Thursday, December 25, 2014

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Budget Cuts In Social Services Spurs Two City Hall Protests

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TWC News: Budget Cuts In Social Services Spurs Two City Hall Protests
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Parents, advocates and lawmakers rallied at City Hall Thursday against the mayor's proposed $124 million in social service cuts in the 2013 budget, which will affect the Administration for Children's Services, The Department of Homeless Services and the Human Resources Administration.

City Council members and those who use the social services were worried that if the cuts continue, the programs eventually will no longer exist.

"We talk a better New York, a brighter New York, well, this is New York," said Queens Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras. "And if our mayor cannot recognize that you cannot consistently attempt to cut our budget, and for us to stand here and say and not fight these cuts is unrealistic."'

"The building I came out of before I came into supportive housing, we had pigeons take over half of the building, we had drugs in the building, we were literally prisoners in the building," said supportive housing resident Almidia Jack.

Protesters said if the mayor's proposed plan was enacted, it would amount to the fifth-consecutive year of cuts to child care and after school programs.

Later in the day, child care providers and their advocates also took to the steps of City Hall to protest the cuts.

They said the plan puts thousands of low-income families at risk of losing essential services that allow parents to hold full-time jobs while also feeding and educating their children.

"It's very hard for you to have child care, especially being a home health aide. I don't make $200,000. It's very hard to work, pay rent and then pay child care," said a parent.

"For him to take it from those who need it, what it's going to do is set them further back and maybe even into the shelter," said another parent.

"It tells you a lot about the administration and what they really believe in because we should be helping families move forward and in order to do that, they need child care, affordable child care," said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.

A new analysis of New York City's economic outlook shows a projected $1.4 billion surplus at the end of this fiscal year.

The Independent Budget Office reports spending on traditional public school classrooms will drop by $200 million next year, but spending on charter schools will increase, and no teachers will face layoffs.

The IBO also reports the local economy is expected to add more jobs than previously anticipated, but a $2.2 billion deficit is still projected for the city by 2014.

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