Green Party Urges Cuomo to Embrace a Progressive Agenda in his State of the State

1/8/21 - The Green Party of New York called on Governor Cuomo today to embrace a progressive agenda for 2021, including a Taxing the Rich to fund a Green New Deal COVID relief package, enactment of single payer health care, and passage of long-delayed marijuana legalization including reinvestment in impacted communities. 

The Greens, who are suing the Governor over his law to kill off independent smaller parties, called on state lawmakers to side with democracy, including restoring third party political rights, enacting Ranked Choice Voting and proportional representation, and doing far more to crack down on campaign finance abuses than the package enacted last year.

“Americans are hurting, with Trump openly trying to organize a coup while hundreds of thousands die from COVID and hundreds of millions face difficult economic challenges. We must also solve the climate crisis so that our children have a chance for a decent future. The Green New Deal, which we first called for in Howie Hawkins’ 2010 gubernatorial race, will also meet the economic needs of our state’s residents. Single payer health care would reduce overall healthcare spending while ensuring that everyone’s health care needs, including COVID, are met,” said Mark Dunlea, the new Co-Chair of the EcoAction committee of the U.S. Green Party.

“Democracy is in a fragile condition in New York and nationwide, with both parties engaged in corruption and suppression of democratic rights. Cuomo used the cover of COVID to kill independent small parties in the state budget. It is time for all those Democrats who told us they opposed what was happening to have the courage to stand up to Cuomo and do what is right for New Yorkers. That includes raising the taxes on billionaires and other rich New Yorkers to close the massive budget deficit from COVID,” added Gloria Mattera, state party co-chair.

The Greens have been critical of Cuomo’s mishandling of the COVID crisis despite praise from much of the media. They support an independent investigation into the handling of nursing homes as well as the delay in moving to shut down and require masks. The Greens support the effort by county governments to increase their role in the COVID vaccine distribution which has lagged under Cuomo and his reliance upon hospitals.

In addition to funding Green New Deal initiatives, the Greens support strengthening the climate law Cuomo signed a year ago to speed up the timelines. President Biden for instance has proposed a timeline 5 years faster for 100% clean electricity that New York’s 2040 goal. The Greens want a target date of zero emissions as soon as possible (2030), rather than the 30-year goal under the state law which would still allow emissions to be 15% of 1990 levels. The Greens support an immediate halt to all new fossil fuel infrastructure, increased public ownership and democratic control of the energy system and a robust carbon tax in all sectors to make polluters pay for the damages they cause with fossil fuels.

The Greens have also been long-term proponents of stopping the multi-billion dollar annual rebate of the Stock Transfer Tax. “It is long past time that the Democrats in Albany make the rich pay their fair share of taxes and ways, instead of making New York the long-time leader in economic inequality. We won’t solve the climate crisis or systemic racism or a host of other social problems until we embrace ecosocialism, putting the needs of average people and the planet ahead of the profits and well-being of a few,” said Peter LaVenia, state party co-chair.

The Green Party first got ballot status in 1998 with (Grandpa) Al Lewis and his call for ending the war on drugs. This included pushing to repeal the old Rockefeller drug laws and the legalization of marijuana. The Green Party agrees with the Michelle Alexander paradigm that the drug laws created the New Jim Crow. The Greens want to repeal all cannabis laws.

“Big monied, politically connected Corporations should not dominate the cannabis industry. The legislature should spell out in law what is to be set aside in cannabis tax revenue for grants and small business loans for individuals and communities most harmed by the War on Drugs. How much gets set aside and who gets what should not be left up to bureaucrats appointed by the governor” said Bronx Green Paul Gilman. The Greens want to allow people to grow their own marijuana and to require commercial growing operations to be organic.