than our wealthier counterparts. Second, we will fight for new taxes on wealth. We will use taxes on wealth as a blunt instrument of class warfare to beat back the enormous power the rich have over our state. Third, we will fight for new taxes on corporations. As working people, it is time we reclaim the wealth we created, which corporations have too long claimed for themselves.

Together, these proposals strike at the parts of the tax code that have enabled the richest New Yorkers to amass ever more wealth while the rest of us deal with a state starved for resources. If enacted, it would constitute one of the largest transfers of wealth from the upper class to the working class in American history—and it would go a long way toward breaking the power capital holds over our state.

While the path forward is clear to people like us, our leaders in Albany have refused to do anything about our dire situation. They want to wait quietly for the federal government to send aid. But even if such aid were to appear, it wouldn’t even scratch the surface of the problems we face. We need bold, far-reaching proposals if we are to emerge from this crisis.

This fight won’t be easy. The Democratic establishment in Albany will employ every dirty trick in the book to try to stop us. But this campaign isn’t some wish list we’ll abandon at the first sight of resistance. We are making this our top priority starting January 1. We have already begun organizing with allies and future colleagues around these ideas, and the people of New York are overwhelmingly on our side. In fact, 90 percent of New York State’s registered voters prefer taxing the rich to cutting public services.

Much as in 2019’s fight to pass new rent protections, we will only move lawmakers in Albany if we make it impossible for them to stand still. We have an enormous opportunity this year. Now, we need all hands on deck.

You can help, too: Sign up for DSA’s Tax the Rich Week of Action.

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