No more balancing of the budget  at the expense of our children's  education.

January 18, 2010

Thanks to everyone who joined our petition to the Governor to restore the  education funding to our schools. Our collective actions have  forced the Governor to repay school districts and local  governments the money he withheld last month. We objected to this plan because it meant balancing the budget on the backs of our  kids.

He withheld $750 million in payments to school districts and local governments after the Legislature disagreed with his call  for additional spending cuts to close the $3.2 billion budget deficit, rationalizing that the action was necessary to keep the state from running out of cash.

Meanwhile, as the economic recession continues, our Governor and legislative leaders continue to throw away one million dollars a day (that's $350 million for 2009), in lost revenues and leave  the $200 million upfront payment on the table due to their indecision on Aqueduct. This is vitally needed cash for the State. Moreover, despite not selecting a bidder thus far, the Governor has already added the $200 million upfront payment toward this year's budget deficit, and we now run the risk of losing that sum for this fiscal year. Where is the fiscal responsibility.

The Governor confirmed that state revenues have rebounded and  that he will begin making the education payments starting last  Friday. But the problem is far from over, and we have to keep the  pressure up to protect our children's future, because he has threatened to withhold payments again in March. "So that will be the end of this chapter, but not the end of this problem because  we have another $12 billion or $13 billion that need to be paid in March. And once again we're worrying about where our revenues are," he said.

As our woes grow, home foreclosures have increased in New York  City, a troubling sign for the New Year. With city unemployment at 10%, the number of New Yorkers at risk of losing their homes last month surged 84.3%, compared with December 2008, and though recently approved mortgage relief legislation should help stave off foreclosures, the outlook remains bleak for our communities in  the face of these indecisive actions.

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