Protesting Cuts to Child Care
May 11th, 2011
Alshawn Rushing wrote this post.
Thousands of daycare workers, parents and children rallied near City Hall today to protest the mayor’s proposed cuts to childcare and education in the city budget.
“New York City’s child care programs are part of the solution — affordable professional child care enables women to work, without it many would not have that option,” said Lee Saunders, secretary-treasurer of the Association of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We need politicians to make a choice we can be proud of and not take the path of least resistance, balancing the budgets on the backs of children and women.”
The protest comes days after Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his executive budget, which called for layoffs of thousands of teachers and an array of other cuts. The administration also announced that Bloomberg had decided to save 16,000 of the childcare slots that were originally slated to be eliminated. According to protestors and their political allies, though, the budget only restores $40 million of the original $90 million that has been cut. AFSCME maintains that only 9,000 of the original slots slated to be cut has been restored.
“Child care is an essential job support for low income families,” said AFSCME Council 1707 Executive Director Raglan George. “As goes childcare so goes the neighborhood. We are beginning to see some economic recovery; it is not time to limit essential services.”
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew joined protestors in denouncing the budget. He called on politicians to raise taxes on the wealthy and questioned the fiscal decisions of the mayor.
“We now have a city where half of households are below the poverty line. They talk about sacrifice, but the only sacrifice I see is from working families,” said Mulgrew. “Enough is enough!”
Many advocates have urged the mayor to use reserve funds to help cover the budget gap, but the mayor says he has allocated those funds to cover a $5 billion budget gap in the 2013 budget. Bloomberg also has repeatedly rejected a tax increase.
“This budget fight is about what kind of city we want to be. Do we want to be a city that caters to the top 1 percent, or do we want a city where everyone has a seat at the budget table,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
Councilmember Charles Barron of Brooklyn called on the City Council to reject the budget.
“Vote no for a budget that has library cuts, day care cuts, teachers, firefighter cuts,” he. “We have to deliver a message to Mayor Bloomberg. If he messes with our children, the next demonstration will be at his house!”
Barron also lambasted the state and federal government for their budget cuts to childcare services. He said, “They have the money, but they are broke. They [federal government] have a $65 billion surplus, but they’re broke. I wish I was that kind of broke.”By Gail Robinson on May 11, 2011, 4:40 pm
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