They were back yesterday! It might not have been the full 20,000 who turned out for last months March on Wall Street, but several hundred members of the May 12th Coalition gathered at City Hall yesterday afternoon calling on Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council to restore proposed cuts to education, health and human services. The group, which included students, labor unions, community groups and human service providers [and members of Make the Road New York], stretched a giant safety net across Broadway and cut it in a symbolic protest against the Mayors policies.
The group urged a variety of revenue-raising options that could be used to offset service cuts, including continuation of the Millionaires Tax on high income households, closure of tax loopholes for hedge funds, cuts to bank contracts and an end to tax subsidies for major banks. In total, the May12th Coalition estimates that their proposals would generate $1 billion in additional revenues.
Once again, the Human Services Council of New York (HSC) played an active role in the rally. The Mayor says he has no choice but to cut $400 million in critical human services for the poor and middle class in New York City, said Michael Stoller, HSCs Executive Director. Well, there is a choice to cutting services that help people to work, care for their families and become self-sufficient. Nonprofits and the clients they serve have paid much more than their share for long enough. Thats why HSC began the Who Cares? I Do. Campaign and why we support the recommendations of the May 12th Coalition.
With record homelessness and shelters at the breaking point, this is no time to balance the budget on the backs of our Citys most vulnerable, said Mary Brosnahan, Executive Director of Coalition for the Homeless. Cutting homeless services while giving millionareis another tax break just doesnt make sense. It is imperative that Mayor Bloomberg seriously pursue all revenue options.
Several City Council Members joined the protestors, including Annabel Palma, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Daniel Dromm, Jumaane Williams, Margaret Chin, Jimmy Van Bramer Robert Jackson and Debi Rose.
The hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to social and human services proposed by this Mayor will have a devastating effect on working New Yorkers, said Palma. All this could be avoided if the Mayor would consider some of the common sense means of increasing revenue at the Citys disposal, rather than cutting programs and services that the most vulnerable New Yorkers rely on for survival.
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