New York City – On Wednesday the New York City Council released its response to Mayor de Blasio’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Thanks to the leadership of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the efforts of Councilman David G. Greenfield, who has been an advocate for childcare vouchers for years, this response included a key recommendation to provide $15 million dollars in funding for priority 5 and 7 childcare vouchers. This is a monumental step in finally restoring funding to childcare programs that many families in the Orthodox Jewish community relied upon before these programs were destroyed by funding cuts during Mayor Bloomberg’s administration. These voucher programs, which assist low income families, were all but eliminated in recent years, leaving thousands without childcare. Councilman Greenfield was able to negotiate for modest funding restorations in previous city budgets, but today’s announcement marks the biggest effort in recent years to revive the program.
In previous years, the Bloomberg Administration routinely made cuts to after-school voucher programs, balancing the city budget on the backs of those most in need. Priority 7 vouchers, which were eliminated in 2010 by a $16 million cut, helped large families that often had small children where only one parent worked. Priority 5 vouchers help families where both parents worked at least 20 hours per week but still struggled financially. Councilman Greenfield has made fighting for the restoration of after-school voucher programs a top priority in this year’s budget.
“New York City parents need all the help they can get. These childcare vouchers help thousands of families across the five boroughs by easing the burden of expensive childcare. I thank the Speaker and my colleagues in the City Council for agreeing to prioritize this funding and asking the Mayor to restore these voucher programs in the budget,” said Councilman David G. Greenfield.
Councilman Greenfield recently hosted Speaker Mark-Viverito at his Boro Park office for a meeting with community leaders to discuss key issues the Jewish community is facing. Greenfield and nearly 100 community, not-for-profit and yeshiva leaders at the forum discussed specific programs New York City could support including the restoration of these childcare vouchers.
Mayor de Blasio is expected to release a more detailed executive budget by May 8th, incorporating feedback provided by the City Council. The Council will then hold a series of budget hearings to vet the executive budget and engage in negotiations with the Mayor’s office until the budget is settled upon and voted on by June 30, 2014. The 2015 fiscal year budget will take effect on July 1, 2014.