DC 37 Hears Recommendations to Prevent Service Cuts
May 9, 2011
By Neal Tepel
Labor and community advocates, fiscal policy experts, elected officials examined uncollected revenue and propose recommendations to prevent service cuts and layoffs. On Thursday, April 28, labor unions, community groups, fiscal policy experts and elected officials participated in a hearing called by District Council 37 that focused on City revenue streams that could generate the necessary resources to address the city’s budget problems and prevent service cuts and layoffs.
DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts opened the hearing by noting that “too often the search for solutions to the city’s budget problems focuses primarily on lay offs and reduced funding for city services and pension and civil service changes. However, research and analysis has revealed that in addition to reigning in the city’s costly, out of control contract budget, it is critically important to focus on the way in which the city collects revenue. ” This union has a tremendous responsibility to our members and to the New Yorkers we serve,” Roberts said. “That is why we’ve conducted extensive research to identify resources that would help protect vital services and the jobs of the men and women who provide them.”
DC 37 Associate Director Henry Garrido said the hearing showed that “what we face is not a deficit problem, but a revenue problem.”
Testimony during the hearing identified some $1 billion in additional revenue that could be captured following an examination of four key areas: 1) the city’s failure to collect taxes it is legally entitled from cell phone antennas and billboards; 2) inadequate monitoring of tax exemptions granted to businesses and for-profit institutions; 3) failure to maintain adequate staffing levels in revenue generating titles, and 4) a failure to implement additional revenue generating strategies that have proven successful in other major cities.
Speakers at the DC 37 hearing included Matt Ryan, Board Member of Jobs with Justice; Bettina Damiani, Project Director of Good Jobs New York; James Parrott, Deputy Director and Chief Economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute; NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness; Maf Misbah Uddin, DC 37 Treasurer and President, NYC Accountants, Statisticians and Actuaries Local 1407; New York State Senator Kevin Parker (21st District, Brooklyn); and City Council members, Finance Chair Domenic Recchia (47th District, Brooklyn) and Jumaane Williams (45th District, Brooklyn.)
Following the hearing, Roberts said, “We believe that it would be devastating to New York’s working men and women for the city to fail to pay adequate attention to sound revenue generating strategies that could bring in more than enough resources to prevent layoffs and the loss of public services that have already been cut to the bone. It is time, now, that we do things differently.”