For Immediate Release
Over 100 environmental and community groups sent a letter to state legislators today making their case for state funding to the tune of $10 billion per year for a Green New Deal.
The letter -- signed by Food & Water Action, New York Communities for Change, the Sunrise Movement, Democratic Socialists of America, VOCAL-NY, Friends of the Earth -- points out that New York cannot meet the goals outlined in the state’s new climate law without robust public funding for a rapid, just transition off fossil fuels to renewable energy.
The new funding would be secured by tax increases on the state’s wealthiest residents.
As the letter states:
“This level of commitment would create hundreds of thousands of well-paying, union jobs and stimulate much-needed investment in low-income communities and communities of color. It would help ensure timely progress in meeting the goals of the new climate law. And it would improve the quality of public services, like mass transit, and the health and safety of New York’s environment, while reducing inequality.”
“New York must meet the climate crisis head on by fully funding the Green New Deal,” said Eric Weltman, a Brooklyn-based senior organizer with Food & Water Action. “Real climate leadership means providing the funding necessary to create a rapid and just transition off fossil fuels to renewable energy. New York can lead the way in creating a green economy that works for all of us, protecting our communities from the devastating impacts of climate change while addressing rising inequality. But we need at least $10 billion in the state budget to accomplish this, and it must be raised in a way that’s fair and equitable: taxing the super-wealthy.”
The letter calls on lawmakers to prioritize energy efficiency programs for public housing, rent-regulated units and low-income homeowners, solar and geothermal installations, publicly-owned power systems, tax credits for zero-emissions vehicles, and increased funding for mass transit.
“My family lost everything in Sandy. New York isn’t going to make it without a Green New Deal. It’s time to tax the rich to raise the $10 billion per year needed for a Green New Deal for New York, which would create good, unions jobs for our communities while slashing pollution,” said Rachel Rivera, a Sandy survivor and member of New York Communities for Change (NYCC).
“Andrew Cuomo, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Carl Heastie need to stand up to the billionaires who put them in office and tax the rich for a Green New Deal. We are facing possible extinction at the hands of the ruling class, solely to preserve shareholder profits,” said Gustavo Gordillo of the NYC Democratic Socialists of America. “We have a chance to create a vision of racial justice, economic justice, and climate justice. If our state’s leaders are not willing to seize this opportunity, we need leaders who will.”
Cuomo’s recent budget address touted a $33 billion, five year investment in climate and resiliency. But that total is misleading; it includes massive subsidies for the profitable nuclear power industry, existing efficiency programs, and the spending linked to the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program.
The letter calls the $10 billion Green New Deal investment, “covered by the billionaire class, a bargain.”