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250 BROADWAY NEW YORK, NY 10007 June 2011 Mayor Michael Bloomberg City Hall New York, NY 10007 Dear Mayor Bloomberg: The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council urges you to employ some of the many realistic revenue raising options available to the city in order to avoid cuts to human services and education in this municipal budget. Our communities cannot afford cuts to human services like child care, HIV and homelessness services; like English classes and legal services for immigrants; like firehouses and libraries. And we cannot afford cuts to schools that are already overcrowded and under-resourced. We are committed to use $1 billion of the nearly $3 billion Retiree Trust Fund to restore the worst cuts immediately, and to employ revenue options like those below to replenish the fund quickly for the future. To replenish the surplus, we have options such as the following: End bank subsidies that are unnecessary and unaffordable at this time. Four banks have received three quarters of a billion dollars in recent years to create or protect jobs in NYC, and they have fallen substantially short of their job creation promises. The banks have returned to record profits, making the subsidies unnecessary; and our working communities are facing devastating cuts to jobs, education and human services programs, making the subsidies unaffordable. These banks promised to create or protect over 33,186 jobs but only delivered 14,000, falling short of their promise by over 19,000. These four banks should be asked to return $100 million – a mere 12% of the total subsidies awarded – to help avoid the job losses that will result if education and human services cuts go through. Close tax loopholes for hedge funds and millionaires. We cannot afford to continue the special $200 million tax loopholes for hedge funds by exempting profits from the Unincorporated Business Tax. Nor can we afford the $120 million that New York City loses when we allow 5,000 millionaires to deduct this tax from their City Personal Income Taxes. Renegotiate bank contracts with the City. The big six banks have about $600 million in city contracts. A ten percent reduction in those contracts – far less than the cuts that have been imposed on not-for-profit human services agencies over the past two years – would raise $60 million. Make the Mortgage Electronic Recording System (MERS) pay. Big banks used MERS to avoid fees and taxes as they traded mortgages and created securities. Banks have avoided at least $70 million in mortgage recording fees that are owed to NYC. Other municipalities and states are litigating to recover the fees and taxes lost to MERS; New York should do the same. Continue the State millionaire’s tax. We need you to use your considerable influence in Albany to push for the continuation of the modest State Personal Income Tax surcharge on millionaires that would provide $450 million this year alone for NYC schools and services.
We look forward to working with you to protect the schools and human services that New York communities – especially those hit hardest by the economic crisis – desperately need. Sincerely,
Melissa Mark-Viverito Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus 8th Council District
Brad Lander Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus 39th Council District
Letitia James 35th Council District
Jumaane Williams 45th Council District
Margaret Chin 1st Council District
Jimmy Van Bramer 26th Council District
Danny Dromm 25th Council District
Debi Rose 49th Council District
Annabel Palma 18th Council District
James Sanders Jr. 31st Council District
Julissa Ferreras 21st Council District
Speaker Christine Quinn Mark Page