New York must pass a budget that is consistent with our values and our beliefs, we must pass a budget to fully fund our state now and leverage our resiliency, we must pass a budget of compassion.
As I sit and write this, in Jackson Heights, Queens, with ambulances passing by my window en route to Elmhurst Hospital, and as a candidate for the 34th Assembly District in New York, knowing that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act short-changed New York by billions of dollars, it is unfortunate that we must even ask our State government to come out of pocket to fully fund ourselves. But this is our reality.
As I suspended my campaign for NYS Assembly to found COVID Care Neighbor Network, a mutual aid group in Queens, our volunteers distributed flyers offering assistance to neighbors, friends, and strangers alike. The State must lend its hand too.
I live in, and hope to represent a community with an abundance of small businesses and people that work in small businesses. I live in a neighborhood full of freelancers, artists, non-profit employees, and taxi drivers, among others, that are all struggling. I live in an immigrant community that was ignored by the CARES act but is part of our New York fabric, and our budget must support these people too.
Yes, it is true that New York’s revenue will drop as our economy slows down as a result of COVID-19, but it has before. And it is true that we may not have all the money today, but that is what the future is for. We must build a bridge, to our communities and to our financial future. We must leverage ourselves and our resilience.
Just as the Federal government is using New Yorkers tax dollars to support our entire nation right now – New York paid over $40 billion more in Federal taxes than we received last year – we must commit to using our resources today and future resources to pay for the human relief during this pandemic.
After COVID-19, America will once again remember New York. It will remember the daily truth-telling by Governor Andrew Cuomo. It will remember our calls for compassion and love. But it must also remember how we financed our way to that future. New York needs to leverage itself because it believes in itself.
On the other side of the COVID-19 virus, New York will be strong again. Yes, the budgets of the world are being tested at a minimum, changing rapidly at its extreme, but New York will lead the way.
In supporting all New Yorkers through a budget of compassion, we can ensure that all those who call New York home today, will continue to do so in the future. New York is excellent at building bridges, now is the time to build a bridge to our own future.
We must not panic as New Yorkers, but see the light on the other side of this dark storm, both in our communities, in Washington, and most importantly, in Albany.
Albany must pass a budget that will take care of all New Yorkers.