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Help the middle class, not wealthy

An open letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

The Queens Civic Congress is a coalition of more than 100 of Queens’ major neighborhood-based civic groups that represent thousands of tenants, condo and co-op owners and homeowners living in every part of the borough. The QCC is the only boroughwide group of its kind in New York City.

It recognizes that the state is facing almost intractable fiscal challenges and that the 2011 and 2012 budgets must include painful cuts that all New Yorkers will feel. But your cuts in education, health and social services are aimed squarely at the middle class and working poor, who could not possibly duplicate the services they will lose. The cuts in aid to the city, especially to education, health and social services, would further exacerbate the budget’s deleterious effects on children, teenagers, the elderly and families.

The QCC has studied the effects of the executive budget on the state and city and Queens in particular. It has concluded that the 2011-12 budget must include revenue enhancements. The QCC urges you to include retention of the personal income tax surcharge in this year’s budget.

When the stakes of letting Wall Street fall were too high, taxpayers bailed out the banks and much of the financial services industry. Lower Manhattan has since largely recovered and companies that risked middle-class families’ pensions and mortgages are once again making profits. Meanwhile, middle-class families in Queens and across the state continue to struggle. Jobs have not rebounded. Foreclosure signs and abandoned homes deface our streets. Classrooms are packed to the brim. Tuitions at public universities have soared. Services to families and the elderly are being decimated.

Forty-four percent of the city’s wealth is in the hands of the top 1 percent of income earners and yet they only contribute one-third of the tax base. Our representatives in Washington, Albany and City Hall are asking us to sacrifice. But our neighbors have been sacrificing for years and continue to do so through increased prices, wage freezes, Metropolitan Transportation Authority hikes and various user taxes and fees.

The QCC believes the wealthiest New Yorkers should pay their fair share through the extension of the state’s PITS. By implementing this modest, revenue-generating measure, you can keep the state from failing its citizens.

Patricia Dolan

President

Queens Civic Congress

Flushing

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