Fixing the New York economy this year will require aiding tenants so they can stay in their homes and getting federal support for both the state and local governments.
And it's also going to require new revenue, said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in an address formally kicking off the 2021 legislative session.
Heastie linked the push for raising more revenue -- likely and most substantially in the form of increasing taxes on upper income earners -- to getting people back to work.
"In order to maintain our position as the global economic leader, we must step up and raise much-needed revenue to shore up the foundations of our social safety net," Heastie siad. "When New Yorkers get back to work, the wheels of our economy will begin turning again. Small businesses will have shoppers. Restaurants will have patrons. Public transportation will have more riders. New York will be back."
New York is considering the legalization of marijuana and mobile sports betting, two measures that in non-crisis years did not cross the legislative finish line, but may face a friendlier reception given the need for the state to raise money.
But the revenue raised from those measures is not expected to come anywhere close to closing the multi-billion dollar budget gap. Federal aid and tax increases appear to be twin solutions.
"States and localities simply cannot bear the brunt of a global pandemic," Heastie said.
"It is incumbent upon the federal government to aid states during this global health crisis. As I have said repeatedly, this house will do what we can to raise the necessary revenue to meet the many challenges New York faces. But we cannot do it alone. I am hopeful that the Biden-Harris administration, along with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer will get the resources we sorely need to help get the state through this terrible pandemic."