Toward a People’s City Budget

Budget negotiations continue at City Hall after Albany lawmakers passed a state budget that, perhaps most urgently, protects vital services at New York City Health+Hospitals.

The state budget makes the city hospital system eligible for a fairer share of Medicaid reimbursements, thus preventing cuts to the system .

DC 37 will be pushing for the New York City Council to provide sustainable funding for safety net hospitals and clinics.

Also, the state budget included more funding for substance abuse counselors (SAPIS) to assist in fighting the opioid epidemic.

We want the City Council to match the $2 million state contribution for the school counselors.

Mayor Bill de Blasio released the city’s $89.06 billion executive budget for fiscal year 2019 on April 26. In recent weeks, the New York City Council held hearing’s on the preliminary budget.

While state budget victories relieved some of the burden on the mayor and the City Council, important priorities remain:

Libraries: After decades of neglect, cuts and layoffs, recent years have seen increased funding to bolster our public libraries. Yet more must be done.

DC 37 calls for an additional $16 million to maintain six-day services, as well as $60 million in capital funding for facility renovations and repairs.

Parks and Recreation: Adequately maintaining our city Parks will require 300 seasonal jobs, along with 100 new full-time permanent workers ($9.7 million) and 50 new Urban Park Rangers ($3 million).

We are also calling for:

● $2.5 million for 29 Early Education Childcare Consultants, who inspect licensed and unlicensed day-care facilities;

● $2.55 million for 20 Medicolegal Investigators;

● millions more for capital funding at the New York City Housing Authority; and

● $7 million for 200 civilian positions at the Police Dept.

During a time of economic growth throughout the city, there is no excuse for vital needs to be left unmet.

The Mayor’s Office released a fact sheet on the budget that noted the city faces “an almost unsustainable $50 million blow from Albany. Twenty-five percent of new spending in fiscal 2019 is directed at filling the shortfall  from the state, according to the fact sheet.

The executive budget includes $20 million for fiscal 2019 and fiscal year 2020 at address a backlog in work orders at the New York City Housing Authority. It dedicates $12 million for the hiring of more social workers who work with students in homeless shelters.

The DC 37 Blog is an official online publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, which represents 125,000 municipal employees in New York City. This post is an updated version of an article in the May 2018 issue of Public Employee Press.

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