President’s Message – 4/2/2012

Budget Needs to Address Jobs and Services

Now that the Governor and Legislature have enacted Tier 6, the million dollar question of how we create and retain jobs still remains.  As the labor movement pointed out all along, Tier 6 did nothing to create savings for schools and local governments, who need help now, and only distracted us from the real issue of job creation.

In fact in the terms of job creation, we are falling far short and in many areas we continue to move backward. It is expected that several thousand more teaching jobs will be lost in the coming year and thousands of more jobs in county, local government and schools will be lost as a result of the property tax cap that was enacted last year. Continued shuffling of the state workforce agencies will most likely mean more job losses in that area as well.  Despite enacted “contracting flexibility” we are not creating jobs in construction or the service industry fast enough.  We need to do more.

At the same time the state has cut aid to schools and local governments and despite promises of more aid this year, we are far short in terms of preserving jobs and maintaining vital public services. Health care, public safety and infrastructure all continue to face funding shortfalls. This means more unemployment, more foreclosures and less money in our economy.   And it means fewer services for our taxpayers.

Part of the solution needs to come from closing corporate tax loopholes so the state can collect the revenue that it is already supposed to collect.  This is not new taxation; it is making sure corporations pay what they owe, and that individuals who can  least afford it are not holding the bag.

This revenue should be used to offset layoffs in the state, schools and local governments and should shore up education, health care and transportation funding.

Part of the solution also must be expanded capital investment and keeping our vows to adequately fund the MTA and DOT capital programs.  The NYS AFL-CIO Infrastructure Task Force will review various proposals to fund infrastructure improvement and propose more solutions for job creation. We hope the Governor and Legislature will join us in making this happen.

Mario Cilento, President