Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Health workers hold signs during a nurses protest at Rikers Island Prison over conditions and coronavirus threat on May 7, 2020 in New York City. (Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Tax the Rich and Divert Billions From NYPD Budget to Fund Public Hospitals, Says Nurses Union

"The working class and the middle class and the poor are getting shafted."

Jake Johnson

New York's largest union of registered nurses is calling on the state's Democrat-controlled government to divert billions of dollars from jails, the New York City Police Department, and the pockets of the rich to help fund public hospitals that have been strained beyond capacity by the coronavirus pandemic.

In an internal memo obtained Monday by the New York Daily News, the 42,000 member New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) called for stripping $2 billion in funding from the NYPD, jails, and prosecutors' offices and using that money to bolster public hospitals that primarily serve poor New Yorkers, who have been hit hardest by Covid-19. The NYPD's budget for fiscal year 2020 was nearly $6 billion.

"What's really important is training and staffing and space. You can't have people on stretchers in a hallway on patient care unit and not give them a room—especially when you’re dealing with an infectious disease."
—Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, New York State Nurses Association

The union also calls on the New York government to raise $30 billion in revenue for public hospitals by hiking the tax rate on the state's richest residents and imposing a tax on second and third homes.

"The working class and the middle class and the poor are getting shafted," NYSNA president Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez told the Daily News. "What's really important is training and staffing and space. You can't have people on stretchers in a hallway on patient care unit and not give them a room—especially when you're dealing with an infectious disease."

The memo states that "at a time when the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has led to protests across the U.S. against police violence, spurring demands to address discrimination against African- and Hispanic-Americans and for equality in healthcare, the economy, and in the administration of justice, nurses of the New York State Nurses Association are calling for an end to the 'death gap' for African and Hispanic New Yorkers who are dying at twice the rate of whites."

The nurses' call for slashing the NYPD's budget comes as the department is facing outrage over its violent treatment of demonstrators who have taken to the streets across New York to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

Jacobin staff writer Meagan Day applauded the nurses' demand on Twitter.

"This is the 'defund' triple threat: divest from police, invest in social services, tax the wealthy to boot," Day wrote.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·


Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo