Mayor’s budget negatively impacts students and youth most in need.
Last week Mayor Bloomberg released a $68.7 billion Executive Budget for the 2013 fiscal year. There were no surprises in terms of new cuts, but no restorations were made to critical programs that serve the City’s youth and families. If the budget proposed is adopted, the Human Services sector will see $175 million in cuts compared to last year. This is because the budget doesn’t take into account the $150.22 million restored by the City Council in last year’s adopted budget and $25.36 million in cuts from the November Plan.
The Executive Budget kept in step with cuts put forward in the November plan, but many advocates thought that restorations would be made to Child Care and Out of School Time (OST) programs. OST especially because it is a signature program of the Mayor and has received national recognition. The Who Cares? I Do Campaign has blogged about this recently. 47,000 children and students will be impacted by these cuts. Not only do the cuts hurt kids, but their parents and families as well. Child Care and After School programs are critical supports to employment and are proven to help parents stay in the workforce. You can read more about this in a recently released report by the Who Cares? I Do. Campaign. Mayor Bloomberg touts his focus on growing the economy and the City’s workforce, but these cuts hurt economic growth.
In addition to Child Care and OST another population that is negatively impacted by this budget is runaway and homeless youth. The Mayor is calling for a $7 million cut to the city’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Services that would result in the elimination of 160 youth shelter beds. This is one of the most vulnerable populations of youth in our City with the majority being LGBT teens. It is estimated that 4,000 teens are living on the streets. There are currently 250 shelter beds for teens that find themselves with nowhere to go and advocates have called for an increase. But, the Mayor insists that the budget must be balanced on the backs of those most needing services.
There are some immediate actions the Mayor could take to raise revenue and create savings options to help close the looming $3 billion deficit for FY2014 and restore critical human service programs. While the Mayor’s budget proposal does not include any new taxes there are options that can be considered by the Mayor and City Council before the budget in finalized. Some steps that can be taken are:
- A 10% cut to service-related City contracts held by the six biggest banks– a much lower percentage cut than has been imposed on community-based nonprofit groups = $60 million
- Adjusting the NYC Personal Income Tax = $200 million
- Closing corporate loopholes = $350 million
- Taking back unearned corporate subsidies for job-creation deals that never materialized into jobs for struggling New Yorkers = $100 million
That is $710 million in savings and revenues. A small number compared to the continued years of cuts imposed on the Human Services sector.
If you are disheartened by the Mayor’s budget, don’t just sit around, NOW is the time to act. Budget negotiations are under way between the Mayor and the City Council. While the City Council will make some restorations, it cannot restore everything. To make sure the programs you care about continue to receive funding call the Mayor and your City Council members today! Tell them no more cuts!!!
Contributed by Shana Mosher of the Human Services Council.