One of the most severe criticisms of Senator Bernie Sanders’ candidacy is the price tag of his progressive programs including Medicare for All, College for All, universal child care and pre-K, and Green New Deal and how these programs would be paid for. In the Charleston, SC debate (number 10 for anyone who is counting), Senator Amy Klobuchar charged that his plans, collectively, would cost $60 trillion, or three times the entire US economy. Now, just ahead of the South Carolina and Super Tuesday primaries, Sanders has released his plan to pay for his major policy proposals, which he handed to Chris Cuomo during a CNN town hall on February 24:
College For All
It will cost $2.2 trillion to make public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition free and to cancel all student debt over the next decade. It is fully paid for by a modest tax on Wall Street speculation that will raise an estimated $2.4 trillion over ten years.
Bernie’s bill to expand Social Security will increase benefits for low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities by more than $1,300 a year. It is fully paid for by making the wealthiest 1.8% of Americans – those with incomes over $250,000 a year – pay the same rate into Social Security as working families.
This bill will also extend the solvency of Social Security into the year 2070 – ensuring that Social Security can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 50 years.
Bernie has introduced a proposal to eliminate all of the $81 billion in past
due medical debt held by 79 million Americans. It is fully paid for by
establishing an income inequality tax on large corporations that pay CEOs at
least 50 times more than average workers.
The $16.3 trillion climate change proposal that Bernie has introduced will
fundamentally transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and towards
energy efficiency and renewable energy. It will also create 20 million
good-paying union jobs in the process.
It is fully paid for by:
– Raising $3.085 trillion by making the fossil fuel
industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and
eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies.
– Generating $6.4 trillion in revenue from the wholesale of
energy produced by the regional Power Marketing Administrations. This
revenue will be collected from 2023-2035, and after 2035 electricity will be
virtually free, aside from operations and maintenance costs.
– Reducing defense spending by $1.215 trillion by
scaling back military operations on protecting the global oil supply.
– Collecting $2.3 trillion in new income tax
revenue from the 20 million new jobs created by the plan.
– Saving $1.31 trillion by reduced the need for federal
and state safety net spending due to the creation of millions of good-paying,
– Raising $2 trillion in revenue by making large
corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
By averting climate catastrophe we will save: $2.9 trillion
over 10 years, $21 trillion over 30 years and $70.4 trillion
over 80 years.
If we do not act, the U.S. will lose $34.5 trillion by the end
of the century in economic productivity.
According to a February 15, 2020 study by epidemiologists at Yale University,
the Medicare for All bill that Bernie wrote would save over $450 billion in
health care costs and prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths – each and every year.
Since 2016, Bernie has proposed a menu of financing options that would more
than pay for the Medicare for All legislation he has introduced according to
the Yale study.
These options include:
Creating a 4 percent income-based premium paid by employees, exempting
the first $29,000 in income for a family of four.
In 2018, the typical working family paid an average of $6,015 in premiums to
private health insurance companies. Under this option, a typical family
of four earning $60,000, would pay a 4 percent income-based premium to fund
Medicare for All on income above $29,000 – just $1,240 a year – saving that
family $4,775 a year. Families of four making less than $29,000 a year
would not pay this premium.
(Revenue raised: About $4 trillion over 10-years.)
Imposing a 7.5 percent income-based premium paid by employers,
exempting the first $1 million in payroll to protect small businesses.
In 2018, employers paid an average of $14,561 in private health insurance
premiums for a worker with a family of four. Under this option, employers
would pay a 7.5 percent payroll tax to help finance Medicare for All – just
$4,500 – a savings of more than $10,000 a year.
(Revenue raised: Over $5.2 trillion over 10-years.)
Eliminating health tax expenditures, which would no longer be needed
under Medicare for All.
(Revenue raised: About $3 trillion over 10-years.)
Raising the top marginal income tax rate to 52% on income over $10
(Revenue raised: About $700 billion over 10-years.)
Replacing the cap on the state and local tax deduction with an overall
dollar cap of $50,000 for a married couple on all itemized deductions.
(Revenue raised: About $400 billion over 10-years.)
Taxing capital gains at the same rates as income from wages and
cracking down on gaming through derivatives, like-kind exchanges, and the zero
tax rate on capital gains passed on through bequests.
(Revenue raised: About $2.5 trillion over 10-years.)
Enacting the For the 99.8% Act, which
returns the estate tax exemption to the 2009 level of $3.5 million, closes
egregious loopholes, and increases rates progressively including by adding a
top tax rate of 77% on estate values in excess of $1 billion.
(Revenue raised: $336 billion over 10-years.)
Enacting corporate tax reform including restoring the top federal
corporate income tax rate to 35 percent.
(Revenue raised: $3 trillion of which $1 trillion would be used to help finance
Medicare for All and $2 trillion would be used for the Green New Deal.)
Using $350 billion of the amount raised from the tax on extreme wealth
to help finance Medicare for All.
New York State Governor
Andrew M. Cuomo took a deserved bow in announcing historic progressive
accomplishments during this year’s Legislative Session, delivering on his 2019
Justice Agenda first laid out in December, and calling it “the most productive
in modern political history.”
“These sweeping reforms
will ensure social and economic justice for all New Yorkers, address the
devastating impact of climate change, support New York’s ongoing commitment to
workers’ rights, modernize transportation systems across the state, and
enhance the Empire State’s nation-leading commitment to gender equity and LGBTQ
rights. All of this was done while enacting fiscally responsible policies
including holding spending growth to 2 percent for the ninth consecutive year,
enacting a permanent property tax cap and cutting taxes for the middle class,”
the governor’s office stated.
“Six months ago we
laid out our 2019 Justice Agenda – an aggressive blueprint to move New York
forward – and today I’m proud to say we got it done,” Governor Cuomo said. “At
the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what you accomplish, and
this was the most progressively productive legislative session in modern
history. The product was extraordinary, and we maintained our two pillars –
fiscal responsibility and economic growth paired with social progress on an
unprecedented and nation-leading scale.”
Here’s a synopsis:
Climate Leadership and
Community Protection Act: This
legislation enacts the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,
creating the most aggressive climate change program in the nation with goals
to: reach zero carbon emissions in the electricity sector by 2040; install
9 GW of offshore wind by 2035; 6GW of solar by 2025;
3 GW of energy storage by 2030; and directs state entities to work
toward a goal of investing 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency
resources to benefit disadvantaged communities. Additionally, the law creates
the Climate Action Council comprised of the leaders of various state agencies
and authorities as well as legislative appointments to develop a plan outlining
how the state will achieve an 85% reduction in GHG emissions from
1990 levels by 2050, and eventually net zero emissions in all sectors of the
Permanent Property Tax
Cap: Made permanent the 2%
property tax cap, building upon the approximate $25 billion in taxpayer savings
since it was implemented in 2012.
MTA Money and
Management: Funded the MTA
with an estimated $25 billion raised through Central Business District tolling,
a new progressive mansion tax, and the elimination of the internet tax
advantage. Implemented overdue MTA reforms including the developing a
reorganization plan, modifying MTA Board appointments to align with appointing
authority, requiring the MTA to undergo an independent forensic audit and
efficiency review, and calling for a major construction review unit made up of
outside experts to review major projects.
Rights: Governor Cuomo is
enacting transformative legislation in support of LGBTQ rights, including the
elimination of the gay and trans panic defense—closing a loophole in
state law that allowed individuals to use the gay and trans panic defenses
after attacking another based upon that victim’s gender, gender identity, or
sexual orientation. The Governor also enacted into law the Gender Expression
Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and a ban on LGBTQ conversion therapy.
Establish a Farmworkers
Bill of Rights: This legislation
established a farmworkers bill of rights, granting overtime pay, a rest day and
the right to unionize.
Enact Additional Sexual
Harassment Protections: This
package of reforms will lower the high bar set for employees to hold employers
accountable under the New York Human Rights Law for sexual harassment by
amending the requirement that conduct be “severe or pervasive” to
constitute actionable conduct; extend the statute of limitations for employment
sexual harassment claims filed with the Division of Human Rights from one year
to three years; and protect employees’ rights to pursue complaints by mandating
that all non-disclosure agreements in employment contracts
include language stating that employees may still participate in
government investigations conducted by local, state, and federal
Expand Statutes of
Limitations for Rape: Statutes
of limitations on rape cases impose a ticking clock on how long victims are
able to come forward if they want to seek charges. Over the last year, victims who
have suffered in silence for decades have bravely spoken about their abuse, and
also have laid bare the state’s limited ability to prosecute their abusers due
to the passage of time. In recognition of this fact, states across the country
are lengthening or eliminating the statutes of limitations on crimes of sexual
violence. This legislation extends the statute of limitations for
Rape in the Second Degree and Third Degree, and expand the civil statute of
limitations for claims related to these offenses, allowing
victims greater opportunity to obtain justice.
Closing the Gender Wage
Gap: Since taking office,
Governor Cuomo has fought aggressively to increase safeguards for women in the
workplace and close the gender pay gap in New York. This package of reforms
includes legislation to expand the definition of “equal pay for equal
work” to prohibit unequal pay on the basis of a protected class for all
substantially similar work and to close any loopholes employers try to use to
pay people less on the basis of their gender, race or other protected classes;
as well as a salary history ban, which prohibits employers from asking or
relying on salary history of applicants and employees in making job offers or
Reauthorize and Expand
the MWBE Program: The Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program has been
highly successful since its inception, establishing the highest goals
for MWBE participation in the entire nation and awarding thousands of
state contracts to minority-owned and women-owned businesses. This legislation
reauthorizes the MWBE program and extends the provisions of law
relating to the participation of MWBEs in state contracts to ensure
this effective program continues.
Protections: This package of reforms,
known as Housing Stability and Tenant Protection act of 2019, enacts the most
sweeping, aggressive tenant protections in state history, safeguarding
affordable housing for millions of New Yorkers.
Remove the Non-Medical
Exemptions for Vaccines: The United States is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of
measles in more than 25 years, with outbreaks in pockets of New York primarily
driving the crisis. As a result of non-medical vaccination exemptions, many
communities across New York have unacceptably low rates of vaccination, and
those unvaccinated children can often attend school where they may spread the
disease to other unvaccinated students. This new law will remove non-medical
exemptions from school vaccination requirements for children and help protect
the public amid this ongoing outbreak.
Education: School aid increased by
over $1 billion, bringing total school aid to a record $27.9 billion. In
addition, new reporting requirements will address imbalances in the
distribution of resources by prioritizing funding at the individual school
level in order to advance a more transparent, equitable education system.
Makes the Jose R.
Peralta DREAM Act a Reality: Finally opens the doors of higher education to
thousands of New Yorkers by giving undocumented New York students the same
advantages given to their citizen peers, including access to the
Tuition Assistance Program and state administered scholarships such
Expands Eligibility for
the Excelsior Scholarship Free Tuition Program: As the state’s successful free tuition
program enters its third year, students whose families make up to $125,000
annually will now be eligible to apply for the program, allowing more than 55
percent of full-time, in-state SUNY and CUNY students—or more than
210,000 New York residents—to attend college tuition-free when combined with
Reform: Sweeping criminal
justice reform was delivered by eliminating cash bail for misdemeanors and
non-violent offenses, ensuring the right to a speedy trial, and transforming
the discovery process.
Continued Investment in
Infrastructure: Builds upon the
Governor’s unprecedented commitment to invest $150 billion in infrastructure
projects over the next five years.
Delivering on the
Gateway Tunnel Project: This legislation establishes the Gateway Development Commission
and creates a comprehensive rail investment program for purposes of the
project. This bi-state effort, in cooperation with New Jersey,
represents significant progress on a crucial project for our nation’s
economy and security while restoring our role as a global leader in
Environment: The launch of the Green
New Deal—the most aggressive environmental protection initiative in the nation,
the ban of single-use plastic bags, launch of the food waste recycling program
and investment of an additional $500 million in clean water infrastructure,
increasing the State’s historic investment to $3 billion, all of which serves
to protect New Yorkers while combatting some of the most pressing threats to
Keeping New Yorkers
Healthy: By codifying
provisions of the Affordable Care Act, New Yorkers can rest assured that their
health needs will be covered, regardless of Washington’s actions.
Rights: Extended Janus
protections to all local governments and guaranteed the right to organize and
Promoting the Democracy
Agenda: To boost New York’s
voter turnout and ensure that New York’s elections remain fair and transparent,
the following initiatives were enacted this year: synchronized federal and
state elections, pre-registration for minors, early voting, universal transfer
of registration, and the advancement of no-excuse absentee voting, and same-day
Common Sense Gun
Reform: Building upon the SAFE
Act—the strongest gun control legislation in the country—additional measures
were enacted this year to ensure guns were kept out of the wrong hands,
including the Red Flag Bill, ban on bump stocks, and extending the background
check waiting period.
Signing the Child
Victims Act: The signing of this
long-awaited legislation provided necessary relief to child victims of sexual
abuse by amending New York’s antiquated laws to ensure that perpetrators are
held accountable for their actions, regardless of when the crime occurred.
Closing the LLC
Loophole: Closed the LLC loophole
by limiting political spending by an LLC to a total of $5,000 annually, which
is the same limit as corporations. The new law also requires the disclosure of
direct and indirect membership interests in the LLC making a contribution, and
for the contribution to be attributed to that individual.
2019 Women’s Justice
Agenda Accomplishments: With the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, Comprehensive
Coverage Contraceptive Act, and the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, as
well as the ban on revenge porn, and strengthened protections for breastfeeding
in the workplace, Governor Cuomo continued his commitment to ensuring fairness
and equality for women across New York State.
New capital funding
investments this year include:
Funding for Extreme Winter Recovery: $65 million in State funding for the
Extreme WINTER Recovery program. Provides enhanced assistance to local
governments for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of local highways and
roads impacted by New York State’s harsh winter weather. This unprecedented
infrastructure investment in local roads and bridges is in addition to the $478
million in State funding provided through the CHIPS
and Marchiselli programs, and $200 million for PAVE-NY and Bridge NY.
Million Public Housing Investment: Building on the State’s unprecedented $550 million investment in
the New York City Housing Authority, the Governor and Legislature are providing
an additional $100 million in capital funding to help support its ongoing
transformation while providing $20 million to support housing
authorities and other housingoutside of New York City.
Million for the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative: The Governor and Legislature are providing
$100 million in capital funding to support the State’s up to $300 million
commitment to communities impacted by Lake Ontario Flooding. Launched last
month, the REDI Commission is working with localities along the
shoreline to identify and support projects that will reduce the flooding risk
to infrastructure while strengthening the region’s local economies.
Million for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority: A $20 million capital appropriation is provided
to support the first year of a five-year $100 million commitment from the
Governor and Legislature to theNFTA to fund a five-year capital plan for
maintenance and improvements of Metro Rail.
Station 33rd Street Entrance: $425 million in capital funding will support the Penn Station
33rd Street Entrance project, and others associated with improvements to
the Long Island Railroad. Just last month, the Governor unveiled final design
renderings for the new main entrance to Penn Station located at
33rd street and 7th Avenue, which will provide much needed direct
access to the LIRR Main Concourse and the New York City Subway.
Investment in Public Libraries: A $20 million capital appropriation to public libraries will
help libraries across New York State as they continue to transform into
21st century community hubs.
Million for Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program: A $30 million capital appropriation will support
the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program, which under the Governor’s
leadership is enabling independent colleges across the state to make critical
investments in their infrastructure and equipment by providing matching capital
million Security Investment to Protect Against Hate Crimes: A $25 million capital appropriation is
included for security projects at nonpublic schools, community centers,
residential camps, and day care facilities at risk of hate crimes because of
their ideology, beliefs, or mission.