The Bloomberg Executive Budget & the Early Learn Awards
May 23, 2012
By Raglan George, Jr. District Council 1707 Executive Director AFSCME International Vice President
Again Poor Management & Planning For the City’s Children and Families
After reviewing the ten-year reign of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the only ones who could be pleased by his administration’s policies regarding the “non-essential persons” living in the city could only be the very, very rich and the extremely powerful. The administration’s unbridled dismantling of the social service infrastructure will be well remembered because it occurred during the worst recession since the Great Depression beginning in 1929.
While his budget plans for child care and the social services is beyond disingenuous, his Early Learn push is a open attempt to destroy a cushion that poor and working families in New York have had more than 40 years.
According to the Center for Economic Opportunity, the number of persons living in poverty increased to 21 percent since 2010. One in four children living in New York City lives in poverty without a significant response from this Administration.
According to a New York Times article on the same study, “Families with children were also vulnerable. They had a poverty rate of 23 percent, and a significant number of households were struggling to remain above the poverty line. Even families with two full-time earners were more likely to be considered poor in 2010; their ranks swelled by 1.3 percentage points to 5 percent compared with 2009,” the article stated.
The Bloomberg Administration’s response has been simple and explicit – respond to the increased poverty rates by sawing off the rungs of the economic ladders to success, including slashing the worth of child care vouchers in half; reducing the number of unionized ACS workers who qualify families for subsidized day care; laying off some 600 essential teacher aides from the public schools and in his latest executive budget closing six needed day care centers and reducing slots for children by 47,000 which includes school age children.
So as progressive elected officials are thinking of ways to pull people out of poverty, backward-thinking politicians like Bloomberg, Romney, Santorum and Gingrich think of ways to decrease the taxes of the wealthy and corporations and add new taxes, tolls (like adding tolls to the free bridges into Manhattan) and cutting services, pensions and more which affect working families and the poor.
Our response must be simple and explicit – resist the Bloomberg Administration heartless actions towards children and working families and promote expansion of the social services that help our communities in need.
This union filed a federal lawsuit against the Bloomberg’s Administration’s unreasonable actions towards the most comprehensive child care system in the nation, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor questioning the legal standing of its Early Learn Program and our members and the parents affected have been actively speaking to elected officials on the inadequacies of the mayor’s budget plan and Early Learn.
Mayor’s Rush toward Child Care Armageddon
On May 2nd an injunction hearing to stop Early Learn from proceeding was held. On May 4th the Mayor rushed to announce the Early Learn awards to large non-profit and corporate child care organizations ignoring any possible decision of the courts. This Mayor respects the law when he can control the outcome. He blinked and proceeded to bypass a possible court decision contrary to his views.
There are no “done deals” when children and working families are affected. The Administration’s bad budget proposals and his Early Learn disaster must be rejected and laid to rest. We will say no to Bloomberg and we must fight to ensure that our elected officials, particularly the New York City Council, do what is right for the majority of the citizens of New York City.