NYC may have new $1B hole in budget as thousands protest Bloomberg cuts
Dozens of groups, thousands of New Yorkers and billions in government spending at stake — that’s what was up at City Hall today, as the New York City Council took testimony from City Budget Director Mark Page, Comptroller John Liu, IBO Director Ronnie Lowenstein and lots of regular New Yorkers, including librarians, daycare workers, and firefighters whose jobs are on the chopping block in this year’s city budget.
The big news: a new potential $1 billion hole in the budget because of Bloomberg’s purported inability to sell new taxi medallions allowed under state law but blocked by a court ruling last Friday. City Budget Director Mark Page suggested that even more cuts may be required to close the budget gap, in addition to the hundreds of millions already recommended by billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Page’s testimony suggests that the cynical “budget dance” of proposed cuts and assured restorations isn’t happening this year, and that harsh and dramatic austerity cuts threatened by Bloomberg may actually come to pass.
The alternative? Hitting the 1% — who have the money — through fair-share taxes, cuts to bank contracts and better management of City programs. Advocates from 99%NY and the May 12 Coalition recommend three-quarters of a billion dollars in revenue alternatives, including the following:
END BAD ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEALS AND TAKE BACK UNEARNED SUBSIDIES: $100 Million in revenue
Bank of America, AIG and other big companies take subsidies but don’t create the jobs they promised. They owe us 45,000 jobs or $100 million in refunds – it’s time to pay up.
CUT CITY CONTRACTS WITH BIG BANKS BY AT LEAST TEN PERCENT: $95 million in revenue
The six biggest banks have over $950 million in City contracts – Bloomberg should cut them 10% like he has cut non-profits and front-line service providers.
REFORM THE NEW YORK CITY UNINCORPORATED BUSINESS TAX: $235 Million in revenue
The NYC UBT should cover hedge fund “carried interest” profits, and the Council should cap UBT tax deductions for millionaires.
BILL MEDICAID FOR SPECIAL NEEDS SERVICES DELIVERED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: $358 million in revenue
New York City should bill Medicaid for covered services, just like Rochester and Syracuse do – experts say the money is there — DOE just needs to submit the bills.
These items alone would raise $788 million in revenues for this year’s City budget, preventing large-scale cuts to afterschool and child care programs, HIV/AIDS and homeless services, libraries, firehouses, adult literacy initiatives and other crucial public services now on the chopping block.