Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Adams 2021: Government - A More Equal City

Historical injustices have held back Black, Brown, and low-income communities in this city for generations, and COVID-19 preyed on the failed policies of the past in devastating ways. It is time to heal the physical and financial health of these long-ignored New Yorkers, creating a city where everyone can compete, succeed, and play an equal part in our future

That includes:

  • Connecting the poor to desperately needed services in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Using our leverage as a client and our spending to create a fairer economy.
  • Allowing tax-paying legal immigrants to vote in municipal elections.

We will bring the City to the community to connect low-income New Yorkers to the services they desperately need.

There are plenty of City services — but too many obstacles in the way of receiving them. We must give the neediest New Yorkers greater access to services. That means bringing the City right to the doorstep of New Yorkers with a new program that provides New Yorkers with necessary services and educates them about it so they can receive those life-sustaining services. We will equip City workers with computer tablets linked to the City’s unified digital platform and send them into the areas of greatest needs. We will set up shop in open storefronts, NYCHA complexes, and even parks. These workers can then connect New Yorkers to federal services and programs that will help us receive the more the $22 billion a year that New York taxpayers send to D.C., but do not get back, according to the most recent data.

We must require the super-rich to help speed our turnaround from the pandemic.

The multi-millionaires and billionaires must pay their fair share to help all of us get through the aftermath of the pandemic, which disproportionately hurt Black and Brown New Yorkers. We can generate $1 billion to 2 billion annually by instituting a “Recovery Share” — a modest increase to the income taxes of city earners who make more than $5 million a year, sunsetting after two years. That money would go directly into initiatives that help us bounce back from the pandemic, including testing and vaccination programs, anti-hunger efforts, and financial help for those New Yorkers — mostly Black and Brown — and industries hardest hit by COVID-19.

We will use our leverage as a client to create a fairer economy.

To keep good jobs in New York and advance our goals for a fairer economy, we will reward businesses that hire local workers and benefit minority and female owners and workers — especially on City-financed projects. Specifically, businesses will be asked to commit to hiring 75% city-based workers, prioritizing M/WBE contractors, and ensuring their contractors pay a living wage and report their workers’ residency and ethnicity statistics. Employers who agree to these terms could benefit from tax breaks and special consideration for City contracts.

We will empower legal immigrants with municipal voting rights.

There are more than 3 million immigrants in New York City. The vast majority of these New Yorkers cannot vote in local elections even though many are legal tax-paying residents. By allowing lawfully permanent residents and other non-citizens authorized to work in the United States the right to vote, we will enfranchise nearly 1 million New Yorkers who deserve a say in how their city is run – and who runs it.

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