Today, Mayor Bloomberg released his Fiscal Year 2012 Executive Budget. The proposal includes layoffs of over 6,000 teachers and the closure of 20 firehouses, and other massive cuts to municipal and social services. The Executive Budget will now come before the City Council, which will hold a series of hearings throughout this month, followed by more extensive negotiations with the administration in June.
Next Thursday, May 12th, members from dozens of community groups and unions are coming together to tell the Mayor “No More Cuts – It’s Time for the Big Banks and Millionaires to Pay Their Fair Share!” Thousands of New Yorkers are scheduled to gather at assembly sites throughout lower Manhattan for teach-ins on the important service areas being cut, after which they will converge on Wall Street. For more information on May 12th, visit www.OnMay12.org or join the Facebook group.
For now, the Progressive Caucus has released the following statement in response to the Mayor’s budget:
Austerity Budget is Fine for the Rich but Bad for the Rest of Us
Mayor Bloomberg’s austerity budget demands sacrifice from children, parents, seniors, women, the sick, the at-risk, working families, the unemployed, the underemployed … in short, from everyone except the wealthy. Year after year, Mayor Bloomberg has balanced the budget on the backs of New York families by cutting vital services. Meanwhile, the rich and powerful (including those on Wall Street who caused the economic crisis) are not only exempted from sharing the sacrifice, but even get special treatment through tax breaks and real estate loopholes.
Although the Mayor is right to place blame on Albany for the budget deficit, the fact is that he lobbied against the extension of the Millionaire’s Tax – which will cost the city billions – while we and busloads of our constituents asked for this fair share solution.
There are still many ways the City can achieve a FY 2012 budget that better serves New Yorkers. We can extend the millionaire’s tax and eliminate tax loopholes for hedge-fund managers, which amount to an estimated $570 million. We can cut subsidies, tax credits, and special deals with big banks that cost New Yorkers around $250 million. We can put a break on rapidly growing spending on expensive and out-of-control consultants. If necessary, we can dip into the City’s “rainy day fund” (while still leaving plenty for the future).
We were glad to see restoration of capital funding for the marine transfer stations that make possible a “fair share” approach to solid waste. And restoring $40 million of the $91 million cut to childcare will be a good first step if the Mayor works with the Council to achieve a full restoration.
It’s time to have real conversations about eliminating loopholes and increasing revenue, instead of coddling the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. We must consider new revenue options or we will continue to have this problem.
Some painful cuts will be indeed necessary, but not the brutal cuts the Mayor is proposing to schools, child care, libraries, firehouses, neighborhoods, and working families.
Next Thursday, May 12th, we will join thousands of new Yorkers to call on Mayor Bloomberg to support fair taxation, end Wall Street tax breaks, and put an end to harmful practices that cost New York City money and hurt our economy. In the coming weeks, we will be asking New Yorkers to weigh in on what they would like to see in the City’s budget, as the Council prepares to negotiate with him before the budget deadline on June 30th.