New York Coalition Urges Reps. to Resist GOP Budget Cuts

A diverse coalition of more than 60 human service, community, senior, labor, economic policy and peace organizations has sent a joint letter to the NYC congressional delegation urging them to provide a strong and clear national voice to protect the country's social contract in the debate over the debt ceiling and the federal budget.

The coalition urged that the immediate need to raise the federal debt ceiling should not result in budget actions that worsen the nation’s severe unemployment crisis and that begin to dismantle government safety net protections that have been part of our nation’s social fabric for decades.

“The dynamic in Washington is not rooted in economic realities and is destructively geared to further the political agenda of those who think they benefit from a wrecked economy. The American people know better. New York’s leaders in Washington need to help steer the focus back to the common good. Fostering the full employment of American workers is the surest way to bring down the deficit over time,” said Sid Socolar of Rekindling Reform.

Despite a perception that New York City has escaped the worst of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, unemployment is still twice what it was before the recession, and under-employment among the adult workforce is greater here than it is for the nation overall. Food stamp rolls have risen by 70 percent in the city since the recession began, reflecting a tremendous surge in economic hardship stemming from lost jobs and income.

Groups signing the letter include Center for Independence of the Disabled - New York, Citizen Action of New York City, Children’s Defense Fund – New York, Citizens'Committee for Children of New York, Communications Workers of America, District 1, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Fiscal Policy Institute, Human Services Council, Hunger Action Network of NYS, Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign, New York State Alliance for Retired Americans, Peace Action (NY), Rekindling Reform, Veterans for Peace, Chapter 34, and VOCAL NY.

The letter states:

We should reduce the deficit over time through a balanced approach that includes equitable increases in revenue and thoughtful reductions in expenditures that do not serve the public interest, including wasteful military spending that does not add to our security. Congress should focus on the policies that will hasten the economic recovery and build a strong foundation for our shared future.

The coalition letter strongly urges the city’s congressional delegation to preserve indispensable safety net and investment programs.

“The President’s call for raising revenues in the years ahead by closing corporate tax loopholes and restoring some equity to the personal income tax structure is eminently reasonable. The well-to-do who have reaped the lion’s share of economic gains—in New York City the richest one percent have 44 percent of all income, up from about 10 percent in 1980—should step to the fore. It just makes good economic, political and moral sense,” said Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network.

The letter concludes: “We cannot leave so many with so little means to participate in our economy and expect the nation to be able to move forward.”

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