What we’re hoping to see in today’s State of the State. These three top the WFP’s list for the today:
Publicly financed “Fair Elections.” The corrupting influence of money in politics is a threat to American democracy. Enormous contributions grease the wheels for special access, and the misguided Citizens United decision only makes the problem worse. Governor Cuomo should set an example for the nation by enacting a system of publicly financed elections. Other reforms to our campaign finance system are useful, but only a matching system that elevates small contributors, such as the one in NYC, gets at the heart of the problem. The Governor mentioned public financing in last year’s address. This is the year to get it done.
Increasing the minimum wage and tying it to inflation. Our state’s minimum wage – less than $300 per week for full-time work — is a disgrace. The minimum wage raises the floor for all low-wage workers, and is the single best way to increase economic activity in the state. But if we fail to tie the minimum wage to the rising cost of living, any increase is a band-aid, as the rising cost of basic necessities eats away at the value of the minimum wage year after year. That’s how the minimum wage got so low in the first place! We can truly lift up low-wage hard working families by boosting the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation.
A permanent moratorium on hydrofracking. Governor Cuomo has always said he would base his decision on hydrofracking on science. Today, it’s clearer than ever that hydrofracking cannot be done safely, as well leaks, chemical spills, earthquakes and other disasters follow hydrofracking across the nation. We shouldn’t need Hurricane Sandy to prove that a future tied to extracting ever more difficult-to-reach fossil fuels is the wrong future for New York. The state is worth more than the gas under our feet. Governor Cuomo should ban fracking.