A New York that Works for All of Us
The 2014 Working Families Party Platform
The Working Families Party 2014 platform is a roadmap to building a New York that works for
all of us, not just the wealthy. Our platform is founded on a simple proposition: we all do
better, when we all do better. That’s an important expression of our values, but it’s more than
just that. It’s a statement of what it will take to realize the great New York promise of liberty,
justice, and opportunity for all.
I. A New York economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.
Making work pay for all New Yorkers. The first decision we must make together is to
make work pay, with good jobs so we can support and care for our families with dignity. New
York should raise the minimum wage so that nobody who works full time lives in poverty. But
should give our cities and counties the green light to do better than that, the authority to set
local minimum wages. And talking about supporting families, it’s common sense – and long
overdue - that New York enact pay equity, so women get paid as much as men for equal work.
Making work pay means stopping employers from stealing wages, by not paying
overtime or minimum wage, or ripping off workers and government by pretending that their
employees are independent contractors. It means supporting the freedom of workers to form
Decent pay alone is not enough to care for our families today. Every job should include
paid sick days – those are really earned sick days. We should establish paid family leave
insurance, so we can afford to take the time we need to care for a new baby or sick parent.
Good jobs for all New Yorkers: New York must invest in creating good jobs for every
New Yorker. We must rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges. We must modernize our
schools and our electric grid. We can create new jobs through by investing in clean, renewable
energy and make our homes and businesses more energy efficient. That will be a major step to
stopping the disruption of the climate that is endangering our cities and towns and our
children’s very futures. We can hire New Yorkers at good pay to prepare their own
communities against future storms. We should ban fracking, instead of endangering our
precious water and destroying small town and farm communities.
Affordable access to the Internet and communications for all New Yorkers. New York
should lead in stopping the Comcast – Time Warner merger, blocking a new monopoly, which
will make their already terrible service worst and raise what we pay for cable and Internet even
higher. We should insist on an open Internet, stopping huge companies from raising rates and
reducing access. We should create jobs throughout New York, building high-speed Internet for
every community in our State.
II. A Government that works for all New York, not just corporate lobbyists.
Great New York public schools and colleges for all our children. Great neighborhood
public schools, community colleges and public universities are the foundations of opportunity
for our children to learn and succeed in career and in life. We must provide the resources to
build strong neighborhood public schools for every child in New York, regardless of their zip
code. We can do that by honoring New York’s legally-binding agreement in the Campaign for
Fiscal Equity decision to provide every school the resources they need for our children to learn.
And by fulfilling our constitutional obligation to provide the same amount of resources to
teach our children in every community in New York.
We should halt the barrage of standardized testing, which is raising the stress level of
children, parents and teachers. Testing should be used to identify what students need more
help with, not to punish students, teachers and schools.
We can open the gates of CUNY and SUNY to New York’s students by ending all tuition
so our students can start their careers without being saddled by debts – and we can fund this
by taxing multi-million dollar CEO pay33. We can immediately pass the Dream Act, so that all
New York students, regardless of their immigration status, can get assistance for college tuition.
Quality, affordable health care for all New Yorkers. The Affordable Care Act is a good
first step, but we can and must do better, to assure that every New Yorker has health care
coverage that is affordable and meets their health care needs. In 2017, New York should take
the next big step, replacing the high costs and maddening complexity of the private insurance
system with a publicly run and accountable insurance program that provides high-quality,
affordable coverage to all New Yorkers.
Fair taxes. Our tax sysem is upside down; we need to turn it right side up. We can raise
hundreds of billions of dollars by closing corporate tax loopholes and assuring that the rich pay
their fair share, so that big corporations and the wealthy take responsibility for contributing to
building strong communities. We can reshape New York’s corporate tax, so that it stops
favoring big corporations over small businesses. We can restore the integrity of New York’s
corporate alternative minimum tax to insist that corporations pay taxes on their profits. We
can demand that banks pay a fair share on their soaring profits. We can hold accountable
corporations that get New York tax subsidies for increasing the number of jobs they promise
and hiring New Yorkers to do the work.
We can require that wealthy New Yorkers pay a fair share of income taxes. We can
make the amount New Yorkers pay for property taxes are based on income, by putting a circuit-
breaker based when property taxes are too high a share of income.
III. A Democracy that works for all of us – not just CEO campaign contributors.
Elections that work for the many, not just the money. It’s time that our New York
government work for working families and the middle-class, not the super-rich and CEO
campaign contributors. We can start by enacting Fair Elections, small-donor and public
financing of elections, so that candidates can compete relying on small-donors, not fat-cat
contributors and corporate PACs. We can revive the Moreland Commission instead of shutting
it down to take the spotlight off corrupt campaign finance practices.
We must take down the barriers to voting, so that every New Yorker has the
opportunity to make their voices heard. Voters should be able to easily cast their votes before
Election Day and register to vote on Election Day. And we should restore the right to vote to
New Yorkers who have been incarcerated.
Justice for all New Yorkers – of every race: It is time to stop wrecking our youth’s
futures and instead provide opportunity for all our young people in all our neighborhoods to
fulfill their dreams. While young whites use marijuana at higher rates, the overwhelming share
of arrests are of young people of color, whose futures can be ruined. It’s time that we took the
common sense step of regulating and taxing Marijuana, just like we do alcohol.
Our senseless, race based drug laws and police policies have stolen the futures of
generations of young men of color. Instead of jailing our youth for non-violent crimes, we
should focus on treatment, education and job training. We can establish a Truth, Justice and
Reconciliation Commission to recommend how we can end the mass incarceration of our
youth in communities of color.
Equal treatment and respect of all New York women. New York gave birth to the
women’s rights movement, and has long served as a model for equality, fairness, and
progressive action on women’s issues. The 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda would restore
New York as a leader in women’s rights by achieving pay equity, stopping sexual harassment,
preventing pregnancy discrimination in all workplaces, strengthening human trafficking laws
and protections for domestic violence victims, ending family status discrimination, and
protecting a woman’s freedom to decide when to have a family.