NEW YORK — New York State’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus released its Fiscal Year 2023 “People’s Budget” on January 17, 2022. The document details what these legislators view as the state’s budgetary needs for its people, with a particular emphasis on the unique needs of low-income communities and communities of color. The People’s Budget includes a number of initiatives WE ACT for Environmental Justice has advocated for as well as other initiatives which we support, and therefore is more in-line with the needs and concerns of New York’s environmental justice communities than Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2022-2023 Executive Budget.
We appreciate the inclusion of the following initiatives that WE ACT has been advocating for:
- Supporting $10 Billion be allocated to for emergency capital improvements and operating expenses at NYCHA developments, to improve the living conditions of residents.
- To continue mitigating the sources of lead exposure to protect children.
- Supporting the proposal to advance a $4 billion Environmental Bond Act
- Expanding access to Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a lifesaving measure for tenants and homeowners alike having to find a way to pay the extra cost of heating and cooling during periods of extreme weather.
- Support the Cumulative Impacts and Public Participation legislations (S1031B/A2103A & S3211A/A6530) that addresses the cumulative public health impact of multiple environmental hazards being placed in low-income communities and communities of color and puts more emphasis on public participation requirements, mandating that permit-seekers listen and respond to the public as a condition of receiving a permit.
- Supporting the All-Electric Buildings Act (S6843A/A8431) mandating all-electric new construction starting in 2024.
- Supporting the full establishment and functioning of the New York State Environmental Justice Advisory Group as mandated by law, which will gauge and assess compliance with environmental justice policies.
- Asking for $15 billion in annual funding for implementing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).
- Increase staffing for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Create healthy school buildings by investing in upgrades to transition away from fossil fuel and improve their energy efficiency and heating and cooling systems to handle the increasing impacts of climate change.
- Supporting the New York Build Public Renewables Act (S6453/A1466A) & Public Power which will enable the New York Power Authority to build and own new utility-scale renewable energy projects and sell that energy directly to individual households.
- Supporting the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Act (S3331/A143) to identify and prohibit toxic chemicals in cosmetics and other personal care products as well as ensure that ingredient labeling clearly identifies the chemicals in each product.
We applaud the New York State’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus for prioritizing these issues and look forward to working with them on implementing them in the coming year.
“We thank New York State Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus, and we thank the Caucus members for their leadership, and we look forward to working with her and the rest of the caucus on advancing these key initiatives,” said Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
You can download the People’s Budget here. And you can download WE ACT’s 2022 Policy Agenda here. We look forward to working with Governor Hochul, members of the caucus, other state legislators, and their staff on these issues and initiatives.
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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.