NY ballot proposals explained

New York City voters headed to the ballot box this November, will have four chances to vote on issues that will impact the city and state beyond just candidate elections.

Here is an explanation of what you're voting on.

NY Ballot Proposal #1

Ballot proposal number 1 will ask voters if they want to approve the Environmental Bond Act of 2022.

This proposal would allow the state to borrow $4.2 billion for specific environmental projects.

"This is really smart fiscal strategy," Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director Environmental Advocates NY explained. "It's great environmental policy. And on the back end, we're going to create all these jobs."

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Iwanowicz says this money will go towards improving water infrastructure, replacing old school buses with zero emissions school buses and creating renewable energy projects.  If approved, it would be the first environmental bond act enacted in New York in 26 years.

"When you look at the broader social cost of climate pollution that's emitted in New York, it's more than $25 billion a year," Iwanowicz said. "It's people getting sick and dying prematurely. It's communities having to clean up after extreme weather events."

NY Ballot Proposal #2

Ballot Proposal Number 2 would create a statement of values that would be added to the city’s charter.

As Susan Lerner with Common Cause New York explains, this would impact how future policy is written.

"It sets a framework. It sets values," Lerner explained. "It sets a morality and it reminds our officials what's important."

NY Ballot Proposal #3

Ballot Proposal Number 3 would create a racial equity commission that would release regular reports on how to reduce racial disparities in New York City.

"This is a commission that has to think tangibly, what policies will help ensure that everybody is treated equally and everybody has the same opportunity in our city," Lerner said.

NY Ballot Proposal #4

The last proposal that will appear on the ballot, Ballot Proposal Number 4, would require that the city track the true cost of living in New York City.

Right now, the city uses a method that calculates public assistance as income which some say skews the true economic picture.

The proposal would instead measure just the costs of living in the city, such as housing, food, transportation and other necessities.

"If you are a resident of New York City, how much does it actually cost you to stay alive in the city? That's really what this is," Lerner said. "Let’s be honest about what the costs and not let's not use some artificial method."

Lerner also worked with the legislature to introduce a bill for next year that would require these ballot propositions be written at an eighth grade level, to make them easier to understand.  Right now, these ballot propositions are written by lawyers, at times, at a graduate level.