We embrace the Governor’s sentiments regarding the importance of getting New Yorkers back to work and hope there is a real recognition during the budget negotiation process of the role human services play in removing barriers to work. Human services help people get and keep jobs; they stabilize families by securing food, healthcare, housing, afterschool, child and elder care, and more. These services also promote work readiness through literacy programs, employment and training services, resume and job search assistance and other career preparation approaches.
Unfortunately, our state has divested from many of these programs in recent years despite a clear increase in need. Since Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 human services have been cut at the state level by over $800 million (not including cuts to Medicaid impacting the sector). Local cuts across the state have also had a major impact on funds available to human services. New York City cut human services by $300 million in last year’s budget and has since cut another $114 million in FY2012. Another $60 million in City cuts is already planned for FY2013.
We have lost nearly 30,000 human service jobs as a result of the state cuts alone. We must take every measure to avoid further cuts to these critical services, which have the double benefit of providing direct employment and acting as job supports. The Governor and Legislature took an important first step a few weeks ago by adopting a new tax package that moves our tax system in a more progressive direction, but they can’t stop there. Additional measures to raise revenues and address the wealth gap must be taken. Corporate tax loophole closures and cost-saving measures, such as streamlining nonprofit contracting approaches, should be considered to maintain funding to vital human services.
We want a New New York, too. The Human Services Council, representing more than 200 nonprofit human services organizations, urges our elected leaders in Albany to push politics aside and make decisions based on what is best for the majority of New Yorkers.
- Close remaining $2 bb budget deficit with no new taxes or fees
- Establish a Tax Reform and Fairness Commission to close tax loopholes, and more
- Re-imaging government using technology to improve performance and reduce costs – including accessing health and human services
- Calls for an end to fingerprinting for food stamps
- Creates Foreclosure Relief Unit to provide counseling and mediation services
- Creates Tenant Protection Unit to pro-actively enforce landlord obligations
- Transform delivery of services to those with disabilities to root out “failures in organization and management of services”
- Create an Office for New Americans to assist legal permanent residents get jobs
- Campaign Finance Reform and Independent Redistricting