April 7, 2022
Contact: Sophie Ellman-Golan, sophie@jfrej.org

Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) released the following statement about Gov. Kathy Hochul’s FY23 State Budget announcement:

Governor Hochul’s late budget is a betrayal of New Yorkers across every issue: home care, housing, mass incarceration, immigrant rights, childcare, and more. This budget is an affront to our values as Jews and as New Yorkers. It prioritizes cages and cops over communities and care.

Gov. Hochul, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins cut a deal on Fair Pay for Home Care that leaves the home care sector worse-off than it is now. To put it plainly: This budget is a death sentence for millions of New Yorkers — people who will die without home care, people who will die in pre-trial detention, people who will die without housing and healthcare.

Fair Pay for Home Care would save lives. It would save the state billions of dollars annually. It is the right thing to do. And in one of the most partisan of times, this legislation earned bipartisan support, and was included in both the Senate and Assembly one-house budgets. Hochul went out of her way to tank it, just as she went out of her way to roll back key reforms to the criminal legal system.

Hochul is going out of her way to imprison New Yorkers in nursing homes and jails, to strip the most vulnerable among us of our rights, and to prioritize the whims of a wealthy few. She did all this in the largest budget New York State has ever put forth.

It is clear that Hochul feels no accountability to the people of New York. Her loyalty is to wealthy donors and the billionaire owners who want a glitzy new football stadium. She is choosing to let essential workers go hungry and homeless. She is choosing to let people with disabilities sleep in our wheelchairs, and eat just one meal a day. She is choosing to deny older adults the ability to age with dignity in our own homes. She is choosing to abandon family caregivers without any real support. She is choosing to leave undocumented parents and their children without child care and health coverage. She is choosing to imprison Black and brown New Yorkers in COVID-ridden jails.

There is one good thing about Hochul’s budget: its delay, disorganization, and cruelty brought organizations that had not previously worked closely together into a powerful and united grassroots opposition. We have spent weeks on the ground in Albany together, learning about each other’s issues, showing up to each other’s rallies, and bringing our voices together in songs and chants. We will fight on.

Care, not cops.

Communities, not cages.

No nursing homes, no jails.


Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) is the largest grassroots Jewish organization in New York City. JFREJ’s 6,000 members organize with our neighbors and allies to transform New York from a playground for the wealthy few into a real democracy for all of us, free from all forms of racist violence.

A Quick Breakdown of What's in Hochul's Billionaires' Budget:

Governor Hochul’s disastrous Billionaires' Budget is a racist, anti-immigrant, classist moral failure which caters to billionaires and abandons working communities of color. Her leadership puts New York State on a regressive path.

  • Failure to fund Fair Pay for Home Care: Hochul’s budget fails to fully fund Fair Pay for Home Care. Instead, she’s offering a flat $2 raise in 2023, and an additional $1 in 2024. This increase is not enough to meaningfully change home care workers’ incomes or address the shrinking sector, but it is enough to make many home care workers on public assistance ineligible for that assistance, leaving them worse off than before.
  • Excluding immigrants from assistance: Hochul chose not to replenish the state fund for excluded workers, leaving thousands of undocumented immigrants without the aid they are owed. Her budget also deliberately excludes undocumented workers, families, mothers, and children from critical social programs like childcare and healthcare coverage.
  • Tanking the Housing Access Voucher Program: If Housing Access Voucher Programs were funded at $1 billion, we would be able to house every homeless New Yorker, effectively ending homelessness in our state. Instead, that money will be subsidizing a new football stadium…
  • A tax-payer funded football stadium: At the eleventh hour in budget negotiations, Hochul insisted on over $1 billion in funding to build a new football stadium in her hometown of Buffalo — a shady deal from which the company her husband works for stands to benefit.
  • Rolling back reforms to the criminal legal system: Also at the eleventh hour in what had been a relatively smooth state budget process, Hochul inserted a new issue into the negotiations: un-doing key reforms that reduced mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty. She reversed as much of the 2019 bail reform and discovery reform legislation as she could in order to score political points with conservative voters. The fact that she was not able to un-do all of these reforms is thanks to the incredible work of the Communities Not Cages coalition.