NEW YORK — Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to slash child care and after-school programs could have "dire consequences" for children, families and city government, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio charged in a new report.
The 2013 executive budget proposes to cut $175 million from early childcare and education programs and vouchers, the report charges, and threatens to pass on $845 million in costs to future mayoral administrations to make up for the deficiencies.
Some 47,000 children are in danger of losing services, de Blasio's report charges.
“You cannot be an ‘Education Mayor’ if you tear early education and after school programs to pieces,” he said. “These cuts enacted year after year will kick the stool out from under tens of thousands of working families, and set back an entire generation of kids.”
De Blasio’s report, dubbed "Cut Now, Pay Later," urges investments in early childhood education instead of the proposed cuts. He argues that the down payment will save taxpayers money, grow the economy, prevent crime and improve kids’ health.
Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who represents the Lower East Side and Chinatown criticized the proposed cuts, too, calling them “some of the most debilitating our city has ever seen.” She added that her district stands to lose 70 percent of its after-school programs.
“All of these programs provide culturally and linguistically competent service and have a history of full enrollment,” she said. “Despite the demonstrated demand for these services, Mayor Bloomberg has decided that our community can go without.”
But a spokeswoman for the mayor said de Blasio's math is way off.
"The numbers in the report are wrong," the spokeswoman said.
She said the budget proposes to cut nearly $72 million, and not $175 million.
"Fiscal realities have impacted this program like nearly all areas of the budget," she added, referring to the child care system, "and we will working with the City Council on a final budget."
The mayor has until June 30 to finalize the budget with the City Council.