Caucus Releases 2024 People’s Budget Framework From Harlem To The Hudson

December 13, 2023

Under the leadership of Chair Assemblymember Michaelle Solages (D-Nassau County), the members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus released the” 2024 People’s Budget”.

An annual document outlining budget priorities crucial for uplifting and enhancing the livelihoods of Black, Latino, and Asian communities across New York State. This year’s budget committee was led by Co-Chairs Senator Samra Brouk, Senator Zellnor Myrie, Assemblymember Amanda Septimo, and Assemblymember Steven Raga.

Centered on the theme “A Demand for Justice,” the Caucus advocates for tangible, long-term solutions that align with the state’s overarching racial and social justice objectives. This strategic document focuses on tax parity and social investments. Importantly, these measures revolve around parity, with the goal of equitably raising funds to make essential investments back into our state. This includes a dedicated focus on housing, climate action, a New Deal for CUNY, and the establishment of universal childcare, among other crucial initiatives.

Amidst New York’s pressing housing crisis, marked by a growing population, rising rents, and a shortage of affordable housing, the Caucus Calls for strategic investments in homeownership, tenant protections, and fair housing enforcement to effectively combat discriminatory barriers. This crisis not only amplifies the wealth gap but has also contributed to a rising homeless population.

Education has long been a pathway for social mobility and financial security for people of color in America. Collectively, the members are pushing for creating healthy learning environments that hire and retain qualified professionals who are culturally competent and invested in engaging with students that reflect the diversity of the state. 

Furthermore, communities of color have experienced the dual injustices of being overpoliced and underprotected by existing laws. In recent years, New York has made strides toward a fairer criminal justice system and it is essential that the state protects and builds upon those hard-fought protections.

“As the Caucus unveils “The People’s Budget” for 2024, we want to highlight the common thread of justice in each policy section,’ stated Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages, Caucus Chair. “This holistic approach not only addresses income inequality but also confronts the housing crisis and bolsters our state’s education, creating a budget that is both visionary and responsive to the pressing needs of New York’s Black, Latino, and Asian communities,”

Caucus 2nd Vice Chair and Budget Co-Chair Senator Zellor Myrie said “The 2024 Peoples’ Budget is our Caucus’ most impactful and forward-thinking yet, with a laser-focus on the issues of affordability, housing, healthcare, public safety and much more. I am extremely proud to put forward a framework that centers justice and responds to the very real needs of New Yorkers across the state. I look forward to fighting for these important priorities in the new legislative session.”

Caucus Budget Co-Chair and Senate Mental Health Committee Chair Senator Samra Brouk said, “For too long, New York State has overlooked the needs of Black and Brown communities—resulting in systemic divestment from programs and services designed to improve life for all New Yorkers. As one of the chairs for this year’s People’s Budget, I’m proud that our budget seeks to make meaningful investments that will diversify our workforces, keep families in their homes, and improve maternal and child health outcomes. Together, we can ensure that every individual—particularly our young people—has access to the necessary resources to live safe and healthy lives.”

Caucus Budget Co-Chair Assemblymember Amanda Septimo said, I am honored to support the 2024 People’s Budget, in championing the priorities that we know will address the needs of New York’s Black, Latino, and Asian families. The document offers a varied approach to grapple with the housing crisis, bridge educational gaps, and deliver workforce and economic development solutions. The items outlined in this plan will allocate critical investments in our community, equitably. The fight for inclusion of these priorities in the FY24-25 state budget will be on behalf of New Yorkers, who deserve forward-looking programs and fairer systems to uplift our communities of color across the state.

Caucus Budget Co-Chair Assemblymember Steven Raga said, “The People’s Budget for 2024 is our bold response to New York’s most pressing challenges. This framework works to directly target the needs of our Black, Latino, and Asian communities by addressing critical issues like New York’s housing crisis and climate justice. It’s a budget that centers the principles of justice and equity for all New Yorkers.”

“As the First Vice-Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus, I am truly proud of the substance of ‘The People’s Budget’ for 2024, which underscores our unwavering commitment to making critical investments that uplift every New Yorker,” said Caucus 1st Vice-Char Assemblymember Catalina Cruz. “I am particularly thrilled by the inclusion of funding for the full implementation of the recently signed Clean Slate Act, a pivotal step towards justice and economic opportunity. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Chairwoman Solages for her tireless dedication to addressing the multifaceted challenges facing our most marginalized communities. Together, we are shaping a brighter and more equitable future for our great state.”

“As we present the 2024 People’s Budget, our emphasis on justice aligns with the imperative for equitable pay for substance use treatment workers. Independently championed, this framework stands as a testament to our dedication to youth intervention, preventative education, and addressing the pressing need for preventive education for the risks of substance use disorders. It outlines a comprehensive approach to building a New York that prioritizes the well-being of its residents.” stated Senator Nathalia Fernandez, Chair of the Senate Alcoholism and Substance Use Disorders and Caucus Secretary. 

“The Caucus, in collaboration with community partners, has done a truly exceptional job in formulating the 2024 People’s Budget Framework, which includes all of the essential issues we must implement to make New York State the home of truly just, equitable, compassionate and rational fiscal and public policy. As Chair of the Senate Aging Committee, I am particularly proud of the sections calling for increased funding for Senior Housing, closing the waitlist for Senior Services and implementing Fair Pay For Home Care.” stated Senator Cordell Cleare, Chair of the Senate Aging Committee.

“The NY Renews coalition, representing 370+ organizations across the state, is happy to see many of our climate and environmental justice priorities in the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus’s 2024 People’s Budget,” said Stephan Edel, Executive Director of NY Renews. “The bills and budget items in the People’s Budget include much of the Climate, Jobs, and Justice bill package, which would kickstart a pollution-free, resilient climate future, built by workers with good union jobs to ensure a healthy, livable state for Black, Latino, and Asian communities statewide.”

“Combining permanent housing with supportive services is one of our most powerful and cost-effective tools for helping domestic violence survivors and their children rebuild their lives. Yet, for decades, NYSSHP has been severely underfunded, forcing supportive housing providers like New Destiny to constantly fundraise from private donors to shoulder the basic costs of building security and case management,” said Nicole Branca, Executive Director of New Destiny Housing. “Survivors and social service staff deserve better. We thank the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus for their bold leadership in joining the fight to adequately fund NYSSHP and protect domestic violence survivors in supportive housing.”

“We applaud the vital anti-hunger investments championed in the 2024 People’s Budget, including full funding for Healthy School Meals for All and continued support for expanded SNAP outreach through the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program. Amid rising costs of living and the sunsetting of pandemic-era supports, many New Yorkers are struggling with hunger. This year’s state budget is a critical opportunity to connect families with the resources they need, from SNAP benefits to buy food at the grocery store, to healthy school meals at no cost. These investments maximize federal resources for alleviating hunger, and help ensure all New Yorkers can put food on the table.” said Andrés J. Vives, Executive Director, Hunger Solutions New York 

“The Adirondack Council is thankful to the BPHA Caucus for their ongoing and critical support of programs that benefit the environment and people of New York State,” said Raul J. Aguirre, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council. “Investing in science, conservation and education is key to ensuring that current and future generations have a habitable environment. The People’s Budget includes proposed funding for the Timbuctoo Climate and Careers Institute, long-term water quality monitoring, and protection of our wildlands, while also helping to lead the way in fighting climate change. We thank the BPHA Caucus for proposing ongoing support of the iconic Adirondack Park.”

“The Correctional Association of New York plays a vital role in ensuring that the state’s prison system operates humanely and with accountability. We are the eyes and ears of the public, monitoring conditions of confinement, pushing for reforms that protect the human rights of incarcerated individuals, and improve living and working conditions inside state prisons. Thank you to the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus for elevating our work in the People’s Budget. This $500,000 investment in next year’s state budget will ensure we can continue this essential oversight and build a safer, more just, and more humane prison system for all New Yorkers,” said Jennifer Scaife, Executive Director of the Correctional Association of New York.

“AARP New York applauds the Caucus for a range of investments to help and support New York’s skyrocketing older population. A boost in home- and community-based services for the elderly would support New York’s family caregivers in helping older loved ones live with dignity in their own homes for as long as possible – and avert a substantial taxpayer bill for far less desirable nursing home placements. Ensuring tenants have the right to counsel in fighting unfair evictions, plus funding to fight foreclosures and to create senior housing would all help protect affordable housing for older New Yorkers. And a major investment in the Home Energy Assistance Program would assist low-income New Yorkers of all ages in paying their ever-increasing utility bills. AARP New York stands ready to work with the Caucus, the Governor and all state lawmakers to ensure these wise investments are included in next year’s state budget.” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel.

“From senior centers, to child care, to legal services for immigrants, human service workers run the programs that keep New York moving. It’s past time to give them the wages they need to stay in our neighborhoods and turn their jobs into lasting careers,” said Michelle Jackson, Executive Director of the Human Services Council. “Our workers thank the BPHA Caucus for standing with them and putting their needs first this year’s People’s Budget. We can’t wait to take our message to those who need to hear it the most.”

“The BPHA Caucus continues to lead the charge for a New York that works for all of us. We share the vision for an adequately resourced state, one that invests in children and adults and ensures that programs such as child care, education, health care and economic justice are front and center,” said Zakiyah Ansari, Co-Interim Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “The impacts of the pandemic are far from over, and we must invest in our communities, particularly Black, brown, immigrant and working class communities who continue to be left behind in favor of a wealthy, white donor class. We are delighted that the caucus supports the Universal Child Care Act, an equitable formula for K-12 public schools, expansion of pre-K and fair taxes, and hope that the full legislature and Executive branch will follow their lead.” 

“The New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA) applauds the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus on its 2024 People’s Budget Framework and its focus on equitable access to justice and the unmet needs of communities of color and those living in poverty,” said Susan Bryant, Executive Director, New York State Defenders Association. “The Framework will tackle fundamental injustices in our criminal and family court systems, such as the significant underfunding of public defense family court representation and the criminal legal system’s failure to provide a public health response to individuals with mental health issues, while recognizing the importance of preserving recent meaningful reforms including implementation of discovery and Clean Slate. We are grateful for the Caucus’ ongoing support of NYSDA’s funding so that we can continue to provide crucial legal services to public defenders who represent vulnerable clients around the state. We look forward to working with the Legislature to make these proposals a reality in 2024.”

“…address inequities in housing, health, and economic development…”

“We applaud Assemblymember Michaelle Solages and the rest of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus for making environmental and climate justice key components of their 2024 ‘People’s Budget,’” said Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “In addition to a wide array of recommendations to address inequities in housing, health, and economic development, the inclusion of the NY HEAT Act, the creation of a Green Affordable Pre-Electrification fund, and additional funding for the Low Income Home Energy Program along with funding to address the state’s worst-in-nation lead crisis and emerging contaminants such as PFAS are all sound investments for New Yorkers, especially those living in low-income communities and communities of color which face disproportionate environmental burdens.”

“Centering investments in sustainable immigration legal services and the Access to Representation Act in the People’s Budget is an extraordinary step in support of family unity, economic prosperity, and community stability. Without legal representation, immigrants are more likely to be subject to detention, deportation to life-threatening circumstances, and permanent separation from their loved ones. This strong show of support sends the message that the state should advance a welcoming response to new neighbors and protect longtime New Yorkers through funding and legislation, and that universal representation must be a top priority in 2024. We commend the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, & Asian Legislative Caucus for showing up for immigrant New Yorkers,” said Shayna Kessler, associate director for advocacy for the Vera Institute of Justice’s Advancing Universal Representation initiative.

“Urban Pathways is grateful to the BPHA Caucus for its commitment to making vital investments in the human services workforce and housing subsidies outlined in the 2024 People’s Budget Framework. Recognizing the invaluable role of human services workers as the backbone of our community, we emphasize the significance of investing in a 3.2% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for all workers while increasing funding to reach compensation parity. These measures are essential in fortifying the nonprofit sector’s capacity to deliver indispensable services throughout New York State,” said Frederick Shack, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Pathways. “As New York continues to face an affordable housing crisis, the Housing Access Voucher Program stands as a beacon, broadening essential access to the private market for those in need. Urban Pathways is eager to collaborate with the BPHA Caucus during this budget season as we strive to address critical challenges and strengthen our communities.”

“The FY24 People’s Budget offers a powerful set of pathways to access simple justice. It provides actionable legislative and practical solutions which—when executed and led by the people and communities affected—will move us from resilience to equity, toward economic and social health and wellbeing for all New Yorkers,” said Christine Pahigian, Executive Director at Youth Justice Network. “Youth Justice Network commends the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus for its leadership. The People’s voice is clear.”  

“We applaud the BPHA Legislative Caucus for including the most critical energy affordability and climate justice bill of the 2023-24 session, the NY HEAT Act, in its annual People’s Budget,” said Anshul Gupta, Policy and Research Director for New Yorkers for Clean Power. “This bill, when passed, will lower current and future energy burdens for most New Yorkers, will help protect communities from indoor and outdoor pollution created by burning gas and other fuels in homes, and will redirect investments from outdated, harmful energy systems to modern, clean, efficient alternatives. We call on Speaker Heastie to heed the Caucus and include all provisions of the NY HEAT Act in the Assembly one-house budget proposal.” 

“The 2024 Peoples’ Budget compiles popular, common sense, smart investments in education, social services and programs and policies that we all know make our communities safer,” said Stan Germán, Executive Director at New York County Defender Services. “We are especially grateful to see that once again, the Caucus included priority legislation for communities impacted by the criminal legal system, including the Treatment Not Jail Act, the Challenging Wrongful Convictions Act, and many more. NYCDS is proud to stand with the Caucus to fight for these reforms in 2024.”

“As we look ahead to the 2024 legislative session, there is much work to be done to make New York a more fair and equitable state,” said Anya Mukarji-Connolly, Director of Policy & Advocacy at Brooklyn Defender Services. “We thank the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus for prioritizing funding and legislative changes that would protect the rights of people threatened by the criminal and family legal systems. We look forward to working alongside the caucus to end predatory court fees, protect our discovery laws, and invest in parental representation, among many other critical priorities outlined in the People’s Budget.”

“The NYS Network for Youth Success is extremely pleased to see the prioritization of afterschool investments and technical assistance supports, as well as dedicated funding for Community Schools, in the People’s Budget framework,” said Trudy Morgan, Policy Director at the NYS Network for Youth Success. “The need for increased funding to support afterschool, summer, and other expanded learning programs is long overdue, and the upcoming FY24-25 budget year provides an incredible opportunity for renewed efforts and investments in these programs. We thank the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus for this important foresight and look forward to realizing these priorities.”

Nathaniel Fields, CEO of the Urban Resource Institute, stated, “The Urban Resource Institute (URI) applauds the BPHA Caucus’ 2024 People’s Budget for its progressive vision and the inclusion of URI’s budget priorities. The Caucus’s holistic approach, which spans from tackling the housing crisis to improving educational environments, resonates deeply with our work at URI. It’s heartening to see the commitment to addressing systemic inequalities and the nexus of poverty and domestic violence affecting Black and Brown communities. This marks a pivotal advance in our collective efforts for justice and support for marginalized survivors. URI is committed to partnering with the Caucus to ensure the successful implementation of these budget priorities, especially the funding for URI’s Economic Empowerment Center which offers personalized, trauma-informed economic services to domestic violence survivors to help them achieve lasting economic security and stability. We believe that the impact of this funding could be transformative, particularly for survivors of domestic violence. It will enable us to expand our services, reach more individuals in need, and contribute to building a more equitable and just society,”

The People’s Budget proposals by the BPRHA Caucus include critical attention to lead poisoning prevention, which is an essential component of achieving justice for NY’s people and communities,” said Oceanna Fair, parent of a lead-poisoned child, advocate for Syracuse’s Families for Lead Freedom Now, and member of the Lead Free Kids NY coalition.” We appreciate the Caucus’ prioritization of funding for lead remediation, GAP funding, supporting low-income landlords, and the increased funding towards lead programs. We can’t wait any longer to protect New York’s children from lead poisoning problems created more than half a century ago.”

MANY Executive Director Erika Sanger stated, “The Museum Association of New York is grateful to the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus for including the New York 250 Commission in The People’s Budget. We deeply appreciate the caucus members’ support of New York’s history, art, and cultural organizations and the multitude of ways in which they will produce commemorative activities to tell an inclusive story of our state’s essential role in our nation’s War for Independence and all of the struggles for civil rights and justice that followed.” 

“We applaud the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus for including the New York Disability Advocates’ (NYDA) ‘Invest in Me’ package in their annual People’s Budget,” said Mike Alvaro, President and CEO of CP State and President of NYDA. “The two separate and distinct components of the ‘Invest in Me’ package, a 3.2% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), and a Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE), are crucial to help solve the decades-long challenges the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) sector continues to face, ensuring long-term sustainability of the I/DD service field. We look forward to working with the Caucus to ensure the ‘Invest in Me’ package, and all aspects of the People’s Budget, become a reality in the FY24-25 Budget.”

“It’s so encouraging to see, time and time again, that the People’s Budget, led by the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus reflects core priorities of our organization and our partners across New York State,” said Lisa Tyson, Executive Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “From critical climate justice legislation to needed housing protections, to taxing the rich, to vital funding for Indigenous schools, we see that the Caucus is attuned to the true needs of the people. We thank Chair Solages of Long Island, Caucus Executive Director Joshua Joseph, and the entire BPHA Caucus for their commitment to social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.”

“Social Workers for Justice applauds the inclusion of the Social Work Workforce Act in the 2024 People’s Budget framework by the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus”, said Dr. Jacqueline Mondros, Interim Director of Social Workers for Justice. “In doing so, the Caucus endorses the urgent need for a diverse workforce of social workers to address the critical challenges faced by the communities of New York. The Social Work Workforce Act holds the potential to transform the State’s capacity to support marginalized communities and address critical issues such as youth mental health, homelessness, addiction, poverty, and economic inequality. A larger and more diverse social work workforce will significantly impact the well-being of the State’s children, families, and communities. We urge the esteemed members of the state legislature and Governor Hochul to wholeheartedly support the Social Work Workforce Act. By investing in our workforce, our State government will move us toward a more just, equitable, and inclusive New York.”

“We celebrate the inclusion of the Social Work Workforce Act within the 2024 People’s Budget framework by the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus”, said Luisa Lopez, President of the Latino Social Work Coalition. “This pivotal move not only demonstrates the Caucus’s commitment to addressing pressing social challenges but also underscores the critical importance of a culturally and linguistically competent social work workforce in serving vulnerable communities across New York State. Our state faces numerous pressing issues, including youth mental health, homelessness, addiction, poverty, and economic inequality, which disproportionately affect minority populations. A larger and more diverse social work workforce is not only a necessity but a means to significantly impact the well-being of our state’s children, families, and communities.

“New York City is home to the world’s leading zoos, gardens and culture, arts, science and performing arts institutions, and New Yorkers of all income levels, across the boroughs deserve equal access” said Pat Nicholson, founder of the Free Admission campaign. “We’re grateful to the caucus for recognizing the importance of education and culture for all, beginning with a study of New Yorkers’ contributions to and rights to free access to 17 of our city’s most notable cultural institutions.”

“The BPHA Caucus’ People’s Budget is a reflection of every day New Yorkers and our needs – in particular those of us who carry this state on our backs. We are thrilled to see that it includes a diverse budgetary agenda leaving no one behind – including the Lorena Borjas Trans Wellness and Equity Fund, of which the Caucus was the first to get behind. We look forward to working with the Caucus to advance as many of these priorities as possible,” said Elisa Crespo, Executive Director of the NEW Pride Agenda. 

“The Fostering Youth Success Alliance (FYSA) applauds the Caucus’s demand to invest in education and housing opportunities for youth impacted by the foster care system. Every young person deserves a steady foundation on which they can build their future. Ensuring youth have access to extensive supports, such as the Foster Youth College Success Initiative, helps eliminate barriers for youth with a foster care background and allows them to thrive. It is our responsibility as a state to promote equity for all community members,” said Deidra Nesbeth, Director, Fostering Youth Success Alliance. 

“When a child has uninterrupted health insurance coverage, parents can access regular check-ups, scheduled vaccines, and preventive health services for their child, setting them up for a healthy start. Schuyler Center applauds the BPHA Caucus for including this important proposal in the 2024 People’s Budget Framework. A budget that supports the health and well-being of all of New York’s children is crucial to the future of our state,”said Kate Breslin, President and CEO, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.

With families struggling to make ends meet in New York, it is more urgent than ever to invest in universal child care that centers the needs of our BIPOC children, families, and child care educators. We are working to build a system where children are able to receive care and early education with no immigration or work requirements, families can find and afford care on their own terms, and child care educators receive the pay and benefits necessary to thrive while performing this essential care work. We are grateful to the BPHA Caucus for their continued leadership on and commitment to a flourishing vision of universal child care for New York State,” said Shanita Bowen, Co-chair Steering Committee, Empire State Campaign for Child Care.

“The 2024 People’s Budget Framework is a budget that puts all New York’s children first, calling for investments in policies proven to set up our children and families to thrive. Thank you to the BPHA Caucus for recognizing that our children need and deserve to grow up economically secure, with access to healthy food, uninterrupted access to healthcare, high-quality universal child care, well-resourced schools, and well-supported families. Further, our children who experience foster care, deserve and need access to housing and other supports as they transition to adulthood. The policies put forth in the People’s Budget Framework demonstrate the role of the State in providing equitable opportunities and supports for all families, regardless of income or zip code, race, immigration status, ethnicity, or family composition. Thank you!” said Dede Hill, Policy Director, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.

“Ensuring every New Yorker has high-quality, affordable and comprehensive healthcare, including dental, vision, hearing, and long-term care, is a fundamental guarantee of the New York Health Act. New York State has the opportunity to lead the nation in providing care for all as a human right, affirming that uninsurance, healthcare segregation, and medical bankruptcy are incompatible with the broader fight for racial justice.” said Betty Kolod, MD, MPH, Board Chair-Elect and Oliver Fein, MD, Board Chair of Physicians for a National Health Program – New York Metro Chapter.

The Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus

The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus is a seventy-seven-member body of state legislators representing a quarter of residents across the State of New York from Long Island, the metro New York City area, and upstate. Learn more:

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