Today’s news:

Elected leaders must not cut jobs in city and state budgets

Here we go again! As if we have not suffered enough, another brutal whammy — this time from both the city and state governments. New York City’s gloom and doom budget, released by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spells tough times ahead.

It calls for 4,286 city employee jobs to be eliminated — 3,452 through attrition and 834 through layoffs. Twenty fire companies would be closed, police overtime would be slashed and the number of school nurses would be cut. The NYPD would be allowed to shrink by more than 800 positions through attrition and public safety and crime reduction will be affected.

But it gets worse. If Gov. David Paterson’s budget passes, $1.3 billion in state aid would be slashed, triggering thousands of police officers, teachers and firefighters to be laid off and ending street cleaning and street litter basket pickups.

One-fourth of low-income households would lose daycare vouchers and 500 soup kitchens and pantries would shutter. Of course, collateral damage will end thousands of jobs and services, affecting everyone including the vital library services our children need to succeed.

Bloomberg has asked members of the United Federation of Teachers to accept 2 percent increases over the next two years on the first $70,000 of their salaries, instead of the 4 percent that had previously been budgeted, or be prepared to give up 2,500 jobs.

Moreover, city workers would be forced to accept lower salary increases while labor unions will have to give up pension and health benefits and “show extra productivity.”

State legislators must fight to restore the city’s coffers from the state. We cannot balance the budget on the backs of working families and our children. It is unfair and unacceptable.

We demand the mayor, the governor and our elected representatives get to work in saving these and other targeted cuts and services and do the work they were elected to do. It is the least they can do — a basic moral obligation to taxpayers. Everyone must play their role in bringing about an acceptable outcome.

Please, leaders and representatives, restore some semblance of dignity, hope and pride to New Yorkers. We are suffering.

Albert Baldeo

Ozone Park

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