Photo: Jumaane Williams.com
Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams this week released A Renewed Deal for New York City, an extensive plan for New York’s revitalization and recovery in the immediate and long-term aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, which draws inspiration from the principles of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, came a day before the Public Advocate delivered his annual State of the People address at a Thursday virtual conference, and one year after the first case of COVID-19 was reported in New York City.
A Renewed Deal for New York City is based on the principle that investment and progressivism, rather than austerity and conservatism, are the path forward to recover from the devastation of the coronavirus, the resulting economic disaster, and the systemic inequities exposed and exacerbated by these compounding crises.
“In a moment of national crisis, the New Deal was an acknowledgement that investment, that bold leadership and bold policies, would lift us from the depths of the Depression- but in the decades since, we have too often retreated from that principle.” said Public Advocate Williams about the report. “As we face compounding crises today, we need a Renewed Deal to not only recover from the pandemic, but address many of the underlying failures and inequities that existed long before it. The Renewed Deal is ambitious, but not hypothetical- stewardship of the city, the state, and its people in this moment demands action, and action now.”
Over 120 pages, the report outlines recommended policy and budget priorities on both a city and state level, spanning a wide range of topics. Many of the proposals included are aligned with legislative initiatives or platforms advanced by dedicated grassroots advocacy organizations, leaders in their respective areas.
While the Renewed Deal comes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report notes, many of the issues it addresses are systemic, and predate the current crisis. The Renewed Deal is not an effort to get “back to normal,” but to advance, with a more just, equitable, and thriving New York than existed one year and one week ago.
Specifically, the Renewed Deal centers immediate and long term recovery efforts in the areas of:
The Renewed Deal calls for deep investment in NYCHA and the development and maintenance of income-targeted deeply affordable housing in collaboration with the communities being impacted, as well as targeted action to provide pandemic relief, combat discrimination, inequity, and the longstanding impact of redlining.
Education and Opportunity
The Renewed Deal centers equity in education and opportunity in employment- it proposes increased public school funding and expansion of youth employment programs, while further recognizing that justice for working people means restructuring the economy to raise revenue from and limit influence of giant corporations and billionaires.
Infrastructure and the Environment
The Renewed Deal proposes the vast revitalization of the city’s transportation infrastructure and a reduction in cost to those using it, paired with prioritization of street safety measures – it further declares that infrastructural growth and economic growth must be economically just to be sustainable.
Civic and Community Empowerment
The Renewed Deal is set in the principle that government must represent and respond to the people, and proposes government accountability and transparency reforms together with voting rights expansions – it also centers opportunity and protections for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.
Justice, Health Equity, and Safety
The Renewed Deal recognizes the intersection of public health and public safety, the need to confront the health disparities that have been so prevalent amid the pandemic, and to re-define public safety beyond simply law enforcement while driving transformational change in existing systems of injustice.
In the coming months, Public Advocate Williams and his office will work through legislative and community engagement strategies to advance the principles and policies detailed in the Renewed Deal, combatting the notion that cuts or conservative approaches will suffice.
On Thursday, the Public Advocate will host the 2021 State of the People Conference, virtually, to explore and discuss the report in a series of public workshops and events. Thursday evening, it will be the focus of his State of the People Address.
A Renewed Deal for New York City can be downloaded here.