Progressive Caucus FY18 Budget Priorities

Every year, the Progressive Caucus works to ensure a fair budget that maintains a commitment to strong core City services while supporting programs that protect the most vulnerable. At a time when the Trump administration threatens the most basic rights and beliefs of many of our residents, an equitable and fair budget that strengthens core City services and protects the most vulnerable is that much more important in order to resist the bigotry and divestment from public assistance occurring at the national level.

With our values and the threats to our city from the national level in mind, Caucus members identified the Caucus’ FY18 budget priorities, using our eleven-point ADVANCEMENT framework to outline our policy and budgetary goals for this legislative term. Due to the critical partnership and leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Finance Committee Chairwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, many of these priorities and other investments were advocated to be baselined in the Council Response to the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget.

The Council’s Budget Response to the Mayor reflected the following budget items prioritized by the Progressive Caucus for the FY18 Budget Cycle:

Anti-Eviction Legal Services: support for access to free legal services including counseling and/or full legal representation for tenants facing eviction in Housing Court.

Universal Youth Jobs: additional funding for slots in the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) to baseline and grow the program, and more funding to providers to increase support for the development of NYC youth.

Increase for Human Service Contracts: increased support for an across-the-board increase in funding for human services to right-size contracts going forward for nonprofit human services providers that deliver a vast range of essential services, including foster care case management, meal programs for seniors, home care for the developmentally-disabled, and much more.

NYCHA Repairs: robust investments in NYCHA repairs to improve housing, health, and safety for public housing residents.

Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities: additional funding for DFTA’s operations of NORCs for seniors living in areas populated by large numbers of New Yorkers over the age of 60, require particular access to health, transportation and medical services.

Universal Free School Lunch: eliminate lunch fees at all public schools to increase participation and ensure all students eat a healthy lunch in school

Citi Bike Citywide: additional funding for Citi Bike to expand to the five boroughs so that is accessible to all New Yorkers.

 Emergency Food Assistance Program:  increase funding to meet the basic needs of all food pantries and soup kitchens in the EFAP network across the City, and provide food relief for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.

Human Rights Commission: fully support the expansion of the Commission on Human Rights’ Law Enforcement Bureau to allow for a quicker investigation and processing of complaints of discrimination, harassment and bias-based profiling in a timely and efficient manner.

 Fair Fares: provide funding for half price MetroCards pilot program for those New Yorkers living at or below the poverty level, or about $24,000 for a family of four.

Vision Zero: investments to support education and outreach for Vision Zero and help increase public awareness of the City’s initiative to prevent pedestrian fatalities and increase street safety.

Expand the Office of Labor Policy and Standards: additional funding to contract with local CBO’s to increase financial inclusion, hire additional staff members, have sufficient resources for upcoming legislation, can create public awareness of the division’s work, for IT & Communication costs and for the building of a repository to capture data from all OLS’ work

 Crisis Management System (Anti-Gun Violence Initiative): increased funding to expand anti-gun violence initiatives and CMS to high need neighborhoods.

 New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP): funds to support the defense of the City’s immigrant families in deportation proceedings.

 Citywide Civil Legal Services: support for direct client representation, including representation in class action cases; the provision of legal advice; community legal education presentations; pro-bono/volunteer lawyer programs; and hotline and other telephone-based legal services.

Adult Literacy: funding to provide programming for basic literacy, English for Speakers of Other Languages, and Graduate Equivalent Degree classes for adults who cannot read, write, and speak English, along with support services such as counseling and case management.

 Parks Maintenance: increased funding baselined for the well-being of the City’s precious green spaces, especially in low-and moderate-income neighborhoods.

As we enter City Council’s Executive Budget hearings, we hope to continue work to ensure adequate funding for Caucus priorities above.


Stand for Tenant Safety Testifies for Passage of Legislative Package, Endorsed by Progressive Caucus, to End Construction as Harassment


Photo: Council Member Margaret S. Chin at a February 23, 2017 rally at City Hall in support of STS.

New York, NY – Tenants and advocates with the Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) Coalition will testify at a hearing today for five of the twelve bills in the STS legislative package which aims to reform the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). The STS Coalition is a citywide alliance of grassroots tenant organizations and legal service groups collaborating with the Progressive Caucus and the eleven City Council prime sponsors to push for greater protection for tenants, especially in regards to the use of construction as harassment by landlords.

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Welcoming Bill Perkins into the Progressive Caucus

The Caucus welcomed recently-elected Council Member and Former State Senator Bill Perkins as a member of the Caucus. Bill Perkins, was re-elected to the New York City Council in a Special Election on February 14th, 2017. Perkins brings a breadth of experience – having been elected to the Senate in 2006 after previously serving as deputy majority leader on the City Council for eight years, from 1998-2005.

The council member was a prime sponsor of the Childhood Lead Paint Poisoning Prevention Act of 2004, and a dedicated affordable housing advocate. He also fought tirelessly to reform public authorities like the MTA, and worked to extend unemployment benefits and to make health care more accessible during his Senate tenure. A lifelong resident of Harlem, Bill Perkins started his political career as a community activist and known for his tenacious and unyielding commitment to serving the community.

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Progressive Caucus launches 18 Progressive Policies for 2018

The New York City Council Progressive Caucus and allies gathered today on the steps of City Hall to announce their adoption of a new platform of “18 Progressive Policies for 2018” representing crucial campaigns they are fighting for – especially under the current political climate and the regressive era of the Trump administration.

The policy platform represents crucial campaigns to move the city forward, especially under the regressive Trump administration. As Progressives, we will fight for a more equitable and fair city that is safe for vulnerable New Yorkers – and that stands as an example for the rest of the nation: Progressive Caucus Policy Platform “Resistance & Progress: 18 Progressive Policies for 2018”

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Progressive Caucus Statement on the resignation of NYPD Officer Richard Haste

New York, NY— The New York City Council Progressive Caucus is disappointed and angered by the repeated lack of transparency and accountability from the NYPD, especially now in regards to the resignation of Officer Richard Haste. Through NYPD policy, an officer in a department trial has a right to respond to the hearing officer’s findings and recommendation prior to the Police Commissioner’s review and imposition of a penalty. Because of this policy, Haste, who was informed of his forthcoming termination, was given the opportunity to resign instead of being fired in disgrace. Without termination, it is possible Haste that could secure a job as a police officer in a different county as he is not prohibited from applying as a resigned officer.

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