Progressive advocates have their dream Legislature in New York: supermajorities in both the state Assembly and now the state Senate.
Democratic domination of Albany, they hope, will give added heft to the major priority for virtually any progressive organization next year of increasing tax rates on the rich.
The mix of an economic recession that is hitting poor and working class people, along with the turbo charged majorities, should lead to bolder measures, the groups have argued.
“This election has proven that New Yorkers want relief, not excuses, from a Governor who would rather protect the rich than meet the desperate needs of our communities," said Rosemary Rivera, the co-director of Citizen Action.
"Governor Cuomo may downplay the significance of a supermajority, claiming that Senators are not on the same page with each other. The reality is that most Senators are on the same page as the people of New York—that too many people are struggling to pay rent, buy food, and educate their children."
The hope among progressives who have sought to push both lawmakers and the governor to the left is a the Legislature will wield its veto-proof majority to notch the tax-the-rich victory.
“Supermajority means veto-proof. It means that now the main thing preventing state leaders from taxing the richest New Yorkers to care for those hit hardest by this pandemic is a lack of moral courage and political will," Rivera said.
"During an unprecedented election, New Yorkers voted in record numbers because they know what is at stake. As Cuomo said, everything happens in the budget, and the budget tells us where our priorities lie. With a supermajority, we have more elected officials willing to fight for a budget that invests in our communities, puts people before profits, and ensures stability and a recovery for all New Yorkers."
Senate Republicans, of course, see it far differently and pledged his conference and new members will be "an even louder voice" in Albany.
"If New Yorkers thought One-Party Control was bad, more Democrats in the New York State Senate will usher in a new era of radical, increasingly socialist policies, unlike anything before seen in this state," said Sen. Robert Ortt, the minority leader.
"Our members will approach their responsibilities with even more resolve to fight against any policies that will make our state less safe and lead to more New Yorkers fleeing for better opportunities. We will continue our battle to make New York safer and more affordable and advance policies to help our economic recovery."
The state's finances are in dire condition given the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuomo has raised the possibility multiple times of increasing taxes on the state's wealthiest residents if aid from Congress does not come through for state governments.
Cuomo this week in an interview with WAMC public radio said he would support an income tax hike on the rich if the aid, stalled since the spring, is not approved.
But Cuomo and fiscal watchdogs have also noted a tax hike alone -- even increasing rates beyond what the wealthiest pay in California -- would not be the budgetary silver bullet given the depth of the state's revenue problems this year created by the crisis.
As for the governor finding ways of picking off the majority's marginal members from upstate and Long Island?
Individually and as a whole, the Democrats within the state Senate have shown they can stick together on controversial measures like providing access to driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants or on measures where there is a lot of institutional pressure like overhauling rent control regulations.