May 5, 2011
By Michael A. Harris
A new report that “exposes $1.5 billion in subsidies, sweetheart deals, and tax loopholes,” which the city is failing to rein in was released today by a coalition of labor leaders, advocates and elected officials in a news conference in front of City Hall.
The report’s release, which was timed to take place just two days before Mayor Bloomberg’s executive budget is announced is an effort to build momentum for massive demonstrations against “big banks and millionaires” set for May 12. A website to organize activists is up and running.
The May 12 protest has been endorsed by major municipal unions and UFT President Michael Mulgrew was in the front of the crowd, chanting along with community advocates this afternoon. Members of both the UFT and DC 37 are proposed to face layoffs.
“It’s time to end the unconscionable tax benefits and loopholes that this city provides banks and hedge funds,” said Mulgrew. “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,”
Supporting the unions and advocates is the City Council’s progressive caucus, headed by Council members Brad Lander (D – Brooklyn) and Melissa Mark Viverito (D – Manhattan/Bronx), which said in a statement, “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.”
Activists say they will assemble at various locations across the city and converge upon Wall Street on May 12. But many are not waiting a virtual protest of the mayor’s budget proposals will begin on Facebook tomorrow afternoon.
Bloomberg will formally release his executive budget in the Blue Room of City Hall on Friday morning.