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New Report Exposes $1.5 in NYC Giveaways

For Immediate Release:  May 4, 2011
Contact:  Eric Koch  (646) 200-5309  / Dan Levitan (646) 200-5315




In Advance of Drastic Budget Cuts, Advocates, Officials and Unions Demand that Bloomberg Renegotiate NYC's Relationship with the Financial Industry and Super-Wealthy


NEW YORK  -  Today, the May 12 Coalition, a growing group of community, labor, and progressive groups, released a report, titled PAY BACK TIME: $1.5 Billion Ways to Save Our City’s Budget and Make the Big Banks and Millionaires Pay Their Fair Share, that:


·         Exposes $1.5 billion in subsidies, sweetheart deals and tax loopholes that big banks and the super-rich receive from the City and

·         Outlines four simple steps that Mayor Bloomberg should take to make them pay their fair share and restore that revenue to this year’s City budget to reverse the worst proposed cuts

·         Explains the front-line impact of Bloomberg’s proposed cuts on families, neighborhoods and services all across the City.


The report is being released the day before Mayor Bloomberg releases his executive budget and eight days before the major mobilization planned for Lower Manhattan on Thursday May 12.


The report identifies $1.5 billion in savings that the City could realize to reverse the worst proposed budget cuts, including cuts to schools, police, firehouses, senior centers, child care, disability, antipoverty and HIV/AIDS programs, by

·         Ending big bank subsidies now and demand repayment of unearned and excess subsidies ($300 million)

·         Ensuring fair-share taxes and eliminating tax breaks and loopholes for millionaires, hedge funds and private equity firms ($781 million)

·         Demanding that big banks stop harmful practices like toxic interest rate swaps, and mortgage foreclosures and fee avoidance that cost NYC money ($362 million)

·         Cutting the cost of NYC contracts with big banks ($120 million)


“It's time to end the unconscionable tax benefits and loopholes that this city provides banks and hedge funds. The nation's largest banks, which received $877 billion in taxpayer money and are showing record profits, while hedge funders take advantage of the current tax code to avoid paying their fair share. As the city and its working families face the threat of layoffs, income loss and cuts in vital services, Wall Street needs to do the right thing for the city that makes their profits possible,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, a member of the coalition.


“The big banks wrecked our economy and are back to making billions in profits and lavish bonuses, while the rest of us are still cleaning up the mess they created,” said Mary Brosnahan, the Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless, another member of the May 12 coalition.  “Now Bloomberg has a choice: ask Wall Street bankers to contribute their fair share to fixing New York City, rather than enacting devastating cuts to working families.”


"The May 12 Coalition's report on the damage that the financial sector has caused to our City is eye-opening and demands considerable attention in the upcoming budget negotiations.  Mayor Bloomberg must act accordingly," said the co-chairs of the City Council's Progressive Caucus, Melissa Mark Viverito (D-Manhattan) and Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn).


"Before I moved into supportive housing, I was sleeping on park benches and not taking my HIV medication," said Wayne Starks, a Board member and leader in VOCAL-NY. "So why is Mayor Bloomberg cutting supportive housing for HIV-positive New Yorkers when he knows it would mean more of us end up in emergency rooms, hospital beds and shelters? People living with HIV/AIDS didn't crash our economy, Wall Street did - why are we being punished for their crimes?"


The May 12 Coalition comprises dozens of New York’s leading unions, community groups, non-profits and advocacy organizations.  The group is working together on a week of mobilization and actions from May 9-12 that will highlight the connection between special deals for big banks and super-rich and revenue gaps in the City budget.


The report can be downloaded here.


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