Two steps forward, one step back


| editorial@queenscourier.com |

Ok, so no tax increases, more city funding for education and no cuts to the NYPD are some of the positives of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Fiscal Year 2013 Executive Budget.

Ready for the negatives?

Cuts to the FDNY, cultural institutions and libraries — and fewer funds for after-school and day care programs.
So it’s two steps forward and one step back.

And while we applaud Bloomberg for not digging deeper into our pockets by raising taxes (after all, isn’t a seven percent water rate hike enough for now?), we feel he could have done a lot better.

The projected budget, according to the mayor “reduces year-over-year controllable city expenditures, but expenses that are not fully controlled by the city continue to rise and continue to make less funding available for city services.”

So basically what that means is nearly $150 million in proposed cuts for New York City’s libraries and cultural institutions. Queens Library alone could face a shortfall of $26.7 million in funding.

And the parents who right now rely on day care or after-school to care for their children while they work may be out of luck, as more than 40,000 children will be without day care and after-school programs if the budget cuts are not restored.

But more than just the immediate concern regarding the availability of services, what the cuts mean is fewer jobs — which is never a good thing.

It’s almost like we’re on a budget merry-go-round.

Bloomberg boasted that “New York City has regained approximately 180 percent of the private sector jobs lost during the recession, while the rest of the country has only gained back only approximately 40 percent. The city has now recovered all jobs lost during the recession and private employment in the city has reached an all-time record high at 3.291 million, surpassing the previous record in 1969 of 3.275 million.”

But potential layoffs threaten to undo all this good, and may leave over 1,000 hardworking New Yorkers out of a job — and out of luck.

Add to this parents who may be forced to cut their hours or quit altogether so they may care for their children, and we could potentially be in big trouble.
Bloomberg himself has already warned of this: “[While the] Executive Budget for FY 2013 presents a balanced budget, New York City will still face budget gaps of approximately $3.0 billion in FY 2014, $3.7 billion in FY 2015 and $3.2 billion FY 2016.”

So unfortunately, it looks like we may be set for more tightening of our budget belt in the next few years.