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UFT joins May 12 Coalition partners in proposing a "people's budget"
by Michael Hirsch | published May 4, 2011
Anticipating the mayor’s austerity executive budget that if approved would slash education and social services while leaving the wealth of city banks, corporations and rich New Yorkers untouched, the UFT joined progressive City Council members and a coalition of unions, community groups and nonprofit service providers at City Hall on May 4 to release an alternative “people’s budget.”
The alternative budget plan, supporters say, would raise needed capital, save jobs and services, and restore equity to the tax system.
“We want the economy to work for everybody, not just a few,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “You are seeing the real community of New York City coming out and saying enough is enough.”
The event was the kickoff to a week’s worth of activities culminating in a major mobilization in the Wall Street area on Thursday, May 12.
The budget report, “Pay Back Time: $1.5 Billion Ways to Save our City’s Budget and Make the Big Banks Pay their Fair Share,” which was produced by the May 12 Coalition, provides concrete alternatives to the worst proposed cuts.
The report offers these alternatives to recoup $1.5 billion in savings:
- Ending bank subsidies while demanding repayment of unearned and excess subsidies;
- Ensuring a “fair-share” tax system and eliminating tax loopholes for millionaires, hedge funds and private equity firms;
- Demanding that the city’s biggest banks stop harmful practices that cost the city money; and
- Paring down contracts with the city’s “Big Six” banks — J.P Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — by 20 percent at a time when other contractors and agencies are facing similar reductions.
Joining Mulgrew was Tammie Miller, the UFT Family Child Care Providers chapter chair, who said the mayor’s decision to eliminate child care subsidies for 16,500 low-income children would be a disaster for working families.
“Bloomberg is sticking up for his rich friends without caring about the working class of the city and the children of the working class,” Miller said.
Mary Brosnahan, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, added that “the big banks that wrecked our economy are back making billions in profits and lavish bonuses. Now, Bloomberg has a choice: ask Wall Street bankers to contribute their fair share to fixing the city instead of enacting devastating cuts to working families.”
Information on the May 12 Coalition’s planned week of activities is available on the group’s website
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