Tentative Deal on NY Budget: Economist says Cuts Hit Women & Kids Hardest
Monday, March 28, 2011
NEW YORK - Lawmakers in Albany gave tentative approval Sunday night to Gov. Cuomo's $132 billion budget, which is designed to wipe out billions of dollars in red ink with budget cuts. A new report says those cuts would hit women and children the hardest.
James Parrott, chief economist with the Fiscal Policy Institute, says women and children make up 77 percent of New York's poor. The nonprofit's new report finds that deep cuts to human services in Gov. Cuomo's budget would drive some women and children further into poverty, reducing their opportunities to move up and destabilizing those already struggling to get by.
"Low-income women are adversely affected by a range of cutbacks - everything from domestic violence nonresidential services to homeless shelters - that heavily affect women and children."
Lawmakers restored about $250 million dollars in education funding, but most major cuts to human services remain. Cuomo says he will impose a budget if lawmakers fail to reach agreement this week.
Gerard Wallace, executive director of the National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights, says programs that keep New York kids out of foster homes by helping their grandparents raise them instead will be on the chopping-block under Cuomo's funding plan.
"Not only has he cut it down to that bare bones amount, but then he has lumped it into a pool where they have to compete for one-eighth of the funding that they originally had. With this little money in the budget, they will go out of existence."
Cuomo maintains he is putting the state on a better financial trajectory. Lisa Tyson, executive director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, disagrees. She says the plan tilts too far in favor of the wealthy.
"We need a budget that's going to help New Yorkers get out of this fiscal crisis and we're not seeing that. We're just seeing things that are going to hurt, and we're really seeing an imbalance between supporting wealthy people and corporations and them getting more, and the rest of us getting less and less."
The full "Women in Poverty" report is available at www.fiscalpolicy.org.
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