The real-estate led development of New York City has brought new people into the city, while displacing others, and boosted demand for services, while those providing them struggle to get by on minimum wages, tips, and docked hours. The one-sided focus has failed to take care of problems of overcrowding, and an antiquated subway system is crumbling under the weight of neglect, punishing commuters.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council recently passed the #FairWorkweek and Fast Food Worker Empowerment bills fought for by Fastfood Forward and the Fight for $15 and a Union movement. Meanwhile, Cuomo is working on statewide legislation that could create confusion within the labor movement by expanding some parts of the legislation, while undercutting larger parts of the #FairWorkweek package. The implementation of different standards in different parts of the state also threatens to weaken and divide the labor movement in New York.
New York State owes $4.3 billion in Foundation Aid to schools statewide as a result of the decision of the New York State Court of Appeals in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. This funding is necessary to improve the quality of education in economically disadvantaged school districts. Fifty-eight percent of the funds are owed to Black and Brown students. The New York State Board of Regents recommended a $1.47 billion increase in Foundation Aid this year and a three year phase in of the full amount. This Budget agreement contains less than half of the recommended Foundation Aid increase, although it does include $272 million more than the meager $428 million proposed by Governor Cuomo. In a major victory, Governor Cuomo’s proposal to repeal the Foundation Aid formula entirely was defeated.
A reform bill introduced in the state legislature would require landlords to renew the lease based on the lower preferential rent as long as the tenant stays in the apartment. The Assembly has passed the bill every year for the last several years, but the Republicans and turncoat Democrats who control the state Senate have refused to pass it.