The legislature  rightly rejected Governor Paterson's original plan to cut $686  million from classrooms across the state, which would have been  devastating, eliminating programs and faculties in the middle of  the school year. The Governor is now withholding 10% of school  funding-$146 million, in his effort to fix the state's budget.  Call Governor Paterson today at (518) 474-8390 and tell him that  holding our kids hostage is never an option. Slashing or  withholding school funding is not the answer to the state's budget  shortfall.

Keep up the fight to ensure that the funds needed to  keep our schools open are delivered to local school districts and  classrooms. We cannot balance the budget on the backs of our kids,  or cut programs they are in the middle of completing.

It was merely 6 months ago that we were subjected  to a 10 percent fare increase from the MTA.

Now the agency is  at it again, proposing more draconian service cuts, including the  elimination of 2 subway lines and 21 local bus routes, steep  service reductions on dozens of additional bus and subway routes,  cuts to the Access-A-Ride program and student Metro Cards. 

In our district, the cuts to the Q56 bus and the Z  train would be devastating to working families and students, and  to the local economy. Communities across the board will suffer  likewise. More than a half million of our students and children  who receive free or discounted Metro Cards would suffer. The added  cost of these students' transportation will break the budgets of  working families across the city, especially those who are not  earning a living wage. Worse yet, it will break our kids' will to  learn.

Instead, the MTA must follow Speaker Quinn's  suggestions to reallocate $140 million of capital funds to  temporarily close an unexpected gap in its operating budget. More  than $90 million in unspent federal stimulus aid that may be  allocated toward operating expenses through a congressionally  sanctioned process known as "flex," and roughly $50 million in MTA  operating funds that are currently being used to supplement the  capital budget would help tremendously. The combined funding boost  would be more than enough to offset the $129 million the MTA  expects to save through cuts to subway and bus service  citywide.

The MTA must also conduct their budget process in  a more public and open fashion. It released this package of cuts  just one week before they will be voted on. Mandating these cuts  with no public input is insulting to taxpayers and a slap in the  face to New Yorkers. Before these drastic changes are made, the  MTA must give the public a chance to voice their concerns, and  examine its books. We demand transparency and public  input!

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