Queens Assemblymember and Congressional candidate Grace Meng reacted today to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's FY-2013 budget proposal for New York City, criticizing the Administration's plans to close 20 firehouses and cut early childhood care and after-school programs.
"The Mayor's proposed budget is out of touch with the struggles of working New Yorkers and closes the city's deficit on the backs of our children and first responders," Grace said. "To put 20 of our city's firehouses, along with early childhood care and after-school programs, on the chopping block is an affront to responsible budgeting and an abdication of Mayor Bloomberg's duty to protect our public safety and invest in our children's education."
Assemblymember Meng said that shutting down 20 firehouses was a dangerous, irresponsible accounting method.
"Mayor Bloomberg's plan to close 20 city firehouses may satisfy an immediate budgeting need, but it subjects New Yorkers to an untold human and financial toll in the future and places even more strain on the first responders who already sacrifice so much for us," Grace said. "Fewer firehouses means slower response times, more fire-related injuries and deaths, and millions of dollars in property damage. New York's Bravest need more -- not less -- support from government, which is why if elected to Congress I'll fight tirelessly to get federal funding for upgraded communications equipment and training for first responders. The Mayor is playing a dangerous game with our public safety, and should reconsider this shortsighted, heavy-handed budgeting strategy before it's too late."
Assemblymember Meng also said that she was relieved the Administration put forth a plan to increase the number of special education teachers, but that those gains would be offset by the negative impact of cutting vital childcare and after-school programs.
"In the face of ever-increasing class sizes and students with special needs failing to receive the attention they require, I'm glad Mayor Bloomberg has finally seen the light of day on the need to hire more teachers," Grace said. "But that doesn't make up for the fact that his budget will force parents to choose between taking care of their kids and showing up for work. It doesn't negate the damage of cutting vital after-school programs and depriving our youth of safe, educational activities while pushing them onto the street."