“Mayoral accountability of our school system has led to record-high graduation rates and record-low dropout rates, the creation of Pre-K and 3-K for All, and the ability to provide all of our 1.1 million school children with access to an excellent education regardless of their zip code. The buck stops with me, and I vow to continue fighting on behalf of our children and to continue working with all of our parents whose voices help improve our school system every day.
“I endorsed congestion pricing because I knew – if done right – it was our best hope at getting the trains moving and ending the suffering our riders face every day. This budget represents a giant step in the right direction. With a guaranteed lockbox for New York City riders, fairness for the outer boroughs, and exemptions for people experiencing hardships, I am confident this dedicated revenue stream will go a long way toward fixing the MTA’s broken subway system.
“For too long too many people have been unnecessarily and unfairly incarcerated based entirely on their ability to buy their freedom. By eliminating cash bail for those charged with most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, we’re helping more people remain with their families and support networks rather than behind bars. Together with speedy trial and discovery reform, I am confident we are moving toward a future without mass incarceration. However, there’s much more we need to do to meet that reality.
“This budget does something I have long advocated for: banning single-use plastic bags. These bags litter our streets and threaten our planet. It is our job to lead the fight against climate change and fossil fuels so that our kids aren’t forced to deal with the irreparable consequences.
“The news from Albany wasn’t all good. Once again, the State is cutting critical funding New Yorkers rely on. This year, we’ll be forced to go without $125 million in State funding that assists low-income families. The State also is cutting $59 million for public health services, such as newborn home visiting services, clinics that treat STDs, HIV and tuberculosis, and public health response services that have been used for legionnaires, West Nile, and Zika. This funding also is critical for helping with the fight against opioids and testing updated vaccines for diseases like Measles and Hepatitis A.
“I want to thank Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Heastie for their leadership and for prioritizing subway riders, students and their parents, and our environment. I look forward to helping build upon this progress throughout the legislative session.”