Bloomberg’s skewed budget priorities

It boggles the mind to think that after cutting funding for subsidized child care for low-income families for five years in a row, Mayor Bloomberg would now be pushing to eliminate 16,000 more slots for low-income kids.

It’s bad enough that by the city’s own estimate only 27 percent of children who are income eligible for subsidized care are receiving it. If the mayor’s cut is allowed to stand, it will force thousands of working parents to leave jobs or give up looking for them in order to stay home with kids who will miss out on the many benefits of early childhood education.

The timing couldn’t be worse for this latest example of the mayor’s misguided budget priorities. Half of the households in the city have annual incomes of under $30,000, which should be considered poverty level here where the cost of living is so high. And just as the economy is rebounding and more and more companies are hiring, many low-income parents who would love to get back into the job market or hang on to jobs they already have are being shut out by the mayor’s attempt to deny them child care they cannot afford on their own.

So as more New Yorkers become impoverished, Mayor Bloomberg continues to cut services that low-income residents count on to survive. But at the same time he has no problem letting half the corporations in the city avoid paying real estate taxes that would provide the revenue needed to avoid such cuts.

Tammie Miller, the chair of the UFT’s Family Child Care Providers Chapter, rightly challenged the mayor’s skewed priorities in arguing against the cut in child care slots before the City Council recently when she said, “We need a mayor who cares not just for billionaires but for the millions of hard-working citizens who pay taxes.”

This is one more example illustrating the fact that this mayor cannot relate to the struggles of working families and the needy. We can only hope that the Council will be the champion for them that Mayor Bloomberg refuses to be.

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