|By Wayne Spence|
Don’t Balance the Budget on the Backs of New Yorkers in Need
The budget battle is underway in Albany. It’s a battle fought with words and numbers and arguments. And it’s a battle we must fight, collectively, as one of the most powerful unions in the Empire State.
The New York State Legislature holds hearings throughout February as they consider Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal. PEF leaders are busy drafting opposition memos and preparing written and verbal testimony to make our case for why the state should not try to balance its budget by removing the services and staff New Yorkers so desperately need. PEF has identified seven 2021 Budget Priorities to focus on during the debate. They are: Bed reduction and facility closures at OMH, expedited closures of DOCCS and OCFS facilities, consolidation of OCFS facilities, reliance on expensive private consultants, defunding state hospitals, reducing retiree benefits, and recognizing COVID-19 heroes.
We have created a place on our website where members can go to make their voices heard on these issues. You can create a pre-written letter addressed to your state senator or assemblyperson, or you can download and print Word and PDF documents to personalize your letter and mail it to your representatives.
We must let Gov. Cuomo and lawmakers know that the middle of a pandemic is not the time for short-term fiscal savings when the long-term critical services provided by the state are at stake. The decisions in these budget proposals simply do not make sense. Why close Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, forcing families to drive their vulnerable loved ones hundreds of miles to get the specialized care they need? Why give the governor the power to close prisons with just 90 days’ notice? And why spend nearly $1 billion on pricey, ineffective consultants to do the jobs PEF members have shown for years they can do better, and more efficiently? Those are just a few examples. There are many more.
Thank you in advance for your activism. I promise you we will be relentless in making our case that New York needs the services that PEF members provide now more than ever. I wish you and your families continued good health as we fight these budget battles, together.
Thank you for all you do!
Membership cards are ALWAYS available online at http://www.pef.org/join-pef, or you can request one through your steward, council leader or regional coordinator.
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