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Issues: End Poverty and Raise Wages

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Jobs and Income Above Poverty

  • Raise Welfare and Disability Grants: Immediately raise welfare and disability benefits above the poverty line.

  • Raise the State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 30% of the federal EITC to 40%.

  • Guaranteed Minimum Income: Establish a guaranteed minimum income above poverty built into the progressive state income tax, with tax credit payments to those below the minimum paid monthly.

  • Public Jobs for the Unemployed: Enact a public jobs program paying living wages and benefits in public works and public services to meet community-defined needs – state-funded, locally-planned, and prioritizing disadvantaged communities.

  • Raise the Minimum Wage -- $20 by 2020 and $30 by 2030 -- Indexed to Inflation and Productivity: Accelerate and increase the scheduled rise in the minimum wage so that by 2030 it reaches the equivalent of $30 an hour in today's dollars with adjustments to increases in productivity through 2030. It should reach $20 an hour by 2020. If the inflation-adjusted minimum wage of 50 years ago in 1968 had kept pace with the 242% increase in productivity (real output per hour of work), the minimum wage would be $28.46 today. Meanwhile, the share of all income going to the top 1% from 1980 to 2014 increased from 12% to 30% in New York State and from 12% to 39% in New York City. The state minimum wage is not scheduled to reach $15 in the New York City area until 2020 and in the New York city suburbs until 2021. Upstate, the minimum wage is scheduled reach only $12.50 in 2020. These are still poverty wages. All workers should be paid living wages.

Worker Cooperatives

  • Target economic development resources to developing worker cooperatives that raise worker income by distributing value added according to labor contribution, not capital ownership.

  • Establish a state public bank with local branches to help plan, develop, and finance worker cooperatives.

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