As Brooklyn groups reach out to investors in efforts to revitalize the borough, both Gov. Bloomberg and Mayor Cuomo make efforts to keep taxes low and attract like investment while repairing their budgets through cuts to public services.
The Pratt Area Community Council (PACC) is holding a “Rolling Up the Gates” Storefront Stroll on Fulton Street and Washington Avenue today. The event is meant to draw new businesses to the area by introducing interested entrepreneurs to property owners eager to fill their leases. New businesses are vital to Brooklyn’s development plans and needs for revenue in a time of depleted budgets.
PACC and other development organizations want to make Brooklyn as attractive for new businesses as possible, which means taxes must be kept low and budget shortfalls must be made up in other ways. Earlier this week, Mayor Bloomburg proposed a swath of new budget cuts in public service programs, shortening hours of operation and laying off over 8,000 workers over the next year in areas including homeless shelters, prisons, children’s services.
Bloomberg’s proposed cuts have been met with some resistance from the City Council, which has offered several alternatives including more revenue from subway billboard ads, antennae operators, and closing property tax loopholes. These measures would help cover the budget shortfall and could save a great deal of hardship that public service cuts and layoffs would put on the City’s working classes. But because Bloomburg’s proposal comes mid year the Council does not have any authority over these budget alterations and there is the strong possibility that the proposed cuts will be implemented in their entirety.
The contest over budget solutions has turned a corner on the national scale as Republicans take governorships across the country, nearly all of them vowing to cut budgets rather than raise taxes. While incoming New York governor Cuomo is not a Republican he is making the same vows on tax policy.
This insistence on low taxes comes from a reliance on business growth to revitalized stagnant economies, the same reliance spurring Brooklyn organizations to attract investors into the borough. But if the City Council’s alternatives have any validity then there are other ways to maintain government budgets without resorting to cuts that would bring harm to vulnerable populations. This contest boils down to legislative class warfare with the most likely outcome favoring the upper classes. As Cuomo explains his justification for forecasted state cuts, “We can’t raise taxes because we will never attract jobs if New York is the tax capital of the nation.”
Enjoy this article? Receive e-mail alerts when new articles are available. Just click on the “Subscribe” button above.