Hunger Action Network of NYS announced today that it will join with a broad coalition of other human service, labor and community groups on Thursday May 12 to protest Mayor Bloomberg's proposed budget cuts and to call for wealthy New Yorkers and Wall Street to pay their fair share of the city's tax revenues.
Hunger Action will march with other human service groups starting from the South St. Seaport around 4:30 PM. More details can be found at www.onMay12.org. Bloomberg is proposing to cut more than $400 million in essential human service funding.
"It is easy for billionaires like Bloomberg to forget that we are in the greatest recession since the great depression. The number of people using our city's food pantries and soup kitchens has increased more than 50% over the last three years. Rather than cutting vital human service programs, we need to strengthen the safety net while funding a major public jobs initiative to put New Yorkers back to work. Nationwide the unemployment rate for the poorest Americans is 30%, worse than during the great Depression. Somehow the lack of jobs isn't an issue for many of our elected officials at the state, city or federal level," said Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS.
"Instead of rebating $14 billion annually to Wall Street speculators, the state and city should keep the proceeds from the stock transfer tax and fund a WPA style jobs program. $14 billion is enough to create 500,000 community jobs that pay between $14 to $17 an hour. We also support the proposals laid out in the recent report by the May 12th coalition to capture more than $1.5 billion in subsidies, sweetheart deals and tax loopholes that big banks and the super-rich receive from the City. This economic collapse was caused by the greed and misdeeds of Wall Street but so for politicians have only bailed out the bankers while cutting programs for everyone else," noted Dunlea.
The revenues from the stock transfer tax, collected for more than a century, used to be dedicated to the city's coffers. When the state decided to begin rebating the stock transfer tax back to Wall Street traders, it initially provided other revenues to the city in compensation; it later however decided to discontinue the payments. (The tax itself is still collected.)
The richest 1% of NYC residents now receive 45% of the income in the city, a dramatic increase from thirty years ago. The last time the country saw such great income disparity was in 1927, which led to the Great Depression. When the wealthy have all the money, consumer demand dries up and the economy falls apart.
The May 12th coalition is calling for the City to stop over one billion dollars worth of current subsidies, tax credits and special low-cost energy deals with the “Big Six” banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley), demands $100 million back from banks that didn’t create jobs, and seeks repayment of over $200 million in current and recent-year subsidies. The Big Six banks have over $600 million in current contracts with City government for services – it’s only fair to cut what banks are paid for these contracts by 20% to save $120 million when nonprofits and other contractors and agencies are facing similar cuts.