March 29, 2013
ALBANY – CSEA is encouraged and thankful that state lawmakers took strong stands in key areas of the final state budget.
“Lawmakers understand there’s a moral and an economic impact when the state abandons people with mental health challenges and fails to reinvest in community care – it’s an unfunded mandate when localities have to pick up the pieces of broken lives simply because the state has abandoned its responsibilities,” CSEA President Danny Donohue said. “It’s also clear that most lawmakers recognize we need real reform, not lip service in juvenile justice.”
“These are just a couple of areas where the final budget shows a much better approach than what Governor Andrew Cuomo originally proposed,” Donohue said.
The CSEA leader said that, unfortunately, New Yorkers are still seeing too many misplaced priorities in this budget.
“Something’s not right when Governor Cuomo and lawmakers can give a politically motivated tax rebate to people earning up to $300,000, but still threaten the very existence of essential services that people with developmental disabilities need and hit the lowest-paid workers delivering those services with the brunt of the impact,” Donohue said. “It’s shocking that there hasn’t been more outcry over this harmful action given the governor’s public statements about improving the quality of care in this field.”
Donohue also pointed out that it is outrageous that the budget includes a sweetheart deal to NBC to lure the Tonight show back to New York and a luxury suite for Cuomo administration use as part of the taxpayer financed renovation of the Buffalo Bills’ stadium ‘ all at the same time he leaves an essential hospital, like Downstate Medical Center at significant risk of closure and struggling localities without relief.
“The governor’s got money to spread around when it suits his interests, but localities get a flat budget that will absolutely mean more cuts in services and loss of jobs across the state,” Donohue said. “It’s also galling that he concocts a pension fund scheme and tries to pass it off as mandate relief.”
Donohue pointed out that since 2010, nearly 60,000 public sector jobs have been lost, eroding services and stalling the state’s economic recovery. He also indicated that this is just one area where the governor’s economic development policies are counterproductive.
“Giving minimum wage workers a small increase over three years and linking it to a business tax break that will actually encourage the creation of more minimum wage jobs is unconscionable, especially in a state that already has the most inequitable income distribution in the nation,” said Donohue.
“Unfortunately, the facts – and the people affected – don’t seem to matter much to Governor Cuomo, who continues to privatize public services and undermine middle-class jobs in a race to the bottom,” Donohue said.