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“New Revenue! No Cuts!” Staten Islanders Speak Out at People’s Town Hall

June 15, 2011

 

Over three hundred and sixty people packed the hall of the JCC for the People’s Town Hall meeting on the New York City budget, which is being decided upon this week, to hear about revenue raising solutions rather than unnecessary service cuts to the people of Staten Island.  People spoke passionately to a wide variety of projected cuts—including to education, youth services, fire houses, senior services, the arts, immigrant services, literacy programs, mental and developmental disabilities and AIDS services, and housing—that threaten our quality of life. Representatives from all zip codes spoke about how the cuts will impact communities from shore to shore.

Former Federal Reserve Bank of NY economist Chris Rude and NYC high-school math teacher John McGloin painted a comprehensive economic picture, showing how a long pattern of revenue decline and tax cuts for upper incomes and corporations have weakened support for necessary social structures.

Picture by Terry Troia

picture by David Jones

Drawing on research from Strong Economy for all, Center for Working Families, the Fiscal Policy Institute and the city’s Independent Budget Office, economic policy analyst Sara Burke proposed immediate revenue-raising solutions to what is being mis-labelled a “budgetary crisis”: Ms. Burke pointed out that ending subsidies to the big five banks, closing hedge fund loopholes, cutting NYC contracts to the big six banks, demanding that the electronic mortgage recording system pay fees owed to NYC, taxing millionaires, and immediately using one third of the city’s $3 billion surplus would raise  $2 billion dollars.  More ambitious proposals, including restoring the commuter tax, establishing a progressive commuter tax, making insurance companies pay taxes as other businesses do and increasing personal income taxes for the wealthy could raise another $2.07 billion.

Responding to the speak-out was Councilmember Debi Rose.  Councilmember James Oddo sent a representative.  Councilmember Vincent Ignizio did not attend.

The group is planing follow up actions which will be announced on its website si4rbs.wordpress.org and will be issuing a report in the coming weeks.

One such action has begun already: here are participants in the People’s Town Hall who went to the “Bloombergville Camp” by city hall after the People’s Town Hall to participate in protests against the Mayor’s proposed budget.

Press coverage and listings on the People’s Town Hall:

Press:

Saturday, June 11, 2011
By Jillian Jorgensen Staten Island Advance
“Local Activists Plan Town Hall Meeting”
http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/06/local_activists_plan_town_hall.html

Sunday, June 12, 2011
As We Are Column By Bea Victor Staten Island Advance
“You have a voice … so use it!”
http://blog.silive.com/as_we_are_column/2011/06/you_have_a_voice_so_use_it.html

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
By The Staten Island Advance
“Hike revenue, spare the ax on budget cuts, Staten Islanders tell City Hall”
http://www.silive.com/northshore/index.ssf/2011/06/hike_revenue_spare_the_ax_on_b.html

Listings (thanks to other orgs and movements who like what we’re doing):

US Uncut
http://usuncut.org/actions/520

Peace Action
http://usuncut.org/actions/520

Inside Schools
http://insideschools.org/blog/2011/06/09/parents-take-aim-at-budget-cuts-with-protestsactions/

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