NYC: 50,000 Rally at City Hall


protect-our-familiesA massive budget backlash came to lower Manhattan yesterday, as tens of thousands of New Yorkers marched on City Hall, rallying to stop proposed funding cuts. The rally cries of labor unions, community groups and families outside City Hall could be heard throughout lower Manhattan. Desperation for an economic lifeline brought out more than 50,000 people along several blocks of Broadway in a self-described “Rally For New York.”
Their message for Gov. David Paterson came in the form of booming chants:”No more cuts! No more cuts!”

Everyday New Yorkers had their own personal messages for the governor as well.

“Governor Paterson, I wish you could have an open heart that we are going to suffer if this budget cut goes through,” said China Lankford of Jamaica.

Paterson has proposed closing a $15 billion state budget gap by making cuts across the board,
including $2.5 billion in education, $3.2 billion in health care and billions more in cuts to vital programs such as senior services, disability services, housing assistance and crisis intervention programs.

Protestors insisted yesterday that there’s a better way. They’re asking for what they call “fair tax reform” – raising state taxes for New Yorkers making $250,000 or more on top of the president’s proposed hikes.

“For those of you who prosper during boom time, we ask them pay a little bit more. Pay a little more so New York can avoid cutting the services that our most vulnerable need,” United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.

“The cut back is putting people out of jobs,” said Ruth Cardona of Local 1199. “No health care and also the education part of it is wrong.”

George Altomare, a retired teacher, made his voice heard as well.

“You can’t cut the budget the way it is and still have the quality we’re aiming for,” Altomare said.

Workers said they will continue to fight for their part of the economic pie.

Simultaneous rallies were also coordinated in cities around the state yesterday, including Albany, Buffalo and White Plains.

{WCBS-HD/Elisha Newscenter}