On the campaign trail Cuomo claims he leads the “most progressive state.” Of course, this depends on criteria. In 2014 WaPo gave the edge to New York, but their standards were mostly based on Democratic Party representation, less on policy.
As someone who lived in Caly for nearly 20 years and moved to NYC 8 years ago, let me list a few ways the E-State falls short.
- Voting Rights: In California voting was easy. I was sent an absentee ballot, no excuse needed. In NYC, I have had to wait for hours to vote–sometimes giving up because I was late for work. California also has automatic voter registration. New York does not
- Marijuana: In 2016 California legalized marijuana. Equally important, recently California passed a law that will strike most past marijuana convictions from the records, a first step in reversing the racist consequences of drug laws. New York State legalized medical marijuana in 2016 but under highly restricted conditions.
- Environment: California set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045, New York has a goal of reducing greenhouse gases one third by 2030. California banned plastic bags in 2016. Cuomo killed a New York City law that required retailers to charge 5 cents for plastic bags.
- College Tuition: In California, the cost of a 3 unit course at LACC is $138, at BMCC it is $630. Despite Cuomo’s claim that he has provided “free college tuition,” most students do not qualify, and students who take one class get no break at all, making it hard for working people trying to complete their degree.
- Labor Rights: As an adjunct professor, my classes can be cancelled due to low enrollment. Consequently, during the summer I was allowed to claim unemployment benefits in California. In New York, I lack this right.
There are other things. Let’s just say I made a major financial sacrifice moving to New York. Don’t get me wrong. It was well worth the sacrifice. I much prefer NYC to LA. But this state is far from a progressive paradise.