BCEQ comments NYC FY21 Executive Budget

May 19th, 2020 Posted in Calendared Items, Committees, Communications Committee Work, Front Page News, Green Infrastructure, Hudson River Watershed Projects, Jerome Park Reservoir, Living Ecological Green Infrastructure, nyc, NYC Parks Department, Parks Committee, Resiliency and Sustainability, Van Cortlandt Park, Water Committee

Below are our comments on the Mayor’s Budget for FY21 which begins this July. In summary, we comment on the Parks Department cuts to Maintenance and Operations and seasonal workers; the Environmental Protection cuts to cleaning around Jerome Park Reservoir, personnel cuts at the Wards Island Treatment Plant, contracting for Green Infrastructure, etc.; and the Sanitation suspension of the complete Composting Project, including the New York Botanical Gardens – NYC Compost Project.

Who can talk about the budget, while we are in the middle of a pandemic?  Well, the two are related. Even with these terrible cuts, the budget is not going to be managed.

In the recent report commenting on the Mayor’s Executive Budget for FY21, which begins this July 1, the Independent Budget Office (IBO) states that “New York City Faces Substantial Fiscal Challenges in the Weeks and Months Ahead.”  The essence of the report is in the subtitle: Tumbling Tax Revenues, Shrinking Reserves, Growing Budget Gaps. They wrote:

“The contraction of the city’s economy will result in a sharp decline in anticipated tax revenues. IBO now expects 2020 tax revenues to be $2.9 billion . . . and $6.6 billion . . .  lower in 2021, a combined shortfall of $9.5 billion over the two fiscal years; the de Blasio Administration estimates the shortfall will be $7.4 billion. With New York State facing even larger revenue shortfalls of its own, state funding—which supports a large share of spending in many city agencies—is also in serious jeopardy.”

The question is not just how are we going to get back to life, but how can we protect ourselves from the next challenge.

There comes a time when silence is betrayal.
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The question was asked at one of the many press conferences held on this issue.  Look at what happened in South Korea.  The answer was, well 95% of  the population has health care.

WOW 

That is not complicated.  We can do it.

What is the cost of providing Universal Health Care for everyone who lives and works in NYC, or even NYS.  They say most large employers pay about $15,000 in Health Care Insurance per employee.  NYC has a large group of people who get health care insurance as part of their employment.  They can figure out the cost for the rest of the population.

Will it cost more than a combined shortfall of $9.5 billion over the two fiscal years?

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This is a discussion of equity.  Of those employers who are not currently paying their fair share of the cost, charge them a fee to let everyone bear an equal burden.  We have to make sure that people do not spread infection because they had no other alternative.  Some are in a difficult position — choosing to put food on the table and pay the rent rather than go to the doctor, or stay home.  Everyone needs health care, sick days, and a fair and living wage.  It is just a basic human right.  ~Karen Argenti, personal comments.

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