An Open Letter to Albany Legislators
by Albert Baldeo
02.24.09 - 05:47 pm
Employers and employees alike are taking a beating in these harsh economic times. A census by Congressman Anthony Weiner shows a troubling list of avenues in Queens with a growing number of businesses forced out of existence, leaving pain and suffering to many small businesses - the engines of our local economy here in Queens.

According to the survey of 1,730 stores in Queens, 211 are closed or about to close. In all, a record 12 percent of these community stores are vacant in Queens, an increase of 200 percent. The alarming average per neighborhoods in Queens is 21 stores that are shut.

An even harsher reality is that, despite the presidentís huge economic stimulus bill, New York State will not be bailed out of its fiscal crisis completely. We will still be faced with a budget gap of $9 billion or more.

While the gap is smaller due to the federal funding projected for New York State, it is still among the biggest budget deficit in years.

With a balanced budget due in a few weeks, each community must demand that their elected representative in the state government be prudent and wise to exercise their best judgment.

We demand that spending be slashed while protecting programs crucial to our quality of life, such as schools, police, firefighters, sanitation, and mass transit.

We demand that there be viable reform proposals for Medicare and medical benefits that have grown unaffordable, and that we recoup the large amounts being siphoned off due to fraud, mismanagement, and waste.

We demand that our legislators shield homeowners and businesses from rising property taxes, but above all, we caution them not to increase any form of taxation to the residents of New York.

In short, you cannot balance the budget on our backs alone any more.

Albert Baldeo is a community advocate and former State Senate candidate for the 15th State Senate district, which encompasses Glendale, Howard Beach, Maspeth, Middle Village, Old Howard Beach, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Richmond Hill.
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