In Albany, Phara has been a steadfast champion for working people. She has cosponsored over 280 pieces of legislation and introduced six bills of her own, focusing on removing barriers to healthcare access and reuniting incarcerated New Yorkers with their families and communities. Her most notable accomplishments in Albany are the Invest in Our New York package of taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and her landmark parole justice reform, Less Is More.
Invest in Our New York
Faced with an early $15 billion budget deficit and no federal funding in sight in the fall of 2020, a historic coalition of grassroots organizations, unions, and progressive elected officials came together to avert a looming disaster. The Invest in Our New York package was a group of six bills designed to raise billions in new revenue from raising taxes on the top 5 percent of earners, as well as Wall Street speculation and corporate profits. These common-sense tax reforms would revolutionize the New York tax code and fully fund the social programs needed for an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2021 legislative cycle, Phara was a lead supporter of this legislative package and a powerful part of the grassroots coalition. With her support and advocacy, the New York state budget adopted higher income taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations and raised a record $4.5 billion. These funds enabled New York State to avoid a financial catastrophe, fund social services, and pay for the $2 billion, first-in-the-nation Excluded Workers Fund to support undocumented workers who had been called “essential” but were overlooked by federal stimulus programs.
Less Is More
Phara’s Less Is More legislation, which had been languishing in committee until Phara took office in 2021, eliminates prison time for a number of minor technical parole violations. Historically, minor technical violations, like missing an appointment with a parole officer due to a subway delay or failing a drug test, could send you back to prison – of people on parole whom New York sent back to prison in 2018, over 5,780 or 66% were reincarcerated for technical violations. Sending people back to prison, especially for minor procedural hiccups endangers their safety and ability to join the workforce, destabilizes their families and communities, and contributes to the overcrowding of state prisons. Time and time again, studies show that people thrive when they are in their community and have a coherent support network and safety net. Working together with a broad coalition of advocates, including people on parole, people currently and formerly incarcerated, and impacted family members, Phara passed this landmark legislation in her first term. Because of her advocacy, Phara was able to make real, lasting change in our state by helping to release hundreds of people who had been imprisoned solely for minor parole violations and allow 8,000 New Yorkers to be discharged from parole as of March 2022. Her decarceral reform will also keep hundreds of people in their communities where they can receive care outside of New York State’s dangerous, unjust prison system.
While Phara has been able to accomplish so much in Albany in just her first term, she knows that our fight for a better New York is far from over. She’s running for reelection because we need leaders in Albany who understand what it’s like to be a working person in New York. Our community needs her voice in Albany to fight for the future we all deserve.
- Free, universal healthcare through the New York Health Act
- Democratically controlled public utilities through the Build Public Renewables Act
- Divestment of state funds from fossil fuels and ban on of new fossil fuel power plants
- Parole justice for incarcerated New Yorkers expanded eligibility for treatment for justice-involved individuals with mental health and substance use needs
- Protections for the right to vote
- Public banking
- Universal childcare
- A free public university system through the City University of New York and State University of New York through the New Deal For CUNY legislation
- Increased wages for home care workers
- Expansion of healthcare coverage to undocumented New Yorkers
- Good Cause eviction protections to ensure every tenant in New York is guaranteed the right to a lease renewal
- Housing vouchers for unhoused New Yorkers
- The creation of a pathway for tenants to buy their buildings instead of selling to developers
- Fully funding NYCHA
- An end to the cruel misclassification of gig workers
Phara is fighting for a New York where all of us, regardless of our income or background, can lead a successful life. She’s taken on the corrupt establishment and powerful special interest to ensure New York puts the needs of working-class people first. Her fight isn’t over and that’s why she needs your vote on June 28 in the Democratic Primary.
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